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It’s the key to enhancing our total well-being.

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This morning I woke up feeling fabulously nourished and complete. What happened? This past weekend I attended a beautiful holiday sing-a-long, had a three-hour lunch with a dear girlfriend, picked up our new rescue pup and last night I hosted a meditation circle. All of this “belly time” (face-to-face connection) and heart-nurturing left me feeling happy and connected.

The key to enhancing our total well-being and sense of equilibrium is making time for our emotional self-care (ex: heart-felt communication with friends who let us show up “warts and all,” asking for support from a minister/therapist/coach when needed, journaling and allowing ourselves to feel to heal) as well as physical, spiritual and mental self-care.

The care and feeding of our hearts is essential to feeling whole and alive.

But more and more it seems we forget this. I’ve grown increasingly concerned about how we’re all communicating. Friends that used to regularly call me around the dinner hour to visit about our day, now only text. My son says he won’t use our land line to call his friends to plan a date because, “They just don’t do that, Mom.” Our college communications interns are typically uncomfortable at the thought of returning phone calls to our customers or team members; they much prefer texting. When we rely so heavily on electronic communication, our exchanges become short, shallow and one-dimensional. We’re missing nuance, tone and this type of empty communication does little to feed our hearts, establish and build relationships, and cultivate social and emotional intelligence.

It’s easy to succumb to the seduction of productivity and forget we’re not “human doings,” we’re messy, complex, wild, troubled and sometimes brilliant human beings.

What are you doing on a regular basis to nurture your inner landscape and emotional well-being? Study after study reports one of the biggest factors that affects our quality of life as we age is how deep and consistent our social interactions are with our friend circle. Alternately, when we’re disconnected from ourselves and others, this can lead to depression, anxiety and worse.

We need each other fully and completely: hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Not just through rapid fire texts, emojis or Facebook likes. This week I challenge you to look at ways you can make your communication more authentic and heartfelt. Try picking up the phone to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in months, setting up a girl’s or guy’s night out or (gasp!) dropping by a friend’s home unexpectedly just for a hug and to say hi.

YOUR HOMEWORK: One of my favorite exercises for connecting to our “inner world” is the Quickie Journaling Exercise (from my award-winning book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Way to Find Peace & Harmony in Everyday Life). It involves asking three simple questions and recording your answers in a notebook or journal. It often helps to write stream of consciousness–let whatever wants to emerge–and place a hand over the center of your chest while reflecting on each question. How do I feel? What do I need (at this moment, at this life stage)? What do I want (what is my heart’s greatest desire)? Try this exercise every morning for one week. Often in just five minutes, you are able to unearth a whole world you didn’t even know was present.

Written by Renee Peterson Trudeau for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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