This is an important question: do you want to improve your connection with others? If that isn’t a problem at the working surface of your Day Crafting, then bookmark this newsletter for another time. This post explores the topic, looking at the importance of connection, a quantifiable metric to see which connection strengths you can develop and some practical action to address the opening question.
Imagine a day containing genuine interactions: meaningful conversations beyond the superficial, moments where you are truly present with others, or activities that foster teamwork and shared joy. And also consider how it feels to receive the full attention of someone else. Such a day epitomises the human aspects of connection. I would also include a connection with nature and the divine in the broader definition.
The importance of connection extends well beyond momentary joy; it profoundly impacts our overall wellbeing. Authentic connections can help regulate emotions, lower anxiety, and boost self-esteem. Physically, the benefits range from a more robust immune system to lower blood pressure. Even our cognitive functions, like problem-solving and memory, gain from such interactions. This interplay of emotional, physical, and mental benefits goes so far as to contribute to increased longevity, underscoring the essential role that connection plays in our lives. The stakes are high; loneliness poses serious health risks.
Practising connection, however, is easier said than done. Emotional barriers like fear of vulnerability or past traumas can hold us back. Personality traits, such as being introverted or prone to negative emotions, add challenges. Our busy lives and digital distractions further erode the quality of our connections. Identifying your specific challenges is an obvious step toward improvement. But what might a proactive, positive psychology approach look like? Developing strengths might be a better approach than remedying problems.
If you’re new to VIA Character Strengths, dive deeper into their relevance to Day Crafting in our Productivity and Self-care workbooks — or check out the VIA website. Here are ten strengths that can significantly enhance your connection skills:
Love. Kindness. Social Intelligence. Forgiveness. Teamwork. Leadership. Honesty. Humility. Fairness. Humour.
Where are these ten strengths distributed across your 24? Wherever they are distributed, you can make their development a more conscious intention of your days. If connecting with nature or the divine resonates with you, consider the VIA Strengths of Spirituality and Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence.
- Love: You experience close, loving relationships characterised by giving and receiving love, warmth, and caring.
- Kindness: You are helpful and empathic, regularly doing lovely favours for others without expecting anything in return.
- Social Intelligence: You are aware of and understand your feelings and thoughts, as well as the feelings of those around you.
- Forgiveness: You forgive others when they upset you or behave badly towards you.
- Teamwork: You are a helpful and contributing group and team member, and you feel responsible for helping the team reach its goals.
- Leadership: You guide groups to meaningful goals, ensuring good relations among group members.
- Honesty: You are honest to yourself and to others, you try to present yourself and your reactions accurately to each person, and you take responsibility for your actions.
- Humility: You see your strengths and talents but are humble, not seeking to be the centre of attention or to receive recognition.
- Fairness: You treat everyone equally and fairly, giving everyone the same chance by applying the same rules.
- Humour: You approach life playfully, making others laugh and finding humour in difficult and stressful times.