Are you sick of declining social invites? Are you at a loss on how to make friends? Socializing doesn't come naturally for everyone and now more than ever we need to practice connecting with others.
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It is challenging to form relationships at any age and now doubly as hard as we navigate these unprecedented times. Having a good support network is a significant contributing factor to our overall well-being. Just because conversation doesn't flow easily for you or social situations make you uncomfortable doesn't mean you don't need those relationships. You never know what beautiful relationships can blossom when given the time.
In dark moments our mind tries to trick us in all sorts of ways into thinking we need to suffer alone. One key factor that has proven to protect people from the harmful impacts of traumatic experiences is the support they have from others. We don't need a community behind us to be adequately supported. One person that can hold a space for us and offer compassionate advice and support makes a world of difference. As adults, we still feel the same relief and comfort that a scared child does when scooped up in their parent's arms.
As society came out of isolation, I think many of us found ourselves wondering how to navigate face-to-face interactions again. The isolation that was forced by Covid-19 revealed a pivotal truth......... Socializing takes practice! I definitely took a lot of everyday interactions for granted! Maybe you are someone who needs to practice communicating to alleviate some of the anxiety that accompanies social situations. Practice helps build confidence and helps you plan for challenging moments that could happen in the future.
While practicing the following exercise, don't fret if your mind wanders. If it does, lovingly return your focus to the exercise. It's okay if this practice is difficult at first, keep practicing and keep breathing! Get some guidance and expand your practice with the Wake Up app. This great app offers guided meditations and plenty more mindful exercises!
Close your eyes
Think of a person or acquittance you want to know better ( e.g., colleague, family friend, another parent at the game, classmate, etc.). Imagine yourself, light and carefree, greeting them ( handshake, smile, eye contact, hug, etc. )
Shift your attention to something they told you about themselves. What can you ask them about this? Imagine a free flowing conversation.
Allow your mind to fast forward as you imagine getting their support in a difficult time. Hear them saying all the right things, reminding you how amazing and resilient you are and that you are not alone.
Take a moment
Allow yourself to absorb what you feel in this moment. Deepen into this experience.
Take a chance and reach out to someone! It may prove to be a valuable relationship in the future.
Although this exercise is beneficial, it does not supplement professional mental health services. Everyone could use support from time to time, and therapy can be beneficial, but therapy is your individual choice.