How’s your social health? Let’s test it. | Dr. Chelsea Shields | TEDxSaltLakeCity

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We’ve all heard of physical and mental health, but another important aspect to our overall health and wellbeing is social health. In fact, recently in the United States, the surgeon general revealed that social isolation and loneliness just topped obesity to claim second place as one of the top three killers in America.

Humans are highly social creatures, but that doesn’t always mean that our social interactions are healthy. In this informative talk, Dr. Chelsea Shields, explains how our emotions can easily be high-jacked and then offers guidance on how to evaluate and level up our social health.

This presentation was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with only a limited live audience of cast and crew members. While applause has been added to the beginning and end of the video, all other aspects have intentionally remained as filmed to honor the struggle and loss experienced globally during 2020.

Wardrobe furnished by Tommaso Cardullo. Dr. Chelsea Shields is a bio-social anthropologist, placebo studies expert, and runs a local consulting business.

In her academic work, Dr. Shields focuses on the evolution and elicitation of the placebo effect outside medical contexts. She coined the concept of social susceptibility to talk about how and why our human bodies have evolved to react, adjust, and adapt to specific social rituals, relationships and communities. Her work also investigates the evolutionary mismatch of modern human hyper-sociality and the health implications of a global, digital, 24/7 social network.

In her professional work, Shields runs a research and strategy business that specializes in qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic research as well as creative ideation, branding, and user-experience design.

Dr. Shields is also a TED Fellow, 3x TED speaker, and teaches speaker training that is focused on the 90% of communication we never talk about: the non-verbals! This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at