“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”
An Australian aboriginal teaching elder called Uncle Bob Randall once shared that growing up in his indigenous community in the Northern Territory they didn’t use the word “me” — it wasn’t part of their culture.
Everything was “we.” From sharing food to fire to love. He said that his community only thought as “we” and lived as “we.”
Think about a time when you had a beautiful social gathering with people that you cared for deeply. Remember the emotions that were flowing through the room, the shared laughter, the vulnerable stories, the exchange of love on so many levels…
How do positive interactions & connections with others leave you feeling? Probably pretty vibrant, right? On the flip side of that coin however is the physical pain that can be brought on from social disconnection – even something as harmless as a sarcastic comment or bad joke can make us feel, and I mean physically feel, terrible for the rest of the day. That’s because we, as humans, are built to connect and thrive together. Our primal need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food, shelter, and water. Healthy connection is literally medicine for our longevity, health and wellbeing.
Here are 6 practices you can embody to connect with others & ultimately lead a happier, healthier and LONGER life.
- Model the Bluezone communities rituals
- Find your Moai
- Choose your tribe wisely
- Avoid isolation for prolonged periods of time
- Stay present to connect
- Feel more to connect more
6 ways to connect towards longevity
1. Model the Bluezone communities rituals
Bluezone communities have a lot to say about longevity. These communities are spread across the globe and have a large percentage of people living over 100, with less ill-health & degenerative diseases compared to the rest of the world. Men in Sardinia for example, gather in the streets every afternoon to laugh together, drink wine & connect. Bluezone communities as a whole value belonging, family first, the right tribe, & social gatherings. Modelling some of their simple connection based rituals can be a powerful tool for your own longevity.
2. Find your Moai
There’s a reason why Okinawa is home to the oldest living women. One of their longevity traditions is having a “Moai” – A lifelong social support group that starts in childhood and extends into the 100s. In small neighbourhoods across Okinawa, friends “meet for a common purpose” (sometimes daily and sometimes a couple of days a week) to gossip, experience life, and to share advice and even financial assistance when needed. How amazing does that sound? Have fun creating your own Moai – or have at least 2 people that you can confide in & lean on for support. Knowing you have others around you that you can depend on makes a world of a difference.
3. Choose your tribe wisely
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?” Your health, your abundance, your mindset, your confidence, who you are in this moment and ultimately who you become are all affected by the people you spend the majority of your time with. Pay attention to how you feel after leaving a social gathering or connection. Do you feel lighter, inspired, motivated, and connected? Or do you feel energetically drained, worse when you left than when you arrived? Make sure you surround yourself with people that are a positive influence in your life and watch yourself grow and eventually thrive.
4. Avoid isolation for prolonged periods of time
Isolation is arguably the worst thing you can do to a human being. Have you ever thought about why solitary confinement is our harshest form of punishment? A study at McGill University in Montreal paid student volunteers to reside in soundproof cubicles with minimal sensory activity derived from any human contact for 1 -2 weeks. After only a few hours of isolation, the students became acutely restless, highly emotional & their mental performance suffered. After 24 hours, the visual and auditory hallucinations started kicking in. The study had to be cut short and barely any students made it past the 2-day mark, let alone 1 – 2 weeks. While spending time alone to recharge is good, too much isolation can be detrimental to your emotional & psychological wellbeing & can lead to physical problems such as higher blood pressure, being more vulnerable to infection & a myriad of other issues.
5. Stay present to connect
Although our phones have given us beautiful opportunities to connect to people around the world, there’s a fine line between creating positive connections and taking us out of the present moment and sucking us into the virtual reality that is Instagram & social media. When we’re constantly scrolling through our phones and feeds, we are inhibiting our ability to connect with the people & the world around us. Research suggests that cell phone usage may even reduce our social consciousness. So maybe next time you’re at a family dinner or out with friends, leave the phone at home, and really be present in the moment and connect with the people & the world around you.
6. Feel more to connect more
Confiding in someone and being vulnerable can be scary. But how amazing does it feel when you share something with someone and they’re able to really feel your situation, your emotions and struggles? It makes you feel heard, normal and understood. That’s called empathy, and it’s one of the most powerful tools and emotions to create connection and build trust and understanding. We as humans also have a deep predisposition to feel the emotions of others. If the greatest danger to our future is apathy as feared by Dr Jane Goodall, then perhaps empathy is the one tool that could connect a disconnected world. So next time someone is pouring their heart and soul out to you, really listen, connect in with them, and practice empathy. It’s one of our most powerful emotions and is another key to our longevity.
Our longevity depends on the strength of our connections and the depth of our social relationships. Imagine what it would feel like to have two people to confide in, be surrounded by five high vibing people who support the lifestyle you are inspired to live and the person you are driven to be. The vibration and abundance of our tribes and the communities we live in will ultimately determine our health, well-being and longevity. We were never meant to survive or thrive alone.
CALL TO EMBODIMENT
Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with?
Are they a high vibing positive influence in your life? or maybe they are not? We each have 168 hours in a week.
Now, Write down another 5 high vibing people that are heading where you are going. It could be anyone. Don’t limit yourself with your beliefs. Now imagine what life would be like if you spent more time around these people next week or in the future?
Share a picture with your tribe & celebrate them.
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R ory is the founder of selfcare.global and author of SelfCare – Lifestyle medicine for the people. He has a background in sports science, human movement, exercise physiology, yoga, pilates and a masters degree in physiotherapy. He takes a human, nature and spiritually energetic approach to good health, wellbeing and longevity. Over time he has developed an integrated, holistic and functional tool belt that helps him consult with high performing humans and entrepreneurs. His passion is to merge ancient wisdom with the modern lifestyle. Empowering people on their own journeys, whilst co-creating thriving :blue zone” communities & longevity hot spots.