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Mindful : December 2016
2 Listen with all of your senses There’s a difference between hearing someone and actively listening to someone. The next time you’re having an in-person conversation, notice the posture and body language of the other person. Tune into the tone of their voice, and absorb the meaning of their words. See if it’s pos- sible to put aside your own response while listening to them speak. When we feel listened to, we feel cared about and this increases a sense of mutual love and connection. 3 Reach out and touch someone As mammals, physical contact is essential to our well-being. American psychologist Harry Harlow’s famous study on maternal deprivation with rhesus monkeys demonstrated that touch provides a crucial psychological and emo- tional resource in our development. Touch is also a primary way we commu- nicate, feel safe, soothe our ner vous systems, trust one another, and convey love and compassion. Take a day to experiment with actively reaching out to your loved ones with small touches → We are social beings by nature. Connecting with others is what provides richness in life, makes us feel safe, and has us recognize that we’re part of something greater than ourselves. Yet we sometimes choose to stay behind a wall of emotional (or physical) distance, even in our closest relationships. As a result, our world contracts and we’re robbed of living a fully dimensional life. Mindfulness helps us to wake up to the “choice points” in our relationships when we can decide to connect a bit more by listening, communicating, and allowing our hearts to open. Could You Connect More? 1 Really see each other Making eye contact with someone activates what psychologist Stephen Porges calls our Social Nervous System, which can relieve stress and create a deeper sense of connection. It is hard not to feel intimate and vulnerable when look- ing into the eyes of another person—even a stranger. Try it! It may feel funny at first, but you will find a softening in your heart and a sensation of love flowing before you know it. 11 simple ways to bond with the people in your life By Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein 34 mindful December 2016 LIVING | how to live a mindful life 34 mindful December 2016 Illustrations by Colleen MacIsaac