Safe connection helps your body and mind relax.
Did you know that your body's ability to process fear and stress affects your ability to communicate and connect? We are social beings who need each other to experience life's deeper meaning, to learn about ourselves and love. However, there is a physiological response to stress in the body that can make it hard to connect, especially during times like these. When you perceive a threat or trauma in your day to day life, your body and brain shift into and out of fight or flight, a sympathetic nervous system response. When you're late for a meeting or get bad news, you feel the adrenaline rush, maybe your voice shakes, but you recover. Your body settles back into the parasympathetic state where all is well.
When you experience the uncertainty of a pandemic day in and day out, your body and brain may slip into the dorsal vagal state.
When this happens, your vagus nerve is disrupted which also disrupts your social processes. You trigger more easily, intentions are misinterpreted, conversations go sideways, you have a hard time accessing compassion and tend to want to isolate. All of this makes it hard to communicate and connect with others despite your need or desire to. It's completely normal and many are unaware that this is even happening. Most of the time we can keep it together professionally because we know what to expect and feel less vulnerable there. However, when we experience more vulnerability or we perceive a prolonged crisis, we can stay in dorsal vagal state where we just try to survive. Friends, many feel like they are simply trying to survive right now. Is this you or people you know? There is no judgment. It isn't wrong. At a time when we need each other more than ever, here are some tips to help you connect with others:
Start your day getting grounded through mindfulness, setting positive intentions, journaling and/or meditation to set your calm energy.
Meditation de-stresses your nervous system. My meditation teacher Emily Fletcher is offering tons of free content at zivameditation.com.
Learn to reclaim your calm throughout the day by listening to music or taking a walk.
Understand that everyone processes fear and uncertainty differently: - Some are quiet and withdrawn -Some get frustrate -Others want to solve and do as much as possible to stay busy and in control -It’s all ok. Try to accept where people are and not judge them or yourself harshly. Be in loving kindness as much as possible and reach out if you feel unsafe and need help.
Understand that everyone shows their support and love differently: -Some are demonstrative and affectionate -Others are quiet and caring -Try not to make assumptions of what people are thinking and feeling. Share from a place of understanding and kindness.
We are all in this together and will get through it together. Take the time to look into someone's eyes every day. It can feel very grounding, connected and calming. It could be someone in your home, your pet's eyes, those on your Zoom call at work or someone you FaceTime. Even a picture is great.
Train your brain to look for the good in yourself and others. Practice everyday.
If you know someone who is alone or if you are lonely, get calm and reach out.
Be present in your conversations. Put your phone away. Close your laptop. Listen without thinking of what you'll say next.
Cherish the time, people, health and connections you have. They are the treasures in life.
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