An Unusual Way to Health and Happiness

Connection | Valentines | Hari Kalymnios | The Thought Gym

It was Valentine’s Day at the weekend (just gone) and whilst you might no be in an intimate relationship, there is much to be gained from just having great relationships.

This is something that I promote as part of my Leadership B.E.A.T. Model (which is a framework for living, so you can achieve self-mastery, and thus self-leadership. Which is the foundation to leading others). That is, connection to others.

We are inherently connected parts of a whole and we only thrive when we work together and have deep and meaningful relationships. Something I think that social media can help with but mostly hinders (at this present moment). There’s no real substitute for in-person interactions and connections.

In fact, often misinterpreted but Darwin did not emphasis survival of the fittest, but more survival of the fittest community.

It’s a subtle yet hugely impactful distinction.

And so where does that leave us though? What has this to do with health and happiness?

If you are familiar with Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, then you probably already remember the story about the settlers from Roseto, Italy. They all moved to the United States together and founded Roseto, Pennsylvania.

What was interesting was that when doctors and researchers visited the town in the 1960’s they were dumbfounded to see that there were no cases of heart disease in those that were 55 years old or less.

The researchers thought it might be diet, or exercise or lifestyle factors. But these were all as the rest of the population. Mostly bad.

Then they thought it was genetics. People from Roseto were just “hardier” than others. But settlers from Roseto, Italy who moved and settled elsewhere in the United States were just as susceptible to heart disease as anyone else.

What they did notice was the overriding sense of community in Roseto, Pennsylvania. Three and four generations of family living together. Walking down the street people would know your name, take an interest in you, and should anything tragic befall you, the whole community would help out.

This is the key. Valentine’s Day, intermit partner or not. Start to build meaningful relationships if you want to increase your health (and what is probably the most important factor).

Sadly, for those in Roseto, Pennsylvania it didn’t last. As the town grew, others came in, other out and so on, they because just as ill as the rest of the US!

But we can learn our lesson from them, and all the other ‘blue zones’ (areas of the world that have high levels of centenarians) which also have a huge emphasis on family and community.

So what are you waiting for? Take that colleague to lunch and leave your smartphone in your desk drawer!

Let me know what you think below. 

What do you think?