Darren Morton on Happiness, Meaning, Longevity, and Smiling Baseball Cards: PYP 259

Darren Morton, PhD, is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, which means that not only is he wicked-smart about how to live a long and healthy life, but also he shares his insights in a cool Australian accent.

Darren's original research (more than 50 published articles, y'all!) includes quantifying the effects of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) on participants' biomarkers, disease outcomes, and quality of life.

His latest book, Live More Happy, is a treasure trove of theory and practice of How to Live a Happy, Healthy Life.

Our conversation was a nerdfest of how to get people to adopt healthier habits, explored through the lens of Darren's passion about positive psychology and optimal mental and emotional health.

We discussed:

  • why the book title focuses on happiness
  • Darren's involvement in the CHIP program
  • bringing CHIP to Australia
  • evaluating CHIP outcomes at different levels (biomarkers, behavioral) with a 12k-person data set
  • nutritional improvement improved depressive symptoms
  • the end goal: getting people to feel better
  • “what does it take to live our best life?”
  • mental health is the new frontier of health
  • a tenth of Australian adults are taking antidepressants every day
  • we know that there are positive things people can do to lift their mood – and are safer and faster than antidepressants
  • we need to prescribe lifestyle and behavioral treatments
  • “start prescribing happiness”
  • how to diagnose unhappiness (the problem of subjective measures)
  • what's good for the body is also excellent for the brain
  • roughly 20% of people are thriving – the rest are unwell, or just getting by
  • medicating depression with food
  • the ability to change lifestyle is largely predicated on how people feel
  • the weird and wonderful baseball card longevity study
  • Dean Ornish's patient who didn't want to give up smoking: “I've got 25 friends in this pack.”
  • caring for people's emotional wellbeing as a part of changing their diet and lifestyle
  • the importance of reflection – “how do you feel after exercising” – to help people get emotional leverage on their habits
  • introducing the “Limbo” (Australian slang for the limbic system of the brain) and the Leader (prefrontal cortex)
  • the importance of blue-green for mental health
  • how does the brain know when to initiate different emotions?
  • use input sources to Limbo to reprogram our mood
  • Darren's ambitious Lift Project
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box or audio recording box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Talk Back

Links

Dr Darren Morton's website

Live More Happy

The Lift Project

Some Dogs Do

Plant Yourself Podcast with Hans Diehl, founder of the CHIP program

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

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