In our hectic daily lives, it is very easy to be disconnected to those closest to us – our families – even when we are in the same house, or even the same room. But we can take simple steps to change that and connect with those we love.
1. Put down your phone. Everywhere you turn you see people on their phones. People at dinner ignoring their immediate company, parents at the playground checking Facebook and email, etc. However, there are very few times where you need to check your email, social networks, or have a conversation via text message while you are with others. So put the phone down. Coincidentally, today March 1, 2013, is the National Day of Unplugging, use that as a motivator or an experiment. I will be unplugging at sundown.
2. Find out what your spouse or children want to do and do it. If you demonstrate an interest in what your family members want to do and put them first, you will make them happier, which should in turn make you happier. Even if you have toddlers that cannot tell you what to do, just be there for “free play” and let them be in charge. After all, it’s good for them.
3. Go somewhere new or try something new. A great way to share a connection with your family is by sharing an experience. Whether it is going to a new park or restaurant or playing a new game or trying a new hobby, it can be the perfect opportunity for to connect and provide additional motivation to continue to explore.
4. Eat dinner as a family. Sit down at a table, whether it is your dining room table or at a restaurant (preferably one with no televisions), and take the time to eat, talk, and simply enjoy the company. Again, put down the phones! There are numerous benefits to eating together as a family, yet too often we either end up not taking the time to sit down for an actual dinner together or we end up eating in front of the TV or at separate times. Take the time to slow down and eat as a family.
5. Be thankful for your family. Obviously, this last one is a little different as it is an internal action, but it may be the most important on the list. Happiness starts within and there are plenty of reports that show that expressing gratitude leads to increased happiness. When you focus that gratitude on something specific, in this case family, it will be more likely that you will associate a higher level of happiness with family, which likely will result in further motivation to build stronger connections with your family.
What else can you do to connect with your family today? Answer in the comments.