By: Michael Lee, founder and director of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
Have you ever had an interaction with someone where you felt truly seen and heard? Maybe it was during a professional appointment or just a casual conversation with a friend. Regardless of the setting, these moments of connection are incredibly powerful and can leave a lasting impact on our well-being. I have come to believe that a deeper, more meaningful connection between individuals is what our planet needs. In this blog post, I’ll explore what helps us better connect and how we can cultivate these skills.
Cleaning our lens:
One of the key ways to connect more profoundly is to clear our lens of reference or at least know what distorts it. We all see the world through our own lens, and this lens is shaped by our past experiences and interpretations of those experiences. By being aware of the color and shape of our “lens,” we can better understand how it affects our perception of ourselves and others.
Being right here:
Another important aspect of connection is staying present. Our minds often dwell on past mistakes or future anxieties, which can prevent us from being fully present in the moment. By focusing on the present, we can better connect with others and see more clearly.
Bring your body along:
Finally, bringing our bodies into the conversation can also enhance our connections with others. Our bodies communicate in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, and being embodied allows us to feel our connection to ourselves and others more deeply.
A practice to try:
So, how can we cultivate these skills? Here’s a simple two-step practice to try for 30 days straight. The 30 days is important as the development of presence is subtle but does grow over time.
- Move your body and breath in sync with your movements for 10 minutes every day. Whether it’s walking, yoga, or dancing, focus on your body and your breath, synchronizing the two as you move. This simple embodiment practice takes you out of your mind and into your body. You may not think 10 minutes is enough but over 30 days it will make a big difference.
- Meditate for 15 minutes every day. After moving your body, take 15 minutes to meditate. Don’t worry about doing it “right.” Simply observe your thoughts and let them pass without judgment. After getting embodied, meditation is both easier and more effective. Don’t worry if your mind wanders. Just bring it back to a breath or body focus each time it does. Engaging in these two simple practices can lead to a deeper connection with ourselves, which in turn can enhance our connections with others. By cultivating self-awareness, self-compassion, and embodied presence, we can ultimately build more meaningful and authentic connections with the people around us.
In conclusion, human connection is vital for a happier and better world. By being aware of our lens of reference, staying present, and bringing our bodies into the conversation, we can deepen our connections with others and create a more meaningful life for ourselves and those around us. Give this two-step process a try and see how it can enhance your personal and professional life.
These references demonstrate the potential benefits of a meditation practice for helping professionals, including improvements in well-being, emotional regulation, empathy, and job performance
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical psychology: Science and practice, 10(2), 144-156. This article provides an overview of the history and development of mindfulness-based interventions, including their use in
- Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: results from a randomized trial. International journal of stress management, 12(2), 164-176. This study found that participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program led to significant reductions in stress and improvements in well-being among health care professionals.
- Grepmair, L., Mitterlehner, F., Loew, T., & Nickel, M. (2007). Promotion of mindfulness in
psychotherapists in training: preliminary study. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 76(6), 332-334. This study found that a mindfulness-based intervention led to significant
improvements in mindfulness, empathy, and emotional regulation among psychotherapists in training.
- Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review, 33(6), 763-771. This meta-analysis found that mindfulness-based interventions were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.
- Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., Dunn, T. J., Garcia-Campayo, J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017).
Meditation Awareness Training (MAT) for work-related wellbeing and job performance: A
randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 15(2),198-
- This study found that a mindfulness-based intervention led to improvements in well-
being and job performance among employees in a large UK organization