In our fast-paced modern world, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain strong social connections, but the benefits are undeniable. We dive into the advantages of forging these connections, such as improved mental and physical health, a sense of belonging and purpose, and emotional support. We address the epidemic of loneliness, the vicious cycle of isolation it creates, and how connection can help build resilience and enrich our lives.
In this episode, we share tips on building a connection circle, look at the roadblocks to deeper connections, and consider how connection in relationships can be a form of peacemaking.
What you will learn on this episode:
– The importance of connection for overall happiness and well-being
– Three essential levels of connection: self-awareness, social connection, and connection to something greater than ourselves
– How strong social connections can lower anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem, and even strengthen our immune system
– The epidemic of loneliness and the benefits of nurturing deep relationships
– Building resilience through social ties and breaking the cycle of isolation and loneliness
– The role of connection in relationships and its potential as a form of peacemaking
– Tips for creating your connection circle and discovering roadblocks to deeper connections
*This transcription below was provided for you or your convenience; please excuse any mistakes that the automated service made in translation.
Connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems. In this episode, we’ll talk about how connection can help us and those we love. This is Leadership Parenting. Episode number 13, the Power of Connection. Did you know that resilience is the key to confidence and joy? As moms, it’s what we want for our kids, but it’s also what we need for ourselves. My name is Leigh Germann, I’m a therapist and I’m a mom. Join me as we explore the skills you need to know to be confident and joyful. Then get ready to teach these skills to your kids. This is Leadership Parenting, where you learn how to lead your family by showing them the way.
Hi and welcome to Leadership Parenting Here on episode number 13.
Before we get started, i just wanted to thank you for all the feedback and support. It’s been so fun to hear about how all of you are using the concepts in this podcast and I’ve been so grateful to get your thoughts and your ideas. As I receive your emails and your texts, i have really felt connected to you. It’s given me so much encouragement to keep working on this content and feeling motivated to make the time to record and produce these episodes. Every time I feel a little overwhelmed with my work schedule and all the to-dos on my list, including getting these episodes recorded. I’ve received some little communication from one of you and it’s filled me up and encouraged me to keep working at it, so please keep leaving feedback. For me, a little connection really does go a long way in helping me to stay with this vision and stay motivated. So thank you so much, and I’ve been thinking about the ways we can all get more connected around this work learning, resilience and catching the vision of what it looks like in our lives, and then helping each other do it and teach it to our families. So I’m working on setting something up that might bring us together more, where we can go deeper and support our learning, and I’ll keep you posted on this idea because I think it will really fill a need that I’m hearing from you And it will increase our connection, and this happens to be exactly what we’re talking about today the power of connection. In fact, whether you realize it or not, connection is actually part of everything we’ve addressed so far in our podcast episodes In one way or another.
Being connected or being disconnected is a critical piece of resilience. Connection really does hold so much influence on our well-being, from how it feels in our body to how it impacts our relationships and even that overall sense of meaning and purpose in life. And so, as we start talking about connection, i’m going to give you a really grand view of it, because I see connection as really infiltrating all the parts of our lives, and then hopefully, i’ll break it down into some smaller pieces that can be more applicable to you. But first I want to give you that grand overview. For me, i think of connection in three levels. And that starts at the very base level of connection to yourself, and that’s that self-awareness, the focus that we’ve had in these last episodes of really understanding ourselves, and we’re going to keep diving deeper and deeper into that connection to self. But that’s that base layer of connection that each one of us needs to feel good and feel empowered. And the next level of connection moves to connection with others, and we call this social connection, and we’re going to talk about that a little bit more in depth today. And then, finally, the final layer of connection expands to connection to something bigger than us, like a connection to God or nature or the universe, and that’s pretty big. So you’ll see, i think connection is so much about energy and light and even substance of relationships, all things that nourish and sustain us. So I could honestly study and talk about and teach connection 24-7, which is why I come to this topic with so much excitement and why I want you to get excited about it too.
So let’s start with technically, how connection is defined. Technically, it’s defined as a state of feeling close or connected to another person or to a group of people, and this includes feeling cared about by others and caring about others, as well as a feeling of belonging to that group or that community of people. And I think this really beautifully describes social connection. And so let’s kind of drop into that middle level of connection that I just described And let’s just start off there and just really talking about how crucial it is to our happiness. And this really is because as human beings, we’re inherently social, and the word inherent means that it comes with us at birth, it’s natural and it’s instinctive and literally it’s even critical to our survival. We need to be connected to a caregiver, because a baby doesn’t survive unless he or she is connected to someone, someone to watch over them and protect them and feed them. And even as we grow and we get pretty self-sufficient right, that’s our job as parents is to have our kids not need us as much We never really lose that need for connection, not even as an adult, and that’s going to be us that we’re talking about.
So I want you to be thinking about how connection is one of our most primal needs And from the beginning of time we’ve thrived in communities and we’ve relied on meaningful connections, even from a tribal perspective or a small group of people that survive together. We need this for our physical, emotional and even psychological safety and well-being. And of course now we live in a really big world where most of our basic needs are met. We don’t need a tribe to meet our needs, and this is actually one of the theories why social connection has become kind of a difficult thing to have so powerfully in our lives, because in our big society, with all of our needs being met fairly easily, we don’t need that tribe of people to get food or shelter or clothing or watch our children. We kind of have learned to become self-sufficient And that’s really built in this potential for a loss of connection or a lack of connection. And strong social connection is so vital for our well-being. So I’m going to go through a couple of things, a list of things that really illustrate how connection helps us.
So number one strong social connections particularly support strong mental health, because connection gives us that feeling of belonging and purpose And by a byproduct of that is that feeling of self-worth being seen and being needed and being accepted. And that connection stimulates our brain and promotes cognitive functioning and can prevent and even heal the painful issues of depression and anxiety. When you look at depression and anxiety, one of the critical key factors at play is usually some loss of social connection. Either that depression and anxiety are getting in the way of having social connection, or even the lack of that connection has caused depression and anxiety in our lives. And connection also gives us this emotional support, so that when we have good times we have people to celebrate with and when we have challenging times we have people that we trust who can help lift us up and help us problem solve. And this reduces stress, it reduces anxiety and gives us that overall feeling of safety.
And there are a lot of physical health benefits too. We’ve got lots of research that suggests that social connection has a significant influence on physical health, that individuals with strong social connections and ties. They just have lower rates of chronic diseases and even faster recovery times when they’re recovering from illness or surgery. If you’ve got people that are around you and support you and love you and help you, your recovery time is much likely less than if you don’t have that support, and even increased longevity. In the studies of people who have the longest lives, you’ll find that they live within a tight social network. So social connection has this ability to kind of buffer us from the effects of stress and it really translates into helping us bounce back from adversity. And this is probably the biggest connection to resilience That knowing that we have people who will stand by us and help us and give us encouragement. It can really help us bounce back from difficulties, and so we see connection as a very powerful tool in our resilience toolbox.
Okay, so you’ve heard the benefits and some of the research about connection, but how do you define connection and what power does it potentially have in your life? So I asked this question recently to a group of women I was teaching and there was a pause, like you could see the wheels turning in their mind. I don’t think we often think about defining connection, even though that word is thrown around a lot, and this was kind of what I got back off the top of their heads, you know, being around people that care about you, having people to hang out with, having someone to call if I need help. And one thing that kind of came up for several of the women in the group that they mentioned was they got a lot of nods and agreements. Was that connection felt kind of like the opposite of disconnection, like it was the opposite of feeling lonely? And when we said that word lonely, everyone kind of sat back in their chair and went yeah, yeah, and I think this is really important.
Loneliness is now considered a social epidemic And in fact, as I researched a bit for this episode, i found so many articles and even, you know, government publications aimed at reducing loneliness, because it’s showing up. It’s showing up in our schools and our hospitals And it’s, you know, even showing up in like some of the news stories and and it’s being alluded to that we’ve got people who feel isolated and alone and that that’s causing a lot of our social problems And loneliness often comes from feeling disconnected or, you know, isolated from others, and this can be due to so many things. It could be on a really big grand scale where there’s someone that has no one in their life, but it can actually even just be on a very common scale that we all experience, you know, living far away from loved ones and having just a few close relationships, or having even some of those relationships strained. Sometimes, when some of our closest relationships are having some difficulty or some conflict, that loneliness can really come up. And it can also come as part of a struggle with illness, both physical and mental, emotional illness. And what’s even harder is that loneliness can perpetuate itself in a vicious cycle, like when we feel lonely we may withdraw from social involvement or interactions, and that increases our feelings of isolation and loneliness. And this kind of pulling back can lead to reduced opportunities for connection and make it more challenging to break free of the cycle of loneliness. So in my practice So my private practice I see loneliness infiltrating all areas of our life across many stages and ages.
I see moms are doing their parenting and mothering and feeling very alone with it, and the law often tell me that their social connections are few and far between, like most of their day takes place in the walls of their own home with little ones, especially when they’re little. And I also hear this from children who are needing that peer connection but not sure how to get it. They don’t have their social skills yet and they’re not quite sure how to connect. And teens and even college age kids can struggle with that feeling of belonging and being part of a group. I also work with loneliness in marriages where a couple is together but they don’t feel connected.
And I see loneliness show up on even a larger scale, like my clients feeling kind of untethered in this big world, without purpose, without connection energetically or spiritually to something bigger than they are. And if we’re going to kind of step outside of that social range, let’s go back to that three levels of connection. I see lots and lots of my clients who are struggling on a micro scale where they feel disconnected and lonely for themselves And that’s kind of a funny way to say it. But I want you to think about how that feels sometimes, to feel disconnected. When I’m disconnected from myself, i don’t feel tuned in to my thoughts or my feelings or even to my body, and I can feel disconnected from myself. So you know, wow, i just painted an epic picture of the impact of connection and disconnection.
So there’s a reason why I added this topic to our podcast lineup And it’s because, you know, this topic of connection has the power to make or break our happiness and our resilience, and it’s worth thinking about and maybe even doing something about. So I want to just pause here and remind you that we’re bringing up these topics to be thoughtful and maybe thought provoking, and to be curious and not to be judgmental or panic about anything. Connection is something that is going to go in and out of our lives And I think when you start to recognize what it is and how it works and what you can do about it, you’re going to start to feel less afraid of it or less worried about it and more able to just recognize when you need more of it and how to go about getting it. And I think an important component of understanding connection and the loss of it, or of that loneliness, is recognizing that. You know this is a very subjective experience. It’s based on an individual’s perception of connection, which means that how you look at your own social connectedness or your connection to yourself, it may not necessarily mirror your actual social network, for example, have you ever been surrounded by people you know, who know you, and you still feel a little alone or lonely?
This is that subjective thing we’re talking about, and I think of one of my teenage clients years ago who had this huge social group of friends at school and there she sat in my office feeling incredibly sad and not connected. Her mom had called me to set up the appointment and told me that her daughter was like really involved in school activities and student government and a cheerleader and had lots of friends, but she just was feeling so sad and depressed and anxious And I just thought it was so interesting that on paper it can look like we’ve got, you know, all the connections in the world, but if we don’t feel connected inside, it can impact us and it can cause us to really not feel good, and I felt that way myself at times, surrounded by people, i know, but disconnected. In a way it can make things feel even more lonely, like there’s food out there but you can’t seem to take it in. So that feeling of connection and the disconnection or loneliness is subjective, meaning it’s internally experienced uniquely within each of us, and I hope you’re beginning to recognize the internal, external world at play here, which is why, if you haven’t listened to episode five yet or you need a refresher, i invite you to go back and listen to that episode on your internal world, because it’s that internal world where our reality lives. That subjective or internal experience of connection is powerful, and it can go both ways. Not only can we feel, you know, lonely when we’re around a lot of people, but we can also feel very connected and safe and kind of very content when we’re not around anyone.
I can remember standing in the middle of an absolutely silent grove of trees in Northern California’s Muir Woods. It’s such a beautiful place. There was only six of us in the whole area and the whole part of that state park And everyone was ahead of me and I was all alone. But I didn’t feel alone. I felt deeply connected to those woods, to nature, to God and also, strangely, to myself. In fact, when I meditate I often go back to that scene in my mind and in my body. Like I can remember that feeling, i almost immediately feel the same calming peace that came with that connection that day. So as we talk about connections, i want you to remember that what we’re looking for is both an external connection, socially, but also that internal subjective feeling that is uniquely yours, and we have a really big menu to choose from. We can have connection to ourselves when it’s just us And when we’re just working with our feelings and we’re just asking ourselves what we need. We can have connection to others when there are people around us And we can even have connection to that feeling of being in nature or of being connected to spirit or to God. And I’m going to suggest that you don’t have to have a perfect circumstance to get connected, that you can create opportunities for connection within your own experience. This is going to increase your resilience and your sense of general well-being and joy.
Sometimes, when I’m working with a client who is pretty isolated, like on paper, externally their social network is not strong, and this happens to all of us, you know, at one time or another. Maybe a person has just moved to a new town or a new school or a new job, or maybe they’re recently divorced or widowed, or maybe just gone through a breakup And their whole social network has changed. Or maybe they’ve been sick, especially someone who’s been chronically ill. Maybe they’ve stepped out of their social world because of their illness And depression and anxiety can kind of cause us to do this, to kind of pull back and not be part of what was normally our social context. So many things have the power to disrupt our connection with others. Right, there could be roadblocks to getting together with people and interacting with them that I can’t even fathom right now.
So sometimes when I’m working with people who just aren’t getting the opportunities to be around people, i look to any and all opportunities to get connected. Go to Target and walk around is often what I’ll challenge a client to do who’s really feeling isolated, especially when they haven’t met anyone yet in their new area. Say hello to the checkout clerk, ask them how their day is going. I know this sounds so minuscule in the world of social connection, but it is a beginning step, a small and very non-threatening drop in the bucket that at least gets people started in interacting. And what we’re looking for here is your brain’s ability to have a conversation, maybe make eye contact and be in the physical presence of others. This is kind of low-hanging fruit, but it’s vital to feeling good. We absolutely need this social connection. So we have to start somewhere and work our way up to having more meaningful and more regular connections in our life. It’s just so important And, you know, the greatest punishment you can give a human is to socially isolate them In prisons, in POW camps.
It’s the harshest and cruelest of punishments, and prisoners have been known to say that even rather be with a guard or an enemy who’s abusive, rather than being isolated. And in our world we have a lot of isolated people and high rates of loneliness and depression, and especially during COVID, oh my goodness, the isolation was brutal to so many of us. Our social connections were just so disrupted and I really do think we’re still kind of recovering from that. So I send people to Target, to the grocery store, to the library, to their church, to volunteer in schools and community centers, any place where we can find people to connect with. When I’m out in a store or on a public transit, i’m going to assume that someone in my vicinity needs some connection. So when I’m on my game and I’m not always on my game, but when I am on my game I’m trying to make eye contact and smile and saying hello and asking people how their day is going. I know many of my clients have no other social connection except for interactions like this When I’m not on my game.
It may be because I feel a little disconnected or distracted, and whenever someone smiles at me or asks me about my day, i am reminded of how it feels to be seen and to have a little bit of consideration and connection, and sometimes that can actually turn things around in how I’m feeling. I want you to be aware of this too, because even if you have solid social connections, you’ll be in contact with people who don’t and who could use a little more connection, and I actually think this is the missing piece in this kind of polarized world that we live in. It’s very hard to judge and reject and vilify a person whom you are connected to. It just doesn’t feel good because you’re connected and what hurts them kind of has the potential to hurt you. So we start to relate and start to look out for each other. It’s that isolation and that separateness that hurts our hearts and makes us unaware or unsupportive. Connection is just such a powerful peacemaker, which is why focusing on connection, even in our families, with our partners and our children, can insulate and protect these very important relationships too.
And there are actually levels of social connection that have been studied. Researchers call this the three dimensions of social connection, and if I were to draw these dimensions on paper, we could draw a really large circle and this would represent, like the people that you feel connected to in a group, or the people that you’re on teams with or that you go to school with or maybe that you work with, and they figure that we have about between 150 and 1500 people in this kind of collective group where we have people that we can relate to and we’re part of something a little bit bigger than ourselves. And then the next circle inside of that would be our friends and our family circle. Maybe we have 15 to about 45 or 50 people in this circle. These would be our people that we know more about, that are people we would call on if we needed support or help, are a little bit closer to us.
And then, finally, the inner circle is labeled as your intimate emotional connections, and this is where your companion or your spouse would be, where you’re with that person that really knows you and shares your values and your goals, and many times this might be a close friend filling this role. If you’re a parent, you would be filling this role for your child, and in this inner circle there’s a lot of trust and affection and reliance, and studies have shown that we typically devote about 40% of our available social time to our five most intimate social connections. And, of course, if you have a bigger family than that, it might be more than five, but it’s those really close people that we tend to spend the most time with. All three of these dimensions intimate, relational and collective are important And although we tend to focus our closest, all three of these dimensions intimate, relational and collective they’re important. And although we tend to focus on our closest relationships, even the people we associate with in our more outer circles contribute to that feeling of being connected. The more detailed your circles are filled, the more support and benefit you may have.
Now, that’s not to say that you need to have circles crammed packed with connection. It just means that there might be areas of your life that you have feelings of loneliness that we can look to to increase connection. And this is what really came up for the group of women I was talking with the other night. They were talking about, even if they have a supportive partner, they can sometimes still feel lonely for friends or, you know, feeling like they have a purpose in the community. I think that sometimes from mamas who have their children grow and kind of leave the nest And they’re like I, kind of feel lonely for that feeling of connection in the community. I used to have that when my kid was home and now I don’t. And so it’s great to remember that we want a varied and broad sense of connection on different levels. This is so good for us So you can tell your spouse that Leigh said it’s good for you to go to Girls’ Game Night and have a lunch with friends, even though you have a close marital connection, because any kind of connection really insulates us and protects us from loneliness but also helps us with that resilience to cover us and to give us support when we need it. We really want to be sensitive to situations of possible disconnection or loneliness and look to see where maybe we can reach out and expand our circle. So I really love this idea of circles And even though I’ve given you some very technical research to kind of these technical terms around the kinds of social connection, i just think it’s really helpful to just be thinking about the circles that we have in our lives.
You know, the small circles of our very closest connections, and then the little bit bigger ones that have more friends and family in them, and then those larger ones where we have really even more possibly superficial relationships but a larger, broader scope of people that we can connect with. And whenever I’m working with someone who’s maybe dating and they’re really trying to find their person, and that can be such a painful and hard thing, right, i don’t know if you’ve been in that situation where you remember being in that situation, and it doesn’t just happen when we’re young. Sometimes it happens, you know, when we’ve gone through something hard and we’re back into the dating field, and whenever I’m working with someone like that, we’re talking about knowing as many people as they can in their bigger circle and then kind of bringing it down into getting to know people even on a little more familiar and intimate level, and then from that group in that circle, we’re finding the people that are going to be our partners or our very best friends, those kinds of connections. So I guess what I’m trying to say is we need, we need connection in every circle, in every circle. So let’s pause here and do an inventory of your social connectedness And remember this is a curiosity exercise in which you just take a look at it, you’re not judging it or comparing it.
Just one of the things that I can find really helpful in treating mood disorders like depression or anxiety is to work on filling out our rings, our circles of social connection, and I’ll often do that with a client And heck, not just with clients. I do this with myself, like, especially after COVID turned everything upside down as far as connection goes, i did an inventory of my own social connectedness and I saw some big gaps. I’d stopped meeting up with my friends, i’ve stopped our lunches and the book club that I went to, and my world got quite a bit smaller And I noticed that loneliness had kind of crept up on me, and so I decided I kind of made a conscious decision to make a few phone calls and talk with friends. I just called my sister-in-law today on her birthday. Instead of just sending her a text, i made a phone call and I spent a few minutes and I connected because I love her and I need her in my life And we need each other. We want to set up lunches and I started making space on my calendar for book club again, and you know, really I had just booked clients through that time period and it took me a while to get my work schedule switched so I could go to book club and I could see my friends again.
So if you have had anything shift or change in your life or, like duh, you’ve just gone through COVID, i know you have But maybe even something else you’ve just moved or started a new job or school, you know, or you’ve had a baby, or you had a child start school, or you had a child leave home, just got married, or maybe you just divorced or you had something big in your life. Anything, anything, can cause a shift in our connection. And this is okay, it’s not a crisis, it’s to be expected. But when we know to look for it, we can start to address it. And I think that this is critical. We want to get ahead of this. We really want to be thinking in the forefront of our minds about the wellness, the impact of connection on our wellness. And you know, when we go to the doctor, you know if we’re lucky, they’ll ask us if we’re sleeping and if we’re eating well and if we’re exercising Rarely. Does anyone ask the question are you feeling connected in your life? So I’m asking you the question, friends, i’m asking you do you have enough connection in your life? And if you don’t, you’re not alone And there’s something we can do about it. I think it’s critical in helping us, as moms, love our mom life, addressing that isolation or the loss of social network and shifting into a new pattern of mindful connection.
Often, I’ll use a worksheet to map the connection and see where you can invest a little energy to fill out your connection circle a bit more. And it can also really help you see the areas where you are connected And then those are the areas you can be more appreciative and have more gratitude for that. And so, if I’m able to, i’ll hurry and put that in the show notes. I may not get to it this week, but I’ll try to get that up. And if it doesn’t get up for you guys to have a chance to look at it, let me tell you you can just take out a sheet of paper, draw one big circle in it right, you know my global connection, then the next circle, my friends and family connection, and then a smaller circle my closest, most intimate connections and start filling it out. If you have a gap, do not worry. That just shows there’s an opportunity. There’s a place for you to put a little bit of your attention And as you do this exercise, i want you to notice what roadblocks there might be to your having some deeper and more full connections.
And here are some examples of roadblocks that we can all face. Like we might call ourselves shy or even see ourselves as kind of introverted, So sometimes just reaching out and making phone calls or talking to people can be difficult, it cannot feel natural, and we might even just do a whole episode on this, because I have a lot of moms that I talk with that have kind of an introvert style and they can sometimes struggle a little bit with feeling the pressure to do things another way. So we may address this in a future episode. But another roadblock might be that maybe we don’t feel super confident in social situations and kind of want to avoid them. You know, sometimes we can be struggling with a little bit of that feeling of not being enough And that we sometimes call that like a low self-esteem thing where we question if others will want to be around us And I just want to say right now I think the answer is yes, others want to be around you and they’re probably struggling with the same thing And we tend to be so careful about not wanting to intrude or burden someone by inviting them to something.
And when you think about it, that’s silly, isn’t it? Like? connection is nutrition for us, and I think we just need to recognize that sometimes people are busy or maybe they don’t have time to fill a connection in that moment, but it’s never something that we need to be embarrassed about asking about and inviting people to join us or seeing if maybe we can join someone else. Another roadblock might be that we just don’t really have a lot of opportunities that we can see. We might have to work a little harder to find those opportunities, and I think that’s kind of the reason why I give people that silly exercise, you know, like go to Target or go to the library or go volunteer somewhere. It’s not that any of those are silly, it just of course those aren’t going to give us really deep connections, but they can kind of get us out out of our houses, out of our routines, so that we can start to meet people. And when we meet people, i think you find the most lovely thing happens. People are so amazing. There’s somebody for every person out there, and that includes friends and acquaintances.
So and then here’s another roadblock. We might have our social needs kind of seemingly met by social media, and I call this a pseudo connection because I’ve recently been working with a lot of people who are very active in their social media their Instagram and their Facebook And they have a lot of friends. You know, like people, that they’re connected to online, but in their day to day life they’re not getting together with people, and so if you have a great online support network, i think that’s fabulous. We don’t have to change that in any way. But we want to add in person. Add in person connection, because your nervous system needs that eye to eye contact, even that physical touch a hug, holding a hand or putting a hand on a shoulder That’s so, so important.
So, finally, i found that when we’re disconnected to ourselves, it can feel so hard to connect to others, and, of course, this is something that we are working on all the time, right, being more connected to ourselves. And the more that you’re connected to yourself, the easier it is to have that confidence and that peace and that calm to connect with your kids and your spouse and then those social connections that we’ve been talking about And we need this. We just need it for survival. We need it as social beings. So, no matter whether you’re shy or outgoing, you need connection And I think we can just look at connection like nourishment, and if we don’t get enough, we can experience that connection malnutrition. So well, we need each other for survival And there’s actually science behind connection. That is probably the coolest thing about connection that I can think of, and that science has a name. It’s explained through what is called the polyvagal theory, and in our next episode we’re going to go deeper into this science and understand how connection really intertwines with our nervous system, and I think it’s just so powerful to be able to understand how your nervous system works and how connection is really going to be the key to helping you work with your nervous system. And it’s fabulous information and we’re just going to take an episode to talk through it next week.
Ok, the final piece of this connection model is connecting with something bigger than yourself, and this is an important piece. It’s very personal And for years, out of respect, i would kind of avoid talking about it with clients because I didn’t know how they felt about having a belief in God or a spiritual construct. Finally, i just stopped being worried about it and laid it out there, And that’s what I’m going to do here with you guys Having a sense of something bigger than you that holds you and helps you feel kind of connected in the big picture. It is so helpful If you have a belief in God or a higher power. Reaching for this can calm and soothe your nervous system and help you regulate.
Prayer has been researched and found to help create a sense of connection and reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear. Meditating on the safety of the world, your world, where you are surrounded by nature and creation and can see that it’s big enough to hold you so you can connect to it. This is also part of the power of connection. So next time you feel that, slide down the ladder of your nervous system, breathe, step out into the sunshine, listen to the birds or take in nature that’s around you, get on the grass barefoot or on the just the ground with your feet touching the soil. If you pray, then connect with God. Let it be messy, let it be real, and just reach for connection in the thick of your disconnection and breathe And then think about who maybe you could call to talk to or get a hug from or even just be in their presence. And even if no one is available, you can put a hand on your chest and check in with yourself, do that emotional body check where you ask what am I feeling, where is it in my body, how big is it? And you are connecting to yourself, maybe also asking yourself what do I need right now And how can I show up for myself right now? We’ll keep looking at this, at the power of connection, in these specific ways, but actually you’re already on track and working with your nervous system because you’re listening to these ideas and learning these resilience skills.
So, in summary, connection is important. It fuels you, it nourishes you, it protects you And it’s something that we can be more mindful about. I’m asking you to add something to your already busy to-do list, i know, but I’m only asking because I truly believe it’s important And you know what we prioritize kind of takes up our time. I’m asking you to add yourself and connection to your priority list. It has the power to really lift you and heal you and help you lift and help others. So make that phone call to a friend or send her a text, make time to share lunch or dinner together. Does all of this take time and energy and some creativity? Yes, yes and yes. And I would also ask is all of this good for your kids? A resounding yes. In so many ways you’re a better parent when you’re connected socially to your world, to your friends and to your partner. Remember, we need to be in each other’s presence. Connection can literally have the power to heal your body, your heart, and create resilience to get through the hard things in life. Well, that’s all for today. We’ve only scratched the surface of the power of connection, but it is a great start. I’m grateful for all of you and I look forward to talking to you next week. Take care.
The Leadership Parenting Podcast is for general information purposes only. It is not therapy and should not take the place of meeting with a qualified mental health professional. The information on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, illness or disease. It’s also not intended to be legal medical or therapeutic advice. Please consult your doctor or mental health professional for your individual circumstances. Thanks again and take care.