My best friend introduced me to the app Marco Polo which has been a game changer for my mental wellbeing. For the month of November, she and I––along with two other friends––connected every morning and followed a gratitude guide to share something specific in our lives.

This single daily intention met a need for connection, support, and belonging. I have felt the difference.

Because of this connection, we’re all in a better place to self-actualize, increasing the feeling that we’re really “living.” For me, I have purpose for the day, if only to check in and love each other.

Dr. Henry Cloud shares a useful story:

Many years ago a study was done with monkeys, measuring the effects of relationships and cortisol levels in the brain. (Cortisol is a hormone associated with high levels of stress.) In this particular experiment, a monkey was put in a cage and exposed to a high level of psychological stress, including loud noises and flashing lights. The scientists intentionally scared him!  

When the monkey was completely terrified, they took a baseline measure of stress hormone levels in the monkey’s brain as it was exposed to these stressors.

Next, the researchers introduced one change into the experiment: they opened the cage door and put a buddy, another monkey, into the cage.

That was it.

Then they exposed the monkeys to the same loud noises and flashing lights, and took another measure of stress hormones.

The result? The level of stress hormones in the brain had dropped in half.

The lone monkey was only half as good at handling stress as the pair was together.

Having a buddy in your “cage” with you can not only get you through hard times, but the feeling of connection also makes you happier.

Here are a few ways to stay connected:
  1. Download the Marco Polo app and get your best friends on board
  2. Gather your family together and eat meals at the table as often as possible
  3. Take quiet walks in nature to stay connected with yourself

Reflect: What ways are you staying connected that create happiness for you? Share with us.


Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through International Coaching Federation (ICF) for INspired Leadership at ESSDACK. She helps professionals get where they want to be, faster. Contact her.

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