8 Ways to Strengthen Human Connections in Your Life
A core belief in living Your Aha! Life is that we are connected. What happens to one affects the other, either directly or indirectly. What might the world be like if we all believed in and honored the importance of human connections? How might our lives be changed?
Might we find more joy, as the Swedish Proverb reminds us: “Shared joy is a double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
Might we live with more purpose where, as Frederick Buechner said: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Might we come to our life’s end with no regrets and more fulfilled because as Ralph Waldo Emerson told us so poetically: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Yes! You see, this life that we all want, a life with more joy, more purpose and more fulfillment is fundamentally a connected life.
Here are 8 really simple things you can do to strengthen human connections in your life.
#1 – Step away from the phone. The addiction to smartphones leads people to miss out on experiencing the richness of moments in real-time.
#2 – Break bread together. Since the beginning of time, people have used the dinner table to eat and connect with one another. Make meals with family and friends a special time.
#3 – See eye to eye. Set the timer for 3 minutes (long enough to play a meaningful song) and sitting across from someone you love, make eye contact. For inspiration, view Rachel Platten’s Better Place video that I featured in my June newsletter.
#4 – Lend a helping hand. Take over your partner’s chores for a day to give them a well-deserved break or serve as a helper to a friend or coworker on an important project.
#5 – Hold space. Consciously be present with another, listening with empathy, without any need to solve a thing and without judgment. Setting your needs aside and prioritizing theirs. You can also hold space for yourself.
#6 – Be the Change. Where your heart is, you’ll find your treasure. Spending time on a cause you care about will lead to a greater sense of meaning and satisfaction.
#7 – Give free hugs. In 2004, Juan Mann (Australia) started a global wave known as the Free Hugs Campaign where individuals offered hugs to strangers on the street as a random act of kindness. It’s a thing. Watch and read about how it all started. Warning: you might cry. I’m not suggesting you hug strangers (especially in a COVID environment), but yes to hugging loved ones, including your fur-babies.
#8 – Put on a happy face. When you smile you release endorphins and serotonin. You can actually trick your brain into a “don’t worry, be happy” state and you will be more attractive and approachable to others. And, it’s contagious. Try it.
In a world that is more connected technologically than ever before, people feel starved for genuine human connections. We can change that. Human connections are not measured in hashtags, likes, and follows, and not even in text messages. Nothing wrong with those, but we are much more evolved than that. We need each other on a deeply human level. We need genuine connections through conversation, empathy and compassion, and an investment of time. Just as Juan Mann started a movement for free hugs to strangers, we can become a part of a human connection movement using authentic and empathetic conversations within family, friend or social circles. In my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community, we are holding an Aha! Life small group conversation to do just that. I hope it’s a movement that will grow.
If you like this article, please visit my website, Your Aha! Life, where you’ll gain access to more articles, my latest podcast, resources, and information on The Aha! Community. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive a free gift to help you discover your Ikigai – what gets you up in the morning!