Mindful Arts Therapy
Deepening Our Connections
This article was written by Chris Burnett, author of Deepening Our Connections.
He believes everyone has a narrative worth telling. His first book, ‘conversations’, provides encouragement and a guide to chat to your loved ones about their life and your relationship.
Being connected with other people is a fundamental aspect of our lives. Social isolation and loneliness are beginning to be recognised as major health concerns, with the World Health Organisation recently establishing the Commission on Social Connection.
On a micro-level, I’ve been trying to strengthen my own connections through a personal project turned hobby that was born out of the lockdowns of 2020. What started as an attempt to reignite connections with people in my life through having a catch-up call a week with someone I hadn’t heard from in a while, evolved into me going full Louis Theroux and interviewing my family and friends about their lives and our relationship.
To date, I’ve recorded 75 conversations with people in my life (you can think of them as private podcasts). They follow three distinct parts.
Delving Deep into Conversations
In ‘Part One’, I ask them questions about their life. From the chronology of childhood, schooling and career, to chats about international experiences, people, relationships, hardship and miscellaneous topics and tales. There are so many interesting facets to your loved ones’ life that will captivate, charm and surprise you.
In ‘Part Two’, we exchange three words we’d use to describe one another. It’s a way to spread positive vibes, show appreciation, and make someone you care for feel great about themselves.
In ‘Part Three’, we take a trip down memory lane, recalling shared experiences. It’s that “do you remember when?” conversation you have with mates down the pub, back to back to back. By recording your journey down memory lane, you’ll end up with a special bank of laughs at your fingertips for whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Timelines, affirmations, memories. A simple structure that produces a lot of depth
I’ve learnt a lot about those I love, myself and the world. Hearing mates regale stories of their questionable and bizarre antics has been hugely entertaining. People have shared wisdom and opened up to me about hardship they’ve experienced. My own memories have been vividly unlocked. I’ve laughed, cried, and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for those I have in my life. The interviewees themselves have unanimously given the thumbs up to enjoying the experience from their end too.
The beauty is how easy it would be for you to do something similar yourself.
I’ve written my book, conversations, to inspire and encourage you to do just that. I wanted to share what I’ve done and some of the stories I’ve gathered along the way, to spread the word and lead to others doing the same.
You can start with one conversation. It could be with your partner, your best friend, an older relative. Consider it a different activity to do with someone you’d be spending time with anyway. It’ll be an enriching experience for both of you that brings you closer together.
Social connection can benefit us in so many ways. Through my experience it’s become clear that connections sustain us, friendships invigorate us, and intentional conversations can deepen our relationships.
Over to you.
‘conversations: connecting with people in our lives’ shares more of Chris’ story and offers practical guidance to hold meaningful conversations with people in your life.