Listen to my latest podcast episode:

TMHS 769: The Surprising Truth About Menopause & Lifestyle Changes for Menopause Symptoms – with Dr. Lisa Mosconi

TMHS 651: The #1 Controller of Human Health & Longevity – With Dr. Robert Waldinger

There are many habits and behaviors that impact our health and longevity including diet, activity, and sleep quality. But it turns out that there’s one factor that has the biggest influence on our overall happiness and quality of life: our relationships.

Today’s guest, Dr. Robert Waldinger, is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is also the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running longitudinal studies on human happiness, health, and longevity. In the book The Good Life, Dr. Waldinger and his associate director share principles of a fulfilling and meaningful life.

In this interview, you’re going to hear the fascinating science of how our relationships impact our happiness. We’ll discuss what makes a good relationship, how to strengthen existing connections, and tips for cultivating new relationships. This episode is packed with tons of scientifically proven tips to create a happier and longer life through our connections with those around us. Enjoy!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why the Harvard Study of Adult Development was created.
  • The difference between cross-sectional and longitudinal research.
  • How health, happiness, and longevity are connected.
  • What the number one controller of human happiness is.
  • How strong relationships can relieve stress.
  • The connection between loneliness and low-level chronic stress.
  • What defines a good relationship.
  • The definition of socioemotional learning.
  • Why social fitness is a critical component of health.
  • How to bring a sense of curiosity to your relationships.
  • Two strategies for healthier communication.
  • Why using extremes is unhelpful.
  • The power of having a beginner’s mind.
  • What the most basic form of love is.
  • The importance of asking open-ended questions.
  • What the biggest myth of happiness is.
  • Healthy strategies for incorporating social media into your relationships.
  • Three questions to ask yourself about a difficult relationship.
  • Important components that are missing in electronic communication.

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!


Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. On this episode, we're going to be looking at the results from the longest running human study ever conducted. All right, this is the longest longitudinal study. It's been going off for decades. You're going to hear the story behind this and it's going to blow your mind, but it's going to be telling us, after looking at all of this data and all of these humans over the course of many, many, many years, many decades, we're going to find out what is the number one thing seen in the scientific data that contributes to health and longevity. The number one thing. That's what we're going to find out on this episode. And I'm telling you, it is so simple, but so multidimensional, and it's something that we can take action on today to help to improve our health outcomes and to live a longer, healthier, happier life. Now, although it's not the number one factor, obviously our nutrition is a huge part of our longevity, of our lifespan and our health span, and in particular, for maintaining the health of our brains.


Memory loss in our senior years is one of the biggest fears for people in our society today, but a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that there's a particular electrolyte that's critical in maintaining our memories. The researchers found that improving magnesium levels in adult test subjects, and they were between the ages of 50 and 70, could potentially reverse brain aging by over nine years. Functionally and structurally younger brain by making sure that we are getting an adequate amount of magnesium. Another study published in the journal Neuron found that magnesium is able to restore critical brain plasticity and improve cognitive function. And neuroplasticity is the ability of our brain to change and adapt. This is often a hallmark of aging is a lack of neuroplasticity. And this whole concept of you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Does the old dog have magnesium? Because that's needed to be able to help the brain to adapt and to change, no matter where we are on our lifespan, no matter where we are on our life's timeline. Couple that with another critical electrolyte being sodium. The researchers at McGill University found that sodium functions as a "on-off switch" in the brain for particular neurotransmitters that help to protect the brain against numerous degenerative diseases like epilepsy and neuropathic pain as well.


So again, these electrolytes are key because they're helping our brain cells to be able to talk to each other, but not just our brain cells, every cell in our bodies are critically dependent upon electrolytes for form and function. Now we want to get our electrolytes obviously from whole food sources, but when we pull out processed foods, which according to the FDA, about 70% of the average American's diet, the sodium that they're getting is coming from ultra-processed food, when you step away from that stuff, your body's requirement for sodium is still there. And if you're not proactively going after foods that are really rich in sodium on a consistent basis, you're going to be lacking on key electrolytes that help our brains and our bodies to do all the functions they need to do. I'm a huge fan of bringing in supplemental electrolytes for most people because of all the incredible things that they help our cells to do. But for me, we want to avoid the things that can be detrimental to our brain, like excessive amounts of sugar that are found in most electrolyte drinks and formulas and things like that. So, the very best electrolytes, number one, and the ratios because of their hundreds of thousands of data points that they've accumulated working with professional sports teams and people who are working in places of high-pressure cognitive performance, like for example, in the field of academia.


So, gathering all these data points, they have the right ratios for the vast majority of people in potassium, in magnesium, in sodium. And I'm talking about the folks at LMNT. Go to That's drink,, and you're going to get a free gift with every electrolyte purchase, all right? Some of my favorites, I'm really enjoying the raspberry. My wife's favorite is the chocolate, but you're going to get to try all of them. They're going to give you a bonus gift, a sample pack with every purchase. All right, again, so go to and take advantage of this because it's a really special offer, and I don't know how long they're going to keep this going, but you get a free gift again with every single purchase. Go to And now let's get to the Apple Podcast Review of the Week.


ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review titled, “Healing Resource for Me and My Fam” by Nat Hill 734. “This podcast has provided a space for me to discover healing modalities, the science and research behind them, and a supportive voice to keep me encouraged on my healing journey. Having a chronic illness is tough, but I dare say this podcast has made healing fun. My love and gratitude.”


Shawn Stevenson: Thank you so much, I receive that, and thank you for making me a part of your life and your amazing story. Wow, thank you so much. And listen, if you have to do so, please pop over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review for The Model Health Show. And on that note, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day. Dr. Robert Waldinger is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He's also the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Co-Founder of the Lifespan Research Foundation. Dr. Waldinger received his undergrad degree from Harvard College and his MD from Harvard Medical School. He's a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and he directs a psychotherapy teaching program for Harvard psychiatry residents. And now he's here on The Model Health Show to share his insights, again, from the longest running health study ever conducted on what contributes, the number one thing that contributes to a long, healthy, happy life. Let's jump into this conversation with the amazing Dr. Robert Waldinger. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us. This is so... I'm excited about this episode.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Well, thank you for having me. I'm glad to be here.


Shawn Stevenson: Yes, totally my pleasure. So, when we decide to work in the field of health and we go to a university and we're passionate about the subject, ironically, we're not really taught about health. We're taught about disease and dysfunction. That's kind of where we get focused, and we get tunnel vision focused on those things. And so, the idea of having a good state of health is really, unconsciously becomes the absence of disease, but health is so much more than that. So, your work is so powerful. And I'm curious what got you interested in studying what actually creates health and the study of happiness.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Well, it started in 1938. And so, I wasn't around, but the original study director was interested in the fact that we spend so much time looking at what goes wrong in life and in our bodies. So, what if we looked at what goes right? And one of his patients was WT Grant, who was the department store magnate. You may not be old enough to remember, there were WT Grant department stores. And Mr. Grant said he would fund a study of normal development because he wanted to know which people would be the ideal department store managers. So, he funded a study of normal adolescents going into young adulthood. And now it turned out he funded a study of all Harvard College undergraduates, all white males from Harvard. So politically incorrect, but that was his idea of a normal developmental sample.


Shawn Stevenson: Holy moly. So, what personally tied you into that?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: For me, I've always been fascinated by what makes us all tick about the human experience. So, when I was an undergrad, I majored in history of science. And the things I wanted to study were why people thought crazy things and did crazy things and tried to get into the mindset of the time and understand, well, how could people do these things? How could people believe these things? And then like witchcraft, I studied Salem witchcraft. Why did they think that there were witches in their midst in these small towns in New England? And then when I got to med school, I found I was really interested in psychiatry 'cause I was most interested in how people's minds worked. And then I got into Zen meditation and started spending time sitting on a cushion, watching my own mind. And again, really studying this experience of being a human being alive in the world. So, when I had the opportunity to take over this study that had tracked hundreds, now thousands of lives for so many years, I thought this would be the coolest thing to devote my time to. And so, I said yes when they asked me if I wanted to take it over.


Shawn Stevenson: Holy moly. And this is, again, it's such a lengthy time span. Can you put that in context for us? Because a lot of times doing a study like this, it doesn't go according to plan, I would imagine, especially a lengthy study. There's cross-sectional versus longitudinal. Can you talk about that?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, most research is cross-sectional. So, for example, they might study depression in people now and they might take a snapshot of 20-year-olds who are depressed and 40-year-olds and 60-year-olds. And then they would say, okay, this is how depression happens over the lifespan. But that can be misleading. And the best way to explain it is through a joke. There was a senator from Florida, Claude Pepper, and he once said, "When I look at South Florida, I would have to believe that you are born Cuban, and you die Jewish." The idea is that when we do this cross-sectional stuff, we make assumptions that may not be true at all about how life really progresses for people. So, this is so unusual that a single study of the same people has lasted 85 years.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and even with that joke, it's like you're taking a snapshot at the beginning versus later on in life and the population is completely different.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Exactly.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, that's so fascinating. And versus a longitudinal study, which is what essentially?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Well, longitudinal study starts with a group of people and goes back to them again and again and asks many similar questions, asking, how are you doing now? And then two years later, how are you doing now? Every two years, we would do that. We'd send people a questionnaire. Every five to 10 years, we'd go to their houses and interview them. We did all these different measures to try to track the big things about life, mental health, physical health, work life, relationships. And what we've done as science has changed, we've changed our methods. So, we're studying the same big questions but with different methods like DNA. So, we now study DNA. We draw blood for DNA. We look at epigenetics. In 1938, DNA wasn't even dreamed of. We put people into the MRI scanner and watch how their brains light up in different ways as we challenge them. None of this was imagined when the study started.


Shawn Stevenson: This is so powerful because what you have and what you're a part of is really the longest running study to date that we're even aware of in any field. And it's really focused on human wellness and what constitutes a good life. And it's so remarkable because going back to the beginning, it was actually emerging of two different sets of participants. Let's talk about that.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: That's right. So, I talked about this group of Harvard College undergraduates, 19-year-olds, but then we also had a study, a separate study, of kids from some of the not just poorest, most troubled families in the city of Boston in 1938, families plagued by parental mental illness, domestic violence, alcoholism, all kinds of problems. And the study was started by people who asked the question, why are some children who are born into such difficult circumstances able to have good developmental paths? How do they end up staying out of trouble? And that was the interesting question for them. And so, then we combined those two studies, a very privileged sample, and a very underprivileged, under-resourced group of people. And then eventually we brought in women, all the spouses, and then all the children, half of whom are women. And the study has some people who were immigrants. About half of our original inner-city sample were immigrant families, Middle East, Eastern Europe. So, a fair amount of diversity, but not racial diversity. There are no people of color in the study, 'cause in 1938, the city of Boston was 97.4% white. And so that's what you get if you want to start a study in 1938 in Boston.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and over time, even with your growing awareness and intentions, new testing modalities, new questions, new ways to analyze things, new ways to be inclusive as well, it's continuing to flower and it's so cool, because essentially, you've been passing the torch down with this study. Why would it be so complicated to keep a study going so long?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah. What happens is that too many people drop out of the study. So, let's say I start with 100 people but five years later only 50 are left. And then 10 years later, only 20 are left. Scientifically, it's of no use to us anymore 'cause too many people have dropped out. We don't know what's happened to the people who we're not in contact with anymore. In our study, over 80% of the original people stayed in the study for these 85 years. I mean, that's what's amazing to us. And it took the determination of my predecessors that they would... We sent people birthday cards; we sent people thank you notes when they fill out a questionnaire. When they come to us and they need help, like if they need a doctor or they need somebody to talk to, we find them that help. So, we're not a hands-off study. And I think that's what's helped people feel like they're part of a community.


Shawn Stevenson: It should seem obvious, you know, just being more personable and caring, it's a special ingredient. And so obviously, again, there's such a wealth of knowledge to see here. And you've got this diverse group as far as their backgrounds, their financial state, their culture that they're existing in, but over time you see things kind of unfold and tell a certain story. And what you think coming into it, like as far as our goals and aspirations in life when we're younger, can you talk about what that is versus what you found to be most attractive and most desired for people later in life and what actually constitutes a good life?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, when our young men came into the study, they thought like most people still do when they're young that they needed to get rich to have a good life, that they needed to get famous. They needed to win lots of awards to have a good life. And of course, what we found was that that wasn't true. Some people got rich, some people didn't, some people got famous, some didn't. That didn't predict who was going to be happy and certainly didn't predict who was going to stay healthy. What we found, well, first of all, is that the work you do is so important, that taking care of your body really matters. So, the people who took care of their health, got regular exercise, ate well, got access to healthcare, those people lived on average 10 years longer than the people who didn't. But the thing that surprised us was that the people who stayed healthy and lived the longest were the people who had the warmest relationships with other people. And when we found that, we didn't believe it at first. So, we thought, how could this be? I mean, okay, having good relationships could make you happy, that makes sense, but how could it get into your body and predict that you'd be less likely to get coronary artery disease?


Or that you'd be less likely to get arthritis or that you would live longer? How could that possibly happen? And so, we thought, well, maybe our data are just a fluke. And then other studies have found the same thing. And everything we talk about in our book is confirmed by other studies. Basically, we trust our findings more if we know that other researchers have confirmed what we're finding, including with people of color, with many more diverse samples.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, so powerful. Now, the question is why? Why are relationships such a huge influence on our health and longevity?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, the research is still going on, but we've spent the last 10 years in our study and it's trying to answer that question. The best thing we can say now, the best hypothesis with some good data, is that it's about stress, that good relationships seem to be stress relievers. And I'll explain. So, you know, when something happens to us, you have a really upsetting thing happen during your day, you get a ticket or some medical crisis happens, you can literally feel your body change, your blood pressure goes up, your heart rate goes up. It's called fight or flight mode. And we want our bodies to respond that way, but then when the threat is removed, we want our bodies to come back to baseline. And one of the things you'll notice is that, you know, if you have something upsetting happen in your day and you're thinking about it and you're upset about it, if you have somebody at the end of the day you can talk to about that and you're able to talk to them, you can literally feel your body calm down and go back to that equilibrium.


What if you don't have anybody you can talk to like that? And so, we think what happens is that people who are more isolated, lonely, less connected, that those people stay in a kind of low level fight or flight mode of chronic stress, higher levels of stress hormones circulating in their bodies, higher levels of inflammation all the time, breaking down body systems slowly but gradually. And so that's what we think is one of the main drivers of how relationships can either improve our health or the lack of good relationships can break it down.


Shawn Stevenson: That's so remarkable. And the thing is, you know, even as you're saying this, it just, experientially, we know this, you know, but to have the science to affirm it and to direct our attention to it, it's basically a buffer. It's a very powerful buffer against how we're processing and dealing with stress. And we'll put this study up for everybody to see on the screen, but an analysis recently found that upwards of 60% to 80% of all physician visits today are for stress-related illnesses.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Absolutely.


Shawn Stevenson: Stress is tied into so many different things that can go wrong in the human body, but we, and just to be clear as well, it's not the absence of stress because stress can get turned into a bad word as well, but it's our ability to properly assimilate, manage, grow from stress, hormetic stressors, you mentioned exercise and things like that, but overall, when we get into this place of chronic stress and not being able to deal with the stress, and so our relationships basically make us stronger in the face of stress.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And what we hope is, as you say, that we have the chance to recover from stress, and also that we're not overwhelmed by challenges, that if we have challenges that we feel capable of meeting, that's great, and that fosters growth. If we have challenges that are overwhelming, we don't have ways of coping, and that's when stress becomes detrimental to our bodies.


Shawn Stevenson: So remarkable. So, this being one of the major influences with our relationships, stress, and how we're associating with stress, how our bodies are processing stress, is there anything else about relationships that seem to contribute to our longevity that you've got some little hints of?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Oh, yeah. Well, one of the things is that relationships and connections keep us wanting to be our best selves in the world. I mean, one of the things they often find is that men in particular are more likely to die shortly after their partners die. And the question is, why does that happen? Is it mystical? Is it... And one of the simpler explanations is that men often, as they're older, stop taking their medication. They stop eating as well 'cause they don't have a partner there to say, "Did you take your pills today?" They don't have a partner there to make sure they're eating decent food, right? And they're remembering to eat, right? And they're not drinking too much. And so, in some ways, these connections, in the most simple fashion keep us trying to be our best for each other.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, yeah. And in the context of men, I would think also that sense of purpose as well, you know, living for her, providing service, but I would imagine, obviously it's going to affect everybody.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Everybody. Women too, absolutely. Part of what happens is we all want to feel like we matter somewhere in the world, right? And often the place we feel like we matter first is with each other, with our closest relationships. So, what happens when the person you're closest to is not there anymore? And when we're lucky, we find new people to whom we can matter, and they can matter to us.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Now, here's the biggest question, right? We know that our relationships obviously have a huge influence on our lives, but I think we have this very romantic idea about relationships. You know, you complete me and the whole thing.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: But what actually constitutes a good relationship? And I think it's going to be surprising for people because we think super smooth sailing, no problems.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: No, no. In fact, we found that, like many of our most stable couples, fought like cats and dogs. But the difference, so it wasn't the amount of arguing you did, it wasn't even the amount of anger. What it was when we actually watched couples on video having an argument, it was whether you could see a bedrock of affection and respect even when people were arguing. So, what we know about the best relationships is, first of all, there are always disagreements, always. And the question is, how do we manage those disagreements? Can we find ways to work out those inevitable conflicts? I want this and you want that, always going to happen. Question is, can we find a way to work things out so that neither of us feels like we've won or lost? That we both feel okay about each other and ourselves when we emerge from working out a conflict. That's the key, not whether disagreements happen, 'cause those are always going to happen.


Shawn Stevenson: All right, now, we know that our relationships have the biggest influence on our health and longevity, check. We know certain skill sets in relationships really help for that to be possible, to have a successful relationship. My question is, why are we not taught this stuff? Why are we not taught how to actually communicate and connect with each other?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: It's starting to happen. There is something called socio-emotional learning, which is just a fancy term in education for teaching kids about what feelings are like, how they happen, what is anger like? What is an argument with a friend? How can you work out a disagreement with a friend without resorting to a fist fight or without breaking off the relationship? And when kids get taught these things, literally in school, they do better in arithmetic, they do better at reading, they get into trouble less in school, they get into drugs less. If you teach children about their feelings, how to handle their feelings, and how to relate to other people more healthfully, kids do so much better, including in their academic subjects. And so... And there are these huge studies of thousands of kids who get these programs in school and compared to the kids who don't get these programs in school, the kids who get this kind of teaching are so much better off.


Shawn Stevenson: Amazing. So, is this constituting social fitness? Is this what it is?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: It is constituting. It's the kids' version of social fitness. And when we give these programs to teachers to have them teach to their students, the teachers will come back and say, "You know, we need this for us too." And that's one of the reasons why we wrote the book, to kind of help people. Well, what does science really tell us about how to keep your relationships in good shape, how to stay socially fit?


Shawn Stevenson: We've talked over the years many, many times about physical fitness, obviously, but emotional fitness as well, financial fitness. You know, that's kind of what model health really is, is having fitness in all areas of life. But the one that stands above all of them that I just think it's so difficult for us, and you even mentioned it, like, you would see this in data, like this can't be right, but social fitness is the most important one. It affects all of this other stuff downstream. If we get our relationships right, it makes all this other stuff easier and more manageable.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Absolutely, absolutely. And we use the term social fitness because we think it's a good analogy with physical fitness. So, you know, when we exercise today, you don't then come back home and say, "I'm done, I don't ever have to do that again," right? Like it's something you need to keep doing. We think of exercise, of physical fitness as a practice, as an ongoing practice. What we find is that taking care of our relationships needs to be that kind of ongoing practice that we pay attention to. So that you don't just... Like, okay, when I was in my 20s and I'd made a bunch of friends at different times in my life, and I thought, they're always going to be my friends. I don't have to worry about them. I can just go on and live my life. What we see is that perfectly good relationships can wither away and die just from neglect. So social fitness basically calls our attention to the idea that we need to be active. We need to make little, tiny decisions day to day, week to week, to actively connect with each other, to reach out to a friend we haven't seen in a while. That kind of thing.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and again, it seems obvious, but I really appreciate this because you're bringing our awareness to it. And I love the analogy of physical fitness. And we do something a couple of times, we're like, all right, I'm done. When you said that though, that's exactly what my wife did, all right? When we met, because I was working at the university gym, she came in, I just saw this woman, she was very dedicated, she's over there, working really hard. And when we started dating, I was like, oh, this is great, we're going to have this in common, whatever, didn't come to the gym again for like a year, because she was there because she was trying to get in shape for a girls' trip, right? And so, she was done.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: She was done.


Shawn Stevenson: Until, but then you see the long tail effects of the various health ramifications, right? So not being in the shape that you want to be in or feeling how you want to feel and all the benefits that that gets, but oftentimes we kind of pull the plug on it or most importantly, or I think most prominently, we get caught up in the busyness of life.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, your story about your wife is a good example of what may have happened, which is that she found a partner who valued physical fitness. And so, I bet she has stayed more tuned in to physical fitness because she's connected to you, right? And so, what we find is that if we do have connections in our lives with people who have healthy habits, we're more likely to exercise those healthy habits ourselves.


Shawn Stevenson: Have you found that relationships tend to have a lot of compliments like that? Because she, on the other side, has helped me to loosen up a little bit, you know, and enjoy things, that kind of stuff. I'm not... My personality type tends to not want to celebrate things or to take a moment to reflect. I have built in intentionally into my days, you know, I have a gratitude practice, these things, but I'm very much wanting to create, wanting to grow, wanting to keep pushing the envelope. And she helps me to bring it back, like look at what we've accomplished or take a moment, reflect, take it easy, relax. You know? So, have you seen that in relationship context?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes, and it's one of the things I think that binds us together. So, you realize that she does something for you that you probably wouldn't do for yourself. And she may realize the same thing about you, right? And so, there's this sense of, oh, this person really offers me things that I wouldn't do on my own or can't do on my own. And that is so helpful. I mean, my co-author, Mark Schultz, is my friend, but he's also my research collaborator. He can do things in research that I can't begin to do. And so, we have these ways of sort of being bonded to each other because we offer each other things that are unique to the relationship.


Shawn Stevenson: Now, all right, I got a big question for you. We're dealing with another person or other people, and unfortunately or fortunately, we can't control other people. So how much, being that this is such a huge influence on our happiness, how much of this is actually under our control?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Not a lot. We can control what we do and how we respond. You're pointing out something so important, which is that there are always two people, at least in any relationship, and two people who are each constantly changing. So, we're all a moving target. And what that means is we need flexibility. We need to learn new dance steps with each other. I mean, one of my closest friends I've known since kindergarten, now we've changed a lot since kindergarten, and so we've had to kind of change our moves that we do with each other over time so that the relationship stays kind of vibrant and alive. And certainly, when you're in an intimate partnership, absolutely. I mean, my wife isn't the same person she was when we got married 36 years ago. Neither am I. And what we've had to learn to do is adapt to each other. Oh, you're taking off on this new path. You're developing this new interest. How am I going to go along with that? How am I going to follow you there? Or not follow you there, but at least appreciate it. So, it involves a lot of adaptation and flexibility, but that's good for us. It's good for our brains. It's good for our psyches to be that flexible.


Shawn Stevenson: Let's talk about the counter side and what you've seen in the data over the years with relationships that tend to not work out and have a lot of friction.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah. Well, some of it does have to do with inflexibility. So as one person changes, the other person says, "I don't want you to change like that. That's not okay with me." And then they're stuck not being able to figure out a way to be together. And so, I think what we hope to encourage is that for the relationships we care about, that we adopt a kind of curiosity about who this person in my life is today, not who they were yesterday, but who are they today? Especially with family members we grew up with. I mean, think about it. If you grew up with siblings, like you might've had an older sibling who you thought was always bossy. Well, maybe 20, 30 years later, that's not what's going on in your relationship. But what if you keep imagining that it is, right? So, we have to bring that kind of curiosity to our ongoing relationships and say, "Okay, what's here now that I haven't seen before in you and in our relationship?"


Shawn Stevenson: So fascinating. We've got a quick break coming up. We'll be right back.


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Now, if you could, because again, we don't get a lot of training on this, if at all. We're just kind of thrust into our relationships. And our textbook is usually, you know, Hollywood movies on how it's supposed to be, you know? So having these skills, like you just mentioned, it's not an absence of conflict. And that's important. I think that's first and foremost, a really important tenet for us to understand, right? Because we have this romantic idea that we should just be everything's peaceful, all this stuff. And not to say that we don't have peace as well, but in the face of inevitable conflict, I think you even said the word inevitable earlier...


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: In the face of an inevitable conflict, in those moments when it's happening, you mentioned a foundation of intimacy still existing.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes.


Shawn Stevenson: Right? So, can we talk more about that? Like what are some of the things that we can do personally when we're in a conflict with the person that we love and we care about, and for us to more gracefully handle these situations?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes. So, first of all, when you feel anger come up or a sense of threat, oh, you know, we're in a conflict, we disagree, the first thing is just to slow everything down if you can. Because one of the problems is we all want to react right away and make it go away. The conflict, the upset, the anger. And the hardest thing to learn, but the most useful, is to slow it down. To let your reaction come up and remember that it's going to pass away. You're not always going to be this upset. And even to say to your partner who you're having the conflict with, "Let's take a timeout. Let's come back and talk about this later. I'm feeling really upset right now. It would be better for me to go away, calm down, and for us to talk about it again." And kids can do that too. Kids can do that with each other. We can do it with our kids. And so slowing things down is probably the first step when it's possible. And then also being curious. Rather than assuming that we know why somebody said what they said or did what they did, just be curious. "Okay, tell me, what made you say that? What were you thinking about?" Or "How come you did that?" And not accusing, just curious. 'Cause often the assumptions we make about somebody else turn out not to be true. But we can act on those assumptions and do all kinds of harm to everybody.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and we start linking things together.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: You know, we might have a... And this is kind of like a longitudinal versus cross-sectional thing where we have a snapshot situation here that we're dealing with, but we relate it to this whole breadth of other things, right? Why do we do that?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, yeah. And the worst thing you can say in an argument is, "You always," or "You never." Nobody always does anything. Nobody never does. There's no always, there's no never. But what we do is we say, "Okay, it's always been like this. You always say those things," right? Not true. So, one of the pointers is to just take this moment and this incident for what it is, not as some global confirmation of the eternal truth.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and we talk about this in my relationship with my wife about not speaking in extremes.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: Right? Because we tend to do that, but to catch ourselves doing that. And also, something super valuable. It's not just for us to... I think awareness is so powerful, obviously, to be aware of how we're feeling and start to question ourselves, right? To be curious within ourselves too. But externally, yes, asking questions, being curious, is so powerful to find more clarity because we come to our own assumptions and paint these whole stories. But also, internally being curious about, for example, like if I'm having a conflict with my wife, my best friend, we love each other so much and just love being around each other, for me to be aware of like, what is her state? Maybe she's being sensitive about a thing or whatever the case might be. And just like, did she have a tough day? She's stressed, whatever. For me to start to paint her in a better light rather than like somebody who's, I'm a victim, all of a sudden.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right. Right.


Shawn Stevenson: Right? So, what about that capacity to just be more, I guess that's an extension of compassion and understanding.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah, you know, and as you said, you have a gratitude practice. So, one of the things, if you can bring yourself to do it in the moment is to remember all the things you're grateful for about this person.


Shawn Stevenson: Wow, yeah.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Like, wow, what if I never saw her again? Oh my gosh, right? And so even though she's just made you mad, right? The other thing, you know, as you were saying, you can start to ask yourself questions like, "What's upsetting me so much about this? Why am I getting so worried about this if I think that she said something a little nasty? Okay, it happens. Why am I so upset right now?" You know, because that's another way to just slow it down and to be more curious about what's going on.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and this is what's so powerful and remarkable about us as a species, you know, we have the ability to do these things. But I think what hinders us is just our desire to be right. And can you talk about that a little bit?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Oh yeah. In my Zen practice, there's a saying, don't believe everything you think. And it basically, you know, it's about that desire to be right. Well, I need to, you know, I think this and it's right, and I'm going to show everybody. Actually, okay, there's another Zen quote that I'll use because I love this quote and it helps me a lot. In Zen we talk about beginner's mind, trying rather than to be right and to assume that you know what you're talking about, to bring that kind of awareness of, there's so much I don't know about any situation, including my relationship with this person, right? It's called beginner's mind. And so, the encouragement is bring up beginner's mind, a know nothing in the best sense mind to your next encounter with somebody you see all the time. And the saying in Zen is, in the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few. So, if we think, well, I'm an expert in this person, eh, you've kind of closed off a lot of possibility.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. The irony of it is, I think we tend to do that for certainty. You know, the human brain just craving that certainty. You know, we know a certain thing, but it can create a lot of stress and tension and unhappiness really when we're attached to something that, you know, we frame as something being so stagnant. And so now we're venturing into uncertainty when we come in with a beginner's mind. But we're also opening ourselves up for so much beauty and discovery and just being... Actually, being present with somebody.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes.


Shawn Stevenson: You know?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes. Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: One of the things that I tend to do is I've thought over the years, like, I'll see how other people react to my kids, for example, right? And they're just like, oh, you know, they're so this, they're so well behaved, or, you know, just hanging out with friends, like they can see my son, Braden, my youngest son, and just like, they're so interested in him and like, you know, seeing this happiness. And I can miss it because I'm there with it all the time and we can get, you know, acclimated to it. And so, one of my practices that I've employed is at least once a day, because especially, again, the busyness of life is what tends to happen, but I'll pause, and I will completely listen to him and listen to the sound of his voice and look at his eyes and the way that he's thinking and processing things. And I listen to the emotion in his voice, you know, I just start to really pay attention to the subtle things and it brings me right there. It's such a moment of beauty and presence. And I know it's going to affect him as well, right? To be seen. And that's what I found in your book throughout. Like, you didn't necessarily have to say it, but just the act of asking people questions, some people were very surprised that you guys were even interested in them. So, let's talk about that and how just even making somebody feel seen and understood and listening to them can be cathartic.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Absolutely. People want to be seen. They want to feel like someone else knows them, gets them. And one of the worries about particularly our current times is that we're so glued to our screens that it's harder and harder to do what you did with your son. To stop, to look, to pay attention to the tone of his voice, just the expression on his face, right? To pay that kind of total attention to someone. One more Zen quote. One of my teachers said, "Attention is the most basic form of love." That if you really give somebody else your undivided attention, that's the most valuable thing we've got to give somebody else. And you were doing that with your son.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Oh, wow. I've never thought about this before, but I really do value when the people that I love pay attention to me.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: Because I'm doing all this stuff in the world and obviously, they can take it for granted, like, you know, dad, he's strong and he's doing all this stuff. And also, they can get in the busyness of their days and their lives as well. But today, my oldest son, I come into the kitchen this morning and this guy is always in there eating. You know, it's like, it's from this movie Fridays, like, when I'm in the kitchen, you in the kitchen, eating up all the food. And so, you know, he's working out and this whole thing. But he asked me, I just went to this gala yesterday, what we talked about before the show, my friend Daniel Amen, and he asked me, "What was your favorite part about the event?" Right? And he was locked in on me. He really wanted to know. And it made me feel so good. It's like, this guy cares about me.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes, yes. Well, and he asked such a good question. He didn't just say, "How was the event?" And you could have said, "Fine," right? End of conversation. He said, "What was your favorite part?" You know? And we can do that with each other. A lot of times, you know, if I would ask my kids, "How was school?" They'd say, "Fine." End of story. But if I said, "Did anything surprising happen today?" Or "What was the thing you liked best today?" Right? Just like your son asked you, it makes you stop to think. And it makes you then maybe offer something. And that leads to more of a conversation. So, what a great thing he did.


Shawn Stevenson: It's pretty remarkable.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: Pretty remarkable. And I think it's culture as well, where these things start to manifest.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: I caught this really early on with my kids, of course, with my kids, just asking them about their day. You know, it's fine. Good.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right.


Shawn Stevenson: Right? So, I was just like, you know what? I'm going to start asking a better question. And so, with my youngest son, like when I pick him up, I'll be like, "What did you learn today?" Right? Or "Any highlights for the day or something unexpected happened?" Right? So, I'll ask these different questions and he'll talk the whole time, you know, versus again, these, "Well, it was cool. Fine. You know, whatever." And so, this gets back to the power of questions.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right. And the power of questions that convey that you're really interested, that you really want to know, you know, we often ask each other, "How are you?" And so, the response is "Fine." And that's it. And actually, when you get a different response, it's like a little bit of a shock. Like, oh no, what do I do with that? And so how can we make our questions reflect that we are truly interested, and we'd like a meaningful response if somebody's willing to give one?


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. In the book you also talk about some of the myths about happiness. And one of those is that happiness is an accomplishment, essentially. It's something that we can basically achieve like a certificate or something. Can you talk about that?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Oh yes. This idea that, you know, if I just get these things in my life, if I buy the right stuff, if I get the right partner, if I go to live in the right place, that each of those things will somehow set me up for good. The truth is happiness comes and goes for all of us. Nobody is happy all the time. And it's really important to name that 'cause when we look at somebody else's Instagram feed, for example, we can think they're having the best life ever. They've got it all figured out and they're happy all the time, 'cause we curate what we show each other. You know, I don't post the pictures of myself when I wake up in the morning feeling depressed or dreading the future. I post the pictures where I'm happy and I'm in a nice place. And so what we want to do is be much more aware of the ways that we compare our insides to other people's outsides.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. All right. This is the... And when this study was started, obviously they had no conception of social media. It was not even remotely like an inkling of an idea in the cosmos, right? But today, this is what we have. And I even put social in quotes now mentally, right? Now, obviously there is... There's a perspective we could take that it's a neutral medium, right? We can use it for purposes based on our perception and our values in these things. However, we know now today that there are brilliant engineers who are working behind the scenes to make these things very sticky, to even essentially our attention span has just been dwindling away because we're looking for that next like hit of neurochemicals, and this addictive quality to it. And also, all the negativity that we're constantly going to be exposed to as well. The divisiveness, we're getting fed what keeps us in the same perspective, same ideals, that kind of thing. And we can start to think in a silo. We were talking about this before the show earlier, you and I, and this landscape and something very complex with social media, and my question for you would be, knowing that our relationships are really the most vital part of our longevity, of our health, how can we deal with this brand new medium and this new exposure that kids are being born into?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right, right. You know, and the fact is screens are not going to go away. So it doesn't work to say, well, screens are bad, we should just be done with them. Not going to happen. But there's some research on this now. There's some research that shows that how we use our screens and how we use social media matters big time for whether we feel worse or better from using it. So, what they are finding is that when we use social media actively, so when we reach out to people, connect with people, that actually turns out to be energizing and it increases our wellbeing. So, for example, there are people during the pandemic who reconnected with friends from elementary school, you know, who they hadn't been in contact with, in a long time and they've started having weekly Zoom calls with their elementary school friends and they absolutely love it, okay? So that's an active connection that's energizing and uplifting. On the other hand, we could spend our time looking at somebody else's social media feed, seeing all the beautiful pictures they post, feeling like we're missing out, like we're not living our best life and they are. And what we do is we... It sets the stage for comparison, and we compare ourselves negatively by this passive consumption of other people's social media.


That makes us feel worse. So, what I might suggest to your audience is, watch what happens when you spend, say 10, 20 minutes in a particular way online and check in with yourself. How does my body feel? How does my mind feel after I've spent time here? Is my energy lower? Am I more closed off? Am I more down? Or am I more uplifted? And if you're more down and more closed off, steer away from those places and those activities online.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, this goes back to something we talked about earlier as well, which is awareness, the ability to, in those moments, check in with yourself. And it's a skill, like again, and you know this obviously from all the work that you've done, nobody's perfect. We're going to stumble, we're going to fall into these traps from time to time, so in a relationship when we're in a tense moment, we're not always going to be able to just reel ourselves back in and ask the right questions, check in with ourselves. But as you build that muscle, right, so it's social fitness. Again, it's the same thing of being able to, in those moments of tension, can you just step out, take a meta perspective for a moment, or even go more within and ask questions and build that muscle and just understand you're not a victim in these moments. You have agency.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right, right, and there are ways that we can build these skills. Like we have exercises in the book and there are a lot of ways that you can get better at these things. Many people will say to me, "I'm no good at relationships, like they don't work out for me and I'm never going to have good relationships. It's too late for me." And one of the things that all these life stories show us from our study, it's never too late. I mean, there are some people who find a tight group of friends for the first time in their 60s or 70s. There are some people who find love in their 80s for the first time. So, if you think you can't do this, think again. It's not true.


Shawn Stevenson: Ah, I love it, it's so powerful, so powerful. Well, throughout the book you share a variety of stories, coming from people who've been participating in the study and I don't want to give any parts of this away, but just the opening part of the book, you share the story of Henry and Rosa, and I don't want you to say anything, but I just want to share that going through that story really hit me. And I shared I was getting choked up, just even in the setup of the question that was being posted to them and their answers. And for a nonfiction book to hit me like that was just so unexpected. And we can see ourselves in other people and that's the point that I want to bring, because the reason it hit me is you asked them, or your colleague asked them about the greatest fear that they have. And I shared that fear, and I didn't realize until I read those words. And again, the power of questions is so remarkable. The questions that we pose ourselves, the questions that we pose to other people, in a sense question are the answer, oftentimes in our lives. And so, what are some of the steps for us, for us to start to intentionally construct a good life?


Because again, I want to circle back to the point of good life does not mean that you're not going to have stresses and struggles and challenges. But that's part of the ingredients, I think. But what are some of the things that we can start to do intentionally for us to cultivate better relationships and to start to consciously create a good life?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Maybe the first thing people can do is to take stock of their relationships. Like what do I have in my relationships right now that I'm happy about? You know, one of the things we know is that relationships provide us with all kinds of different things. And different relationships give us different things. So, some people we have fun with, right? We party with, we play sports with, or do whatever. Some people who help us with practical matters, I have a neighbor who always has the right tools and I always have the wrong tools for anything I'm trying to fix in my house. And so, you know, he's like the guy I can call who will come and help me fix something, right? There are people who give us rides to the doctor. There are people who we can confide in when my kid does something and I'm really scared about it and I need somebody to talk to, okay? So, there are all these... So, what people can do is they can take stock. What kind of support am I getting from different relationships? And also, what kind of support am I giving in return, hopefully, that it's mutual?


And then think, well, what would I like more of? And how might I have more of that? So maybe I could have more people who I could just spend leisure time with and have fun with 'cause I work too hard. Well, could I do more of that with people who are already in my life? Or are there some new people who I could just test the waters with? Like maybe ask somebody to go for a walk or, you know, just try it out with somebody who I like but don't know very well. And so, the first step is to see if you can strengthen relationships you already have. And another is to see, well, who might I like to get to know better? And be active. So, it won't happen by itself. Reach out to somebody, just, you know, simple actions, like sending somebody a text. "Hey, I was thinking of you and wondered if you'd ever want to grab a cup of coffee," something like that, simple. We won't always get a positive response. So sometimes it doesn't work, but you would be amazed at the number of times when people are thrilled to be asked to connect, right? And so, I would say think about ways you could be active. And it doesn't have to be big, little ways that could have big ripple effects in improving your relationships.


Shawn Stevenson: That's such good advice. Just taking time, take stock of your friendships and relationships. Now with that said, you might happen upon a relationship if you actually are being honest about it. Not that... Because people like to throw the word toxic around, you know, toxic relationships. Sometimes you're the toxic person, you know?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: But something that, you know, if you are being honest with yourself is, you know, constantly, you know, abusive or dangerous or hurtful or just pulling away a lot of life force versus adding to it, when we see that, do we have permission to maybe let that go?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes, first see what's possible. So, some relationships are so important that we don't want to give up easily. Let's say you're in a relationship where you two have children together or you two run a business together or any number of things where you've invested together in something. Those are the relationships where we want to work hard to see, is it possible to improve things? But sometimes it isn't. And if it's not, it's really important to step away. So, the first question is, how much do I have at stake here? The second is, are there ways we could improve this? And then the third is, if it can't be improved, is it time to walk away?


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, and I think obviously that's a very difficult decision, but here's the bright side of that, of course, is making room when you do that. And it's not even just the room for physical presence of another person, but just the mental and emotional energy that you are able to claim back can be a game changer.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Absolutely. Exactly, so saying no opens up possibilities to new things, right?


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, yeah. I want to circle back because again, we're living at this time of "social media". I'm still going to put it in quotes. But again, I'm out there, I'm sharing stuff on social media, but if people even are following me, for example, I'm @shawnmodel on Instagram, they'll notice that I'm not just sharing these bright and beautiful moments, I'm actually digging into very challenging topics a lot of times as well, and talking about our society's dependency now on this kind of pharmaceutical model and not being able to work through tools for understanding our bodies, understanding our minds, and stuff that you're talking about. Again, giving these tools to children so we can start to churn out happier, healthier people, and not try to fix problems down the line, right? So I'm digging into these things that can be uncomfortable, it can even be controversial a little bit, sometimes unfortunately, which is so silly, because we know the ingredients that create health, but we talked about this earlier as well, we're constantly being manipulated as well to kind of think the way that the prevailing narrative, the prevailing belief of society, which is there's a lot of money being made on the farming of sick people, people that feel lost and disconnected.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: That's right.


Shawn Stevenson: And so, you're directing people back to ourselves, back to our relationships, to stacking conditions in our favor, right? So, my question is, in this social media paradigm, can you talk about one of the key ingredients that's missing, which is social feedback, right? Being able to actually connect with a person in the real world to see their facial expressions, like all of this data gets lost. And I think that I know probably a huge percentage of people listening have had conflicts online that could just take over their life, take over their minds. So, let's talk about that.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: That's so important. I'm really glad you brought this up because, I mean, I've had this happen where I get an email that looks to me like they're angry at me, and then I start getting angry back or I get defensive or something, right? And then I realized if I just pick up the phone and talk to somebody, hear their voice, ask, "Okay, tell me about this, what were you thinking?" Often everything calms right down, right? There's just something about communication electronically that filters out most of the important stuff, like nuance and tone of voice and often intention where you have all these chances to quickly ask a follow-up question. So, it's really key that if you find yourself starting to get into some kind of conflict with somebody online, take it offline really fast. Talk to them and don't engage. If you're engaging with anonymous people and having conflicts, step away. That goes nowhere.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, it's silly. It's silly and a lot of times it could even be an anonymous egg. Like if it's on Twitter for some reason.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: It could be a bot.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, like we want to defend our intentions and purpose and all these things, but the reality is, when we don't have that social feedback, that real world connection, it presents an opportunity. There's this landscape that takes away the humanness of it.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right.


Shawn Stevenson: Right? And so, we start to behave in ways that we would never behave in the real world with real people. It starts to take away our ability to actually see the person in a sense. And that can be happening from the people that might be throwing conflict your way.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Right. And to see the person and have some compassion for the person. So, if I said something mean to you right now, I'd have to see your reaction. I'd have to see your face. I don't want to do that. Whereas if I say something mean online, man, I don't have any consequences.


Shawn Stevenson: You can go eat a bowl of cereal right after.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Exactly. Exactly.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, again, these are different things. These are different obstacles that we're facing today and we're trying to figure it out. But the most important thing that I'm really hearing is for us to, again, realize we have agency, to be able to have a perspective of like, this isn't really even that valuable for us to invest in, versus the things that are valuable. And when we invest in those things and all of the ROI that comes from investing in the relationships that really matter, it can be absolutely transformative.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yes. Yes.


Shawn Stevenson: Well, this has been one of my favorite conversations, you know, and this book is so important. You know, we were talking before the show that this coming out at this time is, I don't feel it's an accident. Like we really need this right now.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Unfortunately. Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Epidemic proportions of divisiveness. And so, what is your mission with this book? Why did you decide to write and to put this information out right now?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: I decided to do this because we know things, science tells us things that we've been publishing in journals for years, but they're journals that most people don't have access to. And so, it feels so important to me that people get these messages. What science tells us about the importance of human connection. I mean, as you say, now more than ever. So, my passion is to get these messages out everywhere I can. And so actually I'm really grateful for you letting me come and talk with you about this because it's just one more way to tell people about this.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Yeah. There's a recipe, you know, and that's one of the things you shared with me earlier was, you know, seeing this huge database, we have some predictability about certain things, certain ingredients in a life that creates a good life. And these don't have to be complex, but accessibility is important. But first of all, it's the awareness and you're just transforming things by bringing this awareness to us. And I'm so grateful for you because this was... I didn't share this with you earlier, but one of the reasons that I stepped away from, you know, when I went to college, I was like, I'm going to go pre-med and be a doctor and all these things, but I just never felt comfortable with this obsession with problems, studying disease. And even seeing my classmates would start to like self-diagnose and like, everything was just revolving around things that go wrong. And for me, I'm so passionate about teaching people and studying what creates wellness, what makes a happy, healthy human being? And health is not the absence of disease, and a good life isn't the absence of problems.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: That's right. Yeah, that's right. I love that. Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: Can you let everybody know where they can pick up your book and also just get into your world and follow your work?


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Sure. So, there's a book website,, you can get it on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble. There's an audio book. You can look at some of our scientific papers. If you go to our study website, it's called And yeah, and I'm around a little bit on social media, but not too much.


Shawn Stevenson: Just a dabble.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Just a dabble.


Shawn Stevenson: Using it how I believe is best right now, which is as a supplement.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: Yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: Right? Versus being the real food, which is this, being in the real world, connecting. And so, I really appreciate you so much for coming to hang out with us.


Dr. Robert Waldinger: I really appreciate you too. What a pleasure.


Shawn Stevenson: Awesome. Dr. Robert Waldinger, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning into the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. Again, this is the number one contributor to our health outcomes. The number one thing, isn't this something that deserves our time and our intention to help to cultivate? Our relationships impact every area of our lives. And so, this book is incredibly important. I highly recommend you picking up a copy of The Good Life. And, again, it's all affirmed with science, but I love the tangibility, the practicality of what Dr. Waldinger was sharing with us today. If you enjoyed this episode, please share this out with your friends and family on social media. You can tag me, I'm @shawnnmodel on Instagram and on Twitter as well. I pop in there from time to time and I'm @themodelhealthshow on Facebook. And of course, you can send this directly from the podcast app that you are listening on. And we've got some incredible guests, powerful masterclasses coming your way very, very soon. So, make sure to stay tuned. Take care, have an amazing day. I'll talk with you soon.


And for more after the show, make sure to head over to That's where you can find all of the show notes. You can find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you've got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome. And I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.

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The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Family is Health

When you gather your family around the table to share nutritious food, you’re not only spending quality time with them - you’re setting them up for success in all areas of their lives.

The Eat Smarter Family Cookbook is filled with 100 delicious recipes, plus the latest science to support the mental, physical and social health of your loved ones.

Eat Smarter Family Cookbook


The Eat Smarter Family Cookbook is filled with 100 delicious recipes + the latest science to support your family’s mental, physical, and social health all in one place.

A family that eats together, thrives together.

Order the cookbook and get an amazing bonus today!