Modern Life Is Making You Sick, But It Doesn’t Have To | Dr. Gabor Maté

Modern Life Is Making You Sick, But It Doesn’t Have To | Dr. Gabor Maté

By Ten Percent Happier

Hidden sources of stress — and how to beat them. Also: the myth of normal, the necessity of being disillusioned, and the disutility of comparing your suffering.


There’s so much to be grateful for in modern medicine. We can all agree that we would not do as well in a world with no Advil or dentistry. And yet, our guest today, who is a renowned doctor, says modern medicine is overlooking something crucial: the pernicious impact that modern living has on our minds and bodies. In other words, we are surrounded by these hidden societal and structural sources of stress and we aren’t thinking about how to treat and prevent these factors that are degrading our happiness and our immune systems. 

Dr. Gabor Maté is a bestselling author with an expertise on everything from stress to addiction to ADHD. His latest book is called, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture

Content Warning: This episode has mentions of child abuse, sexual trauma, suicide and addiction

In this episode we talk about:

What he means by “the myth of normal”How diseases, such as autoimmune conditions, are an “artifact of civilization”How to begin to tackle what Dr. Maté calls, “the social sources of illness” His definition of trauma and the difference between “big T traumatic events” and the trauma of “wounding”How trauma in society is so normalized that we don’t even recognize itWhether the term trauma is overusedWhy comparing suffering is a fruitless endeavor What he means by “the necessity to be disillusioned” The power and possibility of psychedelics Why he thinks we should incorporate shamanic medicine into our western medical frameworkAnd what he means by “undoing self-limiting beliefs” and how these beliefs show up in our everyday lives

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Books Mentioned:

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic CultureWhen the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease ConnectionScattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit DisorderIn the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Other Resources Mentioned:

The Wisdom of Trauma Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Is Associated with Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer: A Prospective and Retrospective Longitudinal Cohort StudyDecrease in depression symptoms is associated with longer survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer: a secondary analysisMarital Status, Marital Strain, and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease or Total Mortality: The Framingham Offspring StudyGeorge EngelHow spanking may affect brain development in childrenThe Trauma of Everyday Life by Dr. Mark EpsteinIntraConnected: MWe (Me + We) as the Integration of Self, Identity, and Belonging by Dr. Dan SiegelA. H. Almaas

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