3 Ways to Become More Resilient to Stress

Resilience is the ability to recover from injury, setback, or trauma.  While it’s easiest to avoid anything that causes harm, it’s impossible to avoid everything that can harm you.  Illness, emotional upset, trauma, loss and anger are apart of life. In this article, we will explore three ways you can increase your resilience to stress in all forms.

While you have no control over the world around you, you have complete control over yourself. You can prepare your self for life’s challenges long before they cross your path.

I think of resilience as a savings account of energy.  You are free to use the currency in any way, and while its in savings, it can accrue extra interest depending on the environment.  When it’s time to make a purchase (a major life change, a birth, a death, a move, a new star, and ending for example), the funds will be used. 

person putting coin in a piggy bank
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

If the account has a low balance, it may go into the red once the inevitable stresses of life hit.  A negative balance in your Resiliency Bank will draw form other accounts.  The available accounts to draw from are the mind, body and spirit.  

You can make deposits into your Resilience Bank all the time!

four rock formation

#1. Resilience to Stress Using Meditation

Many people turn to meditation during times of stress, or when they have many questions about life. Many feel that meditation is only needed for a short period of time.

Meditation is fantastic during times of stress. Being able to stop the hectic pace of life even for 3 minutes is better than continuing forge ahead without taking a break.

Making deposits to your Resilience Bank before stress hits allows you to increase your resilience stress even more. When your life get’s stressful, it is possible you may not have time to stop and meditate. Stress often accompanies major life transitions, such as a birth, a death, a new job, a move, a marriage or divorce. Even if the transition is something you’ve hoped and prayed for, you will undergo many changes that are out of your control.

Making daily meditation a practice that comes to you naturally is a way to make automatic deposits to your Resilience Account. Having a high amount in your Resilience Bank assures that you will have more resilience to stress when it inevitably occurs.

Your daily meditation practice can be accessible, easy, and rewarding.

Start you Meditation Journey Today with the 21 Day Meditation Challenge at Healing Arts

#2. Resilience to Stress Using Mindfulness

brown field and blue sky

A formal meditation practice is an excellent and guaranteed to increase your resilience to stress. Mindfulness, either a formal meditation practice, or as an informal practice also increases your resilience to stress.

Mindfulness is a deceptively simple way to increase your resilience to stress at any time during your day. I am a full time physician, seeing patients in a hospital owned clinic daily. My days can be busy, often leaving very little time for me to pause and meditate. Practicing mindfulness during my day, such as setting an intention with my patients, creating healthy boundaries, and performing mindful hand washing help me increase my resilience to stress.

crop masseuse performing reiki massage

#3. Resilience to Stress Using Reiki

Reiki is a holistic healing modality that allows for energy to be channeled into the mind and body for healing. If you are new to Reiki, feel free to check out my primer on Reiki here.

Reiki treatments on a regular basis can help you stay rested, prevent disease, and stay healthy. Many people seek Reiki during times of illness and emotional distress. Reiki is healing at these times, but consider staying with Reiki even once you feel healed.

Practicing self Reiki is an easy way to receive Reiki at any time. If you already are a Reiki Healer, I have created a 9 Minute Guided Reiki Session that can be used to conduct short sessions with no need for a timer.

Conclusion

Investing in your Resilience Account with Meditation, Mindfulness, and Reiki is worth your time. Need some inspiration? Check out my program here!

5 Tips from an Integrative Pharmacist for Managing Prescriptions

5 Tips To Manage Medications Safely for Anyone Taking more than one prescription

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Integrative Pharmacist Dr. Nguyen.  Dr. Nguyen shared 5 tips (and more) for managing medications safely at home during her podcast interview with me. Anyone taking more than one prescription should be aware of potential interactions with multiple medications and food. In this article, we will 5 tips Dr. Nguyen frequently shares with her clients to manage medications safely.

Dr. Nguyen is a board certified geriatric pharmacist. In 2017, she founded Mimosa Health LLC. Her mission is to provide expert advice in the use of medications by older adults promoting healthy aging and educating seniors about polypharmacy as well as medication safety.  Integrative Pharmacy approaches patient care holistically. Pharmacist such as Dr. Nguyen train to approach the patient as whole, examining their diet, activity level, and overall health.
Currently, she is a consulting pharmacist for skilled nursing facilities and a fellow in training at the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine.

Here is some of the information Dr. Nguyen shared during her interview with me:

What Type of Drug Interactions should a person be aware?

According to Dr. Nguyen, prescription medications can interact with many things other than other prescriptions.  According to Dr. Nguyen, these are the possible interactions that can affect how well a prescription is working:

  • Drug-Drug Interaction
  • Drug-Vitamin Interaction
  • Drug-Gene Interaction
  • Drug-Disease Interaction
  • Drug-Herb Interaction
  • Drug-Alcohol Interaction
  • Drug-Food Interaction

How Does an Integrative Pharmacist Approach Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Dr. Nguyen and I discussed a type of medication that is frequently prescribed for heartburn, ulcers, and esophageal disorders, Proton Pump Inhibitors.

Common Proton Pump Inhibitors

  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Omeprazole with Sodium Bicarbonate (Zegrid OTC)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant)
  • Rabeprazole (AcipHex)

Proton Pump Inhibitors, also known as PPI’s are great for treating heartburn, ulcers, and esophagitis. They should not be taken long term as they can create other problems.

According to Dr. Nguyen “if you take a proton pump inhibitor for more than 12 weeks, you start losing vitamins such as magnesium, iron , calcium, and your bones will have issue. You will have nausea, vomiting, or you may have anemia.”

“If you take more than 12 weeks, you start losing vitamins such as magnesium, iron , calcium, and your bones will have issue. You will have nausea, vomiting, or you may have anemia.”

-Dr. Nguyen, Art of Healing Podcast, Season 3 episode 2

Can Food Interfere with Prescription Medications?

I asked Dr. Nguyen about common interactions between foods and medications. Sometimes you get a prescription and the pharmacist makes it clear to avoid certain foods, such as Coumadin and Leafy Greens. Dr. Nguyen shares with the listeners that other foods can interact with medications and have an impact on how effective the medication can be.

It's a good idea to avoid combining dairy with antibiotics-Dr. Nguyen Integrative Pharmacist.

According to Dr. Nguyen, foods high in calcium or iron may weaken the effect of antibiotics. It may be a good idea to avoid consuming dairy when taking an antibiotic such as Amoxicillin.

How Does an Integrative Pharmacist Recommend Managing Multiple Medications?

People taking multiple medications often must make the choice of taking medications that interact. I asked Dr. Nguyen what is her advice for people that take multiple medications. She recommends first speaking to your pharmacist about which prescriptions interact, then getting your prescriptions organized. Many dangerous interactions can be avoided by simply not taking medications at the same time. She describes a common scenario which a patient is prescribed Fluconazole for a yeast infection and also takes simvastatin for high cholesterol. She recommends discussing with the pharmacist if simvastatin should be held while on fluconazole.

What is Deprescribing?

Starting a prescription medication is a big deal. Although millions of prescriptions are done daily, patients and doctors often take for granted the significance of starting a prescription medication. It is also significant to discontinue a medication. Many medications can not be stopped without a complete medical plan, medical supervision, and frequent exams. Deprescribing is developing a plan to lower a medication dose, or to slowly discontinue the medications.

It is very important to understand that you need to be working with your physician on deprescribing a medication. Many medications can be dangerous is stopped suddenly.

Managing Depression with Lifestyle and Reiki

We all have times in which we feel depressed.  Feeling down, disappointed, or hopeless is a part of life most of us must journey through.  If these symptoms persist for several weeks or months, treatment with therapy or medication may be needed in order to recover.

In this article, we’ll explore depression, as well as how it can be managed with your doctor, and steps you can take at home to feel better.

What is Depression

Clinical Major Depression is defined by the DSM 5th Edition 1 as the following:

Signs and Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness on most days
  • Loss of Interest or pleasure in activities
  • Significant weight gain or weight loss
  • Insomnia or Sleeping Excessively
  • Restlessly moving (agitation) or moving slowly
  • Fatigue nearly everyday
  • Decreased ability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Reoccurring thoughts of death, suicide; plans to act on suicidal thoughts

We all have times that we feel depressed. We may feel overwhelmed, sad, or we may be grieving a loss. These temporary feelings we may label is being depressed, but these are vastly different from the medical illness Major Depressive Disorder.

If you suspect you have depression, you must be evaluated by a medical professional.  You will likely have a physical exam, answer several questions about your mood, and possibly complete labs to make sure there is no medical issue causing depression.

LabAbnormality
Autoimmune PanelAutoimmune Disease can cause depression
Thyroid PanelThyroid Disease can mimic depression

What To Do if you have Major Depression

You should contact your physician right away if you complete the questions and your scores consistent with major depression. If you did not have a physician you should contact your insurance company to find who you can see.

Alternatively if you do not have insurance you can dial 211 from any phone in the United States to find what local resources are available to you.

If you are having thoughts of suicide you need to call 911, or call the national suicide hotline for immediate assistance. 

National Suicide Hotline

1-800-273-8255

Treating Major Depression

Major depression is a disorder that presents with primary psychological symptoms but does have physical symptoms. The biochemical changes that happen within the brain lead to several derangements in the body that can predispose you to other illnesses including increased risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and cancer. This is why we treat major depression just as seriously as any other clinical disease.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with major depression by your physician or psychiatrist, there will be a discussion of medication. There are several types of medication and this is a very individual choice. For some people their symptoms may be mild enough that psychotherapy alone may be enough to treat the symptoms. however, because of the risk of major depression becoming a severe chronic disease it is often best to follow your clinician’s advice about treatment. discuss with your clinician what medications you’ll be on and what side effects to anticipate. It’s also important to know that it is not unusual to have to try different medications to get the optimal treatment period do not feel discouraged if the first medication you start is not right for you.

Lifestyle Management

What you’ve been diagnosed with depression is important to know that lifestyle choices can help in your recovery. Have a look at your diet and make sure to eliminate foods that cause excessive inflammation. These include:

  • Sugary Foods and Drinks
  • Overly processed foods
  • Excessive Caffeine
  • High Carbohydrate Foods
  • Alcohol

You do want to include foods that will boost the feel good hormones in your body and make starting your medications easier. I recommend including the following Foods:

  • Raw raw, organic greens such as kale, spinach, or any dark leafy greens
  • One one to two cups of green tea that you brew at home consume this in the morning
  • Severalseveral servings of organic vegetables throughout your day as well as organic fruits
  • Foods foods high in good fats such as organic nuts, wild caught fish, and small fatty fish like stockings and anchovies
  • Plenty plenty of water

Movement

Movement and exercise are always important in disease prevention and treatment. if you are suffering from major depressive disorder movement can help to improve your mood. I often advise my patients if you are not participating in any exercise please start with something gentle such as walking or restorative yoga. if you are engaging an exercise make sure to serving your body well. While you are suffering from depression you may not have enough energy to perform rigorous high impact exercise. You may do better stepping down to something less rigorous especially while you’re adjusting the medication.

Reiki and Energy Medicine

If you’re reading this blog you are probably interested in already engaging some sort of energy work. Reiki and energy Medicine compliment ongoing medical treatment for depression wonderfully. As a Reiki practitioner one of my favorite conditions to treat is major depressive disorder. I’ve discovered that the gentle, flowing energy of Reiki works best with someone who has depression recycling suffering from multiple assaults to their energy body. I found that my clients with major depression often sleep much better after Reiki session and feel a quick improvement in the physical symptoms of depression, particularly pain that may be associated with major depression.

If you do not already have a Reiki practitioner, you can easily perform some of your own energy Medicine until you find one. You can start with a simple meditation practice. Here is a meditation that I’ve created that’s brief and can help with any and wanted emotions.

Add  channeling meditation here

Reiki I technique

If you are a Reiki practitioner I recommend treating your root chakra daily for at least 21 days. Preferably I would like for you to do a full treatment on yourself daily but if time does not allow treating your root chakra for 3 to 5 minutes will help to boost your overall energy.

Reiki II technique

If you are a Reiki 2 practitioner and you’re feeling some depression you may want to apply some of your more advanced skills by sending distance Reiki to the past. Often major depressive disorder will center around past events. Working on yourself in the present will always help but if you are noticing that certain issues come back from the past you may want to invoke HSZSN and spend a few meditation sessions sending Reiki either to the event, to yourself in the past, or anything similar to help heal this emotional wound. If you are major depression centers around a medical illness if you’re able to pinpoint when it started it may help to send Reiki to that point in your life.

I’m happy I have this space to emphasize the importance of managing an illness that major depressive disorder holistically. The medications are important, and therapy is important. You’re going through depression taking steps to care for your mind body or equally as important. I hope this article is helpful for you or anyone you may know who is going through depression at this time .

References

  1. Tolentino, J. C., & Schmidt, S. L. (2018). DSM-5 Criteria and Depression Severity: Implications for Clinical Practice. Frontiers in psychiatry9, 450. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00450

Is Your History of Childhood Abuse and Trauma Making You Sick?

A patient shared with me her concerns about developing Autoimmune Disease. She already had been diagnosed with Autoimmune Thyroiditis, and she was starting to manifest joint pain, stiffness and swelling that could signal rheumatoid arthritis. Her physical symptoms made it hard to cope with her psychological symptoms. She was suffering from severe depression that came from a history of childhood trauma.

In traditional medicine, the healing encounter starts with the recording of the medical history.  Since medical visits are problem focused, the history is directed towards the timing of the problem.  It is interesting in modern healthcare that we gather information on the past medical history but rarely do we look any deeper than that.  I ask about family history, which tells us about genetic predisposition for disease.

I asked my patient if we could review her Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire to quantify her traumatic experience and determine her risk of developing disease.

Sign up for my “3 Secrets of a Reiki Physician” to receive a workbook with an ACE you can complete.

3%20secrets%20thumbnail.png

Lean my 3 Secrets as a Physician that practices Reiki.  This 3 part webinar will bring together my experiences from years of practicing medicine and Reiki. 

We respect your email privacy

The healing encounter of a Reiki session may involve some history gathering, but usually the focus is on delivering healing energy.  When I’m working with Reiki clients, information about the past often plays a role in the client’s current issues.  

I’ve had many patients ask why I have interest in their past history, and if it has any relationship to why they are in my office .  It seems that an illness that has resolved two or three decades ago should not impact a person’s health later.  Beyond that, patients may wonder why I may ask about experiences in childhood, as on the surface, there should be no relationship to issues as an adult.  

What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Adverse Childhood Experiences are clinically validated experiences that have been shown to increase the chance of illness in adults.  Childhood traumatic stress increased the likelihood of hospitalization with a diagnosed autoimmune disease decades into adulthood. In this study, the majority of individuals with at least one Adverse Childhood Event  were hospitalized with an autoimmune disease (1)

person standing on staircase
Photo by Mumtahina Tanni on Pexels.com

Reiki healers often confront past trauma and its result on the clients well-being. Inner Child work involves working  the client in the version of themselves that was a child that suffered childhood trauma.  The client must first be brought into a deeply relaxed state through some sort of regressive therapy. The client is then asked to recall the emotion or feeling they are having now that is causing the most suffering.  The client then explores if they have had this feeling before.  It is during this time that the client will self identify the age at which the trauma occurred. The “Inner Child” is thought to be the age at which the person suffers a major trauma that creates energetic and emotional scars.  The “Inner Child” is a subconscious precept the client holds that often reawakens as an adult, expressing strong emotions in any life event that is similar to the original trauma.  The Reiki practitioner then begins to work with the Inner Child, to help heal those  wounds and make the child feel safe.

This is a powerful healing technique, and can be quite uncomfortable. Bringing in the Inner Child often brings up very painful childhood memories. This process is almost like a surgical healing.  It is likely to be painful, but working with the Inner Child can often bring about deep, lasting healing for the client.  Clients that receive Inner Child healing often leave the encounter with a deep understanding of who they are as a person. 

The connection between childhood trauma and current medical illnesses complex. There are two general examples we can use to explore this topic.

The following examples are fictional.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a complex digestive disorder that leads to many symptoms. . Many individuals living with IBS often don’t realize they are also having emotional distress that often accompany the digestive issues.  Many of my patients with IBS first began having digestive symptoms in childhood.   If the patient developed negative feelings towards school for example, it was likely not  acceptable to ask the parents to miss school because they were being bullied. It would be acceptable to ask to stay home because of a stomach ache. Over the years, subconsciously the person may learn that having a stomach ache can often help to avoid unpleasant experiences. Gradually, the brain begins to make a neural connection with stress avoidance and digestive symptoms.  The cycle perpetuates itself, eventually manifesting as severe digestive disease.

Lupus

Another example, SLE, so Systemic Erythematous Lupus may develop its roots in a person who suffered through multiple childhood traumas. A middle-aged female patient may present with lupus complicated by kidney disease, pulmonary disease, and digestive issues. She may relate to her physician that she had a tumultuous childhood including multiple stays in various foster homes. The relationship here maybe that because she did not feel rooted as a child, she has a poorly energized root chakra. As an adult, her root chakra which is the basis of the immune system never learns to work very well. She develops an immune system that is highly overactive and attacks her own body tissues.  The end result is a severe autoimmune disease.

Reincarnation, which is the process of returning to Earth multiple times in various forms, is thought to possibly lead to illness in the current life. Similar to Inner Child work, it is possible to use regression therapy to go back to past lives for healing. This can be very difficult and likely will require multiple sessions between a client and healer that have a trusting relationship.

Childhood Abuse and Trauma Can Make You Sick, But There’s Hope

Acknowledging this past hurts and traumas is important in healing. This does not mean that there is not hope for healing in a long time. Matter of fact, the best chance for healing is acknowledging the hurts of the past. taking inventory and looking a little bit deeper than the past medical history can pay off in unimagined ways.

References

1.Dube, S. R., Fairweather, D., Pearson, W. S., Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., & Croft, J. B. (2009). Cumulative childhood stress and autoimmune diseases in adults. Psychosomatic medicine, 71(2), 243–250. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181907888

Chronic Pain-Completing The Gaps in Care

Prior to the pandemic of 2020 chronic pain was an important topic that was frequently discussed.  It has certainly taken a backseat to much more urgent public health issues. I’ve decided to create several pieces of content around chronic pain because I am certain that we will be finding this to be an even more important topic after the pandemic.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that “persist for 3 to 6 months” and “persist beyond the typical healing period” 1.

  It is important to distinguish chronic pain from acute pain because there are changes that happen in the neurological system that worsen the effects of chronic pain.

Medications, referral to specialist and physical therapy will likely play a role in the treatment plan.  These treatments can offer relief, but likely it will take a combination of treatments.  No matter how the chronic pain is approached, I am a firm believer that discussing healing modalities beyond prescriptions is important in healing the chronic pain.

Beyond the prescribed treatments, to heal chronic pain, other areas need to be addressed, including stress, sleep and diet.

Sleep

Assuring sleep quality by making sure the environment for sleep is peaceful and cool is important.  Reducing stimulation such as televisions, phones and tablets at least 2 hours before bedtime can allow the body to start producing melatonin naturally.  Making sure to have a practice that help with relaxation such as meditation can help with sleep. Most adults require at least 8 hours of sleep nightly. Keeping in mind, chronic pain drains the energy, so allowing for plenty of sleep every night is important.

If you are taking prescription medications for pain, ask your doctors which are best taken at night. Many medications that seem to be sedating can interrupt sleep and worsen insomnia. A surprising fact I often share with my patients is that while opioids are sedating, they actually lead to disrupted, non-restorative sleep. In one example, young healthy adults who received morphine intravenously suffered from increased non-REM sleep (sleep that does not lead to good rest), decreased REM sleep (deep sleep)2 .

Tips for Better Sleep

  • Avoid use of computers, tablets or cell phones 2 hours before bed
  • Avoid Caffeine after 2 pm during the day
  • Use soothing music or nature sounds rather than the TV for background noise

Diet

One of the most overlooked modifiable factors in dealing with chronic pain is diet.  Chronic pain increases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.  This leads to craving sweet foods.   Ironically, consumption of inflammatory fats and sugary foods worsens pain. Every time we eat excessive glucose, our metabolic system goes into overdrive metabolizing these sugars. This leads to worsening levels of inflammation. This can also be a difficult topic with my patience, as they are undergoing psychological, emotional, and physical stress. But it is always worthwhile to make sure their diet is not creating more issues.  I have frequently encouraged my patients to keep a food journal and make a note of joint pain. I asked him to track the days if their joint pain is better and when it’s worse. Almost universally patients notice that arthritis pain worsens when they consume sugary foods.

sad albino on chair near bunch of fresh flowers

Stress

Stress management should be considered in dealing with chronic pain. Those suffering from chronic pain always have stress. This may be from the diagnosis itself, or from the fallout of dealing with multiple clinicians. Stress should be dealt with as soon as feasible in the course of treating chronic pain. This can mean working with a counselor or therapist. This can also involve starting a meditation practice to help relieve stress.

In the coming weeks, I am creating other content related to chronic pain. My podcast the Art of Healing will feature chronic pain, including the Chakras and Chronic pain.

  1. Pain. (2016). In Goldman-Cecile Medicine.
    1. Shaw, I. R., Lavigne, G., Mayer, P., & Choinière, M. (2005). Acute intravenous administration of morphine perturbs sleep architecture in healthy pain-free young adults: a preliminary study. Sleep28(6), 677–682. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/28.6.677