It’s been a long winter for some, dampening dispositions along with our usually sunny California skies. Perhaps weathering life lately has been a challenge, and despite the clouds lifting all around, your mood isn’t. You’re not depressed exactly, but certainly not pumped. You’re busy in the daily routine, going through the motions. and not looking forward to anything. Perhaps you’re bored, wondering is this all there is? You sense that something is missing but you don’t know what it is.
The thing that’s missing is you– your sense of self, well-being, meaning, and purpose. It’s an easy trap to fall into. It means you’re not connected. This is living life on the surface, skimming along unaware and missing out on the deeper, richer parts of life. Here are a few tips to shake off the flatlined feeling of disconnection and plug into your life in a way that actually feels alive.
Connect with your Body
Most of us live in our heads, mulling over the do’s and don’ts of the day, planning work and family schedules weeks out, dreaming about vacation, stewing over the past. Did you know that well over 50% of our thoughts are the same ones we think every day? Rarely are we in the present moment, tuned into ourselves and our environment.
Living in your head keeps you out of your body and out of your emotions. Instead, slow down long enough to ask lovingly yourself “how’re you doing?” You might be surprised at what you hear. Do you have any idea why you’re angry, lonely, or feeling down in the dumps? Have you even put a name to how your feeling to it to begin with? With no connection to your body you’re a balloon on a string, floating through life at the whim of the wind, only adding to the belief that life is out of your control.
Throughout the day, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Check in with your body by asking these three simple questions: Am I tired? Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Respond by giving to yourself in a healthy way. If you need a nap, take it. A 15- minute power nap is far better than slamming down a mocha frappuccino to get you through the rest of the day.
Connect with your Soul
The beat of our hearts directs the rhythm of our bodies, but it’s our heart in the bigger sense orchestrating what has meaning and value to us. What do you love? What tugs at your heartstrings, makes your heart sing? This is the language of your soul – the unique spiritual aspect that makes you purely you.
When you feel like something is missing it’s your soul trying to get your attention. Have you given up your quirkiness to conform? Is your personality reflected in your home, your clothes, or the work you do? Do you cater to your whims, your fancies and your needs? Doing so connects you back up to your original self, and when you do, a life force energy comes with it that feeds your motivation, creativity and contentment.
The ways to connect with your soul are as diverse as humanity– but there are universal things that feed us all, like beauty, quiet, laughter, music, and color.
What’s good for your soul? It could be watching your dog romp in the grass, tracking a hawk sailing across the sky, or pedaling a mountain bike up a steep hill. Or maybe it’s fresh flowers on the table every week, taking in a live performance in the City, or screaming your lungs out at a Warrior game. Whatever it is, make it a priority to do it.
Connect with the World
We all know what it’s like to feel alone in a crowd. When you interact with people daily without genuine connection, life can be lonely and stale.
When did you last spend quality time with someone just talking, laughing, and doing something fun? When you felt heard and seen, and not responsible for taking care of someone’s expectations? Find those people to spend genuine, heartfelt moments with. They are the ones who reflect the best of you, and you them. Consider ways to connect with the people you live and work with in a more meaningful way. When you begin from a present awareness of your genuine self, your experience of others shifts dramatically.
You can seek soulful connection with people intellectually. Attend a lecture , conference or a compelling performance. Listen to an author speak, see a great movie. Connect your mind to like minds in a way that is dynamic, creative, and inquisitive – in a way that sparks possibility in you apart from everyday life.
Being in a group stimulates and satisfies the primal part of your brain wired to belong to a tribe – it means safety and security on a deep, unconscious level. Even the most introverted of us needs to belong among people, even for a while. Where do you feel like you belong? Look for opportunities in church, school or create a tribe of your own grounded in something you love.
The best way to slow down, center yourself, get in touch with your feelings and check out what has really been running your mind is to get in nature. We all know intuitively we feel better in nature, and science backs it up. We are happier in nature because we are nature too. Tapping back into the pulse of the Earth’s electromagnetic field, to the wind around us, the bustle of birds and bugs, the peace of deer grazing on a hill, a show of light and sound as water tumbles over rocks calms the nervous system, reduces stress, and clears the mind. Spending time outdoors repeatedly in positive ways can actually create new neural pathways in the brain– in other words – nature changes how you think and how you feel.
Connecting helps you find what’s missing – your bigger Self – through the language of your Soul, in nature, and interactions with others. Connecting creates the shift that lets you experience life as happening through you, not to you. As you connect with what’s missing, the power to choose more of the life you want becomes clear.