Getting to Yes, And

Christine Porath: Mastering Community


Christine Porath

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Kelly welcomes back Georgetown professor Christine Porath to discuss her new book Mastering Community: The Surprising Ways Coming Together Moves Us From Surviving to Thriving.

I recall growing up in communities where values were not aligned, but that didn’t stop us from coming together when we needed to.

“I think the idea is that it's really divisive right now. We find ourselves kind of separating because of our differences - let's say whether it's politics or other things - and I think this only leads us to greater isolation. This is feeding us in ways that are really hurtful to ourselves, like the loneliness epidemic. I started this all pre pandemic: this book was in the works. And then it was like wow. You know, the stats are going to be alarming if I was able to update them quickly enough, because where we come out of this is far worse than the intro stats allude to.”

It’s also interesting to think about our physical selves within communities.

“I really love the idea of - and I think it is tied to civility - how we take care of ourselves, meaning physical well-being is tied to how we can show up and be a part of our communities. It's how we are present in our interactions that contributes to all of that. But probably the research that I stumbled upon that I love the most I think can be helpful to people is that our muscles are like a pharmacy that pumps hope molecules into our system.”

And there’s science behind the importance of movement.

“I remember teaching the energy management stuff and one of the parts that struck me was that movement could be as or more effective than the leading depression drug.  There was a study out of Duke Medical School, and this was years ago, but that whole idea that if we don't feel good for any reason, whether you're treated badly whether you're isolated, what have you, a good way to kind of jumpstart our own well-being is to start moving.  Whenever I'm in a rut, personally or professionally, that's kind of where I turn.”

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