This hack from David Hamilton will make you healthier, happier and enrich your community spirit
Connection is a human need. We thrive when we get plenty of it and our health can suffer when we don’t get enough. We can achieve this in many ways, through contact with other humans and animals and by being in nature. These connections help us to produce the hormone oxytocin, which improves the health of the cardiovascular and digestive systems, and helps us heal faster. It has even been shown to be one of the most important factors for living a long and happy life. It makes sense when you understand that the oxytocin gene is one of the oldest in the human genome, at around 500 million years old. We’re hard-wired to connect. And if you’ve ever wondered why you feel so much healthier after a walk in the woods than you do sitting behind a computer, it’s because we’re hard-wired to be in nature too! According to science, over millions of years of evolution, humans have spent 99.99% of their time in natural surroundings. By contrast, we’ve only spent 0.01% of our time in modern surroundings.
Unsurprisingly, natural surroundings have been shown to improve mental health, reduce stress, improve heart rhythms, and boost the immune system. So, given that connection is natural and it’s what we’re made for, we can tap into the beneficial effects simply by connecting. That’s the hack!
NOW TRY SOMETHING NEW
Engage your energies
1 Make a list of some of the things you could do, starting today, to increase your connection. The three areas to consider are: with people, with animals and with nature. In making your list for people, you might consider connecting with loved ones, friends, neighbours, colleagues, even people you don’t know, simply through being helpful or friendly towards them. If you don’t have a large social circle, you could even join a class of some kind to meet like-minded people to connect with.
2 Choose at least one item from each of the three areas to put it into practice as soon as possible.
3 Keep a journal of how these increased connections cause you to feel. You can use these notes as way of remembering the connections you’ve made, seeing how far you’ve come, and to look back on whenever you feel you need a boost.