Togetherness is rooted in our connections to our communities, our friends and our families. These connections are important for brain health as they help release the hormone oxytocin, the “love hormone” that gives us a strong sense of satisfaction and positivity. Building strong connections with a ever expanding and evolving tribe is shown to improve brain function and longevity.
A recent study by Northwestern University examined “SuperAgers” - men and women over the age of 80 whose memories were as good of better than people 20 to 30 years younger. In this lifestyle study, one area stood out above all others, most all of these SuperAgers reported having warm, trusting, social relationships as an integral part of their lives.
It is important for us to develop these social connections beyond just our immediate circle of friends and loved ones to include a wider network of support including our lives at work, at school, in our neighborhoods and beyond. The first habit we would like to address to strengthen our bonds to our communities is through gratitude.
Actionable Habit to Develop Togetherness: Gratitude
Many of us have a gratitude practice. All to often we reserve that gratitude to internal expressions through meditation or prayer. This is great for intrinsic wellbeing, but in order to develop our togetherness and build a strong social community we need to express that gratitude outwardly, out loud, publicly.
Start today, just simply tell one person in your world that you appreciate them. Then tomorrow, thank someone on social media for their contribution to your day. The following day, go out of your way to thank someone who has done something for someone other than yourself. Repeat this process and set your daily intentions to incorporate a expressive gratitude practice as a part of your life. You, your community and your brain will all benefit.
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