8th October 2020

Connecting with reality


It’s a lot.

I don’t need to list everything that’s going on in the world. We are awash with news, numbers, reports and stories. In theory we have more information at our fingertips than ever. Usually this would be a source of comfort for me. But, right now, I can’t keep up!

And without the usual security of trusted facts and figures, I feel quite disconnected from reality. I mean, what even is reality?

Don’t worry, I’m not talking philosophically. What I mean is, how do we tell fact from fiction?

Human beings are amazing. The human mind and body is miraculous. We are resourceful, knowledgeable, creative creatures, capable of incredible things . And yet those same brilliant minds can struggle to separate imagination from reality.

For example, do you hold yourself back from doing something because of the possibility of a negative or difficult outcome? Even if there is also a possibility of a brilliant, exciting outcome?

Or how about imposter syndrome – that sense that your success is down to a combination of luck and good acting and that it’s just a matter of time before you’re found out.  Even though you have also worked hard, delivered results, built relationships and developed skills.

Your mind is powerful but you’d be wrong to think that it only operates on rationality, logic or facts. Emotions, feelings, movement, your senses (all five of them), physiology, environment, relationships and so much more will influence your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This is why it feels so hard to think your way through a difficult decision because you are over-inflating the significance of what you perceive to be real and are ignoring other, important information that’s available to you.

When feel out of touch with reality, I have to let go of “knowing”stuff and tune in to something else. For me, it’s nature. At this time of year it can be toadstools, rain, leaves or clouds in a stormy sky. There is huge evidence on the benefits of being outside to help us feel, literally, more grounded. It doesn’t just have to be outside though. Looking at beautiful images of nature by following @natgeo on Instagram also helps me get a reality check. The mountain or lake or field is unchanged by what’s trending. The wind, waves and clouds don’t wait for the latest version update. And if they don’t, why do I? I feel re-connected as I dial down my rational, limiting, fearful thoughts and tap in to what else is going on – my emotions, intuition, instincts, random thoughts I haven’t previously allowed to take shape. It shifts my perspective and allows me to focus on what matters.

It doesn’t have to be nature. Maybe it’s connecting with people you love and trust. Maybe it’s exercise or reading a wonderful book, going for a drive or taking a shower.

And if you don’t know what works for you, that’s OK. The first step is to recognise what’s going on. Loosen your grip on what you think and to tap in to something else. Use your senses. Be curious about your emotions and instincts. What do they say?

Oh, and maybe turn off the news for a bit?