Feeling connected – meeting your need for interaction
If you or your young people are feeling lonely, not feeling part of anything, needing lots of attention or doing things for a reaction, why don’t you try meeting your need for interaction by following these steps?
Spending time with others, particularly those we share something in common with, can help us to feel safe and secure and can make us feel like we belong. This is good for our wellbeing and helps us to feel safe and secure.
Three things you can do now to help with wellbeing:
- Become part of a group by thinking about things you enjoy doing, and finding people who also enjoy the same things. This could be choosing friends to be with, joining an organised group or chatting about things you have in common.
- Maybe start a group of your own. This could be just finding people who like similar things to you, or organising to meet with people you get on well with.
- Join in with local community events to feel part of a group with your family, such as litter picking or running.
Sharing an emotional connection with someone else is important for our mental health and wellbeing. We need someone in our lives that we can talk to and feel we are accepted for who we are.
Three things to do now to help bring you back to wellbeing:
- Notice who makes you feel good. Spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
- Spend time with a pet, talking to them, training them or taking care of them.
- Spend quality time with someone who cares about you, doing something together. This could be something fun like a game, a walk, or doing a job together like the washing up!
We all need to give and receive the right amount of attention to keep us feeling positive and content. You might be told you are attention-seeking with your behaviour, but this is often because you are ‘attention-needing’. Attention is so important to humans that we might seek or accept negative attention when positive attention isn’t available, so it is important that we find it and share it in healthy ways.
Three things to do now to help bring you back into wellbeing:
- Exchange healthy attention with someone else- spend time together away from screens.
- Speak to a grown up about having more one-to-one time with them to chat and so something fun together.
- Find a way to give someone else attention- doing something with them or sending them a message or letter.
To find out more about how Suffolk Mind can help you and your young person, visit our EARLY Minds page.
Author: Beren Reid
- Children, Families & Young People
- Emotional Connection
- Emotional Needs & Resources
How are you dealing with the attention vampires at work?
Workplace Wellbeing Trainer, Sue Gray explains how to manage your attention at work.
I’ve just sat for a minute or so and watched my cat wash her paw – each pad given individual attention – then something caught her attention, she stopped mid-lick and walked off paw half clean.
Attention is an essential resource – to get jobs done, to give to people, to understand things, to connect. We give it and we receive it – switching it on and off – sometimes consciously, often unconsciously.
Do you feel more tired and less focused at the moment? Many people are saying they are a lot more tired and feel less able to focus, and that they’re being less productive at work and are not sure why.
What’s all that about? It’s not like a load of people have suddenly become lazy and ineffective for no good reason.
Attention is an innate essential need we all need to get enough of in a healthy and balanced way. And it’s a finite resource: it runs out and needs to be replenished by rest, privacy and sleep. Have you noticed that if you’ve given focus and attention to tasks and people all day at work (face to face or online) when you come home you just don’t have enough to give to your partner or children? How does that feel?
Working online or in the office is taking more of your attention than you might realize, and that can leave you feeling the lack of it.
So try this – Five a Day for boosting Attention at work:
- Stop and check how you are – every hour for 3 breaths (set a time?). Relax your face and shoulders and breathe 3 times into your belly, looking away from any screen. Takes 30 seconds.
- Focus on one thing at a time – multi-tasking takes up more of your attention juices.
- Look out for attention vampires – e.g. your phone (attention is what the advertisers are buying). Find ways to relax and connect other than social media, maybe meet a friend for a socially-distanced walk around the block for 10 minutes.
- Take work and rest sandwiches – try the Pomodoro method, setting a timer for 25 mins then get up and do something different for 5 minutes.
- Privacy / Reflection time / Sleep – we are all different, but ensure you find a way to get enough for you.
Author: Ellie Winch
Are you suffering an attention shortfall at the moment?
Our Workplace Wellbeing Trainer, Penny Tyndale-Hardy writes about protecting your attention capacity and making sure we have enough to go round at home.
Anyone else feeling more tired and irritable than usual? My emotions seem more volatile and I’m definitely less patient. I get frustrated that simple things take so much more time. And while I crave privacy, I’m lacking the energy or motivation to do anything useful or fulfilling in my downtime. Sound familiar? If so, it’s likely you’re suffering an attention shortfall.
Our capacity to give attention is not an inexhaustible resource. Don’t underestimate how much more you need to give everyday life right now. New situations demand more attention, and right now even familiar tasks have become unfamiliar.
For example, I’m normally pretty good at socialising, from workplace chat to family gatherings or a cuppa with friends. But right now my phone or computer is the only way to manage this, from meetings, to catching up with people, joining quizzes, watching live gigs…
This demands attention in a very different way from face-to-face contact. Not only is the screen more visually stimulating (and therefore tiring), but there are additional demands, such as learning the tech, coping with pixelated pictures and intermittent sound, seeing six (or more) people with six different backgrounds, the etiquette of who talks when – all while tuning out the barking dog or the arrival of the postman. It’s exhausting!
This is just one of the ways in which the familiar has become unfamiliar.
We’re all learning new hygiene skills – not just washing our hands more often and more thoroughly but wiping down surfaces, maintaining social distance, cleaning the shopping before putting it away. I’ve not yet worn a mask, but that’s another new protocol that will take effort and attention to become habitual.
Here are some tips to protect our attention capacity and make sure we have enough to go round:
- Just recognising the increased demand on your attention can help you feel better. It’s not simply cabin fever – the Covid situation really does alter how much we need to use this essential resource.
- Keep clear boundaries. Doing everything from home makes things muddled. Set clear time and space boundaries for different tasks where possible so your attention isn’t pulled about by competing things. A good routine will help.
- Take time in the day to reflect – how are you feeling today? What’s working well? What needs are being met? Have a look at the different ways you can meet your emotional needs by accessing the Covid-19 resources on our website.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques (see our video on Mindful Breathing). By directing your attention to techniques that physically calm both body and mind you’ll have more control over how you direct your attention – which makes it go further.
- Prioritise your sleep – good sleep helps you recharge and regenerate your attention capacity.
- Move away from screens to rest your screen-stimulated brain – gardening, drawing, reading, exercise, puzzles, board games, meditation, knitting… whatever works for you.
- Expect things to take longer. We’re in a new world and simple things take more time. Accepting and allowing for this will make it less frustrating.
- Don’t forget that everyone else is also managing this increased demand for attention. Talk with others about how it’s working and agree ways to help each other.
Author: Ellie Winch
Attention – an emotional need and a resource
Written by Ezra Hewing, Head of Mental Health Education, Suffolk Mind
Attention is an important emotional need. Sometimes people who are obviously in need of attention are dismissed as needy attention seekers, but this is unhelpful and doesn’t support their emotional health and mental wellbeing. We all need attention and we could help each other in healthier ways by exchanging positive attention. (more…)
Author: Ellie Winch