Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 83: Connection

Humans need connection to survive. Let’s look at the three ways you can increase your connection so that you can be more resilient and calm in these trying times.

At a time of global lockdown and enforced isolation, we may need to make more effort to connect, and to find creative ways to connect.

Why? Because connection is directly related to longevity, resilience & wellbeing and, let’s face it – we all need a bit of that.

In the so-called ‘Blue Zones’, the areas where there are more centenarians than anywhere else in the world, social connection is one of four essential pillars within the magic formula for longevity.

Today I want to talk about connection – what it is, and how to do it more effectively.

According to the Blue Zone model, Connection is one of the four essential pillars, and there are three parts to connection:

  1.     Belonging (some sort of faith-based community)
  2.     Loved ones first (families come first)
  3.     Right tribe (choose social circles that support healthy behaviours)

Let’s explore each of these, and I invite you to consider which elements you have access to right now and how you can draw on these to stay calm and build resilience in these uncertain times.

Belonging

Belonging is to do with a feeling of being connected to something bigger than yourself, when you transcend the day to day goals, feel alive and more interconnected.

In essence, belonging is a search for meaning. 

For some people this equates to religion or spirituality but for others it’s about that connection that can be found via music, altruistic pursuits, philanthropy or passion projects.

In a time when physical connection is difficult, I think that being able to create a sense of belonging within yourself is a powerful skill that can help you to stay calm and build resilience, and to escape the anxiety of what’s going on.

I invite you to ask yourself a couple of questions. 

Where does your sense of belonging come from – a higher power, or a higher calling, or both?  

What sorts of feelings does that connection create within you?

Loved ones

Your family and loved ones provide love, support and a framework of values. They are the people you count on, and who you respect and have shared responsibility for.

These are your primary relationships; they give you a sense of security and protection.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs says that beyond the basic human needs of food, water and shelter, humans have psychological needs that are met through both belonging and loving relationships.

Powerful tribes can transcend the bounds of physical isolation and can close the tyranny of distance.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

In other words, when it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced by the people closest to us.

I think that’s because of our desire to belong (and fit in), partly because of the trust we have in our intimate relationships, and also the fact that emotions are contagious.

I’ll talk about that in a separate episode but for now, a couple of questions for you to ponder.

Which are your healthiest, positive and most robust friendships and intimate relationships, and why do you think so?

Who are the people that are most important for you to connect with in difficult times or during hardship?

Your Tribe

We are wired to belong and be part of a pack, and when we belong, it eases our sense of loneliness and isolation.

According to Seth Godin, one of our most powerful survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, where we contribute to and gain from a group of like-minded people.

Effective tribes have good leadership, a shared interest and a way to communicate.

But beyond that, a powerful tribe is more of a movement.

It’s a place where many people work together to seek something better, and bigger than themselves.

It transforms their shared interests into passionate goals and big visions for change, creating energy and transformation.

And in the definition provided by the Blue Zones research, tribes are about like-minded people who engage in healthy behaviours.

The more tightly-knit the tribe and its shared interests, the greater the power of a tribe.

And an effective tribe doesn’t have to be big. Sometimes small tribes can be super powerful.

How do you know that you’re part of a powerful tribe?

Well, you feel powerful and energized when you’re engaged with it.

Maybe even reading the words above, you feel this way.

Tribes can exist in real life and online.

Powerful tribes can transcend the bounds of physical isolation and can close the tyranny of distance.

Tribes can be found in Facebook Groups, LinkedIn groups, community groups, not-for-profit organisations, social causes and workplaces.

Once again, I invite you to consider two questions:

Which tribes are giving you the support you need right now?

What role do these tribes play in your motivation and your mental and emotional wellbeing?

Summary

Today I’ve discussed three aspects of connection to others – one of the pillars of longevity in the Blue Zone communities of the world.

Belonging, loved ones and tribes are all types of connections that we have access to in our daily lives, and they are more important than ever right now in helping us deal with change, uncertainty and stress.

Being able to create a sense of belonging within yourself is a powerful skill that can help you to stay calm and build resilience.

Knowing this, I encourage you to think about which of these areas might need some attention so you can get the support and nurturing you need at this moment.

I also recommend that you invest time in self-connection, because self-reliance is a powerful way to stay calm and have a sense of control when the rest of the world is in chaos.

If you have thoughts or questions about this, please connect with me on melaniejwhite.com/contact

Are you accessing enough connection?

Do you need support to create a sense of belonging within yourself? If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Get Whelmed – an Update

How to Get Whelmed | Melanie J White

In my last post, I talked about being whelmed this year.

That is, overwhelmed, not underwhelmed – just whelmed.

It’s a bit like the story of the three bears and their porridge. Remember in that story, it was all about temperature control and to be patient instead of rushing into hot food.

There’s nothing worse than a hot porridge blister.

But as usual, I digress. Back to being whelmed.

I wanted to share a progress update with you.

One of the secrets to being whelmed is to maintain focus and avoid distraction. That’s because overwhelm partly comes from losing focus and allowing yourself to be distracted.

Next comes procrastination, irritation and then stagnation. Probably some other ‘ations’, too.

The other part of losing focus is over committing because you think you can do it all, have it all and be it all. Or because you think you ‘should.’ Sorry, I tried those lines of thinking (repeatedly, like a good scientist) but they didn’t actually work.

What DOES work is a practice of creating focus, which keeps you FAR from distraction.

Here’s how you get whelmed (the step-by-step process).

1. Write down all your shoulds, especially the guilt-laden ones.

Write them like this: “I should vacuum the stairs.” “I should get this page written by 5pm” etc

 

2. Change the s in should, to a c for could. Now, instead of a bunch of futile rules, you have created the opportunity to be more discerning within your time and energy.

Like this: “Hmmm, I COULD do the vacuuming….but then I won’t get that page written.” I bet you can see where this is going. You are trimming your to-do list and making it more realistic.

 

3. Split your list of coulds into this week and next week based on urgency. Now you are spreading the load and diminishing the pressure.

At this point you might feel a little scared….like you aren’t doing enough. That’s ok, sit with the feeling for a few moments and let it pass.

 

4. Make sure you have no more than 10 hours worth of tasks for this week.

I know, right? Way too underachiever. Wrong! Stick with me on this.

 

5. Spread those 10 hours into discrete slots in your calendar and 1 hour units.

Yes, even split up a 4-hour task this way. Put 15 minute breaks between each contiguous hour of work.

 

6. Consider the worst case scenario.

Every task you allocated takes 3 or 4 times longer than planned. In this case, you meet your tasks for the week in 30-40 hours.

 

7. Consider the best case scenario

You meet your goals and get it all done extremely efficiently. In this case, you have STILL met target but with time to spare. Yay!

 

This is where whelm sits.

Notice that in either case (6. or 7.) you get the same amount of work done. You win either way.

And THAT is the secret to achieving whelm – it’s about planning and reflecting so you can set yourself up for success, no matter what.

Try this step-by-step process and let me know how you go!