A deep connection to life - to yourself, your friends and the planet we share - comes from regular dis-connection.
When we regularly break out of our habitual, unconscious patterns - when we purposefully step outside of our comfort zones - something very interesting starts to happen…we begin to feel more alive and indeed more connected. Not only that, but it can help to keep our creativity alive, and give our immune system a boost.
Below are some thoughts on how to move out of feeling stuck – and reconnect with the joy of living.
Read these ideas – and download the worksheet below to set your intentions for making the most of your summer!
How to Reconnect with the Joy of Living
1. Make Time for Solitude
To get better acquainted with yourself, with the different (and often contradictory) voices within, or the quieter undercurrents of emerging ideas and possibilities, we need to find a way to disconnect every day.
Put away all your electronic devices for several hours a day. Set yourself a challenge or buddy up with a friend to break this most pernicious of addictions.
Write a journal or a blog.
Visit a café on your own. Bring along something to read or a notebook to draw or write in. People watching will give you new ideas. The buzz is very conducive to creativity.
Meditate. Find out what it could do for you.
Practice gratitude in this beautiful virtual space. Gratitude literally activates your heart energy.
2. Take Daily Walks
Virginia Woolf would walk round London every day from 4 - 6pm. Mingling with people, being curious about them and focussing her attention outwards in that way, would give her new ideas. It would refresh her thinking.
Getting out into nature puts everything into perspective. So, get out every day this month and watch the season come to fruition.
3. Get Stuck in…Use Your Hands
Touch increases intelligence; touch directly affects the autonomic nervous system and calms us down.
Touching and holding is the most natural thing to do through: hugging, pottery, cooking, gardening, sewing, drawing, playing an instrument and so on - these are all ways to instantly transport yourself.
4. Make an ‘Artist’s Date’
Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way is still a classic. I particularly like her insistence on a weekly ‘artist’s date’. This is time you set aside to go on an excursion on your own. Yes, on your own; and once you’ve made the commitment you stick to it.
So, get out there and do anything out of the ordinary – go to a paint shop, walk down the beach, collect leaves on a walk, attend a concert – for at least two hours. You’ll be surprised at how this ‘non-tool’ can rejig your inner landscape.
5. Create Some Order
Tidy something, anything at all from a drawer, a file, a cupboard to a room. Go through your wardrobe, get rid of garments you haven’t worn for a while, thank them for their service and give them a new destination elsewhere.
6. Talk to Strangers
Be curious about people you do not know. Find opportunities to strike up little exchanges or conversations with strangers.
Our social interactions can be very stagnant and predictable. Strangers invariably make you see the world in a different way.
7. Seek Out Your Friends
Connect with friends from the past who don’t cross your path every day. Send them an email, give them a call for no other reason than to tell them you are thinking of them and want to know how they are.
These small gestures generate huge amounts of pleasure and inspiration. Give it a go!
Renée van der Vloodt ( M.A. , FHGI ) is a psychotherapist and coach – and has had a private practice for over 20 years, which is now based in Woodchurch (near Ashford), Kent. She also works with people around the world via online sessions.
Renée works with children and adults as a coach and therapist to help them overcome life's challenges and emotional difficulties including stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger or addictive behaviour.
Renée is a regular contributor to Breathe Magazine and the author of the CD Calm the Chaos of the Creative Mind.