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Today's post may surprise you...#5 is less about your physical habits, and more about your emotional well-being. Are you ready for something new and different? The next non-food way to feel great and lose weight is to...
#5: CONNECT MORE
Connection with others has a very positive impact on your overall health and well-being. In fact, having support and a sense of community affects your physical and emotional health as much as choices related to eating, sleeping and moving. In Blue Zones (regions of the world where a high percentage of inhabitants live to be 90-100 years of age, suffer from fewer chronic and life threatening diseases, and generally enjoy more years of good health), researchers have identified a key commonality: a high degree of social interaction among community members, regardless of age.
In contrast, loneliness and social isolation were found to be major contributing factors to sadness, depression and development of chronic disease according to The Journal of Aging Life Care. Studies suggest that the impact of isolation on health and mortality are of the same magnitude as physical risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.
The Body's Physical Reaction To Connecting
The brain and our digestive system are actually connected by the longest cranial nerve in the body called the vagus nerve. This nerve is like a super highway that connects your brain to your gut. It passes through several organs of the body and helps them perform many vital tasks, including regulating heart rate and moving food through the digestive tract. It also affects mechanisms that control appetite and feelings of satiety, mood and anxiety levels. So what you think and experience emotionally is actually physically connected to your digestive process! In addition, feeling connected to others stimulates the relaxation response in your body, much like deep breathing. And through the release of various hormones initiated by connecting, the nervous system calms down in a way that benefits the whole body, including your digestion system. Laughter can also help reduce anxiety and boost mood, another way that connecting with people you enjoy can affect your physical well-being.
A Word About Social Media
Connecting through social media is a fact of life as we know it, and certainly has both benefits and drawbacks. There is value in having so many ways to see what's going on within and outside our own communities. And a connection is definitely formed by being able to share what we know with others. I personally have formed good relationships with fellow coaches, teachers and clients from all over the world by joining groups where we can share information, discuss successes and challenges, and hold each other accountable. But contact through social media does not often provide the same sort of physical benefits to the body that in-person meetings do. You can belong to many online groups, but still feel isolated if those connections are your primary way to connect. Social media can also lead you to judge and compare yourself to others as they appear online, which can actually make you feel less connected and less empowered. For the purposes of this email, I am discussing the benefits of live, not virtual, connections.
How To Get The Most Out Of Connecting
How 'Connecting More' Benefits Weight Loss and Well-Being
A satiated, happy body is one that feels nourished and satisfied from both the food and the experiences you feed it. So connect more with others and watch your body respond positively to the emotional love you are giving it.
In Good Health,