A Social Prescription: Why Human Connection Is Crucial To Our Health –
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy


// Die Science Offizierin Irina schreibt:

,Wow..what a surgeon general – Dr. Vivek Murthy – in seinen Geschichten steckt für mich 100% der ,Power of Vulnerability‘. Ich habe schon öfters hidden brain podcasts von Shankar Vedantam gepostet – and this one comes with a trigger warning… weil es geht um Einsamkeit bis hin zu Suizid – aber vor allem geht es auch um die Kraft von Solitude, Service, Stability, beeing seen und wie ich finde Sanftheit im Umgang mit sich und anderen. Inklusive praktischer Tipps für Freundschaften, nicht nur in Zeiten von Corona, sondern der rush hour des Lebens.‘


//  The Source


,Vivek Murthy was a newly-minted doctor when he realized that his thorough medical school education had fallen short. His training hadn’t prepared him for one of the most frequent health issues he saw in the examination room: loneliness. 

Vivek remembers feeling helpless when a patient recounted his sense of social isolation and the physical health problems linked to it. „I felt utterly ill-equipped to address what was clearly the issue that was on his mind,“ Vivek says. 

Years later, when Vivek became the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, he witnessed a „dark thread of loneliness“ in his conversations with Americans across the country. Loneliness, he realized, was more pervasive than he’d thought, and was bound up in other health issues in complicated ways. He calls loneliness „the great masquerader“; it often manifests as other emotions, such as anger, or through behaviors, such as drug or alcohol abuse. 

Even after Vivek left his post as the country’s leading spokesperson for public health, he continued his effort to understand loneliness. In ,Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World‘,Vivek highlights the importance of relationships, the hazards of loneliness, and what we can do to live a more people-centered life. His book arrived on shelves at a time when the vast majority of Americans are under orders to stay at home. This week on Hidden Brain, during a time of mandated physical distancing, we talk with Vivek about the importance of human connection and how we can strengthen our social ties.’


// Notes CB


In that moment the turn to be family. Not the kind of family that is chosen for you, but the kind that you choose for yourself.


How we can all lead a more connected life.

The healing power of human connection.        


In the pandemic there is more loneliness, social recession.
It’s deepening the levels of loneliness.

Potentially it’s a chance to rethink and recenter the relationsships in our lives.

The role and power of relationships in our lives. Not just towards spouses, our family members and close friends, relationships with colleagues at work, classmates at school and even with strangers.


The Evolutionary Theory around loneliness says we are designed as social creatures that relied on each other for survival advantage. 1000 of years ago when we were hunters and gatherers being together increased the chances that we all had some food, as opposed to starving, and made it more likely to protect us from predators, because one would watch at night. Child care for other peoples’ kids, so they could go out and get food. When we were separated from each other that felt like a danger and that danger resonated through our body as stress. The outflow of stress hormones is a good protection against a predator. But our bodies are not so different now, and the way our nervous system reacts.


Loneliness is a natural signal like hunger and thirst, something ist missing for survival.

If it becomes chronic, it increases our risk of chronic illnesses.


Many people are having a hard time to ask for help.

Other people who would like to help don’t know how to reach out.

There’s always more help out there than you expect.

In a threat state you’re getting suspicious

Focus more towards ourselves.



In a time where her world got upside down
it was a chance to recapture solitude in a place of comfort

that allowed her to reflect more deeply about her experiences

with the chance to talk to people who knew her and trusted her.

That helped her to start to see that the tendency she had,
for example to have more time for herself,

were not the signs for somebody who is social deficient,

but the signs that she tended to be introverted by nature and that was just who she was.

Compassionate to forgiving herself.

Accept who she was.


I do think solitude is really important right now.

What is powerful about loneliness:
it gives us time to quiet the noise around us.

But it also gives us the opportunity to reflect and to simply be.

There is a tension in our modern world between being and doing.

If there is a problem, we address it with action.

Being proceeds action.

When we spent time getting into the right frame of mind,

then often we can be much more effective in the action that we take.

Solitude is extremely powerful.

It allows us to focus on being again.

Solitude can come in different ways.

Feeling the wind.

Listening to your steps, your breath.

Listening to the birds.

To take 5 min to remember 3 things we are grateful for.

A little bit of time can take a long way.


Comfort with who we are is the basis to be able to reach out to other people.

Reanchor ourselves and get comfortable with who we are.



Service is one of the most powerful solutions, when it comes to loneliness.

A natural and highly effective way of connecting with other people.

The biology of loneliness makes us turn our focus inward.

Service shifts the focus from us to someone else, in the context of a positive experience.

And it reaffirms for us that we have value to bring to the world and to somebody else’s life.

Can be powerful in breaking the downward spiral of loneliness which is so dangerous.


One of the greatest gifts we can give another person is the gift of our full attention.

It’s not only about telling somebody the right thing how they can fix a problem in their life.

Simple showing up and listening can be an extraordinary powerful experience.

If you ever felt deeply listened to by somebody else,

you know that that experience helps you feel seen and appreciated and understood.

Very powerful antidote to loneliness and reconnection.

If we look around, there are a many opportunities to serve.

We recognize all we need to bring

is an open mind, a full heart and a desire to truly and honestly connect with another human being.



Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?