Our nervous system is designed to effortlessly connect deeply with our closest family members and friends. However, post-modern pressures are eroding these closest of connections.
How do we get them back?
One small yet powerful change will instantly strengthen your connection with those you love the most: Learning how to master transition in your daily hellos and goodbyes.
Here’s why: We are wired to be the most stable when we are comfortably connected with others, and therefore transitions and shifts can send our nervous system a little out of balance. Intentionally saying hello and goodbye daily with those we love cements these emotional connections, soothes this stress, and increases relational attachment, even after we say goodbye.
So practically speaking, how do we do this?
First, say goodbye well. When it is time to say goodbye, stop what you are doing if possible and take at least fifteen seconds to make a connection and acknowledge that you are about to be away from each other. Make healthy eye contact, establish physical touch (handshakes, hugs, kisses, etc.) and then express words that re-affirm love and commitment.
“I love you.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll be praying for you.”
Adding some creativity and originality to these interactions can have some pretty awesome effects as well. For example, to say goodbye my mother hugs every child and grandchild, then traces a cross on their forehead saying, “Goodbye and God Bless you. I love you.”
Second, make saying hello count. Even if you’ve only been away for a 20-minute run to the store, re-connect with your close friend or family member using eye contact, a warm smile, physical touch and by verbally acknowledging your re-connection.
“I’m here now if you need me.”
While saying hello and goodbye might seem like an obvious thing to do, we all know that focusing on these transitions can be so easy to forget about with today’s pressures to multi-task and the seemingly endless bombardment of screens. Therefore, every time we interrupt each other to re-establish human connection we are breaking through the chaos and pressure that is killing human connection.
So, let’s start now. This next week, let’s pay attention to our hellos and goodbyes, and let’s work to make them count!