It’s perfectly natural to want to feel closer to the people in our lives. The strength of our connections is often highlighted to us more so at Christmas than at any other time of the year.
Therefore, Christmas is a great opportunity for us to do some very simple things in order to help build our bonds with those we hold dear.
Here are 3 simple ways to help you feel closer this Christmas…
More than just being thankful for Christmas gifts & cards, thanks should stretch to how grateful you are to have these people in your life.
It’s really easy to become frustrated & focus on what we don’t like so much about a person but this only blocks us from seeing their true value.
You don’t even need to vocalise the gratitude, I’m not suggesting you perform a heartfelt monologue over the turkey (although you can if you want). It’s more about stopping to reflect on the bigger picture; to not let small niggles orchestrate the whole score.
When you’re grateful to someone, you’re kinder to them, more loving, more thoughtful, more appreciative. They would have to be made of stone not to respond well to that. And it’s in their response – and quite often you’ll find, reciprocation – that deeper bonds will form.
Top Tip: For each person you want to feel closer to, note down 5 things you feel most grateful for about them. Look at a photograph of the person as you journal if that helps. Think about what you love most about them, what their best qualities are. You can think about specific events or just how they make you feel.
Learn more about practising gratitude in: A Thousand Thanks! Why Practising Gratitude Increases Your Happiness
Engage with each other
I’m not talking wedding proposals here (but what a fabulous time of year for one!) more putting in some effort and engaging with the people you want to feel closer to.
It’s far too easy to sit in front of a screen all Christmas only moving to heat up a mulled wine or nab a slice of yule log, but in this we neglect a key ingredient for bond building – interaction.
We have to interact & engage with other humans otherwise we just inhabit a rather isolating bubble. So step away for a time from the screen and actually have a conversation or play a game or do something together. Take this time to build common ground and pursue shared interests. Have quality family time, make plans to see your friends – this time of year lends itself to socialising like no other, so take advantage of it.
Top Tip There are plenty of people who I love dearly but can’t physically be with every Christmas. To help strengthen our connection to them despite the distance, my husband and I have a call list every Christmas Day, where we make a point to call each of them (yes call not text!) There is something so wonderful about speaking to each of them, hearing what they’re up to and sending love. They’re not long phone calls but just enough to feel connected & I highly recommend it!
Listening is such a simple but yet so powerful act. And by listening I mean really listening, not formulating what you’re going to say, or daydreaming, or deciding you know what they’re going to say so you cut them off mid-sentence.
By listening, we learn so much. We gain greater insight to the person speaking, to their needs & wants, even their mannerisms. We can gain a greater perspective, react better & make smart decisions. It reduces the number of conflicts we have.
People who feel listened to feel valued & respected. So this Christmas, how about working on your listening skills?
Want some help with developing your listening skills? Read: Is Anybody Listening – How Active Listening Can Improve Your Life
Feeling closer this Christmas & beyond…
Christmas is obviously a great time of year to start implementing my advice but I hope you’ve come to realise these are relevant connection strengthening tips for any time of the year. Christmas is just the beginning! Keep them up & you’ll feel closer all year through.
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas x
I hope you find my tips helpful for feeling closer this Christmas! Have you got any tips or advice to add? Who will you be spending Christmas with this year? Or are you trying to avoid Christmas altogether? I know a few that are – I did one year (I wrote about it in How to Have a Happier Christmas). Relate.org have a quiz at the moment to identify how you feel, think and behave, and identify constructive steps you can take to manage the holiday season in a positive way. It’s available here.