Get reader tips for strengthening family bonds

By By Ellen Ullman
May 05, 2006

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