“Social connectivity does more for your health than quitting smoking.”
~ Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)

  • We all want to be resilient. (Right???)
  • Resilience is built by cultivating:
    • Self-Care
    • Spiritual Practices
    • Social Support
  • Therefore, we suffer when we don’t do the following:
    • Invest in healthy habits for ourselves
    • Cultivate spiritual practices of some sort
    • Connect with others

So, whether you are a service member or military veteran or not, I encourage you to embrace a mindful Memorial Day this weekend.

By no means am I the first, nor will I be the last, to say that we are beings designed to connect with each other, our communities, and something/one bigger than ourselves. This connection is what my colleague, Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas, and others in the social sciences call a “protective effect.” It’s so protective, in fact, that true social connectivity does more good for you than stopping a smoking habit.

Although Kate discusses this need for social cohesion mostly in regards to the military veteran population in her TEDx Greenville talk, she acknowledges that it is not just a veteran problem. Sure, we veterans do face it in complex and unique ways when transitioning from military to civilian life. Our need for new identity and often a seeming loss of purpose-driven work are big factors, but most importantly we lose our close-knit community of brothers and sisters in arms, and the health impacts are big and bad when that happens.

But anyone who has ever dealt with extended isolation has felt the physiological impacts of it. The elderly shut in, the socially anxious, a single parent navigating a nasty divorce without support, moving to a new town and knowing no one for awhile, or a person staying in an emotionally abusive relationship, all suffer. Civilian or veteran, when living in an isolated manner in one way or another, we simply don’t live as long or as well as those who are well-connected.

Thankfully, we know of some antidotes to social isolation. Last week, I got to partake in some of those antidotes through my work. I got to teach (separately from but traveled with my friend) the neuroscience of yoga and how to integrate elements of it into private counseling sessions at the 4th Annual Veterans Mental Health Summit in Indiana. From Indiana, we flew to California where over the weekend, The Mission Continues provided a powerful point of connection women veterans, myself included. The Mission Continues is an organization linking veterans to their communities through service work. This past weekend, they gave back to a particular group of their veteran volunteers via the Women Veteran Leadership Summit held in San Francisco, CA. There, I met amazing women who keep finding ways to creatively serve the communities they care about. It left me feeling reinvigorated to do more of that myself! And gosh, I felt fortunate to be able to deliver a bit of my purpose-driven work alongside my friend and colleague, Kate, on Saturday morning and afternoon teaching resilience tactics, self-care techniques, and mindful movement of breath, body, and brain.

So, this coming weekend – Memorial Day weekend – where you may be tempted to check out via BBQs and beers, I have one ask of you first – don’t wait for a veteran to reach out to you. Reach out to them. A veteran with stress or moral injury isn’t the crass stereotype of a dude shooting people up in a public place; it’s the veteran who quietly dies by suicide alone in their apartment who likely doesn’t have the energy to reach out. So, reach out to them.This need to connect whether we call it social support, or being “engaged and excited” like I do in my book, Just Roll With It: 7 Battle Tested Truths for Building a Resilient Life, is vital for all of us. If you recognize it’s importance, then I’ll finish up this letter today with a few concluding points/questions. Are you:

  1. Willing to get a little uncomfortable as you connect? It can radically change your health.
  2. Serving? If so, where? If not, why not and when will you change that?
  3. A veteran, or know one? REACH OUT TO THEM this Memorial Day weekend.

Lastly, let me know how I can help. If connecting with me serves a person, purpose, or community, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I hope you have an engaged and excited weekend! 🙂

Before you go –> Some of the programs I have that may help you continue to connect with yourself and others are:
1. JUNK FOOD DETOX – 10 day email guide – $19.99-$29.99

2. SUGAR CLEANSE – 10 day email guide – $19.99-$29.99

3. VEG PLEDGE – 10 day email guide – $19.99-$29.99

4. 6-month personalized, one-on-one HEALTH COACHING 

5. Traditional counseling with a twist

6. My book, Just Roll With It: 7 Battle Tested Truths for Creating a Resilient Life – $9.95-$24.95

7. My 30-day holistic wellness journal $20

Lastly, if you don’t follow me on social media (links below), and you’d like to get up to date on a few of my daily writings since my last newsletter to you, check out:
An Easy Sunday Meditation
Service Human In-Training part 3, Epic Fail
Faith – What Is It Good For?