240 “Your Life Depends on It”: What You Can Do to Make Better Choices About Your Health with Talya Miron-Shatz , PhD


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Nothing is more important than your health. Though learning to make smart, complex health care choices is hard and is getting harder, especially in a world of massive healthcare information, and disinformation. In this episode of Follow Your Different, Talya Miron-Shatz aims to help us make the right health choices. Talya Miron-Shatz has her doctorate in Psychology from the Hebrew University, and studied with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. She is also a professor at the Ono Academic College, as well as a visiting research at Cambridge University. Talya offers a clear and useful guidance for the hardest decisions in life. We go deep into her new book, Your Life Depends on It, to find out more on what you and your family needs to know about making critical health care decisions. Talya Miron-Shatz on Studying Happiness Talya talks about what it meant to study happiness. She explains that the way they study happiness is not like what most people would think to do it. Rather than just focusing on what activities bring happiness, they look at various activities and find out what brings people happiness in those activities. One example that she gives was with colonoscopy, which isn’t exactly a happy activity. “For example, he (Daniel Kahneman) did work with colonoscopies. And he showed with Dr. Reto Meier that when the end is more gentle people remember the whole episode is better. So it can be weird because nobody likes a colonoscopy. But apparently when it's milder, when the end is milder, it's better. “ - Talya Miron-Shatz Measuring Happiness With regards to measuring happiness, there are what is called Peak and Low moments. Low moments are the parts of the activity that makes us unhappy, and we try to avoid those parts as much as possible. Yet avoiding all lows would be impossible. Which is why Talya encourages people to cherish the peaks we experience, however small or short they may be. “We should just cherish and be happy with those moments and sort of elevate them and give them attention. Whatever draws your attention, whatever you pay attention to, determines how you feel.” - Talya Miron-Shatz Finding Ways to be Happy Talya continues with how we use attention, or divert it to something else, to find a way to feel happy. One example is how people try to keep themselves busy with work or other activities when they have recently experienced something unhappy. Some might put physical distance between their worries, and find that it helps them feel less depressed and think more clearly afterwards. It’s literally taking your mind off the thing that is upsetting. Though there’s a part of avoidance that Talya doesn’t like, and it pertains to medicine. Particularly, the discussion of death… To hear more from Talya Miron-Shatz and how to make better choices with your health, download and listen to this episode. Bio For two decades author, consultant, researcher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur Dr. Talya Miron-Shatz has been dedicated to the issue of health and medical decision making. The questions she asks, and the answers she gives, are increasingly larger, and relate to the intersection of psychology and medicine. How do patients make choices? What do they need to understand their care and options? How can they be brought to enjoy the benefits of digital health? How can the human touch make a difference in times when medical challenges are inevitable? She identified barriers to better decision making and shows how they can be overcome – by patients, physicians, and healthcare organizations. She contends that while patients experience their challenges as very personal, these are rooted in institutional practices, and need to be considered as what constitutes good care. Often, it is beyond the doctors’ control, and they too can benefit from an overhaul of the patient role. Miron-Shatz did her BA, MA at Hebrew University’s psychology department, and worked for over a decade as an organizational psychologist.

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