« The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

BONUS: Helping the Helpers

2020-04-16

The heaviest burden of Covid-19 has fallen on the shoulders of medical staff, first responders and others who care for the sick and vulnerable. These people are saving lives, while putting their own health and mental wellbeing at risk.

Several doctors and nurses have written asking for advice on the small ways they can make their daily lives a little easier to bear. So we asked cardiologist and wellbeing expert Dr Michael Rocha to explain the ways he's preparing for shifts on a Covid ward.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
How happiness lab listeners. I want to tell you about a new podcast. I think you're, like it's called the last archive and it features one of my favorite new Yorker writers. The Harvard historian Jill Upward Jill asks the big question who killed truth. She looks for clues and events across the twentieth century from a brutal death in Burma to the invention of the lighted factor to the release of the polio vaccine. The last archive is, unlike any podcast you ve heard before it brings history. The life with archival tapes, intrepid field reporting, an old, timely radio drama reenactments. The last archive unfurled, like a classic nineteen thirties, mystery but takes on the big issues of today. Wouldn't you like to know who killed truth then check out the last hour. Five brought you buy. Pushkin industries have included a trailer at the end of this episode.
Subscribed today on Apple Spotify, wherever you get your podcast welcome to a special set of episodes of the happy Islam. The now global spread of corona virus is affecting all of us. Disease has brought a host of medical, economic and political problems. But it's also given us a ton of uncertainty and anxiety which will begin have an enormous negative impact on our collective wellbeing. But whenever I am confused or fearful, I remember that looking for answers in evidence based science is always the best way to go, and that's what I'm hoping this podcast can help. I think it emails from listeners asking for specific advice, but one of the ones I received recently really struck me from the director of a hospital emergency department. Someone who spent? The last few weeks on the front lines fighting over nineteen he talk
about the fear and anxiety, so many healthcare workers were facing right now and asked of it could devote special episode, topping medical staff and first responders, with some science based tips specifically designed to protect their well being during this crisis. Like many other I've been wondering what I could do to help the brave folks who are working on the front lines of this crisis also didn't wanna, give such advice lightly and so on desperately wanted to help. I also wanted to sure that I understood what those heroes were really going through. So I put out how, to a number of my long time, doktor friends, a science buddy from ledge, whose now leading on colleges and my best friend from elementary school, who is now a board certified family physician some to share the specific challenges they were facing and what questions in their teams had about how to protect their mental health during this crisis, and then I put out a call someone who I knew would do a great job walking me through all these questions. Doktor, Michael Raja, Doktor, Roca or MIKE, as I know him
is a successful cardiologist, but I MIKE in a different capacity. We went to high school together back in my town of New Bedford Massachusetts since graduating MIKE, on to become one of my towns heroes. He founded a group called the New Bedford Wellness Initiative, which provides free resources to our community about happiness and healthy living. Doing so, he's basically retrained as a wellness expert, and one that really practices what he preaches. He lost over eighty pounds. Through healthy diet and exercise. He met, he's regularly and he prayed. So many many of the text that I talk about in this pot, but reason. I really wanted to talk to make for this episode is that he and his medical group have also been on the front line, tackling covert nineteen. Unlike many specialists, he's been asked how bout, beyond his own area of expertise in order to best tree corona virus patients,
since I knew MIKE, was dealing with these challenges directly. I thought he'd be the perfect sounding board for some of the tips I wanted to share. I called him at home in his study to record our conversation. Alright sequence, Pardon guy, it says continue here, obviously continue right, better that you, yes, I want to stay. At the beginning, as we like you and I actually met in high school. I think those I wanted you to start with just gimme a sense just on the ground, just really generally like what is it feeling like to be someone who's in healthcare right now? The feel is it trying to write a roller coaster, because the information is coming in incredibly quickly
in medicine or Sr. One study, that's positive and in the next thirty, that's not so positive things keep changing and also in certain places right now. There is a very high exciting as a cardiologist a unit two months ago. I would never thought that I was gonna, be the situation that you know going into. A patient's room is potentially than be something that I was gonna have to wear a gown, and you know mascot, in a visor and gloves, and so there's a lot of anxiety right now. Immediate sounds like just the normal care that you would normally gave, which is kind of like normal routine. It gently even could be deadly. Now, I'm not even to take an extreme positions. A friend of mine. I have someone I trained with data was in the front. In New York and she's been admitted to hospital hospital down for about ten days. She's do better, but you he's my age, so you know that's actually for doctors, especially other doctors, has really caused us to pause, because
Young healthy would not something we would actually expect to have to deal with, and so I went to walk through some of the things that the science of happiness can can help with. In in this incredibly scary time. You know. Weak Sadly, there are major structural problems in terms of the amount of people access and what hospitals and administrations are doing like you know, as a podcast too, as I can't help with those, but I think there are certain things we can help with in terms of maybe sure that physicians and first responders are protecting their mental health, and so I wanted to dig into some of this stuff that you just talked about First Gimme, a sense of the kinds of immense, in that physicians and first responders are going through right. Now we one of them that I hear a lot in my emails. His anger that dislike in zoos are awful angering situation yeah. I did
No doubt the does a lot of anger out there and I think that if people get caught in that situation, where their angry they're not actually able to be most effective, but the sense that we don't feel protected in the United States is is, it is a big thing for people and it is understandable to be upset about that, because we should be prepared better. Then what we are- and I think that there is a lot of disappointment- let's just leave it at that- that you know certain people, organizations that could have made changes and could have prevented the potential risk didn't and and I think that that emotion rises up and affects the way people are feeling these days, especially doctor and then I think another emotion we we already talked about a little bit is is fear. I mean talk about the the ways fear is playing out among first responders re. Now, people are you to breaking down the cry there,
afraid you know again, we have to take that extra pause. You know I actually had a situation the other day, where I needed to call nine one one on a patient. There was unresponsive and I had to make sure that I told them up front that there was a concern that that person may actually have covered that causes everybody to kind of sitting. Go like. Oh, my god right, you don't get, I think the fear amongst cardiologists that we, you know it hard to tell whether the patient actually has a covert manifestation he cagey or their presentation, or there actually really having a heart attack. So now like second guessing ourselves, because if we take somebody to the calf lab to put in an emergent stand and they actually dont have a blockage. Will then we just expose potentially six people too. Action in Anxiety provoking because we know the covert can affect the heart, and you know we hear we keep hearing over and over again how it affects the rest its worry, the lungs, but it can affect almost every organ system,
in this seems like you're, not just afraid for your own health and safety, there's a real fear for first responders Brain Miss home to their family, to their kids, to people that they care about right, re. Absolutely caused a lot of isolation, so you could be Walking around your house with your family and your concern is: is it while I could have covert? I don't know yet I don't have symptoms. I certainly don't want to give it to my family and I think that a lot of people in Healthcare first responders are actually taking extra measures when they come home at night and they may be in there oh room or actually so people healthcare you're, going in staying in hotels to stay away from the vehemence. That's a tough one I want to talk about strategies that can come from the science for how you other healthcare professionals can regulate somebody's emotions. I mean, I think maybe the first thing to say is that Obviously, all these emotions, the fear and the anger completely justified like it's awful that you're in these situations and you're. Really facing a threat. That's like incredibly real, and so it makes sense to be afraid. The prom.
I think, as you know, for doctors is also not good to be angry and afraid and like it feels yucky and ineffectual decision making, and so, if there was something could be done to regulate those emotions. It seems like it would be a smart thing to do the story I'm always reminded of when I hear tales of healthcare workers who are facing this stuff. Is this Buddha story about the second arrow? have we ve talked about that before, but in This idea in a Buddhist telling his followers, the story of veto, if you get hit with an arrow, that really bad in the followers, but yeah, that's terrible. It's like well, you get rid of the second arrow and a third arrow is that, worse in the fall or said, yeah, that's worse and router Gazeta. You know that their first arrow is is the circumstances and life. That's like the actual bad things that are happening. You can't control those, but in some sense you can to control. The second area, which is your response to those horrible circumstances and I feel like and how, here now, it's not an arrow like you all are getting shot, would like it forty you know like the first arrow is much bigger than like a regular arrow, but I think they're still
there's still a world where there are strategies that could be useful to to regulate these emotions. I think it's really important and you'll want I've been talking with a lot of folks about- is just this ability to cannot regulate the threat response. Generally, like in the body like what folks can do to serve shut off There are at least Kai calm down your sympathetic nervous system a little bit, and so can you give me a tooth? again on like the sympathetic nervous system and just like fighter flight response, I mean I could do it too. If you you're the doktor said yes, the fighter responses. I deal with that. Wait. A bit and you know are honestly, I mean actually, ITALY, how often comes up cardiology regularly blocker Chagos open heart, starts to race. You again, you start taking brought away from various our peripheral types of arteries. So it's really again that heightened sense of awareness, hopefully there
That's only a very brief response in you. Don't want to be in that that move for a long period of time, because it's very detrimental right, you may be able to do that quickly. They save your life, but if you're doing that whole time it's not save your life, it usually hurt you and the beauty that, even though, for the most part, we can really take much action on our autonomic nervous system other than like removing the threats that are out there, which you know of. Obviously, if we could do that with covered nineteen, we would wish is there is one way that we can kind of chill out our sympathetic nervous system, and that is through our breath, your the action of kind of taking a couple deep, breaths, no especially deep belly brats, where you're going really slow and breathing not into your chest into your belly that can actually activate the parasympathetic nervous system. And the of doing that we know, can regulate again. These emotions that the catecholamine system are signalling, like you know that fight response, which is often anger and that those kinds of or even the fleeing response, which is the fee
and the anxiety in that panic. Just the active taking those deep rest can really make a difference. Do you think that something that kind of doctors in the trenches could potentially use and this time your eye? You know that that type of breathing is very important. In fact, patients to the office work it again they come in their blood pressure is at the heart and be racing, and I will go through that. Sometimes you could bring a block or shut down by just twenty points that way, so you don't get activating the legal nerve in the Paris a big sympathetic, nervous system can be our our best allies to tickle badly the increased adrenaline invite us like response. Which I think is important emanates ironic, that you say that you do it with your patience, but I feel like doctors, it into her with each other and Ehud Healthcare professionals to do it for themselves. It. I have
daily validation practice. So I absolutely and- and- and I didn't always at that- and I probably would say that- has been more over the last five or six years. It's absolutely critical is really made a huge difference in our maple to broach thinks I'm in it not just the medicine in all aspects, when is it going to hit a second thing that I hear a lot for medical professionals right now, which is how hard it is for them to get self care and all these different domain. So I'm thinking about you know there Leaflike, damn eating ray and all these things are so talk through what you're kind of seeing among your colleagues like in terms of how hearted spent to engage with self care during this battle. Just you prefer instances of Jerusalem save. For example, you know what some of the nurses dinner on these covered units are actually in full regalia, full personal protective equipment. And just by having now makes it really hard to take a break. So you do you, people that they may be doing they retire twelve hours chef on their feet
with really not even eating well or drinking well and if you're in situation for each three hours it that kind of intensity, you basically got your fight or flight response on the whole time, unless you have some adaptive met, there seems to be helpful and then- The thing is, is it no doubt when you faced with these kind of travellers tried and wine down at night and trying to find ability to China be able to decompress to sleep is a big problem, and then you know people work longer shifted not getting out too late. You know their sleep is being reduced Basically, you sleep, you gotta work. You know, there's not a lot of time for people to be death, a certainly exercising more. You knew again meditating for an extended period of time. So I this schedule, it is forcing people into is really not one, that's conducive to software and saw a guess
From my signs of happiness perspective, advice would be that people just need to make some of these things non, negotiable Europe, especially sleep and rest time exercise. You know healthy eating meat, these the things that we need to double down on when our mental health is in jeopardy, is when they're also the things we need to double down on when our immune system, you know, needs a little rev up to right. So this is exact the time when in healthcare workers need to protect their immune system with all these different practices and they're not doing that, and so what would it look like the front lines to really make these things non, negotiable right. Now, that's a real challenge, because you, we don't have a reinforced were actually currently asking doctors and people there been out of medicine, or maybe you ve been retired, were asking for volunteers to fill it. So we're really out of place where you know it's revival survival, and you know you can't be growth, but when you're in survival, that's it that's the real challenge,
One of the reasons I was excited have you on the show is, I feel, like you, ve, been really good at practising what we preach even during tat time. So the eventual folks are gonna come home from these long shifts like can they do ahead of time to prioritize sleep. I think simple things like you're staying off the internet, when you get home, you know positive sleep. Had it's like. You know putting the fallen away now and trying to get to bed, maybe even healthy eating like not eating a huge crazy meal or drinking like what? What does it look like in your own life to prioritize some of these things here I actually, I usually pretty healthy, but over the last four weeks I dont think that I could eat much healthier. I've been lake ridiculous every day, Regimented, you know lots of fruits and vegetables and not to be. Lots of water, and- and I have really I've really tried to actually mentally, prepare physically prepared such away. That's really important! So eating healthy is not just good for physical wellbeing, but we do know that it's good for you about the well being of your car,
home in eating? It should re or have a bunch of drinks its first, all those exhibiting interrupt your sleep unanimously you're, not gonna, feel any better and you won't be prepared. So again, I personally really believe that the work that I did, for him to get me the space to be able to eat healthy regiment. There has been for sleep, making sure that seven hours in the EU to try to how it's all those things is is always still a challenge, because again next week, some of those things me may not be completely my hands, but I'm gonna have to do the best. I came within those circumstances of what I prepared. I love to things that you said that so important. Why is this idea that you, even if this system is against us, there is still a lot of things that we can control? You know, there's still a lot of the agency that you can take, over what you're, putting into your body over how you're going to bed and when you're going to bed, but also liked it some self compassion there right yogi, you said you're gonna do the best you can and it might not be as good as it was before, but even those
baby steps that healthcare workers can take great. Now, even us, you know increasing your sleep by fifteen minutes or you know grabbing a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar like those small changes are actually gonna. Have a big difference on your health, but also on your mental health right now, and so these baby steps can be so important yeah I'm also in this happened. I've done this before and various weeks did they get busy. I make sure that I exercise I'll do four or seven minute work out a nature. I walk as much as I possibly can You know in that, and that can be a good way to distress coming home after work. You may be. My work out in the morning is in his long. Maybe my meditation practices try a little bit. Have for some of them watching that I do. Instead of doing you thirty seconds to jump. Jack's I'll, do tat betrayed him. Sure that I still maintain that, because that actually has made a big difference from the past. What I've been in situations where had to alter the way I do things in order to fit the time the typewriter
So in addition to the issues with finding ways to prioritize self care, I think we also have to just recognise that healthcare workers specially Healthcare workers were on the front lines of these fires are seeing credible amount of suffering and ain't healthcare workers obviously face life or death situations, in some cases all the time, but in some ways different. Now I want you to talk a little bit through through the differences and in the way that that suffering is gonna affecting people psychologically. Its indifference retreated drink from the faster injured you from the from the fire, hydrant right out it is, you can see, what's happened in New York and I have friends in my down there. The overall volume of suffering is on a level that we ve never had to see, you know I've heard stories, did it very heart reject things in it? It was really sad for me to see that the doctor in New Jersey actually passed away from this You know my experience when I was there was a resident in a medical had secure. You needed a very, very busy to shriek your hospital, a tough you don't. We would see lots of sick people
but it was always even on your worst night. It was kind you could still get through. It was manageable, it wasn't joy of all, because you're were dealing with some sick people and unfortunately, people die in the settings, but I think that why it is so high that it's just so loud out there in terms of a few of the suffering in school I mean we can even here you know here and New Haven in and friends of mine in New York. They say you knows all You can hear the sirens right, that's what We are hearing and scary. I can't imagine what it's like to be another side of the sirens and be dealing with those people when they come in and so mean the Good NEWS, though, as I think the science really is a clear thing that we can do about that point, in particular the sort of dealing with other people suffering, and it comes a form of meditation I know, make your big practitioner patient, but the particular kind of meditation I think, can be really powerful right now for dealing with that kind of suffering is affordable. He shall known as loving kindness, arms, the kind of meditation. We talk a little bit about before on the podcast, but is a form of
petition where the rather than just focus on your breath. You try to pay attention to what it feels like to experience compassion, and you do that through a set of different Montrose. You think about people in your life and you wish them health. You say: may healthy, may you be safe and you can adjust slake what the body in terms of what it feels when you're doing and what the data suggested that that kind of in addition, can bump your emotion of compassion, but in doing so it does Incredible thing where, rather than see other people suffering in this awful way where you're kind of taking on their suffering and feeling it yourself. You actually get a motivation like almost like a call to arms. When you see people suffering in these contacts with compassion can actually build in a motivation to take action, and using thing is research from folks, like tiny singer suggests that this practice of loving kindness metal, Patient can reduce burn out, particularly in healthcare professionals, because those are the folks that
you're, just paying attention to other people suffering day in and day out can really in a burn you out and the way they are talking about, and so so do you think that that's the kind of practice that enough more help, care professionals knew about it. They could cut a squeeze enemy. This kind of thing you can do two to three minutes a day or maybe even in between patients. When you walk out of the room, you know you might not be able to take your mask off and take up. Again, you know grab something to eat, but you actually can sit there and watch your breath and can feel compassion is that is something that people can reasonably added and this time I do. I think the key. I actually kind of it after my own way of doing I do a gratitude meditation, I kind of close it out with. May all people be free from suffering I kind of I rule all of that together in it it does. It makes a huge difference for me. I do that every day you know. I do think that with the practice it could be very helpful for people and I agree it does. It does have a very profound effect to be able to think about that, and I think that the gratitude meditation for me has been very important because it it really causes me.
To go back and look at all aspects of my life, and it also helps me to realise that we are not alone there in this and that a kind of think that, This is almost hour. It was people face. These challenges are war, were one were war to these kind of uncertain times at such a time Anthony level, I really thought about about my grandfather's who both of them served a war to, because this is the kind of event in our lives. It is called us, too, to step up in a way that that, yeah. I love that strategy for beating burn out, because I mean it does a couple things one as you have to think about folks. You ve, been through things, like this before and made it through, like that? That gives you confidence that you can do the same thing right? It's almost like seeing your own resilience in the mirror, which is really profound, but also, I think gratitude can be a complete like me sin for the other. Things are hung about earlier things like anger and so on. You have your experience now things in your life that are a blessing or the people around you who are doing great things? It can conduct
urban anger at parts of the system that could be really problematic again, not to say that the anger is not justified, completely. Is his does not function So anything we can do to can occur, but is really helpful. So we it's a little bit on the emotions that people are facing and healthcare right now and also how to deal with some of the suffering you are experiencing in some strategies you can use for that. When we get back from the break, I think we'll talk about the even harder things like the existential part of this challenge of your doctors actually facing their own. And what they can do to deal with that challenge in the best way possible, and so the happiness I'll be right back. So make I wanted to focus in on on a different struggle that I hear a lot of healthcare professionals facing which is kind of more of personal one, which is, it seems like a lot of health care. Professionals are kind of beating themselves up right now about a lot of different things like it's from this kind of survivors guilt to folks who are feeling like the other there
working, long hours and they're not there for their kids. It seems like a lot of the folks. I talk to artists. Not giving themselves compassion? I need right now. Do you see that as a problem in Europe? Colleagues to Hopefully, medicine changes after this in some ways because it in general, you know we ve kind of always been trained to be like the sucker and you know just do your job kind of thing, but there's a lot of data out there. The about fifty percent of doctors before this happened were burnt out, and that's just doctors in practice, you know we actually a group of people is one of our biggest challenges. Is self compassion for die. There is the ideas were supposed to be able to use technology, keep everybody alive and that that's not gonna be possible right now, because we don't have control and I think so this loss of control, the situation where it's just so much that happening is really negatively affected people, and I do think that people beating themselves up out there
I do see that's a real concern in something that's gonna throughout this crisis is gonna play it: of all with a lot of people and struggling to cope with those things, which I think is unfortunate generally, because the healthcare workers are complete. Hero is right now and it's awful to feel like their beating themselves up. It is also just bad in terms of their competence on the job does, of course, if your second guessing yourself, if you're kind of feeling bad about things, that's gonna be a challenge for kind of carrier giving that doesn't lend itself well to good decision making if your kind of constantly second guessing and in your head, but again here the science of happiness can help a little bit, because there are lots of techniques that folks can use practices that you can use daily to improve self compassion, which I think can be really powerful. One of those practices is just a variant on the loving kindness meditation that we talked about before, and so typical, loving kindness practice is that you, having compassion to all the folks out there. You know the commission
and for the world or compassion for near of people around you, but at one step in that process, you're supposed to take a pause and give compassion to yourself, you suppose say, may I be happy? May I be safe and so on and what twenty is that that part of the process it affects people differ like some people, find that when really easy- and they tend to do that when first- because it so easy in their meditation to get started with giving compassion to themselves. But for me, maybe for other folks, it's kind of hard to say that you should be happy that you should be safe to kind of put yourself in the priority list, but my senses that it's a technique to be really powerful for Europe. Physicians right now is to not just worried about the suffering of everyone else, but just to be making sure that they're giving themselves some compassion and giving themselves and, if the doubt generally, but especially during this, really quite challenging time, absolutely because you care poor from an empty cup. I used to be my own worst critic.
By far there is nobody. There was nobody even close to second, but what I realize is, but I'd stop Papa myself in the face that actually was more effective, and I think that one The things is that it's not about is working hard, working, smarter and be more compassionate, because the truth is when you are in a situation where you Jim, like you said you you're, gonna, walk up and you're, not gonna, be able to take care of those around you you. So we'll be in situations that you're not able to be connected. Your family, because you just so you just saw isolating yourself if you can't be compassionate yourself, so not only just at work but also at home. The other way conditions can help with self compassion is to remind our colleagues to have some self compassion to you. I think is another time where you reminding your colleagues that your grateful for them, reminding them that their doing a good job like those kinds of Things can help if there's someone on your he was having a really hard time with our compassion, expressing grew
How you doing these nice things can really help them during this really scary time. That's act! something that I have seen. That's really been remarkable over the last couple weeks is to see people's ability to reach go to one another and be supportive. Each doctor thinks they know more than the other doctor, but actually what we realize now is that we all have to pool our resources that never was true, but that's kind of how we've been traded with makes it a problem. We now they collaborate in a way that we ve never done before, and I can tell you that has happened. You know, even even if it's not a phone call the ito. I greatly appreciate when I get text messages from friends of mine, that you say hey. How are you doing in randomly and the interest shown just its being present, I wanted to see if the question that I'm getting that I have struggled with the most from healthcare workers, which is why the science of happiness says about these real existential crises that I think doctors are facing right now. Of people, especially doctors in New York, I'm hearing from
they are really afraid of dying because their seeing young people that their taking care of die all the time tat. The impact that comes seeing death so closely has had on physicians and in the weights affecting them in terms of their performance in terms of their mental health yeah. So in healthcare we usually deal with people that their older and you know when start to realise and people that you may be taken care of the younger. You have this. The transference that you could put yourself in my bed Speak. We ve never really had to face that. You know we all in some ways think we often future twenty five years from now, I'm gonna be in a situation where you know I may need to face death or face illicit away, but actually that really caused me over the last couple weeks to rethink their aid in there the possibility that I could actually get get. Second, that is permeated throughout the profession, everybody's asking themselves the same question.
You know again, we have doctors that are actually falling into, not just the other doctors, but we have doctors in their sixty seventies there you know again, we know based on age that people are higher risk for complications. So truth is, is there you know still, if a younger, if a younger physician The chances of getting really sick are still very well, and I think that people We still realise the data. The data says that work I'm gonna be mostly okay, but not everybody, not just a matter of pride, Just right. You know you just don't want to be the unlucky person, but we do know that without some of our colleagues that are older to continue to practice and put them is at risk realizing that their risk may be higher There is also doctors and physicians out there and engine in nurses in health care that actually have underlined chronic diseases, but now this huge concerns about
what happens if I get sick- and I think that is really caused a lot of people to reopen say you know this profession is a card there. There is, you know to be a doctor, is all be in healthcare to care for other people. Beyond the job and I've never looked at it. That way, and it is showing up in ways that you know what people need you to be there, and I think that at this point even physicians that I think that you knew me have higher risk of having a complication. I can tell you that the Almost universally are safe, they're gonna, to show up in the face of danger and an that's cool try to show up when used you show up, even though you know you may be in danger that courage and an we usually of acquainted that with with our police officers with firefighter or our soldiers, but this is really
first time that we really had to answer that, calling in a way that in the face of danger and people are doing and in doing it such a way. That is, the powerful and is really gonna burn physicians across the world together at a time that is necessary and, as I have said this before, in a doctor's, largely cunegonde, work and it done their job and worked really hard for their patience in it, but We haven't really been greatly advocated for the things that really need to change out there, and I think that this is actually going to really solidify doctors as a voice. It's gonna need to be heard from our ever Ivan your answer to that question, because I think that the what the science suggested that you're doing exactly the right thing to do when we are facing a big existential crisis, which is to double down on the things that you find in court import. And that you find meaningful that give you purpose in life and the strategy that I think doctors can use right now to face this existential threat with some,
dignity right to see. This is the reason that you jumped into this s, because you are courageous because it mattered alive, because you know I was calling- and I think it can really powerful to kind of look at it from that perspective to realize they know that that's what this is about, and I love the idea that you know the doctors are realising that they might even have more of a voice than I thought before, right eye, that when we get out of this mess now doctors will may be have a voice to fix the things in their professions that we're going wrong or how to make things better for the next generation doctors, all those deep, meaningful things are the kinds of things psychologically speaking you through an existential crisis, so the more that doctors can double down on those big picture things right now. I think all the better another the thing I saw when I was looking more about the work on your people who work in power. Of care and see a lot of suffering and see a lot of death. Is it it turns out that the active facing death in your profession actually has in some cases can have A strong benefit to your mental health, because
Does it allows you to have this greater appreciation for life, sewed nurses, who work and palliative care report that they have done so many benefits out of this, because they they savour their own life, so much more and they don't take things for granted in a way that they they say they did before I started working in that, and so I wonder if again in the midst of all this suffering there might be a real benefit to the people who are in in the trenches right now, one that you might not see now, but after you get this will cause you to look at life in a completely different way and that kind Appreciation is pretty rare. You know what we should all have that kind of appreciation, but we now and so the opportunity to see that so close we might might bring a powerful mental health benefit that healthcare workers don't expect ended in the years to come? yeah. I agree with that. I think that is really important for us too, to be or two to think of palliative care and see a lot of suffering and see a lot of death. Is it it turns out that the active
raise your last day and I think that what it does is it really put things in perspective that you start to put what's really important in your life together, and I do think that this is causes all the hit. The pause button You know we ve taken our environment for granted. We ve taken people forget right? You know we ve really placed. Unfortunately, certain times we ve put in money technology in front of people that hurts that hurts as official Can't you see that certain certain population You're gonna be more vulnerable with this, but I do think that it taking stock. Of all the things in all the blessings and all the things that really matter is gonna make. Difference afterwards and I do think the world be kinder and more and full after this happens not during it's gonna, be great suffering and anything I think that the world will change. No doubt it's been great.
You ve been able to see these deep benefits and to get meaning out of these things, but I just wanted to add one strategy for any of our healthcare workers, or first responders, were really struggling with how to do that, and this comes oh scientists, that we interviewed during the first season of our pod cast Jamie Penta Baker, and he does a lot of work on the power of journaling for allowing you to kind of get to these self transcend our emotions and so he's found? Is that just active taking time to sit down and talk about your city, a right down about your situation, right down where you're feeling aching how to get you, too, that the bigger picture to kind of see the big purpose is to see that these things are your calling at sea. We are getting your courage, or even just it that kind of more future perspective on things that can allow you to like make sense of these things. That feel really out of control. So if your list out there and you need a good techniques to get to the point that make has so well through his meditation practice in all the work that he has done your sitting down to scribble down and journalists can be really powerful and that can be agreed.
Technique to add into a routine or even as a ritual. At the end of the day, no scribbling down your feelings is a great thing to do. Even before it. Maybe you go to bed, she can kind of get it out on paper and let your your brain process something out. So you can fall asleep you, but I wanted to end with asking you this isn't an awful crisis in, and people really are suffering in Europe. Said when we started in my metaphor about the second arrow. I think it's not first arrow, that our physician are getting hit with right. Now, it's like a cave forty seven, but do you think that, through the through some of these interventions. We can make it a little bit better again, not perfect, but but these are things that, for France can do to improve things at least a little bit during this challenging time. You're absolutely my friend George Mumford, who is that spoke with a week ago who say meditation, I, my from a specialist here's, the concept the ILO Hurricane, and you know think that that's the important thing can you be the calm within the storm in ultimately
storm is gonna, be there and there is no way to wish this away, but it is our ability stay calm and peaceful, despite the things that are happening in also Actually, we have to be comfortable being uncomfortable and also you have to allow yourself to not be perfect on all those things, because I think that you it's not about pushing emotions away, it's about sometimes just sitting there. With that you know I was. I was out for a walk the other day, And there was a certain amount of sadness that just kind of came out of the blue so I just was there with it. I let it go eventually it passed away. You know just moved and in a way things, as is our emotions, don't always stay there. Fleeting were not happy forever were not sad forever were not feel for one hour angry. You know if we stay with those things, and we we really
This is just an emotion in and realise that it too will pass that its at it. For me, that's made a big difference for me and I think that that will help me and that in the coming weeks, despite whatever, whenever storm is gonna come, this will pass that tell- and I think its powerful, because again there is not much we have control over and this situation, but we do have control over how we reacted. That there is a lot of work in science that suggest that what you resist persists you now, if try to push away your fear, push away your anger, push away. Your emotion is just gonna come back you. So just say this is the way this is an issue yucky, but you're freaking out and fighting it isn't gonna help. Let me just get through what I need to get through. It is healthy away as possible and so like you for helping our listeners get through what they need to get through. It is healthy away as possible. Which I really appreciate, and thanks so much for come round about cast a breakthrough ass. For me. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you, but also to shoot what's going on, because I think it is important for people to
Eliza it is. It is a unique position in health care to be to be sitting where we are. They would never faced. I wanted to. This episode by expressing my gratitude to all the medical professionals and first responders out there. Thank you so much, your bravery and service, and I really hope, you heard some tips that might help you in this fight and if you're, not. Frontlines, but you still want to help. There are lots of things you can do. You can start campaign to get hospitals more lifesaving protective equipment. You can that are donating blood, which I'm told is running. Really, though, right now or you can even see Your local hospitals are accepting food donations for their tired workers, but the biggest thing you can do is just stay home which will help flattened the curve and keep everyone, including our healthcare heroes, safe. The happiness lab is co, written and produced by Ryan Delhi. This episode was mixed and mastered by Evan Viola, and our original music was by Zachary Silver Extra extra special
thanks to the medical professionals, who help me with this episode, especially Doktor Sanjay, Chevette Romani Doktor Tanya feet and Doktor Amy. Commander as usual, deep attitude goes to Bed Davis as well. The rest of the push contain. A strange thing happened to me in the library, while back I needed to pick up a few books, This was before the quarantine, a question. Was nagging me it had been nagging me for a long time who killed truth, This truth problem. It isn't just bad its deadly It's also way older than it might seem. This mystery, its historical just and I'm a historian at Harvard and staff failure at the new Yorker has been a lot time trying to solve mysteries like this one, so anyway, I was at the library.
Everything seem normal hum swiped my card The elevator down to the basement the volumes I the shelves and then I saw it, something I never seen before down here? at the end of the rope, hidden in the shadows green door, was a sign on the door tarnished breastplate we barely make out the words it read. The letter archive everybody, tv and radio confuse hello right right: hello. How are you no one's there the voice from the past voices,
Ray we waited period. Prior, woe heralded the discovery which assured and who want to ban time was granted in here. She's, lying before corona virus, a congressional debate about the government's role in developing a vaccine. Is there any other term forward firm, socialized, medicine, old horror, movies therein, here too, punch cards from the forgotten history of the National Data Center network, referred to as being that work is now and operate in record's records of bird songs, Considered America's foremost songbird hermits rush all these voices from the past sound nobody is heard for decades. Maybe somewhere in this vast last archive this corridor of the mind, find what looking for
an answer to that question who the truth, I decided to start a podcast. It's called the last archived hotel stories from hundred years, a history of America in our arguments about truth and evidence. If you wanted I found Mimi back here I'll leave the door unlocked the last archived coming brought to you by Pushkin industries.
Transcript generated on 2020-05-25.