3 TED talks to foster deeper social connections

Social connections are crucial to our physical and mental health. Three TED talks that will help you foster deep social connections and thrive!

by Julia Migné


Studies have shown that lacking deep social connections can be a greater detriment to human health than factors such as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

As a social species, we need strong connections to thrive and such connections have been proved to strengthen our immune system, help us recover faster when we are ill and even lead to a 50% increased chance of longevity!

Despite all the benefits coming from social connectedness, today we live in a world where more and more people are lonely. In the UK, 11% of older people are in contact with their friends, family or neighbours less than just once a month according to Campaign to End Loneliness.

A recent study published in the journal Psychological Medicine has shown that loneliness is also having a strong impact on the lives of young people in the UK. The results of the study highlighted that 23-31% of participants “experienced feeling left out, alone, isolated or lacking in companionship some of the time”.

Somehow it seems that despite living in a world where it has never been easier to stay in touch, we are becoming increasingly lonely and that has a serious impact on our wellbeing.

Luckily, some experts have researched the topic of social connectedness and have shared their invaluable insights with us through various TED talks!

1. Celeste Headlee – 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

Celeste Headlee has been working as a radio host for decades which has given her some strong insights on what makes a great conversation. She believes that in a world which is fast becoming more polarised and divided, the ability to listen and discuss with other people is the key to wellbeing.

According to Celeste, the ingredients needed to create a great conversation are the following: honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. “A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening, and somewhere along the way, we lost that balance,” she explains.

“All of this boils down to the same basic concept, and it is this one: Be interested in other people.”

She reminds us of the power of great conversations and the feeling of inspiration and engagement that it can spark; the feeling of having truly connected with someone and the happiness that comes with it.

Check Celeste’s talk to discover her 10 basic rules to master the art of conversation and then if you feel brave enough, go out and try them on the first person you have a chat with today?

2. Joanne Davila – Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships

Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University, Dr Joanne Davila has a strong background in clinical psychology and specialises in evidence-based interventions for relationship problems, depression, and anxiety.

In this talk, she focusses around three evidence-based skills that can lead to healthy romantic relationships: insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.

She explains: “How many people know — I mean, really know what to do on a day-to-day basis to create healthy relationships? My point is this: we may know what a healthy relationship looks like. But most people have no idea how to get one, and no one teaches us how to do so. We need to teach people how to have healthy relationships.”

Dive in to get a better understanding of what makes a truly healthy relationship and reduce the behaviours that might lead you to end in unhealthy ones.

3. Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

Author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers, Dr Brené Brown uses her passion for storytelling to share with the world her research findings on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.

Studying human connection through our ability to empathise, belong and love, Brené is on a personal quest “to know herself as well as to understand humanity.”

“So where I started was with connection. Because, by the time you’re a social worker for 10 years, what you realize is that connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

In this powerful and moving TED talk, Brené explores the power of shame, vulnerability and how they can lead to stronger and deeper connections.

More than just giving useful tips, this talk will provide you with an alternative way to live your life and will make you deeply rethink the way you connect with the people around you.

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