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Connect 4

I love playing games, it is one of my top 3 happy places to be, with friends and family. My friends used to laugh at the amount of times I would say to them, "let's play a game!".

So why are games so important to me?

Well I grew up playing games and loved it and I didn't realise other people didn't!! I thought it was normal to play games in the evenings with your family but I soon learnt this wasn't always the case. Games are engrained in me and I need to play, I want to play and I really miss it when I don't!

Now I am very competitive, but this isn't the reason I want to play, honestly!! It is all about connecting. I love being with people, I love sharing time with those I love, doing something that is fun. It's that quality time when you are focussed on each other and the game, living in the now. Don't get me wrong I love snuggling up to watch a film too but I could play a game every night!

Connecting with others is so important for our emotional strength and development. It releases those happy hormones and creates a sense of belonging, a purpose, love and that brings confidence and happiness. If you don't connect with others you are starving part of your wellbeing. When you feel low, is it because you are lonely and missing that human connection?

Laughter is the most natural tonic for a confident you. If you are laughing you are relaxed and happy and your worries and negative thoughts are not there. We all need to laugh more and learn from children and their freedom in letting go with their interactions with others. How much have you laughed so far today?

Connecting to others is a necessary part of your wellbeing but sometimes 'others' could be animals too. To have a cat sitting on your lap, a dog to take for a walk, a horse to ride. Animals take you at face value, they don't judge, they don't question in a way a human might. They make you live in the now, to be present with them because that is what they do. They are not worrying about tomorrow or holding on to the past. It is about now and the mouse that needs chasing, the ball that needs fetching or that big patch of juicy grass that needs eating.! Animals allow us to connect in a very fresh, healthy way to feel love, happiness, a sense of belonging and responsibility. I feel an ache in the core of me when it's been too long away from a furry friend!

I think the reason I love horses isn't just the animal but the fact that it gets me outside, I am free from the constraints of the home and work. I can just be. I sometimes just sit in the garden and listen to the birds, I used to take children for a walk when I worked at an Outdoor Centre and part of their journey was to hug a tree as they are so huge and strong and grounded. To connect with nature, going for a walk and seeing the bluebells, enjoying a beautiful vista which relaxes our body and mind. Time out in nature is one of the most powerful connections you can emerse yourself in. Nature isn't going anywhere, it is your forever constant security that you can rely on enjoying, leaning into and feeling that peace and quiet of the soul.

Connecting to yourself is again a vital part of your wellbeing. To be aware of yourself, how you are feeling. To know that your thoughts can be changed and that in doing so your feelings can change. Understanding how you see yourself, how you carry yourself has an effect on your positive outlook and behaviour. Just think about your feelings and then consider what is the thought that created it? Dig around a little as often that thought is redundant, it is an old thought, a limiting belief, that is holding you back. Thoughts can be changed if you give yourself the time to connect to yourself.

Becoming more self aware so you can celebrate those wins, say and do affirmations, meditate, hold your head up high knowing you are the best version of yourself....wouldn't that feel great?

So Connect 4 is a fab game but it is also to connect with others, to connect with animals, to connect with ourselves and to connect to nature. If we can tick 3 of those 4 off on that list that is such an amazing feeling. If you do all 4, give yourself a high 5. If you are less than 3, or you actually do connect to yourself, for example, but not enough, then is it time for a change? Is it time to kick those limiting beliefs into touch, to feel free of those thoughts that are not true anymore, they are not the person you are now or want to be. You can do so much with the time you have, what will you choose to do?

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