Every day we interact with dozens of people – friends on social media, neighbors, co-workers, and family. If you stop and think about it, though, most of these interactions are superficial.
We only enjoy heart-to-heart connections with a few of the people in our lives and these connections are essential for us to have a good quality of life.
Loneliness, or the lack of heart-to-heart connections, changes the way our bodies, minds, and emotions function and over time, loneliness can lead to:
Type 2 diabetes
Immune system disorders
Thankfully there are simple ways that we can avoid loneliness and cultivate deep relationships that touch our hearts, improve our health and make life worth living.
Here are 7 ways to strengthen heart-to-heart connections:
1. Be genuine – Being genuine takes relationships to new depths. Honesty with ourselves and others builds trust, openness, and acceptance, besides helping us grow in strength of character and emotional resilience.
2. Learn to listen – Listening to what someone else has to say helps us to see the world through their eyes and connect with them on a variety of levels. Great listening skills include making eye contact, paying attention to details and asking questions that will help us understand what they are saying.
3. Learn to communicate – Good communication is more than just talking. It involves being clear and concise in what we say, speaking at appropriate times, being open to answering questions, and encouraging others to express themselves.
4. Show kindness – Showing kindness to others tells them that we value them and are interested in their wellbeing. Smiling, expressing appreciation, staying in contact, going out for coffee or a meal, and helping with a need are all ways to show kindness.
5. Be persistent – Deep relationships have misunderstandings, irritations, disappointments and other challenges, but don’t give up. Be persistent in maintaining the heart-to-heart connections and the relationship will grow stronger, closer and deeper.
6. Develop new interests – Oftentimes we become narrow-minded and only focus on our own interests. It is important to widen our horizons and develop new interests so that we can enjoy participating in the interests of those around us.
7. Express your love – Relationships tend to wither away if there aren’t clear expressions of love. Make it a point to say “I love you!” verbally and also through hugs, cards, flowers and any other medium that you can think of.
The average person only has less than 10 close, personal relationships in their lifetime. Who are the people with whom you share heart-to-heart connections? What are you going to do to strengthen those connections?