One is by opening ourselves up to greater social diversity – in other words, doing things like mixing with, or listening to, people who are not “just like us”.
There are many ways in which we differ from each other: age, race, education, home town and so on.
Being asked to interact with someone from a different culture or background requires us to take a leap outside our comfort zones. Even just imagining doing this can have an effect.
Put differently, diversity gives the brain a powerful workout. And, just like a physical workout, it can be incredibly good for us.
They can also create a feeling of connectedness and general kindness.
Opening ourselves to new experiences can seem hard to do, but it can help us cross divides and nurture new and inclusive friendships.
In these challenging times for social cohesion, there may be real benefits of embracing the new and the unexpected.
In doing so, we may not only be helping our own personal growth, but putting ourselves in the best possible position to help solve society’s enduring problems.