TMHS 209: How Culture Controls Your Lifespan And The Causes Of Health – With Dr. Mario Martinez

Culture is a very interesting and versatile thing. Culture is like the invisible force that guides our beliefs, behaviors, and knowledge. Culture is what gives color to how you experience your life.

There are many shades and varieties of colors (you already know there are 50 Shades of Gray), and your culture, versus the culture of someone else, is a fundamental reason why two people can have a totally different experience from the same event.

Take seeing a new superhero movie, for example. You have been immersed in a culture that loves the ideas of superpowers. They believe human potential is limitless. They believe that good always wins in the end. While your friend, who you’ve unwittingly brought along to see the movie with you, has been immersed in a culture believes only in what they see. They value hard, cold facts and extreme rationality. They believe in love, but also that bad things happen no matter what, and it’s all about probability.

You think the movie is fantastic and inspiring. As a result, you get a rush of endorphins and positive “feel good” neurotransmitters and hormones. Your stress levels go down, and you are inspired for days after.

Your friend, on the other hand, thinks the movie is a waste of time and resources. They watched with pessimistic cultural views, and they were so busy pointing out what’s not realistic that they missed out on the magic of human creativity. As a result, your friend’s stress hormones elevate from irritation. Their blood sugar is low because of all the mental energy used to dissect the cinematic foolishness, and they leave feeling like they’ve just wasted three hours of their life that they can’t get back. Two totally different experiences from the same event. Neither of you is right or wrong. Just very different.

Now stretch this variance in perception into the realm of food, exercise, stress management, relationships, and, most importantly, what’s deeply ingrained in you about how long you’re going to live, and you’ll discover the real power that culture has over your life. The issue is that its power has been hiding in plain site, governing everything you do and how you experience the world. Today, thanks to the incomparable Dr. Mario Martinez, you’re going to learn how to come out of a cultural fog and embrace only the cultural influences that are serving you in becoming the greatest version of yourself.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How we can know what’s best for our health but still not do it.
  • What psychoneuroimmunology is.
  • How much genetics actually play into how long you’ll live healthfully.
  • What a culture is and how it affects the brain.
  • How feelings like shame impact inflammation and pain.
  • Why affirmations alone don’t work.
  • What causes people who elevate and “make it big” to come crashing back down.
  • How to move beyond pseudo-humbleness.
  • Why we need to learn about the causes of health.
  • The difference between a ritual and a routine (this is important!).
  • The surprising way that pleasure can affect your immune system.
  • How to differentiate hedonistic pleasure and eudemonic pleasure.
  • How to be an outlier and not lose your health and happiness because of it.
  • Why old psychological programs can show up and sabotage your relationships.
  • Why speed of implementation is important.
  • How junk food can mean love for us.
  • Why giving something up can make you want it more.
  • The difference between having an illness and becoming an illness.

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Download The Transcript


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  • Prince
    22 Mar 2017, 2:40 pm

    I love your show, never seen your full show. But the episodes I partially watched were great. There is always something to learn. You are great hosts by the way. Shout out to Jim Kwik for bring me here. Have a awesome day!

  • Judy O'Gorman
    23 Mar 2017, 10:48 pm

    Looking forward to interesting topics.

  • Debbie
    5 Apr 2017, 4:23 pm

    Hi Shawn
    I absolutely love listening to your show. I have been listening to it for about 3 months now and listen to it most days. What I love about your show is how it is aimed at all areas of health, body and mind. Its not just about losing weight and eating healthy. Its about living healthy in all ways. I first came across your show on an AA podcast and it immediately pulled me in and inspired me which led me to listening to your podcast everyday. I have struggled with drinking for many years and am currently 8 months sober. I just recently listened to the podcast ‘How culture controls your lifespan’ and in it I heard Dr Mario Martinez talk about not identifying yourself as your illness. I found that in itself a very powerful statement and have bought his book to learn more. Your show inspires me and has been a great support in my life physically and mentally. Thank you for making a difference 🙂