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CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL: How To Stay Calm and Connected when Physically Apart with Johann Hari

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  April 1, 2020

CAUTION ADVISED: this podcast contains swearing and themes of an adult nature.

Having written a book about the importance of connections, Johann Hari was the obvious choice to help me shed light on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting this key human need. In this podcast, his work on how loneliness affects depression and anxiety provides insight, understanding and practical solutions to help us through.

We start by talking about what Johann says is the biggest cause of emotional difficulties – financial insecurity. Of course, things are moving fast and since this podcast was recorded, the UK government has announced support for the self-employed, too. But people are understandably worried how they’ll cope until help filters through. A YouGov survey suggests many are already borrowing money only one week into the current UK lockdown. Johann believes that asking our political representatives to address this is a vital way to feel connected, value our key workers and safeguard our mental health.

We also discuss how shared experience and meaning can be a way out of loneliness. Johann gives some extraordinary examples of people who’ve managed to find meaning and affect positive change in the face of huge adversity. We’re all familiar with post-traumatic stress, but there’s emerging evidence that more people actually experience growth as a result of trauma. They re-evaluate, reset their values, life in many ways gets better for them. Could this be the way we all move through – and beyond – this global crisis? It’s a lot to get your head around, but it’s a powerful message to hear. Take care, stay safe and be kind.

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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Find out more about Johann:

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Johann’s books:

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