How to take control of your health with Thomas Goetz - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

How to take control of your health with Thomas Goetz

Written by on April 2, 2016 in Digital Health, Wellness with 0 Comments


Thomas Goetz tells us about a study done on bus drivers in Berkeley, which showed that many of the drivers were chronically stressed by their jobs. In order to meet the strict schedules, bus drivers were putting a large strain on their health: cutting into their break times, not eating properly, and then drinking at the end of their shifts to unwind. They were working in a system was designed to make them unhealthy.

He shows us a map of the USA, lit up by the location of McDonald’s restaurants. “You’re not far behind,” he says – he shows us a similar map of NSW, Australia.

If civilisation looks like this, how are we going to get healthy, if the very fabric of our society is designed to make us unhealthy?” Thomas asks.

The reason we have designed our infrastructure to look like this is because it’s what we want.” The fats and sugars make us happy in the moment, but it doesn’t contribute to our health.

Thomas tells us that the Darwinian struggle for existence that used to perpetuate our lives doesn’t exist now.

What is our purpose today?” he asks. Thomas tells us that we need meaning for our life that impacts beyond our life. When we do create a purpose for our lives, positive things happen.

In the last few years, there has been a lot of research on life purpose. One study looked at people seeking treatment for drug addiction, and showed that those with a strong sense of purpose were more successful facing this very difficult challenge. Another, looking at preventing Alzheimer’s, showed that people with a sense of purpose, even one discovered later in life, stayed healthier for longer. Having a sense of purpose also reduced heart attack and helped people live longer.

Thomas says we need to identify what matters to us and how to achieve it.

There are a lot of tools that can help you do this,” Thomas says. “The mobile phone is the single greatest invention for our health.” We need something to order the chaos of life, to create structure for our lives.

If we can find what our purpose is, if we can feel healthy and happy and live our lives with vigour, then we can pursue our best possible lives.”

Thomas Goetz, USA, CEO and co-founder of digital health startup Iodine, former executive editor of Wired Magazine and author of The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalised Medicine presented this at Happiness & Its Causes 2016.

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