Blinkist : Books Summary

Blinkist : Books Summary

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Lost Connections
Part of 20/31

tom rung had extremely high levels of stress. He also found that the alpha male had large amounts of stress when being challenged by another male. 
For humans there are a number of ways we can be made to feel inferior – including being exposed to ads that suggest we’re nothing without money to burn and the perfect body. 
Studies also show that places with greater gaps in wealth like the US have higher levels of depression than places where wages are closer to being equal such as in Norway. It’s up to us as a society to either create stressful depressing environments with strict hierarchies or ones where status and respect are more evenly applied. 
Another cause of depression that can be observed in primates is a disconnect from nature. 
Since her 20s Isabel Behncke has studied “the nature of human nature ” and witnessed how bonobos in the wild cope with stress. When they stop grooming and sit apart from the others it’s clear that they’re depressed. But when they’re taken away from natu
11/4/2019 11:40:44 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 21/31

re things get much worse: they’ll scratch till they bleed howl and rock back and forth. 
Nature is important for us too. Studies show that people in greener neighborhoods experience less stress and despair while immersion in nature reduces obsessive thoughts and boosts concentration. 
In a study of prisoners who had either a view of nature or a brick wall those with a view of nature were 24 percent less likely to get physically or mentally sick. 
The seventh cause of depression is a disconnection from a hopeful and secure future. 
If you’ve been through a period of depression there’s a good chance you felt it wasn’t going to end. This is one of the traits that makes depression so powerful – you can’t see past it. Such inability to see a future goes hand-in-hand with a disconnection from feelings of hope and security. 
One of the main reasons we feel hopeless about the future is the disconnection from our sense of control over our own destiny. 
In Canada there’s been an epidemi
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Lost Connections
Part of 22/31

c of suicides in Native American communities. When psychologist Michael Chandler looked into this he found that the suicides were taking place among the residents of government-controlled reservations – communities where the government controls the schools enforces the laws and gives no control to the residents. 
Chandler also saw that some reservations had managed to reclaim their land. In these communities the Native Americans controlled the elections police health services and could even revive their native languages by having them taught in schools. Chandler recognized that the people were in control of their destiny. Suicide epidemics didn’t occur there. 
Disconnect from a sense of security is another powerful factor influencing our well-being. 
Here’s another example from Canada: In 1973 the Manitoba town of Dauphin was home to an experiment that provided people with an automatic minimum wage equal to $19 000 a year in today’s money. It was canceled in 1979 by a new conservative
11/4/2019 11:40:44 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 18/31

 they began putting on weight. Susan started putting on weight after she’d been raped by her grandfather when she was 11 years old. 
But why put on weight? As some participants put it: “Overweight is overlooked.” That is being larger made them feel protected from unwanted male attention. 
After Dr. Felitti expanded his research to include 17 000 people in the San Diego area the evidence also showed that the more traumatic your childhood the more likely you were to be depressed. According to the study emotional abuse is the most influential factor – even more so than sexual abuse. 
These results were surprising to both medical journals and public health agencies since it was another strike against the widespread belief that depression was a dysfunction of the brain. 
The study showed that the proper question to ask is not “What’s wrong?” but rather “What happened?” By acknowledging and talking about past trauma people can reconnect with the troubling events in their lives and begin to m
11/4/2019 11:40:01 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 19/31

ove past them. 
The author has his own traumatic past – having been abused and strangled with an electrical cord as a child. Once he began to acknowledge this he was able to stop feeling that he deserved the bad things that happened to him and that he was to blame for them. 
The fifth cause of depression is a disconnect from status and respect and the sixth is disconnection from nature. 
People don’t study baboons and bonobos just because they’re fun to watch. These animals are very much our primate cousins and have plenty to teach us about human nature. 
First of all there’s the issue of how important status and respect are to our well-being and how a disconnect from these can lead to depression. 
Baboons live in a strict hierarchy: the alpha male can take food from whomever he pleases number two can take food from number three and so on until you get to the poor fellow at the bottom. 
By testing the cortisol levels of baboons researcher Robert Sapolsky found that those on the bot
11/4/2019 11:40:01 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 16/31

 buying new gadgets or other consumer goods it’s usually because we want to appear cool or impressive to others. This means our happiness is reliant on outside factors and opinions which isn’t a stable happy way to live. 
Likewise when we chase after promotions and more money we’re usually doing so at the cost of more intrinsically meaningful things like relationships and spending time with loved ones. 
The key to reconnecting with meaningful values is to be aware of your motivations and to keep questioning where you’re spending your time and money. This will help you to focus on what’s truly meaningful to you. 
Tim Kasser has taken his own research to heart by finding a peaceful ten acres of land in Western Illinois where his family can focus on gardening activism volunteer work and the things that enrich their lives. 
The fourth cause of depression is a disconnect from childhood trauma. 
There’s been a lot of talk about an “obesity epidemic” over the years with the discussion usu
11/4/2019 11:40:00 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 17/31

ally focused around learning better nutritional habits and getting more exercise. What goes largely unmentioned however is the role that depression and trauma can play in both weight gain and depression. 
In the 1980s Dr. Vincent Felitti conducted a remarkable study on obesity that showed how a disconnect from our past traumas could lead to depression. 
Interestingly Dr. Felitti didn’t set out to make this connection. Instead his study involved seeing if an extreme fasting diet could help a group of obese people to quickly and safely shed weight. At first the results were impressive: One woman named Susan went from 408 pounds down to 132 pounds. But Dr. Felitti was surprised when Susan and others quickly put the weight back on. 
Sensing there was something else was going on Dr. Felitti began talking to the participants about their lives. He was shocked to discover that 55 percent of them had instances of sexual abuse in their past and that it was immediately following these events that
11/4/2019 11:40:00 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 15/31

ft us disconnected from meaningful values and as a result depressed. 
At the heart of this disconnect are two types of values: intrinsic and extrinsic . 
If you play piano for the delight it brings you’re motivated by intrinsic value. If you play the piano solely for money then you’re motivated by extrinsic value. 
Likewise the primary goals in your life can also be influenced by both types of values. Dozens of studies show how advertisements push us toward extrinsic values which are proven to be less rewarding. 
Psychologist Tim Kasser has conducted multiple studies showing how the more consumer-minded and extrinsic-valued people are the more depressed they become. Meanwhile those who focus on intrinsic goals such as helping others or becoming better musicians for the sheer joy of it saw a significant boost in their mood. 
Now you may be thinking: “Wait a minute buying a new iPhone does bring me joy!” But ask yourself one question: Why does it make you happy? 
When we’re obsessed with
11/4/2019 11:39:59 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 14/31

brink of flunking out of school but after joining the protest met a neighbor who helped him with his homework and was able to get his grades under control. 
Also among the group’s members was a homeless Turkish man Tuncai. One day the group discovered that Tuncai had been forcibly taken back to a psychiatric institute. Members of the group came together to rescue him from the facility as they all knew that being part of Kotti
11/4/2019 11:39:56 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 12/31

is to foster mutually beneficial relationships. 
The US and UK have a strong focus on individuality with books that focus on “self-help” and people sharing slogans on Facebook like “Only you can help you.” But this individualist mindset tends to ignore the wide range of outside influences that affect our emotional state. 
One of the biggest influences is our relationship to other people which brings us to the second significant source of depression: a disconnect from others. 
Loneliness can play a big role in feelings of stress and depression. Neuroscientist John Cacioppo showed how loneliness directly contributes to increased heart rates and higher levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol. In his studies during the 1990s Cacioppo found that acute loneliness causes as much stress as being punched by a stranger! 
What makes loneliness especially dangerous is that it can make a bad situation even worse. We withdraw into ourselves when we’re sad the loneliness only adding to the anx
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Lost Connections
Part of 13/31

iety. 
To reconnect with others we should honor our inherent tribal nature and be part of a mutually beneficial community that shares helps and protects one another. 
One amazing example of people benefiting from togetherness happened in the Berlin neighborhood of Kotti shortened from Kottbusser Tor the name of the subway station after which the district is named. 
It began in 2011 when rents in the area were being raised. An elderly wheelchair user named Nuriye was facing eviction so she posted a note stating her intentions to kill herself rather than lose her apartment. Neighbors saw the note and before long had barricaded the road in front of their apartment complex and began protesting the rent increases. 
Conservative Turkish Muslims gays and punks all joined forces calling their movement Kotti
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Lost Connections
Part of 10/31

ne how our work affects our health was conducted by psychiatrist Michael Marmot in London in the 1970s. 
After studying 18 000 British civil servants Marmot discovered it wasn’t the bosses with big responsibilities who were more prone to heart attacks – but that those bosses were four times less likely than others to have a heart attack. 
To find out who experienced the most stress and depression Marmot looked at people with the same pay level status and even the same office workspace. The results were clear: those with less control and authority to make their own decisions were more likely to be depressed. 
How bad can lack of control get? Years later Marmot was asked to help the British tax office when staff were committing suicide in alarming numbers. 
The problem was that work kept piling up and the employees could do nothing to stop it. There was also no correlation between effort and reward – no one seemed to care whether employees worked hard or slacked off. As Marmot saw it the
11/4/2019 11:39:54 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 11/31

 overall sense of powerlessness became so unbearable that people were taking their own lives. 
Fortunately there are ways to reconnect with meaningful work. In Baltimore the author met with the owners of a bike shop who found one answer to the problem of powerlessness: democracy. 
Josh his wife and a small group of friends all quit their jobs to become equal partners in Baltimore Bike Works – a new business modeled after the “cooperatives” that had been popular in the US prior to the late 1800s. They held weekly meetings where all important decisions were voted on and anyone could raise an issue to voice their concerns. 
Everyone Hari spoke to reported feeling less anxiety and depression at the Bike Works than they had while working in top-down jobs. Josh’s wife Meredith no longer had the sleepless nights filled with feelings of dread and nervousness that had plagued her time at a nine-to-five desk job. 
The second cause of depression is a disconnect from other people. The solution
11/4/2019 11:39:54 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 7/31

more questionable. 
If it isn’t a chemical imbalance then what’s the cause of depression? As we’ll see in the next blink there’s more than one reason for feeling sad and hopeless. 
“The [pharmaceutical industry] is just sick and bought and corrupted and I can’t describe it otherwise.” – Professor John Ioannidis Stanford University 
There are at least nine common causes for depression based on the idea that depression is caused by difficult life circumstances. 
If depression isn’t based on a chemical imbalance what’s the underlying cause? 
From his own experience and through speaking with researchers about their extensive studies on depression the author found nine primary causes of depression. What connects all of them is the fundamental understanding that depression is primarily due to life circumstances. 
In the 1970s George Brown theorized that the causes of depression might be twofold: Something going on in the brain and something going on in the life of the person. To fin
11/4/2019 11:39:50 AM
Lost Connections
Part of 8/31

d out if he was right he conducted an extensive study that included 144 women who’d been previously diagnosed with depression and an additional 344 women who’d never been diagnosed with a disorder. Importantly all the participants came from the same economic background. 
If the cause of depression was purely due to serotonin levels then the results should show that the life experiences of the subjects bear no significance on their mood. However Brown discovered that 68 percent of the group diagnosed with depression had recently experienced a troubling event in their lives. He found that depressed women were three times more likely to have what he called a “long-term chronic stressor” in their lives. 
Brown’s study also shed light on the differences or lack thereof between those diagnosed with “reactive depression ” – the clinical term for an event-caused depression – and “endogenous depression ” which is how a supposed chemical imbalance is categorized. Remarkably the results showed th
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