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Chasing Life With Dr. Sanjay Gupta | Feeling More connected

Chasing Life Connected Sanjay Gupta
January 9, 2024

This is a guest post by WWSG exclusive speaker, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

We’ve talked a lot about the loneliness epidemic, how it affects nearly 1 in 4 adults and could lead to some serious health consequences.

But as we look to the new year, I want to talk about what we can actually do to feel more connected.

Start by realizing that all relationships are work – even friendships. Being intentional with the relationships you have is what can make them last. I’ve had the same best friend, Sujit, for almost 40 years.

Being intentional might mean making a list of people you want to catch up with, putting reminders on your calendar to give someone a call, or planning a reoccurring social outing.

On one of our Chasing Life episodes, friendship expert Marisa Franco said that when you reconnect with friends, they “appreciate it more than you might predict.” In fact, she said, her niece had the perfect way of putting it: For friendship to happen, someone has to be brave.

Don’t be scared to take that first step.

Franco also pointed out that she thinks it’s harder to make friends now than at any other point in human history. She attributes this to the rise of smartphone use, since technology has become an alternative to hanging out with people.

So again, this means being intentional is key.

If you’re looking to form new friendships, it does take more effort as you get older, because we don’t have what sociologist Rebecca Adams describes as repeated unplanned interaction. When we were younger and in school, we would have social interactions every day that could lead to friendships. But now, especially as more people work remotely, we don’t have as many of those opportunities.

This might mean you need to take up a new activity like a fitness class or a creative group.

Another great tip from Franco was to start with the assumption that people actually like you. When people are lonely, they tend to be more suspicious and critical, less likely to let new things into their lives.

If you walk in with an open heart, assuming people like you and letting them prove otherwise, that can make a huge difference.

Let’s make 2024 the year we work on strengthening and building our connections.

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