Have you heard of or read Johan Hari’s book, Lost Connections? It is a bold and inspiring book where he shares his own journey with depression – but the book is helpful to far more than just those who suffer from depression. As Hari shows, we all have within us the potential to live in ways that are healthier and wiser.
1. Connection to Meaningful Work:
Find work that fulfills a deep desire. For some, this may be being a good stay-at-home mother, a nurse, a nurse etc. Find work that makes you feel happy, that adds value to you or others, that changes the world around you in exactly the way you want. If not work, find a hobby to practice often, that fulfills you deeply.
2. Connection to Other People:
We keep repeating avoid toxic unsupportive people. Well, find supportive, non-toxic people is the other side of that coin. Keep good people around you. By good, we mean, those people who make you feel the best you can feel.
3. Connection with Meaningful Values:
Do you have any personal values or belief system? Values and beliefs should guide our daily lives like a destination guides a journey. Saying “I believe in Jesus” is not a belief system, it is a religious conviction – Christianity. Religion can be a part of a beliet system, but it cannot be a whole belief system. One may divert sometimes, even rest, but you have your destination in mind and you keep moving in the direction you have set for yourself.
4. Connection to Childhood Trauma:
Most of us who have been traumatized by addiction, neglect, abuse etc want to forget. And forgetting is a good trick. But the best thing for our mental-emotional health is to accept that it has happened. To be aware that it is not our fault that it happened and to make peace with our entire past. Even yesterday. Use the past to direct the choice of the meaningful work in point 1. Imagine you spent your life helping others to survive similar events – childhood, puberty or relationships that you survived
5. Connection to Status and Respect:
Respect cannot be demanded or bought. If you succeed at gaining one person’s respect, you also gain a status in their minds. This applies in groups too – you win a group’s respect, you gain status in the group. Have you noticed those parents or relatives with lots of money but no one respects them? You do not need money in order to earn respect, you ned torsåect other people’s opinion, needs, situations, choices and support them to achieve their goals.
6. Connection to the Natural World:
Have you ever sat with someone you like, for some hours beside a river or a lake? Or on top of a hill with a nice view? Remember that feeling of peace? Tat is the natural world. Take a walk. Hug a person you like for longer than 3 seconds. Go fishing in the river in your village – you do not have to catch a fish, you need to immerse yourself into the surroundings and the sounds.
7. Connection to a Hopeful or Secure Future:
Imagine and re-imagine your future every day. Change some details in it. Prolong the period of time. Imagine it until it becomes a plan – a destination. Studies have shown that most depressed people get disconnected from the uture. They cannot see a future for themselves. That is why depression can lead to suicide. Because a depressed person does not really see the need to continue living a life without a future.
8. The Real Role of Genes and Brain Changes:
Be aware and be accepting of your genectic history. Do you have cancer in your family? High blood pressure? Diabetes? Alcoholism? “Madness”? When you know that there is cancer in your family, you usually go to cancer screening as soon as you feel an unexpected pain. Right? Same applies with diabetes. You are the one who informs the doctor that your father and grandfather before him had diabetes. Do you ever wonder what it means for you, that your father, grandfather and great-grandfather were alcoholics. Or that you have a few relatives who are “mad”? And have you checked WHEN they got mad, HOW it started and WHY it may have happened to them?
It does not necessarily mean that you will suffer the same fates and sicknesses as your relatives. However, being aware of it will trigger you to take care of yourself. Your mind. Your heart.
Have you other ways of establishing connection with your deepest self? Let us know in the comments!