NIWH is about to publish its first book on transforming relationships using our Behavioral Engagement model of behavior change. The book discusses all the interwoven components of how and why people change their behaviors and the number one overriding factor in why we behave as we do.
At the top of the list is our needs as human beings, right next to food, water and shelter, is the need to be in relationship with others. The Belongingness Theory is held by many psychologists to be rooted in evolution and how humans have been able to survive and thrive in extremely difficult and often dangerous environments. According to the theory, our bodies release neurotransmitter chemicals when we socialize and these neurochemicals have a positive affect on our nevous systems and sense of security and being part of a larger and safer group of others.
We all form what is referred to as “para-relationships” as well. In these realtionships we assoiate ourselves with others like TV characters in sit-coms or with groups of people, like a football team. These attachments allows us to expand our sense of “tribe” and belongingness as well as provide a “reflective” sense of accomplishment or achievement when the groups we associate with win a championship or an Emmy award.
Our realtionships and a sense of belonging are a top priority to all of us. We often lose sight of this until a relationship has ended or someone has passed away. Freud accuratedly said “we are never so hopelessly unhappy as when we lose love.” When it comes to our health, we often do not connect how imperative the experience of loving, being loved and belonging are to our overall well being and immune function. It feels important that from time to time that we remind ourselves about what really matters in our lives as our health and our relationships are intimately intertwined.
Do something good for your self today, and for those you are in relationship with. Take a moment of gratitude for the gift of family, friends, spouse, partner, peers who enrich your life and keep you healthy.
Without the gift of sharing love, our lives and our health suffer.
With all good wishes,
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