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5 must-watch TED Talks about health

Ever watch TED Talks? TED is a nonprofit “devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).”

We’ve rounded up some of the top health-related videos from the TED series (1,700+ talks and counting) that might resonate or give you food for thought.

Phil Hansen – “Embrace the shake”

Hansen developed a hand tremor in art school and thought he might need to abandon his passion. His neurologist, however, encouraged him to “embrace the shake.” While he could no longer make the art the same way (pointillist drawings), he found some new media for making art (like… hamburger grease paintings) and learned that “embracing a limitation could actually drive creativity.”

Notable quote: “Instead of telling each other to seize the day, maybe we can remind ourselves every day to seize the limitation.”

Amy Mullins – “The opportunity of adversity”

The definition of “disabled” disturbs Mullins, who’s a double-amputee because she was born without shinbones. Every person will face adversity, and society’s preconceived notions about “disabilities” or differences or ailments aren’t doing us any favors, she argues. What if they are a source of strength?

Notable quote: “Perhaps until we’re tested, we don’t know what we’re made of. Maybe that’s what adversity gives us – a sense of self, a sense of power.”

Joseph Ravenell – “How barbershops can keep men healthy”

Hate going to the doctor? You’re not alone. Ever since medical school, Joseph Ravenell, M.D., has focused his research on healthcare interventions that would appeal to black men — many of whom avoid going to “the stoic figure in a white coat” and have untreated high blood pressure. So he teamed up with his barber in Harlem to bring blood pressure checks to…the barbershop.

Notable quote: “What is your barbershop? Where is that place for you where people affected by a unique problem can meet a unique solution?”

Kelly McGonigal – “How to make stress your friend”

McGonigal, a psychologist, wants to make you “better at stress.” Like many other doctors and academics, she previously preached that stress is a public health enemy. But emerging research shows that it can actually be an asset — if you learn how to reframe your thinking about it.

Notable quote: “Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? The science says ‘yes.'”

Guy Winch – “Why we all need to practice emotional first aid”

While we’re very good at teaching good habits for physical health (like brushing our teeth or putting bandages on cuts), we’re pretty terrible at instilling “emotional hygiene.” So what is “emotional first aid”? Winch, a psychologist, describes it as noticing unhealthy mental habits and trying to change them.

Notable quote: “When you’re in emotional pain, treat yourself with the same compassion you would expect from a truly good friend.”

Do any of these talks speak to you? Or do you have any other interesting or inspiring TED Talks (or other videos related to healthcare or mental health) you’d like to share? Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to swap your favorite talks in this forum chat!

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