Integrative Nutrition Blog

Why Positive Relationships Make You Healthier + How to Get Them

June 2, 2017

Photo via Unsplash.

One of our favorite times during the IIN calendar year is early spring at our annual Live Conference. We bring together students from around the world for a weekend of learning, connecting, and growing. The energy in the room is unlike anything else.

We started asking ourselves, “What is it about these events that makes them so vibrant and ALIVE?”

And it was very clear to us:  it’s 100%, without a doubt, the people. 

Human connection is beyond powerful. Whether it’s in the workplace, at church, or through meaningful conversations with friends, these interactions add profound value to our health and our lives. Positive and meaningful relationships are part of our core concept, Primary Food, in the Health Coach Training Program where we discuss all of the things that nourish you that can’t be found on our dinner plates.

As we take on more responsibilities in our personal and professional lives; we get promotions, have children, never-ending errands, and bills - simply maintaining our existing relationships can seem challenging, and the thought of cultivating new relationships can feel near impossible. This isn’t even taking into consideration making new friends as an adult...how does that even happen?

But, in the name of good health, it’s time to consider taking a departure from our comfort zones!

The power and importance of human connection has been scientifically proven. Through interaction with others, especially those who are likeminded, we allow our thoughts to deepen, our minds open, and we activate additional cognitive functions. 

Studies have also shown that people who are social increase their longevity, decrease inflammation in the body, and reduce depression and anxiety. When we’re surrounded by others, we’re to constantly learning from their perspectives and experiences while developing and growing our own identity, which is dynamic and ever-evolving. 

The true power of communing together is that it stimulates our sense of belonging. When we’re around people with whom we feel comfortable and authentically ourselves, we feel loved and supported increasing our confidence and motivation. Brene Brown really says it best,

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

Even though the positive benefits of togetherness and social connection have been scientifically proven, isolation is actually increasing, and fewer people have someone they would consider a close confidant.

So in a world where technology and social media gives us a false or different sense of connection, more people are working remotely outside of the social office setting, and our lives seems busier than ever, how do we make the time and give our energy to fostering new relationships and deepening our social connection with others?

Fortunately, even if you consider yourself shy or introverted and can’t fathom putting yourself out there like that, there are a lot of simple ways to get involved in your community and find your tribe.

Check out a community posting board for events that are happening in your area. No one to go with? No worries, everyone at these events have similar interests, so there will be plenty of people to spark up conversation with.

Ask a friend to do something you would normally do alone. Do you take your dog for a walk every morning? This is a perfect time for intriguing conversation without the distractions of the day.

Look online for a meetup group or retreat. Meetups have become increasingly popular and you can filter based on your interests.  Many yoga, fitness, and wellness studios also host retreats locally and internationally.

A great option to look into is something like Soul Camp, which is an all-inclusive wellness sleepaway and day camp for adults where campers get the opportunity to connect and play, in a digital-free zone. The days are filled with workshops, classes, and seminars that nourish the mind, body, and soul - think kundalini yoga, breathwork classes, and essential oils 101. Soul Camp was founded by IIN Graduate Ali Leipzig and her BFF Michelle Blum. If this sounds like it could be right up your alley, we don’t blame you. You can read more about Soul Camp here.

There’s no right way to engage and keep up your social connections, but next time you’re looking for inspiration, conversation, and happiness try giving one of these options a shot.

Let us know how you cultivate meaningful relationships and how it benefits your health in the comments section below. 

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