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

    Practicing the Three Question Journal for a few minutes each day can transform our lives by helping us appreciate what we have and focus on what truly matters.

    enDecember 13, 2023

    About this Episode

    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 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 the reasons connection is key, the health benefits it affords, and how to find your community. We 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 clip 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.


    Find out more about my NEW Journal here https://drchatterjee.com/journal


    Thanks to our sponsors:

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    Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/410


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Despite technological advancements, our lack of community and deep connections negatively affect our physical health, mental wellbeing, and overall happiness. We should learn from our heritage and create meaningful connections in the modern world.
    • Our society's disconnection from each other has led to a rise in mental health issues. Understanding that these feelings are normal and addressing our unmet needs is vital for improving well-being.
    • Cultivating meaningful connections and forming tribes is essential for combating depression and anxiety, and plays a vital role in determining happiness, health, and longevity.
    • Good relationships can help regulate emotions and reduce stress, while loneliness and social isolation can lead to higher stress levels and harm our body systems over time.
    • Meaningful social connections are crucial for our physical and mental health, contributing to a sense of purpose and belonging, and maintaining brain health.
    • Standing together and speaking out against injustice can create powerful change and bring attention to important issues, demonstrating the potential for grassroots movements to make a difference.
    • Bonds can be formed between people of different backgrounds, and through empathy and unity, societal divides can be overcome to achieve common goals.
    • Our mental and emotional well-being depends on our sense of home and belonging. Loneliness and isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, but when we come together, support one another, and engage in meaningful relationships, we can create a transformative impact on ourselves and society.
    • Prioritizing and nurturing human relationships and communities can lead to physical and biochemical changes in our bodies, reducing anxiety and pain levels and bringing about transformative change.
    • Building meaningful social connections is essential for happiness and overall wellbeing, regardless of whether one is introverted or extroverted. Prioritizing time with friends and fostering communities is key to leading happier and healthier lives.
    • Practicing the Three Question Journal for a few minutes each day can transform our lives by helping us appreciate what we have and focus on what truly matters.
    • Cultivating deep friendships is crucial for our overall well-being and happiness, providing support, comfort, and a sense of belonging that online interactions cannot fully replace. Prioritize and nurture these relationships for a fulfilling life.
    • Cultivating deep connections and prioritizing quality over quantity in friendships is essential for our well-being and brings joy and support to our lives. Regularly connecting and investing in these relationships can have a significant impact.
    • Building and maintaining good relationships with different types of people is essential for our well-being and personal growth. Invest time and effort in friendships and prioritize meaningful connections in our technology-driven world.
    • Spending too much time on smartphones can lead to decreased physical activity, lack of sleep, and decreased social connections, making us more susceptible to depression and anxiety. Creating distance from devices and prioritizing human interaction is crucial for a fulfilling life.
    • Our constant use of screens and technology is causing feelings of loneliness and isolation. To combat this, we must create rules for ourselves and distance ourselves from our phones to prioritize physical interactions and belonging to a group.
    • Developing a mindful relationship with technology can help us recognize its impact on our social interactions and take steps towards forming genuine connections and fostering happier moments.
    • Prioritizing social connections and relationships brings genuine happiness and fulfillment in life. It starts with simple actions like being present and authentic, leading to deeper connections with others.
    • Experiencing awe and engaging in collective activities can improve our well-being, reduce stress, enhance cognitive abilities, and foster a sense of meaning, community, and connection to others.
    • Engaging with others and engaging in physical activity are essential for mental well-being. Building relationships, pursuing meaningful goals, and experiencing support and belonging contribute to a sense of interdependence and joy.
    • Engaging in simple activities like swimming at sunrise can foster a sense of community, bring joy, and help individuals momentarily forget their worries, emphasizing the power of small actions in generating happiness and connection.
    • Engaging in present-focused activities and showing kindness can improve both physical and mental well-being, leading to greater happiness and stronger relationships.
    • Emotional connection and acts of kindness have a positive impact on our physical health, promoting overall well-being and reducing the negative effects of stress. Prioritizing these actions can enhance our physical and mental well-being.
    • Practicing kindness and empathy not only benefits our well-being but also creates a ripple effect of health and happiness in our communities. Taking a holistic approach that considers the well-being of all living beings and the environment can create a more compassionate and sustainable world.
    • Cultivating love, kindness, and relationships leads to a more compassionate and fulfilled life, as our collective well-being is intertwined and true happiness comes from supporting and caring for one another.
    • Nurturing and strengthening genuine connections is what truly matters in life, as it brings us the most fulfillment and happiness.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The impact of individualism and technology on modern society: disconnection, loneliness, and the need for meaningful connections.

    Modern society, with its emphasis on individualism and technological advancements, has resulted in a culture of disconnection and loneliness. Despite being more wired than ever, we are actually less connected on a meaningful level. Human beings evolved to be part of a tribe, and our lack of community and deep connections is having a devastating impact on our physical health, mental wellbeing, and overall happiness. It's important to recognize that progress and industrialization have brought benefits, but we must also acknowledge what we have lost in the process. Instead of idealizing the past, we need to find ways to learn from our evolutionary heritage and implement meaningful connections within the constraints of the modern world.

    The Impact of Disconnection on Mental Health

    Our society's disconnection and lack of meeting psychological needs have contributed to increasing levels of depression, anxiety, and addiction. We are living in the loneliest society ever, with many people lacking close friends to turn to in times of crisis. Humans have evolved to live in tribes and cooperate, but we are the first generation attempting to disband our tribes. This sense of isolation and disconnection triggers physical changes in our bodies, increasing stress levels, inflammation, and vulnerability to attacks. It's important to understand that feeling depressed or anxious doesn't make us weak or broken, but rather human beings with unmet needs. Addressing these underlying needs is crucial for improving mental well-being.

    Shifting from individualism to community connection for better mental health

    Our culture of individualism and self-reliance has led to a disconnection from our tribes and the deeper source of our pain. While chemical antidepressants may provide temporary relief, they are not the ultimate solution. Instead, social prescribing, like creating groups and engaging in activities together, can be more effective in combating depression and anxiety. Building high-quality relationships and forming tribes are crucial for our mental and physical health. The Harvard Study of Adult Development found that the quality of our relationships is one of the most important factors in determining happiness, health, and longevity. So, instead of solely focusing on nutrition, physical activity, and sleep, we should prioritize cultivating meaningful connections with others.

    The Impact of Relationships on Our Health

    Our relationships have a significant impact on our physical health. Good relationships help us regulate our emotions, particularly negative ones, and reduce stress. Loneliness and social isolation can keep us in a constant state of fight or flight, leading to higher levels of stress hormones and chronic inflammation, which can harm our body systems over time. That's why the UK has a ministry of loneliness and why health experts emphasize the importance of relationships. We all need at least one or two securely attached relationships, where we know someone will be there for us in times of need. So, while relationships may seem like the softer side of life, they play a crucial role in our overall health and well-being.

    The importance of social connection for well-being and longevity.

    Social connection is essential for our overall well-being and longevity. People in "blue zones" who live long and fulfilling lives prioritize strong social connections that bring them happiness and meaning. Not only does social connection contribute to our mental health, but it also plays a crucial role in maintaining brain health. The grandmother hypothesis suggests that staying healthy and useful longer into life benefits not only our own progeny but also the survival of our tribe or community. However, without social connection, we may start to feel a decline in our sense of purpose and belonging, which can negatively impact our physical and mental health. Ultimately, meaningful social connections are vital for our overall health and cognitive function.

    The Power of Unity and Collective Action

    A small act of solidarity and protest can lead to powerful change. The story of Chenga and the community in Berlin demonstrates how coming together and standing up for each other can make a difference. Initially, people were hesitant to offer help, but as they witnessed Chenga's struggle and realized they could be next, they took action. By blocking a road and protesting, they drew attention to their situation and fought for their rights. This act of unity not only brought media attention but also put pressure on authorities to listen to their demands. It highlights the importance of collective action and the potential for grassroots movements to bring about positive change.

    The Power of Empathy and Unity

    True connections can be formed between people from different backgrounds and experiences. Despite their initial differences, Nuria and Tanya discovered a common bond as they shared their stories of hardship and struggle. Similarly, the pairing of the Turkish German boy and the grumpy old German man resulted in unexpected collaboration and academic improvement. The gay club, Z Block, showed support for the Muslim protesters, promoting understanding and acceptance. The Kati protest even became a movement to free Tonka, an individual who had been confined in a psychiatric hospital for 20 years. These examples illustrate the power of empathy and unity in overcoming societal divides and achieving shared goals.

    The Power of Connection and Belonging

    Our sense of home and belonging is crucial to our mental and emotional well-being. The people in Katti, as well as the community in Froom, teach us that we are not meant to live in isolation within our four walls. We need connection, love, and a sense of purpose in our lives. Loneliness and isolation can have devastating effects on our mental health, leading to depression and anxiety. However, when we come together, support each other, and engage in meaningful relationships and activities, our lives can be transformed. Ordinary people have the power to change the world when they join forces. As a society, we should prioritize promoting reconnection and rediscovery of meaning in our lives through social relationships and compassion.

    The Power of Social Connectedness in Health and Well-being

    Our sense of social connectedness and joy in life have a significant impact on our health and well-being. This was evident in the personal journey of Kathy, who experienced improvements in pain, mobility, and overall well-being. It was not just the medical treatment she received, but also her increased sense of connectedness and love for life that played a crucial role in her transformation. The importance of human relationships and communities cannot be overstated. When we prioritize and nurture these connections, we experience physical and biochemical changes in our bodies, leading to reduced anxiety and pain levels. By coming together as communities, focusing on our strengths, and creating warm environments, we can effectively solve the problems we face and bring about transformative change.

    The Importance of Social Connections for Happiness and Wellbeing

    Social connection plays a vital role in improving wellbeing and happiness. Research suggests that feeling socially connected is a necessary condition for high levels of happiness. Making new social connections and even talking to strangers can boost wellbeing in unexpected ways. This holds true for both introverts and extroverts. We often underestimate the impact of interactions with others, assuming that solitude will bring more happiness. However, studies show that meaningful social connections actually make us feel great. Unfortunately, our incorrect intuitions about what makes us happy can lead to the creation of systems that inhibit social connection. Loneliness has significant health implications, as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Therefore, fostering communities and prioritizing time with friends is crucial for leading happier and healthier lives.

    Asking the right questions for a happier life.

    Asking ourselves the right questions can lead to healthier and happier lives. Rangan Chatterjee's Three Question Journal provides three impactful questions that can be asked every morning and evening, helping us appreciate what we already have and focus on what truly matters. By practicing this simple habit for less than five minutes, we can experience a transformative effect on our lives. Additionally, Chatterjee emphasizes the importance of nutrition for our immune system and recommends AG one, a whole food supplement that supports comprehensive nutrients. Taking ownership of our health starts with AG one, which also helps with energy, focus, gut health, digestion, and a healthy immune system. Ultimately, connecting with others and building a strong community is vital for longevity, health, and happiness.

    The Importance of Deep Friendships in a Busy World

    Deep and meaningful friendships are essential for our well-being and overall happiness. In today's fast-paced and busy society, it's easy to overlook the importance of cultivating these connections. Many of us may have a false sense of community due to our online interactions, but these superficial relationships don't provide the same benefits as face-to-face connections. Deep friendships have a significant impact on every aspect of our lives, from our physical health to our mental well-being. They offer support, comfort, and a sense of belonging that is crucial for thriving in life. So, it's important to prioritize and nurture these relationships, just like we prioritize other aspects of our health and well-being. Because when we experience the positive effects of deep connections, we realize their true value and understand why they are irreplaceable.

    The Importance of Quality Relationships

    Cultivating meaningful friendships and connections is crucial for our well-being. It's not about having a large number of friends, but rather about prioritizing the quality of our relationships. Taking the time to regularly connect with a few deep bonds can have a significant impact on our lives. Scheduling coffee dates or phone calls with loved ones who may not be nearby can help foster and strengthen these connections. Additionally, creating recurring events or rituals in our calendars, such as group hikes or meet-ups, can provide a sense of community and understanding. Investing in friendships and relationships benefits us not only during challenging times, but also brings fun and enjoyment to our everyday lives.

    The Importance of Strong Relationships and Meaningful Connections

    Strong relationships, whether romantic or friendships, are crucial for our well-being. We often have the misconception that if our primary relationship is good, we don't need anybody else. However, this is a fiction. We get different things from different kinds of relationships, and that is ideal. Good relationships provide us with support, encouragement, and the confidence to try new things. Friendship is particularly prone to distancing, so we need to invest time and effort to maintain them. In our technology-driven world, it's essential to prioritize and harvest our time for meaningful connections. It's never too late to reconnect with someone, and reaching out can often bring joy to both parties.

    The Negative Impact of Excessive Smartphone Use

    Excessive use of technology, particularly smartphones, is negatively impacting our lives. Spending too much time on screens can lead to a lack of sleep, decreased physical activity, and a decrease in meaningful social connections. These factors, in turn, make us more susceptible to depression and anxiety. Despite our awareness of the negative effects, many people struggle to change their behavior due to the addictive nature of smartphones. To combat this, it is crucial to create distance from these devices and prioritize human interaction. Deep focus, attention, and presence are essential for experiencing the true value of life's moments.

    The Impact of Screens on Social Bonds and Loneliness

    Our constant exposure to screens and technology is eroding our natural social bonds and increasing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Our brains have evolved over millions of years to prioritize physical interactions and belonging to a group. However, the powerful stimuli from our screens trick our brains into thinking we are lonely, triggering a sense of mortal danger. To combat this, we must intentionally create rules for ourselves and distance ourselves from our phones. Even the mere presence of a phone on the table can make discussions less interesting and decrease our perception of reliability in others. Ultimately, we need to recognize the impact that our phones have on our attention and motivation, even when we are not actively using them.

    The Impact of Technology on Social Connections

    Our smartphones and other devices have the power to steal our attention and hinder our social connections. Rangan Chatterjee explains that the constant temptation to look at our phones not only distracts us from engaging with the people around us but also affects our overall sense of social connection. Despite the magnitude of this issue, we often unconsciously accept this behavior as the norm. To combat this, Chatterjee suggests developing a mindful relationship with our technology, using the WWW acronym (What? Why now? What else?) to question our actions and consider the opportunities we might be missing out on. By recognizing the impact of technology on our social interactions, we can take steps towards forming genuine connections and fostering happier moments.

    The Importance of Social Connections for Wellbeing and Fulfillment.

    Social connections and relationships are crucial for our overall wellbeing and fulfillment. In today's society, we often prioritize achievement and individual success, neglecting the importance of connecting with others. However, the true joy and purpose in life come from building meaningful relationships and experiencing intimacy. It is essential to develop both strong bonds with close friends and connections with acquaintances, as these interactions bring us genuine happiness. To cultivate deeper connections, we need to have the courage to be ourselves and show up authentically, allowing others to see our true selves. It's a journey that may take time, but it starts with simple actions like making eye contact and being present in conversations. By prioritizing social connection, we can enhance our wellbeing and find more fulfillment in life.

    The Benefits of Awe and Collective Effervescence

    Experiencing awe and engaging in collective effervescence can have profound benefits for our well-being. Awe, whether found in nature or through shared movements in communal settings, has been shown to improve our immune system, reduce inflammation, activate vagal tone, and reduce stress. It can also enhance our cognitive abilities and make us feel more connected to others. Participating in activities like attending religious rituals, cheering at sports events, or even going to a farmer's market can provide a sense of meaning, community, and history that is comparable to religious experiences. In a world where many feel lonely and disconnected, finding avenues to experience awe and collective effervescence can help us break free from isolation and find fulfillment.

    The Importance of Human Connection and Movement for Mental Well-being

    Human connection and movement are essential for our mental well-being. Rangan Chatterjee emphasizes that too much self-focus is a central challenge in today's mental health crises. He suggests that we need awe, which can be found through engaging with other people and being amazed at things outside of ourselves. Kelly McGonigal, a research psychologist, explains that physical activity and connecting with others go hand in hand. Being part of a community and pursuing meaningful goals not only improves relationships but also fosters a sense of interdependence and joy. Movement allows us to experience the support and belonging that casual social relationships provide. It challenges us to be the best version of ourselves and fosters a sense of connection with others that transcends our individual boundaries.

    Finding Joy and Connection through Sunrise Swims

    Participating in a simple activity like swimming at sunrise can create a strong sense of community and hope. This takeaway is reflected in Rangan Chatterjee's experience of starting with a small group of friends and gradually attracting more people from all over the world to join them. Despite the challenges of waking up early and facing cold temperatures, the act of swimming in the sea brings people into the present moment and helps them forget their stresses. The shared experience of tea and friendship afterwards further enhances the joy and connection. This activity serves as a reminder that sometimes the simplest actions can bring the greatest happiness and connection with others.

    The Power of Mindfulness, Connection, and Kindness for Health and Happiness

    Engaging in activities that bring us back to the present moment, such as cold water therapy or morning rituals, can have significant benefits for our overall well-being. Not only does this practice invigorate our immune system and improve our physical health, but it also has a positive impact on our mental health. Additionally, research shows that helping others and being other-oriented can lead to greater happiness and well-being. Being kind and compassionate not only benefits the person receiving our kindness, but it also makes us happier, supports our immune system, and improves our relationships. Therefore, incorporating practices that promote mindfulness, connection, and acts of kindness can be the missing link in maintaining good health and happiness.

    The Power of Emotional Connection and Acts of Kindness

    Emotional connection and acts of kindness have profound physical effects on our bodies. Studies have shown that simply watching videos of compassionate acts, like Mother Theresa helping the homeless, can increase levels of a immune antibody called SIGA by 50%. These elevated levels can last for hours, demonstrating the impact of emotional bonding experiences. It's not just the recipients of kindness who benefit; even those who witness or engage in acts of kindness experience similar physiological effects. This highlights the importance of human touch, connection, generosity, and empathy in promoting overall health and well-being. Additionally, these acts of kindness produce oxytocin, also known as the "kindness hormone," which counters the negative effects of stress and promotes a sense of warmth and connection. Understanding these mechanisms explains the link between healthy relationships and cardiovascular health, as well as the impact of aggression and hostility on arterial hardening. By prioritizing emotional connections and acts of kindness, we can enhance our physical and mental well-being.

    The Power of Kindness and Compassion

    Kindness and compassion have the power to transform individuals and societies. This is backed by scientific evidence, as acts of kindness release oxytocin, a cardio-protective hormone that reduces blood pressure and promotes overall cardiovascular health. By making kindness a practice and cultivating empathy, we can develop the habit of thinking and acting compassionately. This not only benefits our own well-being but also has a ripple effect on the health and happiness of our communities. Additionally, adopting a "One Health" perspective recognizes the interconnectedness of human health, animal species, and the planet. It emphasizes the need to consider the well-being of all living beings and the environment for true holistic health. By expanding our mindset from individualistic pursuits to collective well-being, we can create a more compassionate and sustainable world.

    Prioritizing Connection and Compassion for a More Fulfilling Life

    Society can become happier and more fulfilled when we prioritize working together and helping others. The prevailing belief that constant acquisition and material possessions bring happiness is flawed. Through conversations with those facing terminal illness, it becomes clear that people value love, kindness, and relationships above all else. Appreciating others for their character traits and qualities can inspire us to develop those qualities in ourselves, leading to a more compassionate and fulfilled life. When we approach the end of our lives, what truly matters is the love and connection we have cultivated, not our accomplishments or material wealth. Ultimately, our collective well-being is intertwined, and true happiness comes from supporting and caring for one another.

    The Power of Connection and Relationships

    What truly matters in life is connection and relationships. We often get caught up in small things and lose sight of what is truly important. The story shared by Rangan Chatterjee reminds us that people value us for who we are, not for our accomplishments. It is the kindness and the emotional support we offer that has a powerful impact on others. Ultimately, when it's all said and done, the quality of our relationships and the connections we form are what bring us the most fulfillment and happiness. So, let us prioritize nurturing and strengthening these bonds, and not forget to teach others the value of genuine connection.

    Recent Episodes from Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

    #453 BITESIZE | Do This Every Day to Reduce Stress, Boost Immunity & Increase Resilience | Dr Susanna Søberg

    #453 BITESIZE | Do This Every Day to Reduce Stress, Boost Immunity & Increase Resilience | Dr Susanna Søberg

    Cold showers, icy plunge pools, outdoor swimming – are you a fan, or does the very idea make you shiver? 


    Feel Better Live More Bitesize is my weekly podcast for your mind, body, and heart. Each week I’ll be featuring inspirational stories and practical tips from some of my former guests.


    Today’s clip is from episode 322 of the podcast with Dr Susanna Søberg.


    Susanna is arguably one of the leading researchers on the topic of cold water immersion therapy. Her research on the physiology of deliberate cold and heat exposure is helping to back up what many cultures have known instinctively for thousands of years – changing our temperature is good for us.


    In this clip we discuss some of the new science around one of the biggest wellness trends of the past few years and Susanna gives some great tips so you can get started.


    CAUTION: If you have uncontrolled hypertension or heart disease it is not advised that you start practising cold water immersion. If you have any doubt at all as to whether you are fit enough to give this practice a go, please consult a qualified healthcare professional.


    Thanks to our sponsor https://www.drinkag1.com/livemore


    Show notes and the full podcast are available at drchatterjee.com/322


    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.




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    #452 The Science of Rituals & How They Can Transform Our Health, Happiness and Relationships with Professor Michael Norton

    #452 The Science of Rituals & How They Can Transform Our Health, Happiness and Relationships with Professor Michael Norton

    Have you ever thought about the role that rituals play in our health and wellbeing? Whether it's a morning routine, a pre-game warmup, or a cultural tradition, rituals can provide us with structure, meaning, and connection.

     

    Today’s guest is Professor Michael Norton, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of the brand new book, The Ritual Effect: The Transformative Power of Our Everyday Actions, which delves into the science and psychology behind, why turning everyday habits into rituals can improve our work, our relationships and our lives.

     

    In this conversation, Michael and I explore the fascinating world of rituals and how they impact on our mental and physical health. We discuss the distinction between rituals and routines, why they can be really helpful in making our habits stick over the long term and how, by providing order and structure, they can help us manage overwhelm and stress.

     

    We also explore how rituals foster community and connection, how elite athletes like Serena Williams use rituals to enhance performance and mental preparation, and how team rituals, like the New Zealand rugby team’s iconic Hakka, are a great example of how ritual behaviours boost togetherness and collective identity. 

     

    Michael and I also share some of our own personal rituals  - including the preparation rituals I go through each week to prepare for this podcast. And, we also acknowledge that rituals can become problematic if taken to an extreme and the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with them, using them as tools for self-improvement rather than allowing them to be in control of us.

     

    Ultimately, this is a conversation that offers a compelling case for the power of rituals in enhancing our health and happiness. Whether you're an athlete striving for peak performance, or simply someone looking to live a more fulfilled life, I think you’ll find that understanding the "ritual effect" can be truly transformative.


    Find out more about my NEW Journal here https://drchatterjee.com/journal


    Thanks to our sponsors:

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    Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/452


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #451 BITESIZE | A 103-year-old Doctor’s #1 Secret to Health and Happiness | Dr Gladys McGarey

    #451 BITESIZE | A 103-year-old Doctor’s #1 Secret to Health and Happiness | Dr Gladys McGarey

    Today’s guest is the oldest person I’ve ever welcomed onto my show, and what a great pleasure it was for me to do so. 


    Feel Better Live More Bitesize is my weekly podcast for your mind, body, and heart. Each week I’ll be featuring inspirational stories and practical tips from some of my former guests.


    Today’s clip is from episode 394 of the podcast with Dr Gladys McGarey.


    She’s 103 years old, co-founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, and author of the fantastic book, The Well-Lived Life: A 102-year-old Doctor’s Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age.


    For many of us, finding our purpose in life feels like an optional extra when we’re busy working, raising children or caring for parents. It can be hard to know who we really are or what we want out of life. But Gladys insists we should still strive to identify our reason for getting out of bed every morning.

    Gladys believes each of us holds a unique purpose - a true reason for being here. And in this clip, she invites you to find yours.


    Thanks to our sponsor https://www.drinkag1.com/livemore


    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.


    Show notes and the full podcast are available at drchatterjee.com/394


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #450 How To Eat To Boost Your Body’s Natural Defences & Avoid The Foods That Weaken Them with Dr William Li

    #450 How To Eat To Boost Your Body’s Natural Defences & Avoid The Foods That Weaken Them with Dr William Li

    Today’s guest passionately believes that the decisions we make every day about what we eat, have a huge influence on our overall health. Dr William Li is a medical doctor, internal medicine specialist, research scientist and the author of the 2 international bestsellers, Eat to Beat Disease and Eat To Beat Your Diet. He works in a field of research called Food as Medicine and having been involved with the development of many different drugs over the past few decades, he is passionate about using scientific rigour to analyse the specific benefits of food.


    Dr Li has been a guest on my podcast on 2 previous occasions - Episodes 234 and 376 - and those episodes remain some of the most downloaded episodes in the history of my show. Today’s brand new episode was actually a conversation Dr Li and I recorded together around 2 years ago, but the content within it, is just as relevant today.

     

    In this conversation, we covered a broad range of food related topics that people often find confusing, with the intention of providing more clarity. We start off talking about the foods we might want to consider cutting back on, due to their negative effects on our health. We talk about sugar, artificial sweeteners, ultra-processed foods, alcohol, and the problems with reusing oil when frying.

     

    We also talk about the practical steps we can all take immediately, when it comes to choosing foods that will enhance both our short term and long-term health.

     

    We cover so many different topics today, including:  

    • how you can go about choosing a good quality olive oil,
    • the benefits of pairing certain foods together to increase nutrient absorption,
    • how we can increase the amount of vitamin D in mushrooms,
    • why organic foods are healthier,
    • how to best read food labels,
    • the link between the foods we consume and autoimmune disease,
    • whether supplements are beneficial, and so much more.

     

    Dr Li is someone who wants joy to be at the heart of how we think about our food choices and our health. He is knowledgeable, passionate and a wonderful communicator. I always enjoy my conversations with him, I hope you enjoy listening.

    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.

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    Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/450

    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #449 BITESIZE | The Simple Habit to Manage Daily Stress and Overwhelm | Tony Riddle

    #449 BITESIZE | The Simple Habit to Manage Daily Stress and Overwhelm | Tony Riddle

    Today’s guest shares a simple daily habit that can help us calm the fight-or-flight system and manage the build up of daily stress.


    Feel Better Live More Bitesize is my weekly podcast for your mind, body, and heart. Each week I’ll be featuring inspirational stories and practical tips from some of my former guests.


    Today’s clip is from episode 278 of the podcast with natural lifestyle coach and record-breaking barefoot endurance athlete, Tony Riddle.


    Tony believes that through connecting with nature and our natural state, we can experience greater health and happiness.


    In this clip we discuss the physiology of stress and how breathwork can help us, and Tony to take us through a simple breathing exercise, in real time (so you can join in, too).


    Thanks to our sponsor https://www.drinkag1.com/livemore


    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.


    Show notes and the full podcast are available at drchatterjee.com/278


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #448 A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness: Why Being Able To Forgive Improves Your Physical & Mental Wellbeing with Dr Fred Luskin

    #448 A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness: Why Being Able To Forgive Improves Your Physical & Mental Wellbeing with Dr Fred Luskin

    What does the word forgiveness mean to you? If the very idea of letting go of a past hurt makes you feel indignant or upset, then listening to this podcast could be one of the best gifts you give yourself.


    Today’s guest wants us all to understand why forgiveness matters for our mental and physical health. Dr Frederic Luskin is a clinical psychologist, researcher and speaker who has been teaching at Stanford University for the past 30 years. As Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, he has taught tens of thousands of people to live happier and more fulfilled lives through the practice of forgiveness, gratitude and meditation.


    Although 20 years old, his book Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, is as relevant today as it ever was. Based on groundbreaking scientific research, it provides practical strategies for letting go of grudges and resentments. And offers startling insight into the healing powers and medical benefits of forgiveness, and its profound impact on our lives.


    Fred explains how our past hurts are stored in our bodies. People who are able to forgive are physically more relaxed. Their blood pressure and central nervous system normalise, their perception of pain lowers, their risk of depression and anxiety goes down. Crucially, their relationships are more open and trusting, so they feel less alone.


    This is such powerful knowledge to have. Most of us can probably think of an example where we’ve allowed something that’s happened in the past to sabotage our present. Not letting go of old hurts can be a way of trying to protect ourselves and control the future. But Fred points out this is a coping mechanism to stop us acknowledging when we are vulnerable. True resilience means sitting with that discomfort and learning that it will pass.


    Of course this doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to be devastated if our partner has an affair or our boss treats us badly. It’s vital to feel the hurt and process your feelings, says Fred. But if you’re still living in the negative emotions months or years later, it’s time to move on.


    If that sounds easier said than done, rest assured that Fred has plenty of inspiring examples and practical suggestions to help you forgive. He is adamant that forgiveness is a choice and a skill anyone can learn. And you start by giving yourself permission to enjoy your present and future, unbound by the past.


    I really enjoyed my conversation with Fred and completely agree with him that forgiveness is an undervalued human skill. It may feel hard to access, but it is a brave choice and one that in any given situation will trigger a cascade of rewards. I hope this conversation prompts you to reconsider some of your past hurts and move forwards with self-compassion and freedom.


    Dr Chatterjee's Journal https://drchatterjee.com/journal


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    Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/448


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #447 BITESIZE | How To Heal Chronic Pain | Dr Howard Schubiner

    #447 BITESIZE | How To Heal Chronic Pain | Dr Howard Schubiner

    CAUTION: This podcast episode contains swearing.


    Headaches, migraine, back, neck or joint pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia – they’re just some of the common causes of chronic pain, which is estimated to affect between a third to half of all UK adults, or just under 28 million of us.


    Feel Better Live More Bitesize is my weekly podcast for your mind, body, and heart. Each week I’ll be featuring inspirational stories and practical tips from some of my former guests.


    Today’s clip is from episode 310 of the podcast with Director of the Mind Body Medicine Center in Michigan and author of Unlearn Your Pain, Dr Howard Schubiner.


    Emerging neuroscience tells us our brains actually create what we experience in our bodies, through a process called predictive processing. Pain doesn’t come from the body part where it’s felt, it’s created by our brain, signalling that something needs attention.


    Howard believes that in many cases of chronic pain your brain has created a neural pathway which remembers the pain and keeps you trapped in a vicious cycle. 


    In this clip he explains why it’s not ‘all in your head’, your pain is real. And there is something you can do about it. 


    Thanks to our sponsor https://www.drinkag1.com/livemore


    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.


    Show notes and the full podcast are available at drchatterjee.com/310


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #446 Why Better Conversations Will Improve Your Health, Essential Skills To Enhance Your Relationships & Why Men Struggle To Open Up with Nihal Arthanayke

    #446 Why Better Conversations Will Improve Your Health, Essential Skills To Enhance Your Relationships & Why Men Struggle To Open Up with Nihal Arthanayke

    Today we’re going meta, as they say. Because this is a conversation about…conversation. More than that, it’s a deep and meaningful exchange about why effective, authentic dialogue is so important to humankind – and yet seemingly in decline. And who better to exchange words with on this topic, than my fellow ‘professional conversationalist’, Nihal Arthanayake.

     

    You may know Nihal as an acclaimed broadcaster and TV presenter. He presents a national daytime show on BBC Radio 5 Live, which has over 1.2 million regular listeners, and his unique style recently won him Interviewer of the Year at the BBC Radio and Music Awards. Nihal is a good friend, so I can testify to his ability to ‘give good chat’. But he’s also brilliant at having public conversations that are bold, thoughtful and honest. Guests from the world's biggest stars to leaders of inner-city gangs have lauded his ability to stimulate positive discussions without the need for confrontation. 

     

    In his wonderful book, Let’s Talk: How To Have Better Conversations, which has recently been released in paperback, Nihal explains that all the scientific evidence points towards us now sharing fewer conversations than we ever have done before. We may have hundreds of connections on social media, but fewer than ever in our daily lives. So, could learning the art of conversation be an antidote to loneliness?

     

    In our conversation, we discuss the importance of empathy and active listening, with your heart and mind as well as your ears and eyes. Are you listening to understand, says Nihal, or simply to respond? We talk about vulnerability in conversation, why men in particular find that difficult, and why it feels so hard for male friends to exchange words like ‘I miss you’ or even ‘I love you’.

     

    Nihal shares his personal experience and advice, such as how he’s approached conversations with friends who are going through tough times, or why he went to couples’ therapy with his wife on realising their interactions had become more transactional than conversational.

     

    He also explains the evolution and psychology of dialogue, as well as the neuroscience of what’s happening in the brain during meaningful discourse. And he shares some powerful, high-profile case studies who’ve proved that it is possible to find common ground with anyone, even those who are your sworn enemies, by finding your common humanity.

     

    I really think that the skills Nihal is encouraging us all to cultivate are essential if we are to live happy and contented lives, but also essential when it comes to our physical and mental wellbeing. This conversation was relaxed and light hearted but at the same time, powerful and provocative. As Nihal says, great conversation is the glue that binds us all together.


    Find out more about my NEW Journal here https://drchatterjee.com/journal


    Thanks to our sponsors:

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    Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/446


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #445 BITESIZE | The Simple Habit That Can Transform Your Life | Robert Greene

    #445 BITESIZE | The Simple Habit That Can Transform Your Life | Robert Greene

    So many of us struggle to make change in our lives, and each of us has our own journey ahead of us, but, as today’s guest highlights, life is short; all of us have less time than we think to make the changes we want to make.


    Feel Better Live More Bitesize is my weekly podcast for your mind, body, and heart. Each week I’ll be featuring inspirational stories and practical tips from some of my former guests.


    Today’s clip is from episode 320 of the podcast with best-selling author and speaker, Robert Greene.


    In this clip he shares how meditation can help us gain a better understanding of who we really are, and why self awareness is key to creating lasting change in our lives.


    Thanks to our sponsor https://www.drinkag1.com/livemore


    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.


    Show notes and the full podcast are available at drchatterjee.com/320


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



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    #444 The New Science Of Memory, How to Remember What Matters & Why We're Designed To Forget with Dr Charan Ranganath

    #444 The New Science Of Memory, How to Remember What Matters & Why We're Designed To Forget with Dr Charan Ranganath

    We often think about our memories as a record of the past – but what if they’re only a selective and evolving version of it? Today’s guest is a world-leading memory expert who has a surprising message: we’re not supposed to remember everything. In fact, our brains are designed to forget. And much of what you experience today will be lost by tomorrow.

     

    Dr Charan Ranganath is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California at Davis.  For more than 25 years, he has studied the mechanisms in the brain that allow us to remember past events, using brain imaging techniques, computational modelling and research on patients with memory disorders. The occasion for his appearance on my podcast is the publication of his wonderful new book, Why We Remember: The Science of Memory and How it Shapes Us, which challenges, educates and enlightens, on so much of what we thought to be true about memories.

     

    In this fascinating conversation, he explains that the seemingly selective and unreliable nature of human memory doesn't reveal laziness, distraction or early dementia. Instead, it shows that our brains have not evolved to keep a comprehensive record of events. Rather than live in the past, the brain’s job is to extract the information it needs, to guide our futures.

     

    We also discuss how memories create our sense of self. We learn that our memory is an unreliable narrator but that we can use this to our advantage. By changing our perspective on traumatic experiences, we can feel differently about them in the present – a theory on which many forms of therapy are based.

     

    We also discuss our brain’s ability to change – its plasticity – and how we’re most likely to remember life’s emotional experiences as well as its new and surprising ones. Charan explains why music and smells are evocative cues, why it’s never too late to learn new skills, and why forgetting is a sign of an efficient brain - in fact, one of Charan’s key insights is that we shouldn’t strive to remember more, but to remember better

     

    This is a fascinating conversation, full of fresh ideas, wisdom and practical advice about a topic that deeply matters to all of us.


    Find out more about my NEW Journal here https://drchatterjee.com/journal


    Support the podcast and enjoy Ad-Free episodes. Try FREE for 7 days on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/feelbetterlivemore. For other podcast platforms go to https://fblm.supercast.com.


    Thanks to our sponsors:

    https://boncharge.com/livemore

    https://drinkag1.com/livemore


    Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/444


    DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.