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The Life-Changing Power of Connecting With Others: Gabor Maté, Johann Hari, Dan Buettner & Friends

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  December 13, 2023

Today’s episode is a life-affirming compilation on the theme of community and connection. I chose it because it’s a subject that comes up in one way or another in almost every podcast conversation I have. Researchers, thinkers, and experts alike are concluding that one of the most significant contributing factors to our mental, physical and emotional health is our interactions with other human beings.

Our ancestors evolved as a collective – ancient humans thrived in tribes. From keeping safe at night to hunting for and sharing food, coming together as a community was essential for our survival. And it’s easy to forget we’re not that different today. Sure, the world has transformed. Travel and technology mean families often live far apart, and younger generations are more likely to communicate through screens than face to face. We can survive without community, but can we really thrive?

Science has shown time and again how loneliness affects more than mood, leaving a lasting imprint on our mental and physical health. Reaching out to others then, is one of the best things we can do to protect and improve our holistic health. And I don’t just mean asking for help. By giving to others, volunteering your time or lending an ear, your own wellbeing is boosted alongside the recipients’. Feeling part of a community is as much about making a contribution as being welcomed.

Of course, it can be easier said than done. Maybe you don’t have family nearby, you work alone, or you find it hard to make friends. This podcast is here to help. I guarantee that by the end you’ll feel compelled to embrace community, convinced of the reasons it matters, and inspired by all the simple, actionable ideas this wonderful selection of guests share.

You’ll hear voices including Dr Gabor Maté, Johann Hari, Dr Tommy Wood and Professors Laurie Santos, Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz. Together we cover everything from the reasons connection is key, to the health benefits it affords, and how to find your community. We’ll hear from Dr Pippa Grange, Dr Dacher Keltner, Kelly McGonigal, The Happy Pear, and many more on how to cultivate friendships and intimacy, and why it’s kindness that counts.

My team and I really enjoyed compiling this episode for you and it’s served as a reminder to all of us, too, to prioritise the people in our lives a little bit more. Even if that’s something you already do, is there someone you could reach out to who might be struggling to do the same? Each of the clips in this podcast comes from a full-length episode, so if there are voices that particularly resonate with you, check the show notes for links to listen to their episodes in full. Together, these clips are a celebration of the power of community and friendships old and new – I hope this episode helps you to find yours.

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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*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