Humans thrive in society, and social interaction impacts our mental and physical well-being.
Enjoying close social ties — with work colleagues, friends, partners, and family members — can make us happy and improve our overall life satisfaction in the long run.
One of the most exciting findings to emerge from neuroscience in recent years underlines the brain’s inherently social nature. Matthew Lieberman, a professor of biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, thinks people are even more motivated by something beyond self-interest: the drive for social connection. He says,” Just as human beings have a basic need for food and shelter, we also have a basic need to belong to a group and form relationships. We desire to be in a loving relationship, to fit in at school, to avoid rejection and loss, to see our friends do well and be cared for, and to share good news with our family.”
In todays fast paced life stress is at epidemic proportions and is affecting the health and the health of the relationships of millions of people.
Charles W. Mayo, M.D. writes, “Worry and stress affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects heart action.”
So does being social bring us any actual health benefits?
The answer is yes, scientists are investigating the biological and behavioral factors that account for the health benefits of connecting with others. For example, they’ve found that it helps relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system.
Susan Pinker, author of The village effect :Why Face-to-face Contact Matters says “Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future, so simply […] shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust, and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress.”
She adds that, as a result of social interaction, “dopamine is [also] generated, which gives us a little high and it kills pain, it’s like a naturally produced morphine.”
A Hara Meeting does a whole lot more.
Firstly we down-regulate the nervous system, the hara exercises bring about a deep relaxation and helps to heal the nervous system, once we are restful, we can now relate from this place of grace. Socializing is now done from a different place because we are already relaxed and this is very important. Sharing and Eating a meal together allows the time and the right environment for the nervous system to continue the healing. This combined process generates feelings of goodness, and this is a great resource.We heal through good experiences, in effect we are reprogramming our nervous systems each time we have a good experience.
The whole context of a Hara Meeting is conducive to health, healing and good connections. To talk about it is rather dry, one needs to experience it to know and enjoy it.
To be relaxed when we eat makes a whole lot of healthful sense.
Digestion is another aspect that Hara Meetings are good for. We often think of digestion in terms of the food we eat. And while the quality of our food is an important aspect of digestive health, the effect of stress on digestion should not be underestimated. All the healthy foods, enzymes and diets in the world can’t help you if your digestive difficulties are caused by stress.
When stressed our bodies shut down the digestion so we can use the energy from the gut to take care of that which is stressing us. The stress response involves the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Stress also causes inflammation throughout the digestive system, which leads to aggravation of the digestive tract and affects the assimilation of nutrients.
The Best time to eat is when we are relaxed.
Being in a relaxed state allows the production of adequate digestive enzymes and lets our parasympathetic nervous system – also known as the “rest and digest” system – do its thing.
Hara Meetings- A tool for happiness and longevity
Let’s follow Mother Teresa’s Advice,
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Doing the Hara Health Exercises before our core team meeting at Leuven Value Network was an invigorating experience. We moved swiftly through our agenda and came up with fresh and valuable insights during our discussions. The Hara Exercises enabled us to make important and strategic decisions through an empowered state of being. I felt much more focused and open to listen to what my colleagues had to share. I often find it difficult to allow others to finish speaking and interrupt them by sharing my opinions instantly. This time I had the capacity to hear more consciously, allowing me to better understand another’s perspective, while learning something new.
Siddhant Babla ( Leuven, Belgium)