Why Building Community Is the Secret to Feeling More Connected
No doubt about it: How you spend your early hours matters. This time sets the tone for the rest of the day and can help you accomplish your goals, whether you’re looking to crush a workout or land a new job. Radha Agrawal, founder of popular morning dance party Daybreaker and author of Belong, agrees. “Your brain is the most malleable first thing in the morning,” she recently told us. “We’ve designed our experience to help people start their day with what we call the Daybreaker D.O.S.E. — happy chemicals (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin) that your brain naturally releases.”
Want to start your day by making happy moves in the right direction? For Agrawal’s stated benefits, it’s about so much more than simply getting up on a certain side of the bed; it’s about tapping early on into the feel-good energy of your tribe, or the community around you. “At Daybreaker, we always say ‘we choose to be happy,’” Agrawal offers. “The single most important thing we can do as humans is to create community — that’s it. Studies have found that strong social ties are vital to our happiness and even our physical health and longevity. Belonging is the essence of what it means to be human and is more important now than ever before. Despite the hundreds of ways to ‘connect’ online via social media, people are feeling more alone than ever before (and in many ways, this can be attributed to this digital confusion).”
Agrawal explains, “Because of this, 42 percent of college students experience anxiety and depression. Isolation has become as harmful to our physical health as being an alcoholic and twice as harmful as being obese. I’ve always believed that one of the keys to finding your community is by being what I call a ‘FYF,’ or a ‘f**k yeah friend.’ FYFs say YES! with a fist pump to life and opportunities. No one really wants to hang around with shoulder-shruggers, so going at life with this level of positivity (and choosing to be happy — life’s too short not to be, right?) is such a surefire way to attract your tribe.”
3 Ways to Build a Feel-Good Tribe Around Yourself
1. Be present and listen. “If you show interest in other humans and get excited about their lives, they’ll want to keep spending time with you,” Agrawal promises. “Share praise and pay compliments when it’s authentic.” Even more, she says to take initiative. “If there’s someone who intrigues you, and you want them as part of your community, follow up and make plans. So many of us let this fall to the wayside, but be persistent.” Phone a friend on your commute, text a family member to ask how they are, or send some snail mail off before you head to the office.
2. Eat together. Few things are more fun than a great group dinner full of engaging convo, big laughs, and tasty treats. “Food is such an incredible tool for bringing people together,” affirms Agrawal. “Getting creative with food can include a beautiful dinner party, but it can also be as simple as snacks for a meeting. When did we stop bringing in sliced apples or leftovers to share with the office? Find a way to convey love, respect, and community by sharing food together.” Morning coffee dates and team bagel brunches totally count!
3. Plan something and share. Not feeling inspired, jazzed, or like you have something fun to look forward to? Take it upon yourself to get a cool event on the calendar for you and your crew. “If you’re the one making the plans, there’s no chance of you ever feeling left out or alone,” Agrawal encourages. “You’ll be constantly surrounded by your tribe. It doesn’t have to be at the scale of Daybreaker (it could be if you wanted though!), but be the one who actually coordinates bringing people together. I say this in my book, and it’s such a big one, ‘The big secret is keeping a community alive is to give, give, give. Have the courage to create and invite others to participate. When you do, the world will open up to you.’”
How do you foster feel-good vibes among your friends? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.
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