One thing however that has not changed is our need for true and authentic connection to people, places and things that have meaning to us. This is a key element of both our personal and organisational wellbeing. It’s how we shape our identity, how we find purpose and give meaning to the world around us.
The connections that we establish with positive influences in our lives form the foundations of a mental wellbeing strengths framework. When things are going well, this framework is something that we don’t even realise is there and it can be easy to take it for granted. However, when we start to feel under pressure, or when factors outside of our control affect us, this framework is tested. If we’ve neglected it over time, it will no longer be in a position to do the job we need it to do when times are tough.
For that reason, I recommend refreshing your connections with all the positive influences in your life on a monthly basis. This helps you to maintain the quality and volume of connection that’s right for you and that forms your personal strengths framework.
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It’s easy to get started. Firstly, make a list of all the things that make you feel great and that bring you strength. It could be a person, place, book, song, type of food or drink, hobby, an animal. Absolutely anything is fine, you can’t get this wrong.
When you’ve made your list, write out the date when you last did that thing, or saw that person, or went to that place. Highlight anything where the date was more than one month ago. Next, go through the list of things that you’ve highlighted and start booking them in your diary for the next month. Some you’ll be able to do straight away, some will take longer. You don’t need to do all of them, just pick the ones that feel right at this time but get clear on exactly when you’re going to reconnect with that thing
I know the rules have changed and we might not have the certainty about forward planning that we used to but there are still workarounds that you can apply. For example, if you can’t see the person who makes you feel great personally, call them, even having a photo of them somewhere you can see it works well.
If it’s a place, and you can’t get there, print off images of that place, have them as screen savers. Maybe there’s a thing associated with that place that you can carry or hold, for example, I always carry a pebble from the beach of my hometown with me wherever I go. Find a workaround that fits for you.
To move this on further, next to each thing on your list write how it makes you feel. It could be calm, energised, successful, loved, protected, confident and so on. Give yourself time to remember why that thing is important to you and how the connection works and feels.
Your aim is to reconnect with the things that make you feel great and to strengthen those connections, bring them closer to you. Then, when you need them, they’re there and the benefits and positive influences from these connections will support you in tough times when you need a little confidence boost.
Imagine if you were feeling nervous about starting a new job or giving a presentation, however, you knew you had things that made you feel confident close by. That’s a powerful tool and one we sometimes lose track of when life gets busy. It can be very easy for our connections to drop away over time if we don’t invest time and effort in cultivating them.
So, start today, your future self will thank you for it as I’m sure will all of the lovely people you re-connect with today who haven’t heard from you for a while. In fact, you could probably send someone a quick message right now if you wanted to.
Just go for it. Take action today to re-connect and bring things that make you feel great closer to you.
Karen Beaven is an HR coach, mentor and author