In the fight for your health, your friends matter. Did you know that if you have a close friend who becomes obese, your chances of becoming obese jump by 57 percent? That’s according to a study that looked at people and their social networks over more than 30 years.
The same team of researchers—Nicholas A Christakis and James H. Fowler—also looked into the flip side of friendship. Could healthy behaviors rub off on a person’s social circle? According to their study in the New England Journal of Medicine, it can. For example, if a smoker’s friend quits smoking, it increases the smoker’s chances of quitting by 36 percent.
The pair of researchers eventually put their findings into a book called Connected exploring how behaviors spread among friends.
I think it’s a good reminder for all Warriors to think carefully about the friends you make because their habits could influence yours and vice versa. Here are five strategies to find like-minded people who care about brain health.
- Join (or start) a book club for better health. A book club that focuses on reading works that promote better brain and body health can expand your circle of health-minded friends. Of course, I would recommend any books by my husband, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Amen, or myself. But there are many other physicians, nutritionists, and functional medicine experts who have a lot to offer in this arena, including Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dave Asprey, and Tony Robbins.
- Get physical with your friends. Physical activity is one of the primary keys to winning the fight for your health. Get involved in activities where you can meet other people who are dedicated to staying fit and strong. I’ve met some of my best friends through martial arts training, and we are constantly motivating each other to be our best.
- Sign up for group meditation sessions. Being around people who are mindful can help you be more mindful. And even though you may not be talking a lot during meditation, you can connect with other people after class.
- Take healthy cooking classes. If you want to surround yourself with people who understand that food is medicine, take cooking classes that focus on foods you will love that will also love you back. Cooking together is a very social activity where you can meet people who can help you stick with a brain healthy diet.