American author and political activist Helen Keller once said, "Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much." Her words ring strikingly true in today's cultural climate, where people across the globe joined forces to flatten the curve for the Covid-19 virus by choosing to self-quarantine. Although the efforts of individuals to protect their own health while showing compassion for others played out on a global scale, the events of recent months offer a tangible example for the power of community.
Whether you are training for a marathon, trying a new eating plan, or even building a business, connecting with others who share the same vision can help position everyone for success. When people come together as a community, the sum is greater than the whole of its parts. Individual contributions become amplified as they are woven together into a tapestry of encouragement, information, and insights that benefit the group as a whole.
In the realm of health and wellness, teaming up with a likeminded group online or in person can provide the added motivation you need to make a plan and stay on course. For example, research shows that for older inviduals, social support from friends can boost their expectations and confidence in their ability to achieve their fitness goals. Similarly, numerous popular weight loss programs leverage the power of encouragement and accountability from group members to help each individual stick to the program and achieve a healthy weight.
Because humans tend to be competitive by nature, people also can be more apt to challenge themselves and push harder toward reaching their target when they know others are watching or striving toward the same objective. Financial incentives, likewise, can be a big motivator. Whether fundraising as part of a team or collaborating with a group of peers to build a start-up, reaching a financial goal feels that much sweeter when you can celebrate success with others who were part of the journey.
But, the benefits of being part of a community go beyond the numbers on the scale or the bottom of the balance sheet. Numerous research studies indicate that having a strong social network can actually help you live longer. Having the support a close-knit group of family members and friends has been shown to lower the chance of death from any cause in women between the ages of 50 and 79, and to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and other cardiac-related diseases among men.
Whether you join a group of cyclists for weekend rides, connect with other health enthusiasts to share recipes, or enjoy conversation with fellow students in an online course for small business owners, plugging in with a supportive group that shares your goals is sure to yield positive results.
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