TEDx hears from five speakers about ‘wellness in the new age’

November 13, 2020

TEDxBrandeisUniversity hosted five guest speakers in its annual event on Nov. 1 through Zoom and Facebook Live after the event was postponed twice. TEDx at Brandeis featured Ruben Kanya ’14, Prof. Kristen Lucken (IGS), Eric Moyal ’17 M.A. ’18 M.S. ’21, Henry Chen ’23 and Mendel Weintraub ’21, all under the topic of “Wellness in the New Age” and was recorded on Oct. 14.

Ruben Kanya ’14

The best way to optimize your time is to focus on the resources that are available rather than trying to be productive on your own, according to Kanya. 

“The problem is that we’ve all been wired to look at time as something we consume rather than something we create. We fall victim to it rather than benefiting from it.”

He said that companies like Facebook and Uber leverage their platforms to make money off of other people’s content and work rather than creating it themselves. He said that we all need to be “CEOs” of our own time.

“Who are the people, platforms, and resources that you can lean on, count on, depend on. Start there,” Kanya said.

His advice was to stop looking at time as something we consume individually and instead consider how we can optimize it communally.

Professor Kristen Lucken (IGS)

Lucken lived and worked in the Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia between 1990 and 1998, a time of historical change. During this time, Lucken watched as places of worship were closed and she investigated the rise of ethnic nationalism in the Balkans. 

Lucken said that this pandemic has highlighted how religion can act as a source of comfort. She said that science can ask realistic questions and how things work while religion has the ability to ask more philosophical “why” questions.

Eric Moyal ’17 M.A. ’18 M.S. ’21

You can be an ally and support those with chronic health conditions, said Moyal in his presentation. Moyal described his sister’s battle with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. 

“How could I understand what it was like to look perfectly fine on the outside but to be dealing with so much pain and suffering on the inside?” he asked. “I know that these chronic illnesses were a part of her life now, and if I wanted to be a part of her life as well, I needed to become as knowledgeable as possible.”

Moyal said that if there’s a person in your life who has a chronic illness, being a “good ally” begins with taking the time to learn and understand their stories.

Henry Chen ’23

Chen said he met some of his closest friends through anonymous online gaming. He shared his own stories of overcoming challenges in his life through those internet relationships. Chen talked about how the internet can foster strong interpersonal relationships that are not limited by space or one’s physicalities. 

“Feeling connected is one of the main things that keeps us going,” he said. “With these anonymous connections, it’s easier for people to not just help one another, but seek help themselves. Whether it be in the context of mental health, social anxiety, or positive escapism, it seems like physicalities are seemingly obsolete.”

“Intimacy transcends physicalities,” Chen added.

Mendel Weintraub ’21

According to Weintraub, a single muffin changed his perspective on being himself and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. Weintraub talked about grappling with whether or not he would allow himself to eat a non-Kosher muffin. Weintraub talked about his upbringing in a Modern Orthodox Jewish community and his battle enjoying things that he felt were prohibited. 

“When we don’t go after the things we care about, that isn’t fight or flight. That is fight and flight. We are simultaneously fighting our inner voices and fleeing our greatest potential,” said Weintraub.

The event included short segments from staff members Colby Sim and Lucas Malo from the Department of Community Service as well as Leah Berkenwald from Health and Wellness Promotion.

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