I am a big believer in human connection. I feel my energy levels decrease or increase depending on whether I’ve had too little, or a lot, of interaction with others. Noting I am an extrovert (in the sense that I gain energy from being around people), this need for human connection might be greater than those who are introverts. However, at the end of the day we are all humans and we all desire to feel part of a community, to feel connected to the people and the world around us.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Dr Brene Brown, Empathy Researcher.
Here are 4 easy ways to get more connection into your life on a daily basis. I guarantee you will feel the positive results instantly.
1. When buying your morning cup of coffee or lunchtime sandwich, make an effort to look your server/barista in the eye and personally thank them. Take note of how many people rock up to the counter with their earphones in, eyes glued to their smartphones and monotonously give their order as if they were talking to a vending machine. Sparking up a personal connection by learning their name, then asking how their morning or day is, will make them feel valued and appreciated. It will also make you feel great knowing you have had this impact, and who knows where this relationship can lead. I was recently given a bunch of flowers by my lunchtime rice paper roll server, Lucy, when we bumped into each other in Harris Farm. I found this an extremely endearing symbol of our unassuming, but significant, relationship.
2. Put your phone away when you are with others. This may seem basic, but it is so important. A family friend recently gave my brother some FB adoration, posting that ‘whenever you hang with the man, you have his undivided attention, which is a rare quality in my opinion.’ It got me thinking about how I spend my time with others. I am guilty of getting out my phone to check emails and Instagram, which doesn’t make the person who is there in realtime feel very special. Being present and giving someone your full and undivided attention makes that person feel respected, valued and important (and could even get you some public love on Facebook too) J
3. Give out free compliments. Do you feel good when a colleague says ‘love your outfit,’ or when a friend compliments your new haircut? I bet you do, and the same goes for most of us. Next time you’re walking down the street and love something about a passer by, why not let them know it? A simple ‘love your style’ or ‘great coat’ to a passing stranger can go a long way. I must say I’m a bit addicted to this and love seeing people’s faces light up when they are least expecting it. Warning, please don’t do this is a creepy or sleazy way. Keep it short and sweet.
4. Reach out to someone in need. This can be a friend who’s stressed, a family member who’s ill, or a stranger on the side of the road crying. If someone looks down, why not be that person who brightened their day.
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Photo via Pintrest