A Call to Connect

By Lashaun Dale

Let’s be friends! We may never say that anymore, but it’s hard to forget the feeling of meeting someone or a group of someones you instantly vibe with, who gets you and who understands all that you are going through—who do not care what you wear, but can lift you when you need a boost.

Connection and community are great treasures of the human experience, and of course we have been told many times over: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Research agrees the reference group effect, as it is called, has a lasting impact our self-evaluation, colors our opinions of ourselves and our self-esteem, and influences our behavior. Health, fitness and wellness habits are easily affected by peer pressure.

That’s why we feel like we have hit the jackpot on the rare occasion that we are instantly welcomed into a community that lifts us up, helps us get stronger and challenges us to do great things we never thought we could do. And this is exactly how you feel the moment you connect with Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, founders of the global phenomenon Tone It Up and best girlfriends to millions of women around the world who inspire and support one another to live the life of their dreams—one that’s fit, healthy and happy!

Also, in this issue, world-renowned thought leader Steven Kotler breaks down the triggers for group flow, and Emily Fletcher guides us through the technology inside each and every one of us and reminds us that healing ourselves is the best thing we can do for those around us, too. And for those of you who love stories or are eager to get your message out, we caught up with literary coach and author Kelly Notaras on how to bring the book that’s inside you into the world.

It’s always a good time to try new movement like our Better Body Workout and to examine our relationship with food. Don’t miss our conversation with wellness expert Nealy Fisher as she sorts out how to make food flexible and even more important, fun again. Inspired to reboot your spring transformation? Celebrity fitness trainer Jorge Cruise introduces us to the ease and power of intermittent fasting and The Cruise Control method.

Whatever you may need, we know that being surrounded by the right people in the right environment can keep you moving toward your goals. Finding your tribe is indeed amazing and adds so much to your life–and it doesn’t have to be a ton of hard work. Below are a few ways to find some extra community in your life.

Take a course

One of the quickest ways to connect with others is to immerse yourself in a learning environment. Take a course, join a mastermind group or enroll in a skill-building community or learn a new craft. Whatever your interest, find a new setting that can provide the learning environment and opportunities for deep interactions and connection.

Get social

…And not just online—although you can certainly make amazing connections, that alone does not lead to lasting well-being. To truly feel part of a community, it’s important to connect IRL with people out having a great time. If new in town, try spending time in a shared workspace or attend a group meditation class at a bookstore—there are so many places to connect once you set that intention.

Join the group

Fitness and sports activities are incredible ways to meet like-minded friends. According to research published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association, people who work out in groups report a decrease in stress by 26 percent and a significantly elevated quality of life. Find connection with a group fitness dance or cycle class; join a team that is training for an event like a Spartan race; or a sign up for a hiking adventure. Your group will cheer you on as you pursue your goals, help with accountability and give you an extra push to achieve more than expected.

With full gratitude and inspiration,

Video credit: Caiafilm, iStock
Photo credit: Flamingo Images, Stocksy


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Lashaun Dale

Lashaun Dale loves yoga and fitness and finds magic in movement, music and mobs of people. She holds degrees in International Relations, Philosophy and Applied Anthropology, as well as an MPH from the School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York. With two decades of group fitness programming experience, Dale is former editor-in-chief of 24Life magazine, a regular contributor to SELF and Women’s Health and Fitness, as well as popular blogs and podcasts. She’ll teach yoga anytime she is given an opportunity to get her om on.