I have been pondering micro connections and the impact they have on my wellbeing and happiness.

What do I mean by micro connections? Small everyday interactions with members of my community. In person connections. It could be a phone call with a friend, a few words with the person behind the shop counter, a chat with a neighbour, or striking up a conversation with a fellow parent at the school gate. I always smile at people I pass these days when I’m out walking or running. Sometimes I get no response, no eye contact at all, but when I get a genuine warm acknowledgement back it feels like I’ve won a gold star in a video game. PING! All the gold stars add up throughout the day.

I haven’t always been this way; I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression and have actively avoided human connections, creating a life and career where I could exist in as much isolation as possible. But over the years I’ve learnt that connection is king. Connection makes you feel worthy and welcome, like you belong. Like you’re good enough.

I’ve suffered with social anxiety in the past. Fearing people and social interactions, making up stories about what people are like, what they’ll think of me and how social events will play out. But I’ve got curious with it and now I’m fascinated by other people and human behaviour.

One of the best pieces of advice that helped me was ‘if you’re going to make it up, you might as well make it up good’. Meaning that none of us know what’s going to happen in the future, when we pre-empt situations we’re making up a narrative of how it’s going to go. So why make up a horror story? Make it up good! I believe in energy, the law of attraction and the power of positive thinking.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:

– Connect

– Be Active

– Take Notice

– Keep Learning

– Give

So, if you take a walk, keep your phone in your pocket (heck, leave it at home!) and take notice of other humans sharing your community. Think of it like a habitat in a nature programme! Smile, chat, pay random compliments, offer help. That’s giving but you’re getting so much in return. You’re winning gold stars but you’re giving them away too. And it costs nothing. Give it a try today.

By Helen Ruff

Flo’s Circle

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