Feeling Connected

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

Time Required

10 minutes. Try to do this practice at least once per week, selecting a different example each time

How to Do It

1. Try to think of a time when you felt a strong bond with someone in your life. Choose a specific example of an experience you had with this person where you felt especially close and connected to him or her. This could be a time you had a meaningful conversation, gave or received support, experienced a great loss or success together, or witnessed an historic moment together.

2. Once you’ve thought of a specific example, spend a few minutes writing about what happened. In particular, consider the ways in which this experience made you feel close and connected to the other person. 

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

Why You Should Try It

Humans have a strong drive to be kind, but that drive is usually stronger when they feel connected to other people. To help foster that feeling of closeness, this exercise asks you to think about a time when you felt a strong connection to another person and to describe the experience in writing. Research suggests that reflecting on feelings of connection can increase people’s motivation to help others, whether by helping a friend or stranger in need, volunteering, or donating money. Helping others can, in turn, increase happiness and improve relationships. 

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

Evidence That It Works

Pavey, L., Greitemeyer, T., & Sparks, P. (2011). Highlighting relatedness promotes prosocial motives and behaviorPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(7), 905-917.

Some study participants reflected on a time when they felt a strong bond with someone else; other participants wrote about a time when they felt especially competent or autonomous. Compared with those in the other groups, the participants who reflected on their experience of closeness reported greater feelings of connectedness and concern for others. What’s more, they also reported a stronger intention to carry out a variety of altruistic behaviors over the next six weeks, including giving money to charity and going out of their way to help a stranger in need.

When they analyzed the data more closely, the researchers found that a greater desire to be kind depended on whether participants experienced greater feelings of connectedness to others after doing the writing exercise.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

Why It Works

Feeling connected to others is considered to be a fundamental psychological need. When people feel rejected or alone, they may be more likely to focus on themselves and on striving to meet their own unmet needs rather than attending to the needs of others. When people feel connected and cared about, by contrast, they are better able to expend energy on helping and caring for others.

By reflecting on times when you’ve felt a strong connection with others, and by striving to cultivate more of these experiences, you are fueling your drive to practice kindness and compassion.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

Sources

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

For More

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 5 mins
(4 member ratings)

Feeling Connected to others may inspire us to reach out and help them. How kind and generous are you? Take the Altruism quiz to find out: 

Completion Status

Comments & Reviews

  1. TeeJay Garcia (Hop Studios)
    TeeJay Garcia (Hop Studios)
    July 14, 2015

  2. Jason Potvin
    Jason Potvin
    May 28, 2015

    Good work Jason Marsh. The world needs more connection and every little practice helps grin

  3. Becky Elson
    Becky Elson
    May 27, 2015

    Jason, instead of seeing the disappointment of a lost connection we need to remember how we felt when we were doing loving things for someone and formed the connection. Love is a verb so when we love others, we do loving things for them. If you only love someone to get something back - that's not love and that's usually how connections end. We aren't really loving someone if we expect it in return but through loving others, they learn to love by our actions.

  4. goodpractice
    goodpractice
    May 27, 2015

    I don't think this is necessarily a great tool for everyone. For example, for me, some of the very reasons I need many of these greater good practices are because of issues of "abandonment" or disconnection from those I have felt very connected to. Also, times I have exhibited authentic connection on my end and been met with fear / isolation / social barriers, etc. on their end. Thus, remembering times of feeling connected carries the burden of also remembering what happened to those connections, as well as how difficult and painful it is to try to sustain connections (and how "anything can happen" to deep connections at any time -- how out of our control others' behavior is). In fact, I feel like the needed exercise is how to feel a sense of connection when others are not reciprocating that connection. A kind of "silver lining" or gratitude exercise around seeing connection differently, and around keeping an open heart even in the face of others' closed-offness or rejecting relationship behavior. But a really, really good one ... a reframing that makes true sense in the face of being sensitive and connection-oriented in the face of fairly alienated cultural norms. Ideas? Thanks for listening! grin

  5. Jason Marsh
    Jason Marsh
    May 26, 2015

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