These TED Talks about health focus on three very different topics: slowing down, prioritizing psychological health, and exercise. Each topic is a slice of the whole, brought together to encourage a holistic perspective. Health is about our quality of life, and these talks each offer their own simple practices for an overall enhanced experience.
“By taking action when you’re lonely, by changing your responses to failure, by protecting your self-esteem, by battling negative thinking, you won’t just heal your psychological wounds—you will build emotional resilience; you will thrive.” — Guy Winch
I want to just get right into these TED Talks about health because I want you to actually watch/listen to at least one of them! If not now and if not today, at least sometime soon.
Save this post and come back to it if you know you could be living a richer, fuller life. I believe we all can.
3 TED Talks about Health: Honoring a Holistic View
1. In praise of slowness, with Carl Honore
In my culture, time is linear—a finite resource that’s always draining away—and I feel that nearly every day. In other cultures, time is cyclical, always renewing and refreshing itself.
This is why I think this TED Talk is so powerful: journalist Carl Honore talks about the revolutionary idea of the “Slow Movement.”
With a touch of humor sprinkled throughout his talk, Carl details the ways in which speed erodes health, productivity, and quality of life. He intends to help answer the questions: How did we get so fast, and is it possible and desirable to slow down?
We’re so “marinated in the culture of speed,” as Carl notes, that it can be hard to see the toll it takes on our health; often times it takes a wake-up call to realize that we’ve been living the fast life instead of the good life.
Less really can be more.
We get more pleasure and more health from our experiences when we slow down enough to really experience them and be all there. This a concept that’s beginning to gain momentum in the world, evidenced by the Slow Food movement, Slow Sex movement, and even a Slow City movement.Slowing down at the right moments can make us do everything better: eat better; work better; exercise better; love better; live better. tell a friend
It’s possible to have a “kickass economy” without us all having to be workaholics.
It’s possible to shift gears from a quick-fix mentality to slower, gentler, more holistic forms of healing.
2. The importance of self-care, with Guy Winch
Psychologist Guy Winch makes a strong case for practicing emotional hygiene just as much as we practice personal hygiene—and just like the latter has led to increased life expectancy, the former would undoubtedly lead to an increased quality of life.
This TED Talk dives into common psychological wounds inflicted by chronic loneliness, failure, rejection, and rumination, and offers simple practices and tools for rising above the traps we might find ourselves stuck in if we don’t treat ourselves with the kind of compassion that a truly good friend would. These are the kinds of wounds that “distort our perception and scramble our thinking.”
Take chronic loneliness, which does more than make you miserable: it increases your likelihood of an early death by 14 percent; causes high blood pressure and high cholesterol; and suppresses the functioning of the immune system, posing as significant a risk for your long-term health and longevity as cigarette smoking.
Another example: when our self-esteem is lower, we are more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, failure and rejection hurt more, and it takes longer to recover from them.
And yet another example: after rejection, many people tend to make the psychological injury even worse, but we wouldn’t do that with a physical injury. Why? “Because we don’t prioritize our psychological health,” says Winch.“It is time we closed the gap between our physical and our psychological health. It is time we made them more equal.” — Guy Winch tell the world
We don’t need to suffer so much from these kinds of wounds, though. There are solutions, and they all begin with prioritizing our psychological health. From there, we can catch our unhealthy habits and practice new healthy habits in response.
We can heal common heartaches with compassionate attention, and for the sake of our quality of life and longevity, it would be wise to do so.
3. The brain-changing benefits of exercise, with Wendy Suzuki
I’m going to finish off with a talk about one of the most transformative practices we can employ for better brain health: exercise.
In this informative and interesting TED Talk, Wendy Suzuki draws on her deep understanding of neuroscience and personal experiments to distill the brain-changing effects of exercise. In her studies, along with a growing body of research on the benefits of exercise on the brain, Wendy made some exciting discoveries.
Exercise changes not just the body, but the brain. I’m sure you’re already aware of this, but her talk points out some specific benefits that hone in not only on the immediate benefits but the long-lasting benefits that include protection from incurable disease.
For instance, a single workout can improve your ability to shift and focus attention, and that improvement will last for at least two hours. You’ll experience better energy right away and your long-term memory will improve.
Perhaps the most transformative and exciting benefits of exercise is its protective effects on the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s or dimentia.“Simply moving your body has immediate and long-lasting protective benefits for your brain.” — Wendy Suzuki motivate a friend
Watch until the end and maybe join along, because Wendy leads a one-minute simple exercise to bring the evidence to life.
She finishes her talk by reminding the audience that bringing exercise into your life “will not only give you a happier, more protective life today, but it will protect your brain from incurable disease and in this way it will change the trajectory of your life for the better.”
Which of these TED Talks about health did you watch, and what stuck with you the most?
Share your own insights, healthy habits that you feel have changed your life for the better, and any stories of a shift with me in the comments.
Know someone who loves all things health-related? Share these talks with them right now!
It’s okay to start small, so long as you start something.