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Be The Architect of Your Health and Happiness

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The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World with Dr Vivek Murthy

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  May 27, 2020

My guest on today’s conversation is Vivek Murthy. Vivek was the US Surgeon General under the Obama administration and is now author of the fantastic book, Together, about the healing power of human connection. And connect is exactly what Vivek and I did during this conversation in a really deep and profound way. During this conversation, we talk about what authenticity really means and how powerful it is to be truly vulnerable.

We also talk about the consequences of this pandemic causing a social recession as well as an economic recession and how lockdown is making an already chronic problem of loneliness much worse. But this conversation is about hope and optimism – could the outcome of our separation in fact be a social revival? Are we realising more than ever before that we need to put people first?

When he was in office, Vivek realised that the thread running through so many social and health problems, touching people of all ages, was loneliness. As doctors, we share the conviction that lack of connections is a major factor in many modern health conditions. We discuss how loneliness can manifest as irritability, anger, depression and disturbed sleep. It can also be behind ailments from anxiety to addiction and even obesity. And, of course, in the current pandemic, its effects are amplified.

So, could it be time for us to take stock of how much we’ve missed our family, friends, even strangers – and decide how we want those relationships to be going forwards? Vivek believes we need to make an explicit commitment to other people – reaching out to others and giving our undistracted time when we do. Service, he says, is a powerful antidote to loneliness – it’s you adding value to the world.

Vivek’s guiding principle is to ‘put people first’ in society, as well as in our individual lives and to let love and compassion be our path out of loneliness and suffering. It’s really hard to disagree with this when you hear this conversation, and I hope you find it as meaningful as I did.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of this interview in full below.

Connect with Vivek:

Website     Twitter     Instagram     Facebook      

Vivek’s book:

Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

Further Learning:

Dr Chatterjee’s resources:


*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP