Humans are social beings. Early humans depended on the community for survival. Living in clans enabled them to share food, care for infants, and build social networks to meet the daily challenges of their environments. We’re not so different today. We forge social connections and embrace communities to learn new things, share our experiences, and gain or give support.
Hardwired to Connect
Extensive neuroscience research shows that humans are hardwired to connect with others. We find solace when we belong. Scientific evidence even demonstrates that mirror neurons in our brains are stimulated when we interact, making pathways in our brain light up to mirror the emotions and behaviors the other person is conveying when talking with someone.
The Importance of Human Connection
Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” theory, published in 1943, argued that a person couldn’t reach fulfillment without love and belonging and that it followed closely behind basic needs, such as food and shelter. At the time, there was little scientific evidence to support his theory. However, emerging research gives his theory credibility and takes it a step further, suggesting that the human need to connect socially is a basic human need—as crucial to survival as food, shelter, and water.
Even without scientific proof that humans need to be connected, the way we live our lives clarifies that humans desire a sense of community. We thrive in groups; whether belonging to a social group, a religious group, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts, a fitness group, we find solace by belonging.
In every culture, women have fostered and nurtured communities. From sewing circles to book clubs, sororities to professional associations, running clubs, to quilting clubs, women have historically understood the power of community.
While some people are quick to point out the downside of modern technology, the other side of the coin is that it can alleviate isolation for those who are unable for various reasons to connect in person. The pandemic made that fact clear. Social platforms such as Facebook provide people with a way to connect with like-minded people based on interests, and you can find a MeetUp online for just about any interest.
The Link Between Community and Health
It doesn’t just feel good to be part of a group; being connected has proven tangible health benefits. Just how powerful is a person’s social connection to health? One landmark study showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. Research has also shown compelling evidence that strong social connections can:
Increase longevity by as much as 50 percent
Help you recover from disease faster
Experience lower levels of anxiety and depression
Boost your self-esteem
The Breast Cancer Community
Receiving a diagnosis of any serious disease, such as breast cancer, can send a person’s life into a tailspin. Accessing information is essential, but equally as important is connecting with others experiencing similar things. It’s not just helpful for survivors, but their families and caretakers, too.
Online breast cancer support communities provide you with an opportunity to meet other women in various stages, including some who had it many years ago and are living happy healthy lives. Knowing long-term survivors can help you realize that breast cancer doesn’t automatically mean you’re doomed. You can also build a sense of comradeship with those at your stage who understand your fears and concerns because they’re going through a similar experience.
You are never alone when you become part of our global community. Instead, you’re surrounded by others who have been touched by breast cancer.
Our Thursday Night Thrivers MeetUp goes beyond a steady dose of breast cancer stories. Sure, people are generous with their personal stories and helpful hints, but it’s also a chance to form long-lasting friendships. They will support you, laugh with you, empower you, and always be by your side. Not in the mood to discuss cancer? No problem, check out our Breast Cancer Book Club™.
Connect with our community for resources and support, and know that you are not alone!