Today, Day 6 of my 60-Day Journey of Mini-Mindfulness, I very happily used the tool of personal connection to achieve a mindful moment. Actually, I used it a few times. I’ll tell you in a little detail about one of them.
But first, some background via highlights from an online article in The Atlantic called “Social Connection Makes a Better Brain”: Findings include that connecting with other people makes you happier according to fMRI brain studying. By contrast, other studies show that, as social isolation increases throughout society, so do the stats on suicide & depression rates. Happiness quotients have gone down. There are even correlates showing physical pain increases during isolation, rejection & depression.
Connection doesn’t just make us happier, it also makes us healthier, the studies find. Just ask anyone who’s ever practiced the traditional Buddhist lovingkindness meditation & they’ll tell you how incredibly good it feels to practice empathy. And that’s just imagining being nice to someone! The feedback loop we get from reciprocal, face-to-face connection is uber-empowering.
But can this connection count as mindfulness or even mini-mindfulness? Perhaps so, if the person you’re connecting with just happens to be a mindfulness guru.
My friend Dana does not call herself this. In fact, Dana Samardzich is a lot like me. Also a wife & a mom with her own coaching practice, Dana specializes in helping professional women manage work-life balance via mindfulness & other tools. She’s a life coach & the author of an e-newsletter called Mindfulness Minute—which you can read back issues of at her LinkedIn account. This Mindfulness Minute has been a mini-mindfulness tool in its own right for me many times. She’ll write things like, “Use this time to pause, be here now, & open your heart.” She often encourages you as the reader to literally stop what you are doing & take a moment to practice a form of mindfulness. She teaches me all sorts of great things!
And it’s not just through her Mindfulness Minute that I learn from Dana. As colleagues, she & I participate in a coaching trade arrangement. Once a month, we meet at a coffee shop & take turns spending 30 minutes in the hot seat, reaping the rewards of the other’s expertise. We also share tricks of the trade about our businesses—& even swap stories about our families as friends.
During my turn under the coaching microscope this morning, Dana reiterated my belief that I’m already starting to see a benefit to this mini-mindfulness journey.
“It’s more about consistency than it is sitting & doing 30 minutes a week of intense meditation,” she said, regarding the benefits of meta-cognition. “That’s when you start to notice change.”
I look forward to my monthly coaching trade with Dana. It kicks off my work day by helping me find my center. Not to mention, there’s the human connection we get through the act of hugging hello & goodbye. (Read here for more on the benefits of positive touch.)
Day 6 Mini-Mindfulness Tool:
Human Connection. Facebook, Twitter & email don’t generally count—unless you’re feeling measurable amounts of empathy for the online posters, then responding in kind somehow. Prayer & loving kindness meditation can also create this same benefit. Ask yourself, “How often am I reaching out to others?”