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February 12, 2013

Tips to Get Closer to The Ones You Love

IStock_0complimentSmallThe day-to-day stresses of living can often get in the way of staying close with the people who matter. Balancing the needs of paying the bills, managing the home, doing a good job at work, running errands and on and on, can each be a difficult feat in itself—add relationships to the equation and it can seem impossible. Staying close with friends, children, spouses, lovers and/or family members, though, is vital for our happiness.

Many studies have shown that strong connections and satisfying relationships help reduce stress, improve health and, in some circumstances, actually extend a person’s life.  Nurturing our relationships is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Unfortunately, nurturing is one of the last things we think of when there are deadlines to meet, mortgages due and responsibilities that need our attention. Fortunately, on the other hand,, change happens in the minutiae…meaning it only takes tiny steps to create large shifts.  Below are ten easy steps to take to bring the important people in your life closer. Each step takes only a moment to do, yet leaves a lasting impact.

Ten little steps to bring loved ones closer…here’s to the minutiae of change:
1.    Send a text to a friend or loved one saying you’re glad they’re in your life.
2.    Leave a note in a child’s day planner, lunch box or on their pillow saying they ROCK!
3.    Put a sticky note on your spouse’s bathroom mirror with a loving message (i.e. Still feeling lucky to have you after all these years ).

4.    Periodically remind your children of how cool they are and that you love them.  These moments can help them learn that home is always an anchor for them.
5.    Make a five-minute call to a different friend every other week just to let them know you’re thinking about them.
6.    Sit down with your significant other (without technology), have a glass of wine or cup of tea and unwind. Have fun conversations about what you’d do if you won the lottery, where you would live if you could live anywhere or what you would want to be if you had any talent in the world. Keep it light and playful…get back to the fun.
7.    Laugh. There is nothing more connecting than a good belly laugh shared with a loved one (look up a funny youtube clip, tell jokes, think about old times).
8.    Plan a date night once a month, an over-night or a girl’s weekend away once a year.
9.    Listen. Make a conscious effort to fully tune in when a loved one or friend is sharing something that’s important to them. Listen for the message, don’t solve it for them or tell them what to do …simply LISTEN and…show empathy (“That sounds hard” or “I’m sorry you had such a tough day”).
10.    Give a child a high five, your lover a 30-second hug and/or your friend your best words of encouragement.

Staying connected is about remembering the little things: a kind smile, a soft touch, a comforting word. There’s always time for the little things. Train yourself to remember the little things. I call the little things Tender Sprinkles because they’re like the jimmies on top of ice-cream, they just add to the dish. Don’t get stressed about all the things you’re not doing in your relationships and start doing the little things. Change is in the minutiae…start making minute moves to get you to big results. Work doesn’t stop you from sending a loving text, taking five minutes to listen to or laugh with your family. Make it happen and start narrowing the distance gap.

Challenge: Commit to making the minute changes and deliberately adding tender sprinkles to the relationships in your life.


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