Social Connection

Social connection is a pillar of health. It is a core psychological need, essential to feeling satisfied with your life. Humans connect by vocal tone, facial expressions, and touch. They connect through word and discussions. They connect through similarities and even through differences. Connection is imperative to building relationships with children, with family members, coworkers, spouses, and friends.

The past 2 years have put a strain on our abilities to form connections based on the core ways that human beings connect. Our goal for this February and beyond should be to focus on ways we can reconnect: to ourselves, to our families, our friends, coworkers, and society. We are emerging from a harsh strain on our social and biological systems, with some anxiousness, some  elation.


Connection is the key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle

The timing of our blog topic for February coincides with the much anticipated release of my mentor, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald’s book, Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer, Better. (All of you reading this definitely need to add it to your health and wellness book collection!) It was not lost on Dr. Fitzgerald to include the importance of connection, community, relationships, and touch in her work analyzing the dietary and lifestyle factors that affects markers and processes of aging.

She notes a poignant study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2021 from the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine which showed better outcomes of. peer-supported group visits than one-on-one visits with functional medicine physicians. (1,2) The power of a connected tribe is important to reaching one’s individual goals and making dietary and lifestyle changes is so much easier with support. Especially so from those who are on a similar journey or who have an understanding of why you are changing what you are changing.


Physiologic Responses

Other significant aspects of connection include our own physiologic responses, which affect our health. Dr. Fitzgerald includes a description of oxytocin, the “love hormone”. Oxytocin is released when you enjoy physical contact with people, even from contact with domestic animals. (1)

Dr. Fitzgerald lists the many benefits of oxytocin, including: (1)

  • Coping with stress and recovery from trauma
  • Having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions
  • Improving glucose tolerance and lowering blood pressure
  • Producing feelings of love and connection to others
  • Creating a drive to reproduce
  • Creating a bond between newborn and mother
  • Helping you stop eating when you are full

Oxytocin actually declines with age and low levels are associated with many chronic health issues, like diabetes, dementia, depression, and hypertension. (1)


Low levels of Oxytocin = Faster Aging

By not connecting and having physical contact with others, necessary levels of oxytocin are not being created and you are actually aging yourself faster!! When paired with a nutrient-dense diet, exercise, a healthy environment, and emotionally-and spiritually-supportive practices, we can actually slow or reverse certain aspects and markers of aging. We can live a more vibrant life, relatively free from the constraints of chronic illness. Without connection, we are not operating at full capacity as humans.


Connection, Health, & Wellbeing

Connection is so important to your health and wellbeing. Humans are social creatures. We need a tribe, we need a collective. For health and longevity, connection is imperative. Keep connection in mind and in heart this February, the month of “love”. Look to connect with those who mean the most to you and even those you’ve just met. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you!


  1. Fitzgerald K. Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer, Better. New York, NY: Hatchett Go; Jan 2022 199-201.
  2. Beidelschies M, et al. Patient outcomes and costs associated with functional medicine-based care in a shared versus individual setting for patients with chronic conditions: a retrospective cohort study. BMJ Open. Nov 2021. Doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-048294

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