Pause and take a moment to engage your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What are you feeling in this moment? Use this time to check in with yourself, taking inventory of your thoughts and emotions. Now, reflect on the last time you did this exercise, either with yourself or someone else.

We know intrinsically that the act of self-reflection and empathy towards others is an integral part of life that builds trust and relationships. The reason we pause to slow down and truly observe is to see different perspectives and be more centered in the present moment. This serves ourselves and others to our highest good. Especially for those with anxiety, bringing a mindful practice to your life can help calm and soothe internal unease.

Below are some reminders of ways to use the power of visual and mental observation. 

  • Notice Body Language: Is the person able to look you in the eyes? Are they fidgeting? What are their facial expressions?
  • Observe Clarity: Are they being clear when they speak? Are they excited, fumbling, stalling or repeating the same words?
  • Prompt Continuing Conversation: For example, prompts like, “Tell me more…” or “How do you feel?” can help the other person feel supported. Additionally, asking, “What do you need in this moment?” will help determine if the person wants a listening ear or advice.
  • Hold Space: Provide comfort and room for honesty and clarity. Whether someone is sharing a “win” or a challenge, it is important to let them know you truly want to hear what they are saying.
  • Reflect: After the interaction, take time to process clues on how you may support them moving forward.
  • Follow Up: Call, send an email, or text to thank the person for being open. For example, send an animated gif of either encouragement or congratulations. Let them know that you heard what they said, that you care, and that you are proud of them.

In the next conversation you have with others, try to use these tips to foster connection. To ensure you take time to check in with yourself, set a calendar reminder.

What is your favorite way to ensure others are supported and cared for? What is your favorite way to ensure you are supporting yourself?