“To love your authentic self is to surrender to this idea that who you are is already whole and complete.”
The reconnection to oneself is a vital part of mental health and well-being. But first, let me explain what reconnection is. Reconnection is the process of getting out of the negative feeling of disconnection from your authentic self and the world around you. It’s the act of getting out of your emotional stuckness.
Have you ever had that feeling where you don’t feel like yourself? Like ‘you,’ who is typically positive, driven, and energized, all of a sudden feels more stressed, irritable, and exhausted. Up to this moment, you’ve enjoyed your emotional intelligence, sense of humor, and motivation, but now you’re experiencing intense anxiety and short-temperedness, so much so that people feel like they are on thin ice when they’re around you.
These questions should lead you to conclude that you’re experiencing emotional stuckness, a type of disconnection that shuts you off not just from the world but also from yourself. Whatever is the root problem of this disconnection, at this point, your body starts giving you signals that it wants you to stop and ground yourself back into peace and calmness. If you try to ignore it, the emotional build-up in you can manifest as bursts of negativity, anger, and anxiety, like a distress call alarming you to deal with the fire. Eventually, this disconnection can take you to a place where your original emotions are so deeply buried under other feelings and negative experiences that you’ll have no idea how all of this came to be. What can help you? Reconnection.
When we start practicing this type of integrative medicine, we can understand what has initiated these feelings and gain the power to repair what needs repairing. Now, imagine how much this can help young people going through the ups and downs of adolescence?
The transition to adulthood is a turbulent period, especially for girls, giving all the challenges and expectations they face daily. To succeed in this transition, girls need to advance in numerous areas of development – education, work, financial autonomy, relationships, community involvement, and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors. They need to have enough self-esteem and self-reliance to finish this race as winners.
Having strong self-esteem has been shown to help people countless times and in multiple ways, including overcoming anxiety, depression, making better life choices, succeeding academically, and improving relationships with others. For girls and young women, reconnection can be vital for their future and a healthy lifestyle. This reconnection should be threefold – the reconnection with nature, people, and oneself.
Reconnecting with Nature
Human disconnection with nature has caused damage both to the planet and ourselves. We have gone from heavily relying on nature to increased industrialization and urbanization. We have come to believe we are separate from nature and have control of it, thinking that the natural world exists solely to serve us. This affects the lives of new generations in complex ways, from their lifestyle and health to behavior and relationships.
Numerous researches illustrate how disconnection from nature is linked to mental and physical issues, from anxiety and depression to poor body image, heart disease, and fatigue. The nature deficit in children’s lives has been a recognized condition, contributing to depression, obesity, ADHD, and behavioral problems. To reconnect, girls don’t just need to go out in nature but also connect with their senses, intuition, emotions, imagination, creativity, and spirituality. Most of all, they need to have the freedom and support to do so.
In reconnecting to nature, girls are reconnecting with their authentic selves in a refreshing and invigorating way. By spending time in nature, caring for the environment, and the well-being of all creatures, girls can change the way they view themselves, reconnect to their goals for personal growth, with their passions, and so much more.
One way to do so is to practice tantric yoga. The term ‘yoga‘ means union of the mind and body with the spirit, while ‘tantra‘ means to weave light and sound with form. Contrary to popular thinking, tantra yoga is not exclusively a sexual practice. Like Ayurveda, Yoga Tantra is a powerful psycho-spiritual practice for harmonizing body, mind, and spirit. Through yoga, girls can learn how to reveal their powers of intuition, clarity, inner knowing, and spiritual guidance from an early age. Effective and regular use of yoga and meditation can help them eliminate old destructive patterns, behaviors, and beliefs that promote negativity, toxicity, and imbalance.
Reconnecting with Communities
There is an old saying that no man is an island. Now more than ever, the world understands the importance of human connection. We’ve experienced the long hours of lockdowns, the pains and worries for the well-being of our friends and families, and the increasing mental health issues that came with it. We’ve also experienced unity on a never-before-seen level. People were willing to help others while risking their own lives and future.
This has shown us that our actions and ideas, honest goals, and work can impact the world around us in a profound way. Girls and young women are one of the categories of people that need to reconnect with their communities as they transit out of lockdowns. The ability to be involved in a community is something that is often taken for granted. Making connections, building friendships, and gaining a sense of participation needs to be available to every girl in the world.
Connecting with a community they haven’t been a part of due to mental health or physical issues, or reconnecting with a community after a period of disconnection, can be challenging but worthwhile. Connection to the community aids not only girls’ physical health but also mental and psychological well-being. Aside from seeing friends and going to school, girls should be included in such activities as volunteering, workshops, or training.
Reconnecting to ourselves, nature and communities are made up of slowing down, listening, learning, exploring, playing, wondering, and being curious about what’s going on, both inside and outside of ourselves. It is also about realizing that everyone is an integral part of a group and that all relationships stem from that initial, positive relationship with ourselves. For young, impressionable girls, this can be a vital life lesson that can impact the future of the world we live in. As for us grown-ups, we need to ensure that new generations of girls have all the necessary resources to flourish as healthy, strong, and capable members of society.
Read part 4 (Helping Girls Navigate their Evolution) of the Series on Mental Health and Girls / Women