Boost Your Well-being: 10 Easy Acts for Human Connection
We are lonelier and more disconnected than ever. Luckily, there are simple solutions you can start today
Do you feel alone? Unfulfilled and without a sense of purpose, even when family and friends are present? Today so many of us seem to be struggling with these same issues: feeling disconnected and lonely. We’re living every day devoid of meaning. Yet tomorrow most of us will feel that way again. Just last year Cigna published a nationwide survey revealing that nearly 48 percent of all Americans report feeling alone. Clearly, loneliness is at epidemic levels in America.
So what’s missing in our lives?
I say it’s the Human Connection. Our relationships lay the foundation for our happiness, fulfillment, and ultimately, inner peace. In fact, we humans are actually wired to connect. In addition to enhancing our personal lives, the Human Connection is key for our businesses and leadership skills too.
Sadly, the Human Connection is fading right before our eyes. We’re too busy now to spend time together or even listen to each other. Yet we want to please and impress everyone and we’re stifling our own passions and silencing our inner voices to do it. We’re not connected to ourselves anymore and that makes it uncomfortable to reach out to others.
Most everyone is feeling this disconnect, even those we think have everything. Maria Shriver suggests we stop scrolling and start talking. “There’s no substitute for the human connection. We’re technically connected, but we’re not connected,” she writes.
Producer Brian Grazer, in his new book Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection, credits his success to looking people in the eye. “We’re reading people’s energy more than what they say. By looking someone in the eyes, it enables great things to happen …. Whether it’s with Princess Diana or John Nash, I always knew you had to make a point of being completely present with them, but not until two years ago did I realize that is created through eye contact. If you’re immediately taking this simple step of looking at somebody in the eye, that makes a statement to them: ‘I see you.’”
O Magazine’s November issue includes an article called, “A Cure for Loneliness?” and incorporates what author Timothy P. Carney writes in his book, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse.“Rotary clubs, churches, and civic organizations allow us to be part of something, but Americans don’t join as much as they used to. A community offers peace of mind, because we know others will be there to help. Having people rely on us gives us purpose. Life can’t be fulfilling unless we feel needed.”
Jennifer Aniston reveals in Instyle magazine’s September 19th issue that she misses the Human Connection: “When I think back on the ’90s, it makes me nostalgic. They were simpler times … it was lighter, there was a lot more Human Connection.”
So how do we begin to restore the Human Connection to our lives and rebuild the bonds that have the power to bring us together again? We remember to lead with our hearts. We take the time to share what we love and need. Soon we’ll discover that our family and friends respond to us in a compassionate and genuine way. I know this because I was disconnected myself 20 years ago. It took a little girl’s simple yet unnerving question to propel me toward my purpose and help me rediscover the power of the Human Connection.
Try some of these ways to connect. If you take the first step, the person you’re walking toward will meet you halfway.
- Cook with a friend — instead of planning a dinner date at a restaurant, one of you host a meal at home and share all the preparation, cooking, and cleaning up. Drink some wine and have some laughs!
- Learn something you’ve always wanted to master — I’ll bet you already know just the person to teach you whatever it is! Rather than investigating DIY on the internet, set up an in-person Learning Date.
- Teach a child other than your own — volunteer to spend an hour with a friend’s child and teach her something like learning a song or caring for her pet. Someone else’s children can have a charming effect on us.
- Engage with a salesperson — We all have someone on our shopping list who’s hard to buy for. A salesperson in your favorite retail store can have a fresh idea and you’ll make her day when you ask for her opinion.
- Share a mission — Check your local community clubs and groups for projects with a short-term goal. When you find something that touches you, ask how you can be part of making it happen. Rallying with others is a surefire way to share in the excitement of a win.
- Play — When was the last time you played a game? Surprise everyone after dinner by announcing It’s Game Night!
- Convert social media contacts into LIVE business connections — Set up in-person business meetings with two of your local connections — six degrees of separation really works.
- Get together with two Facebook friends you know and miss — and savor their company.
- Ask for help — This is a difficult one for many of us. I find if we’re humble enough to say, “I know you’re an expert and I’m wondering if you would help me with…” we’ll be surprised to find most people like to feel needed and will readily help.
- Introduce yourself — While this small gesture takes only seconds, it may be the hardest. Find a neighbor you don’t know well, walk over to her home, and ring the bell. When someone comes to the door, wish her a Happy Holiday. And smile!
And if the emotional warmth you feel when you connect isn’t enough, the Human Connection has real health benefits too.
Today more than ever we need to remember that we have the key that connects us to each other. It’s just hiding in the safest place we have: our hearts.
Genevieve Piturro was a successful television marketing executive until a six-year-old girl’s question changed her life forever and she jumped off the corporate ladder! Genevieve is now a professional speaker and consultant, and her book will be released in August 2020. Genevieve has been interviewed on TODAY, OPRAH, GMA, The Early Show, CNN, Fox & Friends, O Magazine, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. Follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.