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Start a Mother's Day Tradition

Get reader tips for strengthening family bonds

Strong social ties and family bonds improve mental and physical health. One recent study found that people with a thriving support network have reduced blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors.

To boost the ties in your clan, start a holiday ritual for Mother's Day, suggests William J. Doherty, author of The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties.

These old and new traditions from Cooking Light readers may inspire you.

• The men in my family hold a brunch for the women, including mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts. The best part is that the husbands do all the cooking-the women don't lift a finger.
- Lucille Renwick, 39, New Rochelle, New York

• My mom, aunt, and grandmother go to lunch every Mother's Day. Afterward, they all go to a nursery, and my grandmother selects flowers. Then they go to her house and plant them together.
- Wendy Holmes, 38, Atlanta

• My sons come to the house to assist with little projects-helping to clear clutter and beautify the house is their present to me. Then we all go out for dinner.
- Cynthia Allen, 61, Los Angeles