We have all had that feeling that we have too much on our plate, we are always running late and feeling overwhelmed. But in this modern life has this become the norm? And how is this effecting our physical and mental health.
The constant ding of a new email, ping of a Facebook update and fleeting moment you get to watch your Snapchat story creates an illusion that we are too busy. It increases our cortisol, that makes us feel good for the reward of being contacted and ‘liked’ but it also increases our stress levels. People are living with the addiction to being busy, but this is impacting their stress levels, sleep, connection as well as happiness. We may feel good from this increase in cortisol, but we don’t feel connected and fulfilled.
The modern world that we live in has so many ways of communicating, but also less and less personal interaction and physical touch. The power of honest conversations, compassion and touch have been lost in the instant snapchats, Instagram posts, likes and tweets of today.
There is no problem to have an online presence, this is how I am communicating with you now. The problem is that it is a distraction from having presence in conversations, spiritually connecting with someone and creating a safe space for someone ask you for assistance.
Conversations may be getting cut short due to people answering, “I’m fine?!”, “don’t worry, I’ve already Googled it!” or “can we talk about that tomorrow?”. These statements are all plausible honest answers, but does this mean we stop the conversation? Quite often yes, but it is important that we don’t stop those conversations. These uncomfortable conversations create a safe space for people to ask for help when needed.
Human touch and connection releases another chemical in our body - oxytocin this is also known as a love chemical. When we connect to people, feel listened to and understood we have the urge for human touch, even a touch of the hand or a hug can reduce our stress levels substantially. I don’t mean hug all your colleagues or clients! But recognise that touch and connection is a basic human need.
Lead by example, creating a positive culture starts with one person and spreads. Positivity spreads exponentially but if this is not mirrored by management in the house or office it will be short lived.
So what are a few things that we can do in the home or office to improve our connection and communication?
1. Turn off notifications on your phone and computer. There is a time for checking phones and computers and it shouldn’t interrupt conversations. This will also improve your productivity when completing a task as you are not distracted - emails and messages can always wait.
2. Have face to face communication. Whether that is a compulsory lunch break, a no technology dinner table or a long drive. Also remember it’s never too late to have a conversation again, it is powerful to acknowledging that you may not have given that person the time and attention they deserved.
3. Are you actually too busy? Take a moment to gather your thoughts and decrease your stress and work out what is urgent. Wha
t is the worst that would happen if you do that tomorrow or next week? What are the outcomes to your employees or family if you continue to always be too busy and distracted form personal connection?
4. Make time for yourself to be calm. Everyday you need to clear your mind, that could be going for a walk, a drive, listening or playing music, going dancing or laughing, your mind can not handle the constant stress of technology constantly.
5. Lastly, let yourself be hugged and lean into human connection.