Make 2020 about increasing our connection to ourselves and the lives we should be more present in. Authentic connection, or the lack thereof, could be a root cause to other health changes that you may be seeking in the New Year.
Research shows that our current adult cohort is the most indebt, overweight, addicted and medicated population in history. Our ability to go for a walk or eat healthier foods hasn’t changed that much, so what has?
“Many of us aren’t even present in our own lives anymore,” says Dr. Mandy McMahan, Ph.D, C.Psych and Director of Mental Health at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences. “While the internet and social media may connect us to others’ lives, it can, at the same time, disconnect us from our own. We are flooded and even seek out images and messages of how our life could or should be. And, in doing this we miss opportunities to appreciate our lives as they are and the people and the moments right in front of us, right now.”
The Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Toronto created a conceptual framework of quality of life that has three domains: being, belonging and becoming. Many aspects of this model relate to connectedness, and how it can help you to determine who you are, increase your sense of belonging (at home, with friends or in the community), and help you achieve your goals, hopes and aspirations. Basically, increasing your connections with self and others can help to enhance your quality of life.
Incorporating mindfulness practice can help you start this process of connecting and increasing your quality of life. Dave Gladun, a registered practical nurse and contract administrator at our Hospital, has immersed himself in mindfulness practice, and currently leads mindfulness classes for hospital staff. “Mindfulness is learning to be present in the moment, on purpose and not bringing judgment to whatever is occurring,” he explains. “Mindfulness can reduce stress and improve your health by allowing you to create an authentic connection with your body and how you are feeling. Once you are able to create and improve this connection with yourself, then you will start to see how it can positively impact your relationships with others.”
Dr. McMahan also believes in practicing mindfulness to enhance connectedness and even enhance one’s sense of fulfillment. “Being more present can help you to reduce excess stress. Show up for the life you have. Be present for the things that are important.”
Four ways that you can start being more connected in 2020:
Have a healthier 2020!