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Mind and Matter

Clarity . Connection . Comfort

This Holiday Season Cultivate Connection

“Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”  - Mother Theresa

A third of Americans, over 45 years of age, consider themselves to feel disconnected or lonely. Loneliness can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health and can decrease your longevity, according to former U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy’s book, Together, The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.

Murthy writes that human beings need 3 levels of connection- intimate (partner or spouse), relational (circle of friends), and collective (community) to avoid loneliness.

For many, the pandemic has made necessary the need to physically distance from family, friends, neighbors and/or strangers from our community; highlighting the importance each relationship plays in our lives. After all, we experience a sense of connection when we are with others, even strangers. These bonds help us feel we are part of something greater than ourselves. The holidays are a good time to take stock of our relationships and question the special roles we would like each to play in our lives.

Dr. Murthy suggests these 3 simple steps to deepen our relationships:

  1. Spend at least 15 minutes a day connecting with people you love. This can be done via a video conference call or by using your phone. Speaking to someone you care for can elevate your mood and theirs.
  2. Focus on the quality of time you spend with others. Eliminate as many distractions as you can and devote the time to be fully present. Allow your interactions to be positive and light.
  3. Look for ways to be of service to others. Individuals who feel lonely tend to have an inward focus which often perpetuates deep and negative thinking. Focus on performing small acts of kindness such as bringing in your elderly neighbor’s garbage bins from the curb or picking up the mail for a friend who is away on travel are simple and yet effective ways to help others. Service to others in small ways can boost feelings of wellbeing and decrease loneliness.


Click here to read the full Mind and Matter Holiday Edition.