Commit to Authentic Connection in 2020

Dave Gladun
Dave Gladun is a registered practical nurse and contract administrator Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and leads regular mindfulness classes at the Hospital.

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:

  1. Try mindfulness practice via youtube at home, or view Dave Gladun’s recorded videos at:
  2. Set a goal to put down your phone and be present with those around you. Start by having technology-free meals, whether it’s at home or out with your friends.
  3. Take a hiatus from social media. Or go into your phones settings and set app limits for the ones that are taking your time away from working on you.
  4. If you are experiencing a mental health issue, talk to someone you trust to start the conversation. Ask for help. It’s ok to not be ok.

Have a healthier 2020!