It’s hard to believe we’ve been dealing with a pandemic for almost a year. Many have lost their loved ones, their jobs, their businesses or are scrambling to make ends meet. Some are still home-schooling their children and self-isolating to remain safe.
As a result, we are seeing higher levels of anxiety and depression and an increase in substance use. And although women are more likely to report mental health damage, that doesn’t mean men aren’t struggling.
Men may be suffering in silence now more than ever, as they tend to mask their issues to cope.
How Do You Know if You Are Feeling Disconnected?
We are all trying to stay afloat. Particularly as a man, you may already feel pressured to provide and be resilient—assuming you should do it all on your own. And when life-altering events take the ground off your feet, that pressure can evolve to a profound sense of detachment.
- Are you feeling alone or hopeless?
- Are you experiencing grief or loss?
- Do you feel distant from your loved ones, no matter how close they are?
- Do you sense a disconnect between your purpose and the current reality?
- Are you being challenged to your core, forced to rethink your values and life plan?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing a lack of connection.
Feeling disconnected may manifest in your mood, body, how you treat people and talk to yourself. It could be costing you valuable relationships and your self-worth.
The Power of Connection
Having healthy bonds with your inner self, family, and community can turn into feelings of belonging, security, and safety. A sense of belonging may enhance how meaningful you perceive life to be, giving you a clear direction.
How to Reconnect With Yourself and Others
1. Practice Mindfulness
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, defines mindfulness as the “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.” The goal is to cultivate attention on your body and mind by concentrating on the breath to ease physical and emotional pain.
This awareness sounds simple but can be quite tricky when all you want to do is repress your emotions and move on. Like any skill, mindfulness takes practice.
Here are a few ways to encourage meaningful connections through mindfulness:
Connect With Yourself: Mindfulness Meditation
- Pick a comfortable spot, set time, and duration.
- Close your eyes or soften your gaze.
- Focus on your breath, a specific phrase, or a physical anchor (i.e., a spot on the wall).
- Remain curious about what’s going on in your mind and body.
- Notice your thoughts and physical sensations and let them pass through.
- If you get distracted, go back to your breath, mantra, or anchor.
Connect With Others: Mindfulness Communication
When having a conversation:
- Slow down.
- Listen deeply, meaningfully and with intention.
- Pause and take a breath before reacting.
- Be aware of the thoughts and feelings that arise.
- While consciously preparing your response, ask yourself:
- Is what I’m about to say true, helpful, necessary, and kind?
- Does it align with my intent?
- If the answer is no, reframe your response or don’t say anything at all. Silence can be golden when fostering compassion and understanding.
2. Focus on Self-Care
Restoring relationships starts with nurturing self-love. Practicing mindfulness will help you listen to your mental, emotional and physical cues so you can honour your needs.
Look at those signals as a blueprint and take action. What would make you feel loved right now?
- Taking a body break (to stretch or go for a walk) or a screen break (from your phone, computer, TV, and other electronic devices).
- Spending time outside.
- Working with your hands and expressing your creativity.
- Playing with your kids and pets.
- Cooking a wholesome recipe.
- Learning something new.
3. Find Your Support System
You don’t have to do this alone.
Rely on your family, colleagues, and network. Find an MBSR program that promotes your mindfulness practice within the context of a supportive community.
Let yourself be vulnerable and share your struggle. You’ll notice that many face similar challenges and will want to be there for you.
Senses Mindfulness Can Help
We hope you explore these tips to restore strong connections with yourself and the people in your life.
We are here to help.