Could You Connect More?

11 simple ways to bond with the people in your life.

Illustrations by Colleen MacIsaac

We are social beings by nature. Connecting with others is what provides richness in life, makes us feel safe, and has us recognize that we’re part of something greater than ourselves. Yet we sometimes choose to stay behind a wall of emotional (or physical) distance, even in our closest relationships. As a result, our world contracts and we’re robbed of living a fully dimensional life. Mindfulness helps us to wake up to the “choice points” in our relationships when we can decide to connect a bit more by listening, communicating, and allowing our hearts to open.

1. Really see each other

Making eye contact with someone activates what psychologist Stephen Porges calls our Social Nervous System, which can relieve stress and create a deeper sense of connection. It is hard not to feel intimate and vulnerable when looking into the eyes of another person—even a stranger. Try it! It may feel funny at first, but you will find a softening in your heart and a sensation of love flowing before you know it.

2. Listen with all of your senses

There’s a difference between hearing someone and actively listening to someone. The next time you’re having an in-person conversation, notice the…