It’s easy for many people to feel a sense of disconnect in their lives. This can manifest as feelings of isolation and vulnerability, which in turn may lead to excessive worry and the need to control. Feeling this way can often be exhausting and draining. However once we start to connect with who we are, we can learn to break this cycle and initiate a positive cycle in its place. We start to feel whole, more energised, more confident and more loving. Sound good? Here are some suggestions of how to connect with yourself:
1. Make time
If our lives are constantly busy, full of stress and stimulation, there is simply no space in which our bodies and minds can find themselves. However you don’t need to go on retreat or give away all your possessions – far from it! Below we’ll explore some suggestions you can incorporate into your daily life.
2. Turn off the TV…
…internet and mobile. Electronic media often subconsciously feeds us with negative images and negative ways of relating. It’s almost impossible to connect with who you are if your mind is always occupied. Try going for a day or even a weekend without using these technologies and see how you feel.
3. Find out your core values
Identify what’s important to you and what you want to achieve in your life – short and long term. Then look at how you spend your time, money and energy – are the things you’re doing in line with your values? Is there anything in your life you could do differently/stop doing/start doing?
Writing or journaling is a great way of discovering about yourself, unleashing creativity and organising your thoughts. If you don’t know where to start, just start. Write down your thoughts, feelings, plans, fantasies. Don’t hold back.
5. Spend time in nature
Go for a walk, or take a trip to the countryside or seaside, and allow yourself to watch the birds, the leaves in the trees, the light on the water. Allow your body to reconnect with the environment – use all your senses – and experience its healing benefits.
6. Get enough sleep
Many of us are chronically sleep deprived, so when our mind is not stimulated with work or entertainment we feel tired and are unable to think clearly or fuel our creativity. Try making sleep a priority by calming your mind and body, and allowing these systems to work at their optimum.
7. Try a body-awareness practice…
…such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong. These practices allow us to relax into ourselves, energising and invigorating our bodies and minds without overstimulating them. Become aware of the connection between mind, movement and breath and you’ll start to feel more connected and whole.
8. Learn to meditate
One way to meditate is by sitting comfortably with your back upright and start to become aware of your breathing. Whenever your mind becomes preoccupied with its thoughts, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. Try 5 minutes of meditation practice daily, slowly increasing to 15-20 minutes or more, to feel more calm, energised and connected.
9. Eat well
I recommend sticking to whole foods, especially plant-based foods, and avoiding processed foods and refined sugar. Ensure your portion size is not too large (it’s not just what you eat, but also how much) and try eating mindfully. Notice how what you eat affects your mood and energy levels.
10. Chill out!
All the above are just suggestions. Find what works for you, don’t make it into something too difficult. Connecting with yourself is meant to be enjoyable and relaxing, so don’t forget to just relax and chill out once in a while.
I hope you enjoyed this list of suggestions. What works well for you? Is there anything I haven’t included that you find particularly useful?
Dr Tom Das is a GP with a specialist interest in mental health. He learnt yoga, aikido and meditation at a young age and his spiritual enquiries have led to a deep appreciation and understanding of the teachings from the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Zen and Taoist traditions. Tom leads meetings in person and on Skype for anyone interested in exploring non-duality and spirituality. To read more about Tom click here
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