Holidays are a time to enhance your relationships.
As I sat down to write my final newsletter for 2021, I had been playing with a few different topics I wanted to talk to you about.
The topic of relationships was definitely not on the top of my list to write. However, as I witness both at my work and in my life the toll that a (dis) empowering relationship can have on your health and wellbeing, I felt compelled to share with you some perspectives on how I could serve you better with some evidence in this space.
I realise that being a surgeon does not qualify me to be a relationships expert, but being a human certainly does. After all, being human is being a social animal.
Relationships highlight the pinnacle of any challenge we face. They sometimes cause us to face our fears and, at other times, experience our blessings. It is true that relationships expose us to vulnerabilities and distract us. They cause pain but also bring joy. We are nothing without the relationships we cherish.
Things we miss in life
Happiness is something we are always and forever seeking. It can seem elusive to so many of us – just when we think we might have found it in the new car, house, job or relationship, it begins to slide away.
I believe that, at our core, we all seek connection – not just with others but also with ourselves.
If connection is all it takes for us to be humans, then the bigger question becomes: Is this an uplifting connection or one that is draining you consistently?
Maya Angelou put it well when she said:
The keywords being made them feel. What Maya refers to is the dynamic or a feeling that binds or repels two or more people who have a connection (relationship).
Regardless of the name that we give to any relationship, what lies at its core, is our innate hunger to be understood. Few needs of the human heart are greater than the need to be understood: to have a voice that is heard, respected and valued, and eventually have some form of influence.
“Regardless of the name that we give to any relationship, what lies at its core, is our innate hunger to be understood.”
In life, do you value the journey or the destination?
Some say that, in life, the journey is more important than the destination. Some say otherwise. However, James Norbury’s character’s Panda and The Little Dragon say something even more profound.
Image credit: James Norbury
Far too many people today lead lonely lives. Despite living in an era where we have platforms like Facebook, Instagram and many social media avenues to connect and share our lives with others, loneliness is a growing health epidemic.
In 2018, the United Kingdom assigned Tracey Crouch as its first-ever Minister for Loneliness.
As incredulous as this sounds, she was the first minister in the World, assigned with the portfolio to tackle this sad reality of modern life. As stated by the US surgeon general Vivek Murthy: “Loneliness is associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
Show me the science to better relationships.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found that exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight enhances romantic passion in humans. According to their landmark study, published in Cell in Aug 2021, if both men and women were exposed to UVB (ultraviolet radiation type B) under controlled conditions, it could lead to increased levels of romantic passion in both genders unequivocally.
Perhaps it is time for a walk in the sun!!
1. Skin exposure to UVB light induces a skin-brain-gonad axis and sexual behaviour https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109579
2. Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms 10.1007/s12160-010-9210-8
3. Social isolation, loneliness and health in old age: a scoping review 10.1111/hsc.12311
If you find this topic interesting, you might like to read my latest book: Your Mess Has a Message
Not only is this a great holiday read, but all proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Circle of Life Foundation – a charity that is actively working towards educating the underprivileged children of the world.
I write these newsletters as a labour of love from school term to school term every year.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Until you hear from me again on 31st Jan 2022 – stay safe and keep smiling!
Helping You Discover, Empower & Prosper
Dr Arun Dhir | GI Surgeon, Health Reformist & Passionate Educator.
About Dr Arun:
Besides having a busy private practice at Melbourne Gastro Surgery – Centre for Weight Loss, Dr Arun is an active member of the ANZ Association of Gastro-Oesophageal surgeons (ANZGOSA), ANZ Society of Metabolic and Obesity Surgery (OSSANZ) and Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM).
Dr Arun is also a senior lecturer (University of Melbourne) and yoga and meditation teacher, with a strong interest in the mind-body-gut connection. He regularly writes and speaks about gut health, gut microbiome, obesity, gastrointestinal surgery and healing. Arun’s published works include Happy Gut Healthy Weight (Balboa Press 2018), Creating a New You – Health Journal (Metagenics 2019), and Your Mess Has a Message (2021).