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THRIVE

Discover how vulnerability improves your mental well-being

Social connections are the relationships we have with others either individually or in groups. Strong social ties are associated with lower blood pressure rates, a better immune system and lower levels of stress. They help prevent chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As humans we are all interconnected.

I'd like to take a moment to share with you how I continue to discover the importance of social connections in my own life.

I am on a wellness journey of exploring anxiety and improving my mental health. When anxiety is present in my mind and body, I feel isolated and like I am suffering alone. In the past, I have tried to numb my emotions of fear or worry, telling myself, "Just get over it." I try to control my environment to make things "perfect." 

In my continual process of healing, I have discovered many wonderful avenues including: 

  • yoga
  • mindfulness
  • counseling
  • therapy
  • exercise, and
  • eating well 

I have come to understand that these healing modalities are all contingent upon social connection and being vulnerable.

I realize now that I am not alone. I have started to practice what researcher Brené Brown has termed "wholeheartedness." To have the courage to share my story, to be imperfect, to embrace being compassionate to myself and to offer others the same. I am learning to let go of who I think I should be as a perfect role model for health and wellness. Instead, I am being who I am, a person full of strength, potential and wholly human.

To be fully alive means to live with uncertainty and to experience the full spectrum of human emotions, including fear, sorrow and rejection. When I allow myself to feel and not "selectively numb specific emotions" as Brown describes, positive emotions are further illuminated in my life including joy, gratitude and contentment.

Cultivating our courage towards this path of "wholeheartedness" begins with telling our story to someone we trust. I shared my journey of fear and imperfections with my neighbor and I learned of hers. Since then, we have become one another's 4 a.m. friends, relying on one another at any time when our lives are anything but "perfect." 

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