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Community is Not Cancelled: Why Your Brain Needs Community

I am often impressed when someone says they’re a “self-made ______.” But I am more impressed when someone I look up to says “I am nothing without my team/friends/family”. Being able to ask for support and lean on others when needed is brave and a coveted skill in all areas of life.

The people you look up to didn’t get to where they are by themselves, and although we may not see the favors, late-night convos, and encouragement that made that person who they are, we know a strong community is essential for success and overall happiness.

Being an entrepreneur and moving to different cities throughout my life, I have always put extreme emphasis on finding my people. Like-minded humans who help me grow and learn and become the best version of myself. This has not always been easy but nothing worth it ever is, right?

There are lots of powerful neuroscience-backed benefits to community (including the fact that it’s WAY more fun to do things together than apart).

Here are a few reasons why your brain (and life!) need the power of positive community:

  • Community helps your brain function. Studies have shown that positive community can improve our cognitive vitality -- in other words, community keeps our brain active and engaged and decreases our stress. Spending time with others can help our concentration, memory, and decision making — as well as causing lots of activity in the reward circuit parts of our brains that make us feel good!

  • Community helps you learn better. Learning is just different on your own, but there’s something about learning with others that motivates us to do better and helps show us our blind spots. Our friends can be our greatest teachers and our minds tend to absorb information better when processed with others.

  • Community helps you face challenges with optimism. A professor at the University of Virginia had his students stand at the base of a hill and assess how steep it was. The people who stood beside their friends have low estimates, while those who stood alone gave high estimates. The hill didn’t change; the perception did. Community support can shift our mindset and make mountains look like molehills.

  • Community improves your happiness. Leading happiness researchers found that the happiest people had strong relationships — and that those relationships were fundamental for happiness. And happiness is contagious! A Harvard Medical school study showed that having a happy friend improves your chances of happiness by 15% -- and the effect can last as long as a year!

If you are looking for a community of like-minded people to help you learn and grow, we are launching something soon for you! More details to come on how to become a part of the Mindfulness Matters community right here in upcoming weeks.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

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