You all know that eating the right foods, enjoying a goodnight’s sleep, and getting moderate exercise promote wellbeing and longevity. There’s something else every human requires for optimal health and happiness that is often ignored in today’s world—social connection! Humans are fundamentally social beings with brains that evolved for social solidarity as a strategy for survival. Yet, we are living in a time of “social bankruptcy” — a society driven by psychological debt where feelings of loneliness and despair are alarmingly on the rise. As former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Murthy states, “The greatest health crisis of our generation is the illness of isolation.” Recent studies indicate that enjoying strong social connections increase your chance for longevity as much as 50%. So the next time you watch a movie together as a family, catch up with a friend over coffee in realtime, or celebrate those special moments with your loved ones, you’re doing more than just having a good time—you’re boosting your health and living longer! Learn more…
Society teaches us that happiness is a result, something you achieve or gain through accomplishments.
But a growing body of scientific research shows the opposite. Happiness is a state of mind, an attitude that can be nurtured and nourished regardless of external factors.
In fact, science demonstrates that people who are happy first are more successful later on: they have more energy and show more passion. And their enthusiasm is contagious. This is the foundational idea behind ABSRI: happiness matters now.
We unleash the passion of individuals, teams, customers and others by helping them put happiness first. We harness happiness to make a difference in lives, in businesses—and in the world.
Do you ever get overcome with unexpected joy when a complete stranger holds the door for you while your hands are full or feel relief the time a random driver lets your car merge into heavy traffic as you’re running late? If so, this is your brain experiencing gratitude. So what exactly is gratitude? It’s the feeling of joy or contentment experienced in recognizing elements of your life that generate a sense of deep appreciation. You experience gratitude whenever you affirm someone, something, or even situations that reveal the positive aspects in your day. What makes gratitude such a powerful emotion is that it transcends the human experience.
In fact, more research into the brain suggests that gratitude became a survival strategy that favored early human pro-social behavior. We humans are fundamentally social beings with brains that evolved to navigate the complex world of our social environment. Gratitude was a tactic that helped regulate and strengthen social solidarity within the tribe. Expressing gratitude also boasts numerous health benefits—from increasing longevity, decreasing anxiety, enjoying a healthier immune system, to getting better sleep. It’s no surprise that gratitude is a hallmark preached by all the world’s spiritual traditions for millennia; for it is a contemplative practice that spreads a wave of happiness and joy out into the world.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving, remember to express gratitude to those in your life or just acknowledge aspects of your day that make you feel genuine appreciation. The more you embody an “Attitude of Gratitude,” the more you experience a happy brain—a happy brain is a healthy and resilient brain. So it turns out the secret in attaining health and happiness is as simple as just learning to be grateful! Read more about The Power of Gratitude…
We live in a momentous time of history. The greatest crisis we face is the Crisis of Connection. The precipitous rise in depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction are manifestations of an underlying epidemic—we witness a society increasingly disconnected from each other, from Nature, from our common humanity, and from our own spiritual essence and human potential. We suffer from these “diseases of despair” as a result of having become socially and spiritually disconnected in an over-connected world. Enjoy our latest talk on learning how revolutionary research in brain science aligns with ancient spiritual wisdom to help us to “Heal the Spirit of a Broken World.”
One of the most powerful human drives is the primal need to belong! Just as there exists a biological need for sleep, food, shelter, and sex; the deep drive for connection is a strategy for survival. Your brain evolved into a social organ that is nourished by being part of a community. In the absence of connection, your body goes into stress—literally! More research into the social brain reveals that one of the root causes of anxiety, social strife, and even political unrest in today’s world is the devastation felt of being unneeded and devalued by our tribe. Cutting edge research in brain science affirms a timeless spiritual truth—the antidote for anxiety is acceptance! Feeling needed nourishes your social brain. We hope you enjoy this beautiful piece by His Holiness the Dalai Lama that explains why this is so true.
“Housewives, workers who do windows, we had executives. And the thing that was the best, everyone helped everyone…I was compelled [to act], as I’m the type of person who can’t stand by and watch other people suffer. And to me they were suffering. They wanted to get off the island. And there was no way for them to get off the island, other than the water.” These are the heartfelt words of Captain Vincent Ardolino describing his bravery and courage on 9/11 as he took part in Operation Boatlift. For those unfamiliar with this event, it is the heroic tale that transpired in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers. Operation Boatlift is the largest known naval evacuation to have taken place in history.
What makes Operation Boatlift so powerful is that without even any hesitation or consideration for their own safety, Ardolino and over a hundred civilian captains instinctively knew what had to be done. Ardolino and his fellow “Boatlifters” from the greater New York metropolitan area organized an impromptu fleet of volunteer ships with one goal in mind—to evacuate the hordes of stranded survivors from the carnage. Why did they act? To save their tribe!
As we commemorate 9/11, we are reminded of humanity’s timeless power and enduring resilience that manifest the moment we become a tribe. Operation Boatlift is a social snapshot that illuminates wisdom advanced throughout the ages and reveals a forgotten secret about our common humanity. In times of tragedy and in moments of strife there exists an evolutionary drive for us to rush to the aid of others—our tribe. Tribe is the backbone of every society. Without our tribe, we perish. Tribe makes sure that we survive and thrive! You’ll know exactly what I mean by watching this powerful video!
If there’s one powerful lesson that the tragic events unfolding from Hurricane Harvey teach us, it is this: When Mother Nature shows Her worst, humanity shines at its very best! Despite the hatred, divisiveness, and polarizing politics that we’ve witnessed the past few months in America, there exists a primal drive in times of crisis to become a tribe. Tribe is an evolutionary product of our social brain—the fundamental idea that the human brain evolved to become a social organ. that was the key to organizing into tribes for the sake of survival, sustenance, and safety. Tribe is the bravery of neighbors risking their own lives to assure the safety of others; the mercy behind Houston mosques becoming 24-hr shelters for victims regardless of faith; a mattress store opening its doors for people to sleep; and the universal stripping away of race, religion, politics, and class. Why does this happen? Compassion knows no labels. In a crisis, everyone suffers in the same way. This video beautifully captures the essence of the America that we all know and love—a nation built upon resilience and reserve, heart and heroism. Hurricane Harvey reminds us of the one tribe we call Humanity!
Whether you admit it or not, you are fundamentally a social creature walking around with a complex social brain wired for tribe. Humans evolved for tribe as a strategy for survival. While tribe also helps you feel a deep and important sense of value, belonging, and engagement in life, there exists a dark side of tribe—tribalism! A relic of your primal “Stone-Age Tribe” brain, tribalism—when left unchecked—it leads to polarization, racism, and social apathy in society. The strategy to overcome the perils of tribalism and to advance the power of tribe is learning how to nourish your social brain with compassion and connection. It is the key for both society and you to thrive. Enjoy TED Video to learn more.
Are you one of the many Americans experiencing greater exhaustion from life? Compared to 20 years ago, 50% of us attribute our daily stress as a product from the stress felt in the workplace! The culprit? Loneliness! In order to know why that is, it’s important to understand a powerful feature about your brain — it is a social organ that evolved for connection and community! Companies that fail to value the importance of the “social brain at work” are at greater risk for employee disengagement, turnover, and lack of productivity. What’s the solution for better workplace performance and personal happiness? Nourishing the social brain by promoting a workplace where people feel value, belonging, and engagement. Read more here.
Why are kitchens and the backyard grill always the most popular places to hang out at parties? The sights, sounds, and smells of gathering over food nourish your social brain—and more studies affirm that a nourished social brain is a happy brain! Your brain evolved as a social organ and is wired for connection and bonding with others as a strategy for survival. Personally, I find that nothing brings us a deeper sense of connection and comfort than communing and laughing over a joyous meal. It’s why holidays like the 4th of July focus around food, friends, and fun times! Read more in our monthly newsletter
Can being more compassionate and kind to others actually be good for your health? The answer is yes! While practicing altruism and helping those in need have always been a hallmark taught by all the world’s religions, it is now one affirmed by more research in brain science and behavioral health. We humans are fundamentally social beings with social brains that evolved for cooperation and connection. In times of strife, your brain rewards pro-social actions by releasing feel-good neurochemicals that boost your own health and happiness. So all the spiritual traditions got it right — being kind and compassionate helps not just others, but you. It’s a win-win all around! Read more here.