Why ‘Independence’ can kill you!

5 ideas and actions that can change your life now!



“Our individual life stories start with other people—we come from someone and somewhere. A story of “me” is really a story of “we.”  Dr Sarah McKay

Last week I touched briefly on what Independence means and some of the benefits being interdependent and connected to Nature for our health & wellbeing. This week, I want to share what I’ve learned about what I call Social Interdependence from my recent studies with the Neuroscience Academy and Dr Sarah McKay.

 Freedom is a wonderful state of being but it doesn’t mean we should be independent from others and that we must do everything ourselves.  In fact, it may be that loneliness may become the next public health crisis. Here’s how Interdependence can help you live a longer, more fulfilling live physically, mentally, emotionally and at your core, spiritually.


“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”   John Donne


Define your ikigai.

Ikigai (生き甲斐) simply means your ‘reason for being’. I first learned this through my entrepreneur mentor, Roger James Hamilton which prompts me to ask the question ‘WHY am I here?’ Get really clear what this means for you.


Have fun!

Focus on relationships and activities you enjoy most. What’s the point of living if you’re not enjoying it? It’s been a difficult lesson for myself over recent years but I’m working on it.  More on relationships below but do what you love and love what you do!


Create your own ‘Mohai’.

Mohai (模合) is another Japanese concept that’s about creating your own social network and I’m not talking about social media or the film! It’s about surrounding yourself with people you have similar values, interests and passion. You can also ask others for help creating this.


“Friends can exert a measurable and ongoing influence on your health behaviors in a way that a diet never can.”     Dan Buettner


Spread your wings!

There is an incredible benefit to interacting with people from other age groups. This has been proven. The more diverse your ‘Mohai’, the more meaningful your life can be. I’ve been practicing this all my life


Get a pet.

Although this is a growing area of research, we all know intuitively that interactions with our animal friends have therapeutic, physical, psychological and social benefits.  Taking care of our pets gives us a sense of purpose and structure. I’ve witnessed huge benefits to my father’s mental health over the years.


Of course, there are many more ways to live a healthier and happier life but this aspect of our Social Interdependence is so critical, it may be that it’s more powerful than any fitness or diet!  Three studies or projects support this idea that you can dive deeper with.


It so happens that the longest study on health & happiness (over 75 years now) is a Harvard study led by Robert Waldinger.  He states, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health”. This is one of the inspirations that led me to create our recent Science and Practice of Happiness Playshops as we learned and experienced how important the emotional aspects of our health is and how sleep plays a part in this.


The other recent discovery through my Neuroscience Academy work was learning about the ‘Blue Zones’ which Dan Buettner has been working on the past 9 years. A graphic summary is featured in this post.


Finally, there’s a body of work through Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai that investigates the nutrition and neurobiology of these Blue Zones and guess what? Sleep is recognized as Rest in the 

Acronym, NEURO which is worth a look at.


“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.”  Mahatma Gandhi


In our next post, we’ll dive into exactly what you can do to build and develop relationships and Interdependence. Meanwhile, if you want to chat further, I’m here in your service. Let’s chat