Widening Our Lane: On Monday, 74 public health and medical organizations, including The American Medical Association (AMA) and The American Heart Association (AHA), issued a report calling climate change a “health emergency” and urging political leaders and — in the week of the first debates — presidential candidates to take action. "The health, safety and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change," said the report. And Massachusetts General Hospital opened a new Center for Gun Violence Prevention. "With nearly 40,000 people a year dying from gun violence, we have a responsibility as people in the health care system to tackle that issue the way we would any issue that's affecting our patients," said co-director Dr. Chana Sacks. "So it's not that we’re choosing this issue, it’s choosing us." And last week, Kaiser Permanente announced the funding of three clinical studies on how medical professionals can help reduce gun violence. "We believe that safety is integral to the health and well-being of individuals and communities,” said chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson. All more proof that well-being is about the totality of how we live, how we work and how we connect with each other and ourselves. And when we prioritize well-being in our individual lives, we’re better prepared to take on our collective challenges.
There’s No Debate: The 2020 campaign season officially kicked off with a two-night debate-athon among the cavalcade of Democratic contenders. Questions were put to the candidates on immigration, health care, gun violence and climate change, and many multi-point plans were put forth. Maybe in a future debate candidates can be asked about their plans for optimizing their decision-making and problem solving skills. It’s something I wrote about here. Since then I came across this study, by Jan Alexander Häusser, professor of social psychology at Justus Liebig University in Germany, looking at the dire consequences of sleep deprivation on political decision making and the fact that myths about sleep seem particularly stubborn among elected leaders. “It appears that politicians want to send the message that they are willing to burn themselves out for the sake of voters, to show diligence in getting the best outcome on their behalf,” Häusser writes. “But the research reviewed here suggests that this kind of signaling may have its downside: It’s less likely that decision-making under sleep deprivation leads to optimum outcomes, and therefore ‘burning themselves out’ may be a disservice to voters.” Given that we’ve seen plenty of sub-optimal outcomes from the current sleep-deprivation-signaler in the Oval Office, this is yet another area for the candidates to show their commitment to change.
Just Connect: Humans are hardwired to connect. That’s why technology is so seductive — it plays on this fundamental urge, but it doesn’t give us the kind of connection we need. We can see the difference in the fact that, even as we’re connected by technology as never before, we’re also in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. Two stories I came across this week highlighted the value of real human connection, something that’s always been at the heart of Thrive’s mission. In The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Bernstein writes of the benefits of connecting with strangers. We’ve all been there — having an oddly intense connection with a seatmate on a plane, or even just jumping out of our routine to have a pleasant interaction with a stranger on the way to work, which is one of Thrive’s Microsteps. And now there’s science to back it. Research by Gillian Sandstrom, of the University of Essex, shows that people get a boost in their mood just by talking to a barista or a museum volunteer. “People feel more connected when they talk to strangers, like they are part of something bigger,” Sandstrom told The Journal. Bernstein closes with ten ways to connect more with strangers. Then there’s this study from Notre Dame that found that connecting with our friends and having a strong social circle has a profound benefit on our health. The lesson: Just connect — with strangers, with friends, with anybody as long they’re human.
Please select this link to read the complete blog post from Arianna Huffington on LinkedIn.