Reentering our lives has been anything but ‘normal.’ While returning to our daily existence should be seamless, many obvious rituals now seem unfamiliar. Reacclimating into work or social settings requires us to utilize some of the most common-sense exchanges. Being present can always be improved upon, and we are all out of practice.
Now that we can see each other’s faces again, an authentic smile and eye contact signals warmth, respect and openness (in North America). This means not just a quick closed mouth smirk, sunglasses on while in conversation (and others are not wearing them), or consistently looking away at something or someone else.
Being in closer quarters and contexts demands our presence, something especially taken for granted a few years prior. Listening with intent, without being distracted by our phones takes effort. Facing our speaker (but not too close)! and engaging in conversation is a luxury that was absent for a while. Sharing meals together in a variety of settings, showing up on time, and enjoying each other’s company in person is precious.
Are you listening? Or are you waiting your turn to speak? Are you responding to what someone is saying and asking thoughtful questions, or are you ready with your story that compares to, or one-ups theirs? People love to talk about themselves, so listen closely and ask questions! There is a difference between hearing and listening.
Do you take note of how you enter an environment? Have you noticed how others do the same? Are you signaling that you are approachable, taking in what is around you, curious about where you are rather than focusing on your internal dialogue? We are social creatures. Consistent research (and your instincts know) we will perish without human connections and contact. The more we isolate physically and socially, the higher our levels of inflammation and stress. Engaging with each other is critical for our well-being.
Yes, we are all busy. Some even ‘crazy busy.” Connecting is a component necessary for our survival, to be dramatic. Plus, it is enjoyable! Find the time to for social activities, interacting with one another, friends, family, without screens, preferably outdoors. Most importantly, be present. More abundance, better health, less distraction and noise, when we focus on what is in front of us.