5 TED Talks Share Unbelievable Proof of What Human Connection Can Do

As summer ramps down and we switch gears into a new season, let’s take a deep breath to reset and consider all the benefits we can reap mentally and physically by digging into the community around us. Whether it’s friends, family, co-workers or strangers on the bus, these TED Talks break down some stereotypes and teach us to embrace the different possibilities and impacts of belonging.

What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness – 13 mins

This insightful TED talk based on a 75-year study tracking the lives of more than 700 men confirms what many of us have assumed along the way, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” From their work to their home lives to their health, this one-of-a-kind study delves into the impact of good relationships. Check out this talk to hear from Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, to understand how relationships protect our brains and why quality over quantity matters.

What Gardening Taught Me about Life – 7 mins

Tobacco Brown, a social artist and TED resident, uses the metaphor of a garden to convey some powerful truths about our impact on one another. Just like a garden, we’re all connected and impacted by the decisions we make and the communities we create. “Below the surface, we are all connected by our roots and sharing nutrients with each other. It’s only when we come together that we can honestly grow.” Listen to this talk for a quick dose of inspiration for cultivating relationships with compassion and humility.

The Power of Vulnerability – 20 mins

Renowned author and speaker, Brene Brown, shares her own story of vulnerability to break down how this character trait affects us. “There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it.” This talk is a great reminder that loving ourselves is key to creating a sense of belonging for those around us.

Why You Should Talk to Strangers – 12 mins

Ever been guilty of talking to a dog or a baby before speaking to the person with them? In this intriguing talk, we learn about this idea called the dogs and babies principle. Plus, Kio Stark breaks down the awkwardness associated with speaking to strangers. In her words, “When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life and theirs. You’re making unexpected connections. If you don’t talk to strangers, you’re missing out on all of that.”

The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life – 16 mins

Does face-to-face interaction do the same thing for our brains as digital interaction? Susan Pinker explains the differences that occur with our neurotransmitters and how that can protect our health long-term. Then, she delves into her research on why there are six times as many centenarians on the tiny island of Sardinia in the middle of the Mediterranean. It’s not just all that gorgeous blue water. According to Pinker’s research, it’s based on, “a biological imperative to know we belong.”

Feature Photo by Eun Creative, Videos via TED

Kristen Green

Kristen Green is a strategist and writer living in Atlanta. As the founder of Kristen Green Consulting, she puts her 11+ years of marketing and content strategy experience to use for small business owners. Kristen helps companies find their voice and tell their epic story to the world, and she loves having a good belly laugh while doing it. She’s also prone to random dance parties (in the kitchen).