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  • Laura Linehan

How to Feel Genuine Connection in Quarantine

If you are finding quarantine tough every day or maybe just one day in five, then you aren’t alone. There is a sense of normality now to our new confines, most people have found some form of new routine and flow. And then they get hit with a really emotional day where they are just done with it.

Feeling Disconnected The feeling of disconnection from reality, from our routines and crucially from the people we love can be jarring. Zoom has jumped in as a readily available form of connection. This is a very helpful tool. It has saved many businesses, and helped people to keep in touch when they need it most. But it is a distinctly different experience socialising or conducting business online. Seeing others in their own homes (Wow, Steve has cats), an array of visual stimuli and background noise, the stress of interrupted connections during important meetings, and the bizarre discomfort of staring directly at someone’s face without having any other social queues, or to multiple faces at once in bigger meetings. It can be overwhelming at times, and anxiety inducing for many. Our brains are working hard to adjust, and these extra visual queues and the sense of being more reliant on our screens is a strange new reality. Many are craving connection. Genuine connection that is felt, and not just visual. One simple way to do this is through practicing meditations that focus on compassion or loving-kindness. By taking a few minutes each day to wish yourself and others well, you begin to embody the sense of connection you have been missing.

What is loving-kindness meditation? This practice is originally a Buddhist meditation where you repeat phrases of well wishes to different people. It can vary according to the teacher, but generally you will be guided to extend kindness to yourself, those you love and those you are indifferent towards - neighbours, acquaintances, etc. Often these meditations invite you to send well wishes to a person in your life who you are at odds with. Someone who is causing you discomfort or pain. Though this can bring up a bit of resistance, the idea is to generate the same compassion for someone who is causing you discomfort as you would someone you love. Once you are able to recognise the humanity in all the people you know, including yourself, it is much easier to accept flaws and feel connected through your commonality. What benefits can I expect? This practice can help you to feel calmer, less anxious, more positive about the future, and more connected to others. It has been shown to alleviate symptoms of mild anxiety and helps to manage difficult emotions and overwhelm. The simplicity of the practice means it is easy to apply it in your daily life. If you are sharing your valuable space with others, before too long you’re likely to run into disagreements without the luxury of getting much needed space from each other. In this instance, being able to practice compassion can lead to more harmony and understanding in your relationships. Not just at home, but in your work life too. Understanding that everyone has the same basic wants and needs to you can be comforting, centering and deeply forgiving. We all want to be loved and accepted. We all want to be held, and feel wanted. We all want our families to be safe and well. We all want the best for the future of our communities. We all struggle, and have bad days. We all overreact at times, or say things we regret. And we all want to manage this crisis with grace and compassion. It is our innate humanness that connects us, not simply being physically near each other, as we have all witnessed in the past few months. How to begin? Spend 15 minutes a day listening to a guided compassion meditation. By practicing daily, you can build more patience, resilience and calm. This helps to make the regular days more centred, and helps to bring you feeling closer to others on those tough I'm done with this days. Here is one I recorded on Compassion for Human Connection. I hope it brings you comfort, calm and a sense of genuine connection. Wishing you well this week, Laura

The meditation is part of my Free 28 Days to Confidence and Calm challenge designed to help people manage stress and uncertainty in this bizarre time. If you would like to sign up, follow this link for more information: www.naturalbalancecoaching.ie/online-resouces

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