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Snippet of Relationship Alive!: Hints to Improve Digital Intimacy and Stay Sane (and Connected) During a Lockdown

Last Played: February 08, 2021
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As Covid-19 lockdowns continue, countless people are experiencing increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Here, Neil Sattin discusses his tips and tricks for improving digital intimacy and maintaining social connection during periods of necessitated social distancing.
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almost to you that this is going to be quick. So let's talk about digital intimacy. We'll start with texting. When I was talking before about carving out time to communicate, I think that could be helpful for texting as well, so that you are not just texting off and on throughout your day or texting a bunch of people at once. Now, sometimes texting kind of works that way where it's, um, you know, it's designed to be a synchronous meaning. You send a message to someone, and they may or may not reply to you right away. So I get it. That's that's how it sometimes works. So this isn't a strict rule. But if you get the sense that someone is there on the other on the other end and ready and willing to text with you, then carve out that time. Carve out five minutes, 10 minutes and just focus your energy on texting with your friend. And while you are waiting for the other person to text you back instead of checking social media or going online, Thio, you know your favorite blogger or whatever it is, I invite you to just stay present, stay present with the waiting waiting for their communication. Breathe. Get in touch with what's happening in your body and do your best to just stay focused on that communication with that person. It makes a difference in not only feeling connected but in their feeling your presence, Um, especially if you're able to respond back really quickly because you are giving that other person your full attention via text. That's my hint for texting now, when it comes to video chats, there are a couple things that I found that are really helpful. And I actually use thes uh, tips when I am doing sessions with people, because at this point, almost all the sessions that I do are over Zoom or Skype. And as you can imagine, it's really important for my clients to feel my presence to feel like we are creating an intimate space for those sessions to occur. So there are a couple of ways that I like to do that that seemed to work well for me, and I invite you to experiment with them and see what works well for you. Um, the first thing is to close all your other APS on your computer or on your phone, I guess if you're doing it on your phone, it's less of an issue. Because if you switch over to another app, they're going to know, Um, if you're on your computer, you know, closing your browser, closing everything, that else that's going so that you can give the other person your full attention. If you have a way of turning off your notifications on your computer or on your phone, that's good, too. Eso that you're in kind of a do not disturb mode and you don't have little notifications. Um, popping up thio disrupt your your concentration or your presence. Um, if you're on your computer, you might turn your phone over so that it's faced down so that you don't have things on your phone. Um, lighting up your phone and distracting you. And the goal is for you to be as present as possible. Another thing I like to do is I like to keep my computer. I do most of my zooming via my computer, and I like to keep it in right in front of me. So whether it's on my desk or it's on my lap, you know on a board or something? Um e keep it in front of me and I actually put my arms out and I put my arms on either side of the computer. Almost like I am holding whatever whoever is on the other end, I'm holding the image of them on my computer screen. And I do that to create a physical container. Um, in the best way possible. That would be like if we were in person. It would be like the same as, ah sitting directly opposite each other and me facing you squarely with my body and giving you my full presence and eye contact. And, um and you knowing that you have my full attention. So one way that I help myself do that and stay focused is by reaching my arms out, you know, in a natural way. And having them on either side of my computer is if I'm holding the person that I'm talking Thio Another thing that I like to dio I've been using full screen a little bit more lately. Um, it seems like it's working. OK, but a lot of the time, what I'll do is I'll actually switched to minimizing the view of the other person, not not minimizing it. So it's off the screen. But getting the little mini version so that instead of their face taking up the whole screen, it's actually like a little tiny version of them. And then I'll move that right up Thio under the camera or the webcam on my computer. And that is one way that seems to be really helpful in the other person, feeling like when I'm looking at them that I'm actually looking at them because, of course, this is all happening in a virtual space, right? I'm not really looking at them. I'm looking at a screen. I'm looking at a picture of them and likewise they're looking at a picture of me. But if I am looking right at where the camera is, then that's the best chance that I've got of being able to make eye contact and being able to help the other person feel the presence of my gays and my attentiveness as they're talking. So that's another little little trick that I use from time to time, and it's been really helpful. And lastly, um, when you're talking to another person, especially via video chat. I think it's really helpful to pay attention to your breathing. So how you are breathing and, um, whether your breaths shallow, whether it's deep just noticing what's happening in you and then also noticing the breathing in the other person. So when does the person that you're talking to take breaths? When do they exhale? When do they sigh? Paying attention to their breath also helps you just kind of tune in tow everything else that's going on with them in general with their body. So So you notice, you know, when the color of their skin changes or when tension appears or disappears on their face. There's something about tuning into the breath that really, I think, synchronizes us with another human in general. Um, so I'm not, And I'm not saying that you should do that in a creepy way where you're just mimicking and other person's breathing pattern. But noticing it, I think, does tend to bring us at least into some form of synchrony with the other person, and and I think it creates this
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