A guest visiting us last week slept in the bedroom furthest from our Wi-Fi router. She found her Internet connection to be quite unreliable. The connection would drop and then reconnect for a bit only to drop out again. As you know, this sort of poor connection can be very frustrating and unsatisfying

Good Internet connections seem vital to living in this increasingly digital world of ours. Fortunately, a poor Wi-Fi connection can often be improved by simply moving closer to the source of the signal or by reducing signal interference.

Good interpersonal connections are also critical for a satisfying and fulfilling life. In fact, it seems that humans can only be fully human if they have meaningful connections with others.

Human relationship connections, like Internet connections, are seldom without occasional static and disconnects. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could improve our relationship connections by simply moving closer to the source of a signal or by reducing interference?  Fortunately, something very much like this strategy does seem to be available to us.

Within each of us is a strong positive signal that I see as similar to a Wi-Fi signal.  The closer we move to this internal “signal source” the more we improve our interpersonal connections. People refer to this source by a variety of names, such as best self, right brain, heart, divine essence, connection to love, wisdom, and inspiration, etc. Whatever we choose to call it, as we better connect to this essential part of ourselves and focus on this same core in others, our relationships improve – often dramatically.

Staying well connected to this inner source is, however, not always easy. It requires regular practice to build new mental habits and corresponding neural pathways. The process of strengthening “mental muscles” is similar to the process of strengthening physical muscles.  It often requires a mental fitness trainer, such as a coach, in the same way that building physical fitness is often greatly enhanced by having a personal trainer.

Ultimately it is our own dedication to increasing our fitness (mental or physical) that makes the most difference in our progress.

Below are abbreviated descriptions of a few of the practices that have proved helpful for me and that have made a huge difference in the lives of my clients. (In later blogs, I will expand on some of these practices and share others.)

1. Gratitude Practice – This practice involves pausing at one or more points during the day to bring to mind at least three things you are grateful for. It can be very helpful to record these things in a gratitude journal and to designate particular times each day for this practice. You may gradually begin finding yourself experiencing an attitude of gratitude throughout your day. Try to increasingly include qualities of life in your list, such as moments of joy and peace, in addition to particular things, people, and circumstances.

2. Pausing Mind Chatter – This practice is extremely helpful in allowing us to access the peace and creativity of the inner wisdom at our core. It can take many forms, but one important one is to intently focus as much awareness as possible on the sensation or image or sound you are receiving through one of your five senses. Even when you do this for only ten seconds, it can have a profound impact, and doing it several times a day or for longer periods can have a cumulatively greater impact on your mental fitness and tranquility.

3. Finding the silver lining – This practice involves learning to see that in every challenge or seemingly negative situation, you can find a gift or opportunity. Shifting toward a positive, optimistic perspective and away from the common, human negativity bias can truly transform your daily life experience.

All three of these practices improve your receptivity to that essential core love, wisdom, and intelligence that has always been there within you. Tuning in to this best part of yourself allows you to see, appreciate, and trust that same essential core of goodness in others. As a result, your connections with others will radically improve.

Be patient with yourself! New habits take persistence to establish. Perhaps you can find someone to begin them with you, so that you can encourage each other to continue, even when it gets tough. If you need help, seek out a good coach.

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