3 Ways To Deepen Presence.

It is virtually impossible to escape the tentacles of technology these days. More and more, in couples’ sessions in my psychotherapy practice, couples are talking, complaining, and finger pointing about whose device habits are the worse than the other’s.

Between reality TV shows, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and both partners working and crazy busy schedules, there is little time and energy left over.  And relationships are showing the effects of not enough good connection time together-bickering, irritability, and distance in some circumstances, resentment, contempt, affairs, and divorce in others.

With information instant and in real time, Facebook and Twitter rants get more energy than relationships, and we spend 10+hours a day in front of one screen or another, it makes sense that we are feeling the consequences. As Brene Brown says, “We are wired for connection.” However, she means face to face, genuinely present, connection. We ARE wired for connection.

Connection is important for bonding and attachment; as infants, we must connect with our caregivers to physical survival. And these connections are wired in our deepest, most primitive areas of the brain, responsible for bonding and survival of the species. As the neuroscientist, Dan Siegel says, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” So, it is no small thing when a relationship isn’t getting enough of the real deal. If we aren’t feeling close, present, and connected to whom we are bonded, we feel it in the deepest and most primitive areas of our brain. And it doesn’t feel safe or good.

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Couples experts say there are certain times of day when a genuine connection is vital. So, those would be great times to make device-free connections. Even if it is just a few minutes, being truly present with your partner, making eye contact and some small physical touch will make a big difference. Research says if electronic devices are even in the same room, the mind is aware of and attentive towards them. So make an effort to keep them out!

3 TIMES / WAYS TO INCREASE CONNECTION AND MAKE SOME MINDFUL MOMENTS

  • 1 - Waking Up: When you wake up, reach for your partner before you reach for your phone.  Take a few moments to make a connection first thing in the morning, letting that person know they are more important to you than Facebook!
  • 2 - Dinner Time: After a long and busy day, take some time at dinner to sit down together with your devices in the other room. Check in with each other about the day, what’s up with them and how they are doing. These small “state of the union” convos can go a long way in making your partner feel seen and heard as well as keeping up with each other day to day.
  • 3 - Bedtime: Making love isn’t the only way to get intimate in the bedroom. Spend a few minutes cuddling and talking with no glow from those screens before you go to bed. The glow sends a signal to the brain that it isn’t ready for sleep anyway, so ditch it for some one on one time with the one you love. This increases a sense of connection + gives you a boost of those nice neurochemicals of dopamine and oxytocin, creating an optimal opportunity for a great night’s sleep.

If deepening your connection and creating a more heartfelt presence in your relationship is on your agenda, these should help you along the path!

Learn more about Alyce Wellon!

Alyce is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 18 years in Atlanta. she works with individuals and couples, short and long term psychotherapy. Alyce has certifications in Imago couples therapy, as well as Mindfully Based Stress Reduction and LifeForce Yoga. Her practice is at the intersection of theory and neurobiology with mindfulness and body-based modalities, believing one can tap into the body’s natural capacity to heal itself. she also believes in the respectful use of humor and laughter as a way to connect and navigate difficult passages.

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