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3 mins

Simplify Depression: Johann Hari Says Depression’s Not (Just) In Your Head

In this episode of Simplify, Caitlin is joined by author Johann Hari to discuss the causes of depression and how to reconnect with what really counts.
by Ines Bläsius | Oct 3 2019

We’ve got good news and bad news: depression might not be all in your head.

In this episode of Simplify, journalist and two-time New York Times-bestselling author Johann Hari reveals the cultural causes of depression: loss of connection to meaningful work, meaningful relationships, a future that makes sense, and other amorphous factors, both political and personal, that just can’t be blamed on the human mind.

Hear Hari tell Caitlin the stories of how people have reclaimed their connections to meaningful work and the moving story of the Berlin community that saved itself through connection and care, and learn how we can all start to reconnect with what matters.

“We’ve created this culture that is not meeting our deeper needs. And as individuals, we’re not crazy for feeling the pain of that. We need to feel the pain of that because the pain will tell us how to solve the problem.”
Johann Hari

If you’ve suffered from depression or anxiety or know someone who has—and, let’s face it, who doesn’t fall into one of these two camps?—this episode is critical listening. Journalist and two-time New York Times bestseller Johann Hari reveals the deep, underlying psychological and emotional needs we must meet in order to build better, happier futures.

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Who’s Johann Hari?

Johann Hari is a writer and journalist and a two-time New York Times bestseller. He’s written for publications including The Independent and The Huffington Post and has written books on the topics of depression, the war on drugs, and the monarchy. He has also given a TED talk on the topic of addiction.

Extra Credit Reading

If you would like to dive deeper into some of the topics Johann Hari covers in this Simplify episode, check out this book list composed by Ben and Caitlin.

This book challenges everything we (think we) know about sex, monogamy, marriage, and family. Sex At Dawn posits that the idealization of monogamy in Western societies is essentially incompatible with human nature. The book makes a compelling case for our innately promiscuous nature by exploring the history and evolution of human sexuality, with a strong focus on our primate ancestors and the invention of agriculture.

The evidence that depression, anxiety, chronic pain, phobias, obsession, and more begins not with us, but deep in our genes with our ancestors, is mounting. It Didn’t Start with You explores the emotional legacies that are often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language, and how they play a far greater role in our emotional and physical health than we’ve ever known.

Geneticist, PhD, philosopher, and Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, examines our need to care for others—a compulsion that is essential in both humans and animals. These blinks explain how and why caregivers do what they do through the lens of philosophy, economics and evolutionary theory.

This is a riveting account of the first hundred years of the disastrously ineffective War on Drugs. Weaving together fascinating anecdotes, surprising statistics and passionate argumentation, Hari examines the history of the War on Drugs and explains why it’s time to rethink addiction, rehabilitation and drug enforcement.

What’s Simplify?

Simplify is a podcast for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” We talk to bestselling writers, productivity wizards, sex geniuses, and happiness experts to find it for you.

Simplify is made with love by Blinkist. Click here to try Blinkist free for 14 days with the voucher code: connect

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Talk to us!

We want to hear from you! Drop a line to us at podcast@blinkist.com about whatever tickles your fancy.

If you want to say hi to Ben and Caitlin in the meantime, you can find them on Twitter: @bsto and @CaitlinSchiller.

Who made this?

Your hosts are Caitlin Schiller and Ben Schuman-Stoler.

Research and production assistance by Ines Bläsius, sound and editing by Florian Tippe.

Gorgeous new music by the one and only Odysseas Constantinou.

Got links?

Johann Hari’s Website

Read the transcript here!

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