Get reader tips for strengthening family bonds

Strong social ties and family bonds improve mental and physicalhealth. One recent study found that people with a thriving supportnetwork have reduced blood pressure and other heart disease riskfactors.

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

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 partis that the husbands do all the cooking-the women don't lift afinger.
-Lucille Renwick, 39, New Rochelle, New York

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

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