Connecting with people when you don’t feel like it

I wonder if you remember how, as a kid, all sorts of things that were supposed to be good for you were actually pretty unpalatable? Literally so in the case of foods like spinach, liver and fish. Which self-respecting youngster would voluntarily order up a plate of those?

Unfortunately, the principle that what’s good for you isn’t always pleasant can continue into adult life and this is never truer than when you’re having an off day.

For instance it’s all very well for me to suggest, as I often do, that there are big benefits to be had from connecting to other people. But how on earth are you supposed to do this if your mood is in the basement? At times like this it can be hard enough to simply get up in the morning, so what chance is there that you’re going to go out and ‘connect’, which might conjure up a completely unrealistic image of professional people glad-handing one another as they exchange business cards?

You’re right, the words snowball, chance and hell come to mind.

And yet the simple feeling of being in touch with another human being can be immeasurably reassuring. It can turn a bad day better. It can lift your spirits.

So, to use a analogy, how do you get the vitamins without having to chew the spinach? Are there ways in which you can connect with others when you really don’t feel like it? Sure, I think there are, and here are some suggestions based around the five senses.

1. Hearing – If you don’t feel much like talking, simply make extra efforts to listen to the people around you, even if it’s a bit of clandestine eavesdropping on their conversation with somebody else. Even listening to a talk show on the radio can boost your sense of connectedness.

2. Seeing – You could be surprised at how many missed opportunities a day you have to make eye contact with others. Just catch someone’s eye and smile. Sadly not everyone will return the smile, but I bet someone will and that can be enough to make the exercise worthwhile.

3. Smelling – If you’re comfortable doing so, why not add a puff of your favourite perfume or aftershave/cologne to your morning bathroom routine? If it’s already a regular habit, try on a new fragrance for size. Although I do, I realise not everyone likes perfume or cologne, but my point is that all connection doesn’t need to be via speech or writing. Don’t forget your nose.

4. Tasting – How about sharing food or drink with someone? To my mind it’s a brilliant way of connecting. Make a coffee for yourself and someone else, then drink together. Buy two donuts, give one away. if you feel up to it you could even bake something as a gift.

5. Touching – Last but by no means least, never underestimate the power of human touch. A hug can work wonders. Well, in many situations. A simple handshake can boost your sense of connectedness to someone else. Even just touching another person’s arm as you speak with them can up your connection quotient.

Why not make a point of seeking out unconventional ways to connect with people today? I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

6 thoughts on “Connecting with people when you don’t feel like it

  1. I’ve become increasingly aware of how important it is to your mood to have pleasurable sensory experiences. It seems to stroke the pleasure centre in the brain. It might be something as simple as smelling new cut grass, running your hand over a piece of satin, stroking a cat, looking up at the sky through the leaves of a tree. These tiny, fleeting experiences all add up, incrementally, to lifting of mood. If you can cram several into a day you feel lighter – or so I’ve found!

  2. Love it! Specifically for two major reasons:
    1) The more senses we use, the more the world literally ‘makes sense’. When we limit our sensory connectedness with others, we are in danger of having a non-sense day! How many of us were bored to death by teachers who used only one sense to try and communicate with us?
    2) “Connectedness” is at the top of my hierarchy of change… Being connected in new ways changes the way I see myself, which changes my beliefs, which changes my capabilities, which changes my behaviours, which transforms my environment and my day. [NLP Neurological Levels.]

  3. Action for Happiness is really helping me! I look forward to each daily article and the words of guidance on facebook… it really can set me up for a more positive and thoughtful day. Im constantly spreading the word to others who struggle. Thank you

  4. Great insights, folks, thank you! I know I’m very attuned to touch and kinesthetic learning, but auditory cues just go straight in one ear and out the other without me noticing. So it’s good to know what works best for you.

    And I have a favorite yoga teacher who talks about the bliss of deeper connections with ourselves, each other, and the planet. Any little things we can do to increase our feeling of connectedness will help us feel happier.

    I know I’m feeling grateful today for having connected to all of you. 🙂

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