Recognizing your connections…
Over the past few months we have all learned about sheltering in place, flattening the curve, and protecting others by keeping our distance. These days it may seem that there are more restrictions to connecting with each other…no large gatherings, no intimate lunches with friends, no touching. And yet…we are all connected.
Research has shown that quality relationships and deep connections help not only improve our quality of life but also help reduce a variety of health issues (Holt-Lunstad, Robles, & Sbarra, 2017). The great news is that we do not have to be in the same room with someone to develop our sense of connectedness! We can focus our awareness on our connections.
Practicing yoga can do more than just stretch or strengthen your body. Yoga practitioners have reported experiences of personal transformation, increased social interaction, and increased coping mechanisms to weather relationship losses and difficulties. Interviews with folks who practiced yoga regularly reported improved interpersonal relationships because of changes their attitude and perspective. Saying that yoga practices helped them more be patient, kind, mindful, and self-aware (Ross et al, 2014).
Hutcherson, Seppala, & Gross (2008) found that practicing loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and may help to increase positive social emotions as well as decreasing feelings of social isolation. Loving kindness meditations (or Metta Meditations) are a practice of developing self-compassion and mentally sharing that compassion with others Listen to a guided LKM here.
We have so many ways to connect with each other today…phone calls, texts, email, video-chats, and even “old-fashioned” letters through the mail are a lovely way to share that you are thinking of someone. The multiple opportunities to connect across town, across the country, even across the world allow us to recognize that we are all in this life together. Take a minute today to send a message to someone you love, someone you have been thinking about, even just to check in. It’s not only a nice thing for that person, it’s good for you too 😉