One of the most important things that you can do to positively influence your health… is to find your tribe. Develop and foster a community. The sense of belonging is very much connected with our perception of happiness in our lives.

Harvard did a 7-year prospective study, and it found that one the most important factors contributing to living a healthy life was to have a strong support structure and good friendships. We see this in societies as well. Specifically, when we look at blue zones around the world, where there is a high density of centenarians, we see that one of the main commonality amongst these societies is, a strong sense of community, a tribe mentality.

The other day I heard a quote that I heard many times in the past but it really spoke to me and made me think about connection in our lives and how it contributes to our happiness in life. You might heard this one as well, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.

This is a popular quote most recently attributed to Tim Ferris, but is always touted amongst business moguls, taking this into the realm of success and business. But it can be applied to anyone and in all life situations. We are! The Sum of the people we surround ourselves with. Happiness, just like sadness and pessimism can be contiguous. Think about the last time you were around a good friend, someone you consider apart of your core five.

How did you feel before hanging out with them? How did you feel during your interaction with them? And then afterwards? Did you notice yourself shifting just by being around them? And think back to all times you spent with this person. Are the emotions and feelings usually a common occurrence? We all have people in our lives that come and go, or stay a long time. When we really look into these relationships, we can see patterns of how these people have molded certain emotions and meanings in our lives.

People have studied the psychology of our relationships and how they have the power to shape how we view the world and how we view ourselves. It can take one person to believe in another person, even if that person doesn’t believe in themselves. This type of support and influence can allow a person to fully shine, grow and thrive. There are so many examples of this in our world. The people we choose to have besides us, really do have such a meaningful place in how we travel and navigate our lives.

I am reminded of one instance with a dear friend. She’s a rock. Someone that continues to infuse my life with only “what’s possible” and a constant and never dying belief that we are artists and can create whatever we want on our canvas of life. There was one time in particular that I remember, when I was going through my divorce and it was, just… a hard day. I felt really defeated. I had her over for dinner (thankfully). I was mentioning the stress around the particular events with my ex-husband, which shifted me into a very scarcity mindset. I rejected and fought against any words or thoughts that I had the ability to take risks in my life at this point and really be okay. I got stuck thinking really small. I didn’t realize it this particular night, it was only during another evening surrounded by more people that just resonated on the level of, there is no limit to what we can do, we limit ourselves through our beliefs and our thinking, but our abilities are endless. It jarred me and reminded me of this particular night with my friend. She was relentless with every mention of some limitation I brought up, she had a retort of how and why to rise above it. I had to do the work around that night with my friend and then in the situation with other that choose each other and choose to believe in what is ultimately possible. It took time to settle in and resonate within me. She was the one that planted the seed that was able to germinate into the recognition of my defeating type thoughts with her that night, and enabled me to move forward and own my strength and abilities in this world.

It gives me “truth-bumps”, (Goosebumps but really don’t they usually come up when you know something is so true??) when I think about it even now.

We are connected to each other so beautifully. We are influenced by each other. If my friend was super negative and pessimistic, I would probably have gone deeper into that scarcity mindset. Thankfully, I haven chosen to surround myself with positive and really uplifting people. We thrive in relationships where there is a symbiotic exchange. We give and we get. We love and are loved. We listen and we talk.

Lifestyle hack tip: Make an effort to reach out to one person every day that’s in your core group of friends. Or if you want to push yourself, reach out to a person you admire or want to get to know and start making plans to meet up at least once a month. Once that becomes easy – try doing it once a week.