Dr. Miaken Zeiger | Monday September 21, 2020
The Importance of Community
As we move into the last quarter of 2020, I find myself reflecting on this year. To say it’s been challenging is putting it lightly. There have been facets of division, fear, isolation, uncertainty, death, change; amid the dichotomy of rest, rejuvenation, self-reflection. The required “slowing down” has created more time to spend with family, craft schedules/intention around balance and desires among more or changing responsibilities. The outlook and perspective we experience vary widely from person-to-person regarding the state of our health, safety, and future.
Finding the “Constant”.
What variable can be a constant? My response: community. Your choice to engage in community, to be intentional with who you surround yourself and engage with, listen to, and find support and connection with. Understanding how community plays a role in your well-being is vital to your longevity, outlook on life, experience, and so much more. Here’s why.
What Influences Longevity?
What we understand now is that most of what we express in our body is not in our genes. In fact, only 10% of how long we live is determined by our genes. According to a 2006 Danish study, “genetic influences on lifespan are minimal prior to age 60, but increase thereafter. These findings support for the search for genes affecting longevity in humans, especially in advanced ages.”1
Are You Lonely or Socially Secure?
Recent analyses by Steve W. Cole out of the Department of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine, have discovered broad alterations in the expression of human genes as a function of differing socio-environmental conditions. Meaning, gene expression (that which makes you who you are; and varies depending on the life you live,) are different and determined by whether a person is lonely or socially secure. According to Cole’s study, 78-genes that work together to increase inflammation were busier than usual when a person was lonely, regardless of whether the individual was sick. Furthermore, 131 genes that usually cooperate to control inflammation were under-active; and these under-active genes included key antiviral genes.2
Another article, by Kings Fund, found that a person’s social networks have a significant positive impact on their overall health. It was found those with an adequate social network had a 50% greater survival than those who had poor relationships. Social support has been found to be particularly important in increasing resilience and promoting recovery from illness.3
What we know.
People who live in community, connected to others live longer, have a greater resiliency to stress, have a positive genetic expression which makes you who you are. According to Cole, “stress is a good risk factor for disease, but social isolation is the best established, most robust social or psychological risk factor for disease out there. Nothing can compete.”4
So, I ask you – who are you connected with? Today, I choose not to be in isolation. Will you join me? In these times of Covid, Black Lives Matter, elections, the constant media message of social distancing, traversing the new normal – it is of utmost importance.
At Zeigler Chiropractic, we work to create a community focused on vitality and health. Those who want to be proactive, more-informed, self-advocates for themselves and family. When you choose chiropractic in my office, you’re joining a community of like-minded individuals committed to a life of resiliency, connection and longevity. Our expansion cycle theme, to end the year, is community. Because I know, when we build community, my life and yours, is enhanced. As we end our expansion cycle on Patient Appreciation Week, October 5-8, 2020, I ask that you invite those you love to join us. Give them the opportunity to embark on the journey you’ve already chosen. Love and appreciate you.
PS… if you’re interested in learning how to engage in community, follow these links for great resources in how to intentionally create your community. And, stay tuned for a future post on how to engage and get the most out of your community at Zeigler Chiro!
1. Buettner, Dan. Ted Talks: How to Live to be 100
2. Cole, Steven W. “Social Regulation of Human Gene Expression: Mechanisms and Implications for Public Health.” American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, Oct. 2013.
3. The KingsFund: Strong Communities, Wellbeing and Resilience
4. Cole, Steven W. “Social Regulation of Human Gene Expression.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, Jun 1, 2009, pp. 127-131.