I am not sure if you are familiar with this Led Zeppelin song. I recently came across it again and love the title. It is a play on words, which is always fun. I think of it in two ways, either communication that goes bad, or the basics, or breakdown, of how to communicate. Get it?! I would like to take some time to focus on communication. I will give you a breakdown of the basics and one huge step to move forward.
Communication is the basis for connection. Through communication, we come to know one another. Through connections, we feel good which decreases our feelings of depression and anxiety. Yet, communication, or lack thereof, can cause the opposite impact. Our words or our silence push others away leading to conflict and loneliness. You can see why communication is vital to our lives and wellbeing.
The biggest issue I see in our society is busy-ness. Though we know communication is important, we often do not make time for it. Why is that? Well, practically, we have our schedules packed which keeps us silent. At times we do not want to deal with our problems or relationships so we chose to fill our schedules as a way to avoid situations and people.
As an exercise, I would like you to sketch out what you have done the past 24-48 hours. Put in there every activity from sleeping to eating to driving, ect. Once you have done that, take a look at how you spend your time. Are you finding time to talk to those you love? Are you communicating with other people or are you finding activities that keep you isolated? If you are not communicating with others, think about how that impacts your mood and productivity.
If you find that you are not connecting as much as you would like, I encourage you to reach out to someone. It does not have to be a big event. It can be short phone call, a text message to check-in, or a conversation with family while you wash the dishes. I want you to be intentional in connecting with others through communication. See if it does not improve your life, ’cause I know it will.
Whitney Owens, LPC, MA