Meaningful connections. That was the phrase that struck me when I was looking at the theme of this year's London Great Mental Health Day - taking place on Friday 26th January.
The more I thought about this, I wondered just what meaningful connections actually mean and why they are so important.
My conclusion was that so many modern connections, especially online ones, are all too shallow and we need deeper connections to make us feel more fulfilled. Feeling disconnected is all too easy in the hectic and confusing modern world and can mean we are more prone to loneliness, anxiety and depression than ever before.
So how do we get more connected?
Meaningful connections can be established by taking a genuine interest in others, listening actively, and being honest, open and yourself.
Finding common interests, asking worthwhile questions, being mindful of other's needs - can all lead to mutually beneficial deeper conversations and connections.
Just remember how good it feels when somebody takes an interest in you and your life....and how good it can make somebody else feel.
The more I thought about this, the more I realised that regular and meaningful connections are exactly what community led Walk and Talks are all about.
A relaxed, friendly and welcoming environment, where walkers and talkers are free to talk about anything they like, to anybody. To foster new conversations and friendships. To engage and be engaged.
I have seen how this can be so simple, and yet so meaningful, for so many people.
So I love the fact that the Great Mental Health day is raising awareness of better connections. But like so many of these initiatives I fear that a one-off day or event won't make a lasting impact. In the back of my mind there is also a wider concern that creating specific events based around subjects like mental health risks turning off, rather than attracting, some people.
The truth is meaningful connections can help anybody and everybody. That is why we believe weekly Walk and Talks should be for the whole community - as meeting people from all walks of life, all ages and all backgrounds, lends itself to really interesting and meaningful conversations.
That is also why Walk and Talks are run consistently every week - rain or shine. That they always start at the same place in each location and there are no bookings and reservations.
In other words, walkers and talkers know that they can turn up any week and the Walk and Talk community will be there to welcome them and connect.
We have seen how regular connections can make a long lasting and important difference.
Now that is really meaningful.
Join community led Walk and Talks any Saturday at 10.30am at any of the locations here:
The Walk and Talk Movement