Workshop: Happiness and Social Connection as Medicine

healthy lifestyle workshop

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When we think of factors that contribute to a health and well-being, we immediately consider diet (what we eat), exercise (how we move) and the absence of disease (whether or not we're taking medication).

But when it comes to leading a long, fulfilling and happy life, the science points out another key to our overall well-being – good relationships.

In this Full Plate Living workshop, Dr. Beth Frates unpacks the impact good relationships have on our health. We'll discover how to foster healthy connections with others for a more meaningful, happy life.

Scientists call these positive relationships "social connectedness" and decades' worth of data (dating back to the 1930s) show that people who are more connected to family, friends and their communities are happier and physically healthier than people who are not as well connected.

People that foster good relationships live longer. These healthy connections strengthen the immune system, help them recover from disease faster, have lower rates of anxiety and depression, and enable them to regulate emotions better.

The opposite is true for isolation and loneliness. One groundbreaking study showed a lack of social connectedness was a bigger detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Beth Frates, MD FACLM DipABLM is a trained physiatrist and a health and wellness coach, with expertise in Lifestyle Medicine. She is an award-winning teacher at Harvard Medical School, where she is an assistant clinical professor. As Director of Wellness Programming at the Stroke Institute for Research and Recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, Dr. Frates has created and implemented a 12-Step wellness program, PAVING the Path to Wellness™ for patients and providers.

Full Plate Living is a small-step approach with big health outcomes. It's provided as a free service of Ardmore Institute of Health.

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