A few months ago, I was introduced to the book Love 2.0 by Barbara Frederickson. My central take from the book was that moments of human connection are available to us all the time and that connection is essential to health and wellbeing. We can prime ourselves to bring more love and connection into our lives.There are a few exercises and meditations given in the book but there are two that I have taken as daily practices. They are simple but their effects are quite profound.
The first is a series of self-compassion statements that I offer myself in the morning, usually shortly after waking, either lying in bed or during my morning routine.
I put my hand on my heart and say:
– May I feel safe
– May I be happy
– May I be healthy
– May I live with ease
At it’s simplest, these statements have helped me to self-soothe when I have felt anxiety or sadness. However, once I started doing this exercise regularly, I realised that the only person who could truly offer these things to me, was myself.
The second exercise is done at the end of the day. Lying in bed, before sleep, I reflect on the top three human, interactions I have had during that day where there has been a sense of connection. Ideally, those interactions are in person but face to face video calls or phone calls are valid too. Chat only doesn’t count. There has to be some form of sensory connection. This helps me to realise how much love and connection there is in my life, even when at times I might feel alone or disconnected. Another benefit of this practice is me ensuring I have at least three loving interactions a day. This afternoon, I realised that if I didn’t make contact with another human being, I would have had only two connections today. So, I messaged a friend on Facebook asking if we could have a Facetime chat. This evening, when I reflect on the connections I experienced today, I will remember morning tea and pancakes at my friend’s table; a nice long phone chat with a friend in Connemara; and a FaceTime chat with a new friend in Belfast. And today, despite my relative solitude, I feel connected, alive, human.