Wellness Connection MD

40- Emotional Wellness: Part 1

January 20, 2024 James McMinn, M.D. Episode 40
Wellness Connection MD
40- Emotional Wellness: Part 1
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is the first episode in a two part series on the urgently important topic of emotional wellness. In this episode of Wellness Connection MD, Dr. McMinn and Coach Lindsay Matthews discuss the importance of emotional wellness with guest Emily Hudak.   Emily is a certified holistic health coach, certified dietary supplement professional, with a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is also the founder of  Whole With Emily where she supports clients in their mental, emotional, and  whole-body health with a holistic approach,  utilizing lifestyle medicine to significantly improve emotional well-being. She is passionate about wellness, and has made it her life's work.  Together Dr. McMinn, Lindsay, and Emily explore the impact of emotional wellness on overall health and address the alarming statistics on emotional distress in our society.   Emily shares her experiences in the mental health field and the challenges of integrating holistic wellness into traditional mental health care.   We hope that you enjoy the show.   

 

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Speaker 1:

Hello, this is Dr McMinn and welcome to Wellness Connection MD. Have you been feeling a bit emotionally out of balance these days? Well, we have just the podcast for you. This is the first in a two-part series on emotional wellness with our expert guest, Emily Huedek. Emily is a budding young superstar in the wellness space and you're going to love her. We'll take a deep dive into why our emotions are so frazzled these days and how we can take back control. By the end of this podcast, you'll have practical solutions to help you become emotionally optimized. And now on to the show.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Wellness Connection MD podcast with Dr McMinn and Coach Lindsay, where we bring you the latest up-to-date, evidence-based information on a wide variety of health and wellness topics, along with practical take-home solutions. Dr McMinn is an integrated and functional MD and Lindsay Matthews is her registered nurse and IIN certified health coach. Together, our goal is to help you optimize your health and wellness in mind, body and spirit. To see a list of all of our podcasts, visit McMinnMDcom and to stay up-to-date on the latest topics, be sure to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast player so that you'll be notified when future episodes come out. The discussions continue. These podcasts for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without approval from your personal doctor. And now on to the show with Dr McMinn and Coach Lindsay.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the Wellness Connection MD, the evidence-based podcast on all things wellness. We thank you so much for joining us today. I'm Dr Jim McMinn and I'm here today with our co-host, nurse, bff and certified health coach, ms Lindsay Matthews. Good morning, coach.

Speaker 3:

Good morning, Dr Mac. It's good to be back on the show with our listeners and continuing on with our under our new name. We're excited.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and as always, we come to you to bring you commercial-free, honest, unbiased, up-to-date, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented information, along with practical solutions in order to empower you to overcome your health care challenges, to optimize your wellness and mind, body and spirit and, as Coach Lindsay said last time, to be a great captain of your ship as far as wellness and health.

Speaker 3:

Yes, today, listeners, we're going to be discussing a very important but often overlooked aspect of health care, and that's emotional wellness. We have with us today a special guest who's going to enlighten us on this topic, and we're just really excited to dig into this. It's really a fundamental subject to overall wellness.

Speaker 1:

And yes, our guest today is Ms Emily Hudeck. Emily is a certified holistic health coach and a certified dietary supplement professional with a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. She is the founder of Hole with Emily, where she educates and she sees clients to support their mental and whole body health through nutrition, stress management, sleep, self-care, gut health, exercise and so much more. I love Emily's passion and enthusiasm about our topic today. She once told me that wellness sets my soul on fire. I thought that was just so cool, so I'll just be cooking together on the subject, Can't we? So anyway, we're so excited to bring her passion, her knowledge, her experience right to you, our listeners today on the Wellness Section, MD podcast.

Speaker 3:

But first listeners, let's just take care of those housekeeping things. Our podcast is commercial free and so that you won't be bothered by sometimes those disingenuous ads, so we want to bring that to you that way.

Speaker 1:

However, it does cost us some money to produce these podcasts, so think of this like public radio. Just consider making a contribution to help us keep this coming to you.

Speaker 3:

There are a couple ways that you can contribute. First, if you buy nutritional supplements, then consider purchasing physician-grade supplements from our Fullscript dispensary at a 10% discount. You can see a link to the Fullscript in the show notes or you can go to mikminmdcom and the link will also be there at the bottom of the home page under helpful links. It's really simple Just click on the link and they'll guide you through it. It's a win-win you get the good supplements at a discount and you also get to support us for the show, for which we're really grateful. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

And, lastly, you can make a contribution directly to the show via credit card or PayPal at the support the show link, which is in the show notes below. And please don't forget to subscribe to the show and tell your friends and family about us so we can keep it growing. And thank you so much.

Speaker 3:

And now on to the show. Welcome Emily. Welcome to the Wellness Connection MD. Thanks for being here with us today.

Speaker 4:

Thank you so much, lindsay and Dr McMahon. I am very excited to be here. Thank you for that warm welcome and, yeah, I'm excited to discuss this topic. It's so important.

Speaker 1:

We're really thrilled to chat with you today, emily, and to pick your brain about this topic on emotional wellness, and over the years we've talked over and over on the show about things like mind, body, spirit, health, and we're really happy to finally address this head on with this issue of emotional wellness, with a bona fide expert in the field like you. One of the fundamentals to our approach of health care has always been what we call optimization, and certainly a person cannot be optimized if he or she has things like profound depression or anger or anxiety, for instance, even if she has a perfectly normally functioning physical body.

Speaker 4:

So, yes, I absolutely 110% agree with how important it is for us to optimize our wellness, and within a culture that places a lot of emphasis on physical health physical wellness it's unfortunate that we're not meeting that same level of emphasis and importance on our emotional wellness, because it's really the intersection of both of these areas that allows us to feel our best. So, you know, I think, progressively removing in the right direction. However, there's still a lot of work to be done and a lot of education to be had around this topic, and I am hopeful to do my part in this lifetime.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's great, that's great.

Speaker 3:

I love that. That's a passion that you have and you're really bringing awareness to this topic. Emotional wellness encompasses so many aspects of our lives and it affects literally all of us. There's there's no one out there who hasn't dealt with. Dealt with emotions as a part of a human being. We deal with them. So, in a recent CDC study, they found that a whopping 60% of teen girls experienced persistent sadness and even hopelessness. They also found in the same study that almost a third of these girls had seriously considered attempting suicide, which has a huge increase from which is a huge increase from previous studies. It's just I say those numbers just to kind of set the stage for why this podcast is so important and why this topic and why what you're you're doing is so important.

Speaker 1:

And also about a quarter of American women over 60 are on antidepressant medications and that's just a sad commentary on the emotional state of American women. And that's just a number who are actually taking meds. But if you think about all the women who have depression who are not being treated with medications, the numbers are really truly staggering.

Speaker 3:

Another article from the same group suggested that about a quarter of American women also suffer with anxiety disorder, so emotional wellness seems to be an urgently important issue, and it seems to be getting worse in this modern day stress induced society. We're so fast paced and we have all the news cycle going constantly. It's just the world that we live in, so your appearance on the show really is timely, emily. I'm really excited to hear what you have to say about this issue.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely, and I think those statistics really speak for themselves. And that's just speaking for one subset of the population. When we really think about it, it encompasses men alike. Maybe it's not as commonly reported and so forth, but it's embedded in each and every one of us to some extent and it continues to rise, which I think is pretty fascinating, and we have to question why is this happening?

Speaker 3:

Can you tell us a little bit more about how you got like your? I know in some of what you shared with us prior to the podcast that you post grad school you did some work in the mental health field. I think our listeners would love to kind of hear your background Like can you tell us about your work?

Speaker 4:

So I graduated with my master's degree in mental health counseling and I entered the field immediately after my graduation, which wasn't the plan at first. I wanted to give myself some time to find the right position and so forth, and this role was someone who was interested in an individual passionate about nutrition and mental health, and at the time this was totally unheard of. For me at least, I really was not convinced I would find a role in in in relation to that type of approach. So I immediately applied, I interviewed and I got the job. My supervisor and I, the owner of the practice, she and I hit it off pretty pretty well Over the course of my time in the field. My clients were both men and women. I worked with all age groups, different demographics coming to me, for the most part for anxiety and depression, and what was really fascinating was learning more about what was happening in our high schools and what was happening in our middle schools and even in older adults, right, and seeing that firsthand and really experiencing the wide array of distress and suffering that does exist within our world and seeing it and then also having the responsibility of supporting these individuals right. And so these statistics, while they are disheartening, and while they might be fascinating or surprising for some, they kind of, you know, listening to them, it does make sense, right? Because I saw it, I experienced it, I worked with it and my philosophy was really a combination of how can I support these clients through the lens of holistic wellness, right? How can I support them in relation to nutrition and movement and sleep and so forth? Well, also marrying that with the cognitive, behavioral, dialectical, behavioral, behavioral, therapeutic orientations that we commonly know in psychotherapy. And it was a part of the reason why I decided to leave the field and, you know, kind of walking this line of I need to support them in the way that I know is traditional within the world of mental health. But I also feel so strongly and so urgently about these nutritional strategies and, you know, moving your body as it relates to anxiety and depression and all of these more behavioral changes that can be made. But I felt conflicted because this was not something that was normal to be expected when going into therapy. Right, people going into therapy are expecting more of those more cognitive coping mechanism type of approach, which understandably so. And when I would suggest nutritional changes, when I would suggest sleep-related changes and so forth. It wasn't met as warmly as maybe the other strategies and that really became challenging for me to be in a position of. I know that improvements in dietary choices, improvements in, you know, their sleep hygiene and so forth would really improve their quality of life and intentionally reduce their symptomology, but they have to be willing to take that information and apply it, and a lot of clients weren't able to do that. So it was a very difficult position because I felt so strongly, like I said before, about these changes that could be made that are more holistic in comparison to traditional mental health care, and it felt very hard to be in that space of contrast.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I think we're in a place these days in medicine where we've all been brainwashed doctors and patients to thinking there's a pill for every ill, you know. So I know when I was in the ER people come in for some basic common cold and they want antibiotics, and I would get out the CDC literature and show them how it's not indicated. But next thing, you know, you're getting a complaint letter because Dr McMillan won't give me antibiotics, right? And so I think that we've all been sort of I don't know the pharmaceutical influence or whatever it is. We've been brainwashed as thinking that everybody's got to get on Prozac and all this kind of stuff and so patients expect it and doctors, it's the quickest way to get the patient out of your office and get on to a new patient. So yeah, and it's unfortunate, because I think you're exactly right. I mean, the science is pretty clear. I think that things like exercise are wonderful for depression. There was a study out of Duke, if I recall, that compared Prozac to exercise and the exercise just is good, right, yeah, just perfect Totally. And I think one could say the same thing about other things like diet and nutrition and certain, perhaps certain supplements, et cetera. So, yeah, I think you're on the right track, but we have to just take people like you and start to multiply and grow and get the word out, and that's what this podcast is all about really is to help spread the word, and so thank you for being a part of it and, by the way, under our new name, you are our very first guest, and so it's really an honor to have you as our first guest today.

Speaker 4:

It's an honor, Thank you yeah yeah, yeah, you know.

Speaker 1:

One other thing that really caught my ear or my eyes as I was looking into this is the amazing and depressing number of young women who have suicidal ideation in their teens. Oh my gosh, it's like a third of young women. It's just starting to hear that, and I don't know if that's the effect of maybe a perfect storm of social media and COVID or whatever, but maybe you could shed some light on that, especially since you've worked in that field.

Speaker 4:

Sure, yeah, that is essentially what I was referring to when I was just discussing how being exposed to these middle schoolers and these high schoolers right, and it made me very aware of my age and I'm not saying that I'm very far off from being in high school but I certainly did not experience what I'm listening to from these clients and their teens and adolescents and the commonplace language that they're using around suicide and around self harm. It was alarming, right to hear this and how, being in the space of mental health care, and how common it is for these clients of this age to just be so comfortable with those topics. It was both, and I'll say this it was both encouraging to hear that the conversations are being had around suicide and around the need to seek help, but it was also very concerning to hear that there is so much risk that's there from hearing these clients talk about their friends who are just throwing around terms of ending their lives and sending pictures of their self harm to their friends. And of course, in those moments I'm like, oh my goodness, I never, ever, had this experience in high school and maybe it was just, maybe I just wasn't aware that this was happening. But I think it's also just generationally, so much different than what it was when I was 10 years ago, 15 years ago in high school, and so it was definitely a, to some extent, a culture shock for me to experience that and then to also help support them in navigating those friendships or those experiences, because I don't think that they're equipped with those tools and that's why we see such an alarming rate of suicides and attempts and self harm and so forth, because the emotional wellness area is struggling significantly and I think, like you said, social media definitely plays a huge role in it, for sure.

Speaker 1:

And yeah, you know, in my practice, of course I was in ER for 20 years and I saw a lot of those people coming in with suicide, even young people. But in my practice I always had this what I call Mother Teresa approach, one by one, by one. That was her one of her sayings that people come to see me for their problems and would intently focus on that person who was there in front of me. But it seems like the numbers these days, when you look at the masses of people who are having these issues, we don't have enough healthcare providers to take care of these folks one by one. And we don't have the resources. So somehow we have to do this, things like this podcast and these mass efforts to somehow change the culture through things like nutrition and exercise and other things you'll talk about today, but anyway. So let's kind of set the stage by you giving us sort of your big picture philosophy concerning emotional wellness.

Speaker 4:

Sure, yeah. So I really believe, like I had mentioned before, there's an importance that we start to view our health and our quality of life through the lens of both physical and mental health, right, and it's all about the intersection that's there that determines how we feel, that determines long-term health outcomes, both mental and physical, and so forth. So, when we're really looking at this intersection, we're considering the mind-body connection, and I'm sure many people, especially those who listen to this podcast, are familiar with this concept, but I'll give a brief overview of what that means. It's essentially the acknowledgement that our mind and our body are connected, right, that what happens in the brain impacts our physiology, our thoughts, our beliefs and so forth, and then also what's happening within our body is impacting our mental health, is impacting our cognitive health, is impacting our brain health, and there's a number of different ways that this manifests, and I could go on and on and on about it, right, but I'll keep it simple. When we are looking at how connected our mind and our bodies are in the whole body, right, looking at the whole body, it's very different from what we see in Western medicine, which is isolated individual parts. Right, we're the combination of these individual parts. We see different specialists for different health concerns and we're not really considering how every single thing impacts the next right. It's a domino effect. And so when I work with clients and my philosophy is really trying to put those pieces together and understanding, especially as it relates to emotional wellness, how are the lifestyle practice, like I had just mentioned, how are those all contributing to their emotional distress? How is it contributing to emotional wellness or detracting from emotional wellness? And how can we optimize some of these, these lifestyle behaviors, while also considering the mindset part of it too? It's not to say that that's excluded by any means, but how can we really create this toolbox of sorts to help them feel better and increase their quality of life, both in a physical and a mental way?

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm. Wonderful Emily. Can you kind of define for us what you consider to be emotional wellness and also share with us some common myths and misconceptions about emotional wellness?

Speaker 4:

Sure, yeah, absolutely. So. I would define emotional wellness in a couple different ways. I think, first and foremost, it is the acceptance of both negative right, we could think of stereotypical negative and positive emotions, and I use those words very intentionally, because it's not good and bad emotions, it is simply just some are more positive and some are negative, and I think that they all exist on a spectrum where we can have a multitude of different experiences, and it doesn't make it wrong, it doesn't make it right, it's simply just the the larger ray of experiences and emotions that we have as human beings. It's developing awareness around our thoughts and our feelings, and this is something that I came head to head with when working with clients in a therapeutic capacity, but now, especially as a coach too, I see it as well we don't have awareness, we have no awareness on our emotions, and I see this a lot with males as well. Right, I think that this speaks to our cultural system that exists within our country around emotions and men and young boys experiencing emotions and so forth, which we can talk about later on. But, for the sake of this fastet of emotional wellness, it's really about the cultivation of awareness around our thoughts and our emotions and understanding how they influence our actions, how they influence our quality of life, and also the acknowledgement that our thoughts aren't always on our side, right, our thoughts are just thoughts and it's up to us to respond to them. It's not up to us to take them as factual and let them dictate how we feel from day to day, because oftentimes they're irrational thoughts. I think the number is 80% of our thoughts are negative and 90% of them are unconscious or are repetitive, right? So when we think about that, our thoughts are, majority of the time, not necessarily positive and a lot of times they're recurrent. And so it's about identifying those thoughts and being willing to reprain, respond to them differently, that we can actually rewire our brain which we know from the field of neuroplasticity and create a different experience for ourselves. And, lastly, in the realm of emotional wellness, I think it's a lot about understanding how to process and how to cope and how to experience emotions. And I want to use that word experience because I think, when it comes to these negative emotions, we're very quick to quiet them, right, like I'm going to eat, I'm going to drink, I'm going to, you know, distract myself or cope, and oftentimes it's a very maladaptive way of coping, especially within our country. So being willing to lean into those uncomfortable emotions is really where we are able to grow, we're able to better understand ourselves and we're able to navigate them more smoothly, which then hopefully improves our quality of life in an emotional way.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I just asked this, not in a way of pushing back, but I'm just kind of interested. Might there be a time when it's helpful to not be so aware or acutely in tune, because it seems like sometimes if you're too emotional then you can't necessarily go about your day. It can be crippling for you, right? It seems like it's a balancing issue where you want to be aware of your emotions but not let them incapacitate you so that you can't go about your day?

Speaker 4:

Certainly you see what I'm saying oh, absolutely. I think awareness is important, but not allowing them to consume you and learning how to cope with them and be okay with them, being as they are right, because I think we place a lot of judgment on these emotions and that makes matters much worse. But if we just say, you know, I'm just having an off day, I'm not going to abandon ship, I'm not going to go hide in my bedroom, I'm not going to do things that aren't going to help the situation, I'm simply going to allow myself to feel and to be there and be okay with it, and otherwise we are one or the other. So I think I appreciate that because I think you're right, it's very much a balance.

Speaker 1:

Right, right right.

Speaker 3:

I liked how you used the term cultivate in what you were saying, emily. That really stood out to me. I think about some of the memes I've seen for functional medicine and how the western view of medicine is like pipes and like bolts and mechanics. So you see, this body that's made of like pipes and circuits and things like that, versus a body like in the Chinese medicine that looks like a tree and like this cultivating idea and I think about like a garden and there's supposed to be weeds in the garden and it's just part of the natural world and so there are weedy emotions that we have to cultivate and weed out on a daily basis. And I think you know, as a culture, so much of what we see on the screen is positive. So if I have these weeds in my life, something's wrong with me, you know, and I wonder if that's so much of what's happening with our youth is they're not seeing, we're just seeing screen and we're not really living in proper community where we see that, yeah, there's weeds in other people's lives too, and this is what it is to be human and to overcome those weeds and work through them actually builds that resilience of emotional wellness that you're talking about, but just kind of normalizing that. That's part of life and, dr McMinn, like you're saying, there's an acceptance level to those negative things and emotional wellness is about how we buffer and balance and rise above Sure.

Speaker 1:

Like sometimes these days. You know, maybe young girls get on TikTok and they see all these other young girls doing things to say gee, why am I not, you know, that vibrant or that pretty or that thin? or that whatever you know, I don't know In the old days I think before we had stuff like TikTok, it was like women would look at things like Cosmo and she well, everybody else has this great one full marriage. It was with mine, something wrong with me, so we compare ourselves with others. But I think with social media it's even like in your face, like every day, all the time.

Speaker 3:

You know so and our schedules are so busy that we're not intersecting people on that more relaxed level where we would see, yeah, that's just part of daily life, you know so it happens to the 30 something year old moms in the realm. I'm raising my hand, you know, looking on Pinterest and seeing these spotless homes and these other moms that have all these beautiful ideas of how to homeschool and make sourdough bread and all these amazing things are so good, but that don't happen. 24 seven. You know there's there's also a beauty in the weeding in your life. But, like just for the sake of clarity here, Emily, let's let's just talk about like key elements of emotional wellness. What would you say are the building blocks?

Speaker 4:

And I would say, you know, when it comes to it's, I think it's very individual to some extent, right, how we experience happiness, how we experience Anger, how we experience anxiety. But I think it's really about familiarizing yourself, especially with those negative emotions. I think that a lot of us don't know what it's like or, I'm sorry, not even what it's like. I think we don't know how to identify these emotions in ourselves, especially on the negative side of the emotional spectrum, and I think we see this a lot in Men and young boys, where they don't know how to express anger and they don't know how to express sadness because maybe, emotionally, their upbringing was lacking in that arena, right, especially based on our, our culture. So I think it's all about familiarizing yourself with how you experience those, so that you're able to put a name to them, because I think that can be really liberating for some when we're able to actually just Identify the emotion that we have. As opposed to, I feel uncomfortable, I'm feeling this lethargy, I'm feeling irritable and feeling, you know, I'm feeling these symptoms that I really I'm not familiar with and I don't know how to handle them. And then, once you know what that, what it is, you can then say well, I know that this helps me a lot, or I'm gonna breathe through this, or I'm just gonna go take a walk, or and it gives you a little bit more clarity when you're able to actually identify it. So I think, when it comes to the elements of of it, it's really those specific emotions and then really being able to tune into them with your specific experience, so that you can decide how am I gonna move forward with with now knowing that this is what I'm experiencing. Does that make sense.

Speaker 3:

Yeah kind of sounds like what you're saying is there's a level of emotional intelligence, like knowing what you're experiencing and then having a toolbox to move forward with those emotions once you know what they are.

Speaker 4:

Totally, absolutely, yeah, and I think that we don't have that as much as we should within our, within our country, and it's unfortunate.

Speaker 3:

Yes. I, you know my personal theory is we need that in preschools and kindergarten and first grade and second grades. We should have that should be a core curriculum. It really is and health just health, but also emotional wellness. As part of that, I think they'll show you a core curriculum and in colleges, too, you know they have their. You know they're learning their English and their math, but I mean you need wellness your whole life, from the Time before until the time you die, and you use it 24-7. So why are we not putting these tools in people's tool belts?

Speaker 1:

Well, that speaks to the biggest. You know, how do we get that emotional Intelligence like you were talking about? And I think that we, as Lindsay was saying, we should start young and teach it, especially boys and girls. But you know, boys get nothing. I mean to as a guy, especially in the old days. I think we grew up and it was a sign of weakness to be emotional, you know you, yeah, we, I grew up in the day of, you know, clint Eastwood.

Speaker 4:

You know, john Wayne and all those guys.

Speaker 1:

And so those, those were our, you know, football players or athletes or whatever, and those are the guys you want to emulate. You didn't want to emulate. The guys were emotional, right for sure, and so it is. So we have for the guys when we have a huge learning curve, you know, to to transition into an emotionally competent human being, but but anyway, I think that how can we get our society to a better place? So that's what we're hoping to learn from you today, emily. I was kind of curious. There's this always this debate about nurture versus nature, and so how do factors like genetics, environment, upbringing, early childhood experiences and lifestyle contribute to emotional wellness? Or I might ask them another way is Emotional status that's been more like by nurture or nature, or a combination of both?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's the you know big debate, right? I think nature versus nurture is so fascinating, and I think I'll start by saying I definitely think it's influenced by both. Right, I don't think one is Superior to the other. I think we could find arguments on both sides. But I think, for the sake of this conversation and what I have Grown to learn over the course of my experience as a therapist, as a coach, through my schooling and my own personal experience, nurture, I think, is one that has maybe Just the slight upper hand as it relates to, kind of, between the two and, I think, upringing and how we're taught to cope and process Emotions, and what emotions, like you were saying, were deemed acceptable and how we witness others coping too. I think, unfortunately, it's a generational issue for sure, and if my parents were raised in a time where, like you were saying, men can't experience these, these levels of sadness and anger, or maybe aggression was the way that they, they demonstrated their, their negative emotions, and if maybe mom would grow up in a household that you know they, that she had to be happy all the time and, you know, have these kind of more positive, more Girl-like emotions for lack of a better word, right, then that is inevitably going to impact how I'm raised, how my siblings are raised, how anyone is raised within that household, and we can even expand that beyond to school and teachers and you know, just those in our surroundings that determine Okay, this is what I'm allowed to feel and this is what I should probably Figure out on my own or not talk about or keep inside. So we see that through childhood and adolescence and then if that's all we know, then that's all we know. We're not told how to cope, we're not told how to experience them and and and you know, process them. And then we see this manifest as mental health concerns in high school. We see it manifest as self-harm and then after high school, it shows up in a multitude of ways. And if we're suppressing these emotions, we know it shows up in the body, we know it shows up as disease. I was working with clients, grown adults, grown men, who we were working on the basics of emotions Because of the fact that they never had that. They never had that experience. And I don't want to single out men, I think women too, but obviously we know that there's a discrepancy there. So I definitely think, for the sake of this argument if I were to lead one way or the other, I will say that I think nurture and our emotional environment and upbringing especially just from you know the basics of emotions and coping is completely contingent upon what we're exposed to as children and the education that we're giving, or lack thereof.

Speaker 1:

Now, looking back on my upbringing and thinking about you know things that have affected me emotionally. One thing I think about is playing sports, and that can be recreational sports or school sports or whatever, but I think that it really had an impact on me. As far as emotional resilience, for instance, you're playing on a team, you're socializing, you're building serious relationships with teammates. You have to learn how to get along with your teammates, even if you like them or you don't, and Similarly, what you might find in the workplace later on or society at large. You know those, those skills that you learn there can, can, can help you also in sports. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, so you have to learn that things don't always go your way and you have to learn to deal with losses and over time you figure out coping mechanisms I'll call resilience, which I think is an important trait to carry with you throughout life. You also have to learn to persevere and to develop some toughness in order to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. And you have to learn to be coachable, which later in life, in a job or marriage, can be a handy school to have, although my wife, cheryl would probably say I'm minimally coachable at best, and you know, I realize that sports are not for everybody, but for those who are interested, I think that they can have a positive impact on emotional wellness.

Speaker 3:

I Certainly agree. I'd love to hear what Emily has to say. But you know, as as I'm reflecting on just the that aspect of the physical Exertion, even just from like an energy in, energy out point of view, you know, as a parent right now I have a two-year-old toddler and our worst days, when I have the most behavioral problems between him and me, are when we haven't gotten our energy out, you know, and it's like there's that energy level that has to be released and it will be released some way. We can release it in that positive way of like jumping on the trampoline, which you do when you're two years old. Or you know you can really sit in the negative way, which is a temper, anger, tantrum at mommy when you can't have this Nacky one, and I think we also do that as adults. You know there's there's a need to Release energy and create energy and and move things, and there's that. I think I see that connection Between the physical and the emotional just right there in that. What do you think, emily? How is sports or physical activity or an influence to your practice or you personally in emotional wellness?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think that this is such a good analogy to, like what you're saying about having a toddler, because in reality, we're all just grown up toddlers, right, and so being willing to, like you're saying, release that energy or just let it out, right, it's so important. And I think, when it comes to sports, you know, not only is there this social aspect which we were referencing for being on a team, right, you have to learn how to work together. It's all about team building and I think that can be really valuable in understanding other people's emotions and understand and I say people. But I think, you know, for the sake of this example, we can say other kids, right, other peers and your teammates, understanding how they process emotions and watching them process emotions and learning how to communicate effectively. I think, like you're saying, you know sometimes you lose. So, learning how to process and navigate those hard emotions at a young age, I think you know, you hear the term sore loser, right, and I think that that is a perfect opportunity to educate these kids on all right, what is it that you're feeling? It does, it does suck to lose, right? Like, how can we work through this? How can we, you know, you know, improve and what is it? What is it, you know, telling you and what's coming up for you right, and having those conversations. And I think what's unfortunate is, you know, for example, a lot of kids are met with, you know, maybe the coach or the parents or whomever you know, maybe in a more negative way, as opposed to empathizing and helping them. You know, be constructive with those emotions. It's do better or it's, you know. You know, next time try doing this Right, right, exactly. And I think that these are prime opportunities and I can't speak for myself. I didn't do sports growing up, so I can't really see, you know, on a personal level, but I do know that these are prime opportunities, especially when children are in their, in their young ages, right to cultivate the opportunities of teaching them and having them become a little bit more fluent in their emotional language and, and you know, taking those opportunities as ways to educate and to empower them so that later in life they are able to to feel more confident and empowered in that way because they have this experience as children. So I think that that's a very, it's a very powerful opportunity to take advantage of, especially when children are at a young age.

Speaker 1:

Well, and I didn't mean to be just sports, because, for instance, with Lindsay's Irish step dance or some other kid might play in the band or whatever, but I think just situations that kids can be in where they have to work with teammates, get along with others. You win, you lose and all the lessons that you get from that in a kind of a non-threatening way. You know, in sports if you lose a tennis match, it's not cancer, right, it's not a life or death situation, but you still. There are lessons you can learn from that in terms of how to, how to be more resilient and be a better winner and and move on and do better next time.

Speaker 3:

But anyway, Emily, how can organizations promote emotional well-being among their employees in the workplace? So we've talked about kids, now let's talk about adults. How can we promote it there? Yeah, sure?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, well, I think, first and foremost, it's really about making resources available to employees in the workplace, depending on what the workplace looks like, whether it's an in-person, you know, office where you have have employees working together. Now, obviously, the culture and the climate has changed a lot, so we see, you know, a lot of shifts in terms of structure and environment in the workplace being. We work from home. So, I think, just accommodating the employees, based on their setup, based on their structure, with resources that are accessible, whether that's somebody I've heard before there's, you know, in-house therapists or in-house, you know, wellness coordinators, right, who work with the staff or the employees in that regard, right on wellness, or they, you know, accommodate with with guest talks and and trainings and workshops on the importance of emotional health and so forth. I think a big piece to this puzzle is boundary setting and requiring time off, requiring, you know, disconnection in some extent, you know, I think a big bulk of our stress is coming from our work and our jobs and while we might not be able to, especially with adults who maybe didn't get the experience as children, to cultivate their emotional wellness or to better understand their emotions, I think these workplaces need to, and this is speaking from you know an ideal world right, but I think these workplaces really need to be cognizant of the workload and the expectations that they're placing on some of their employees and the impact and repercussions that can have on our emotional wellness, and not to not imagine our physical health as well and and being really flexible in that regard and I understand that that's a fine line because you don't want to be completely standoffish and say, oh, don't worry about it, there's no deadline, don't worry. You know, take, take your time, take the day off, relax right. There obviously has to be some, some structure to to the work day, but I think a big reason why we're so incredibly stressed and we're so incredibly unwell in a lot of ways, especially emotionally and mentally, is because we are, the expectations that we have within the workplace are so much farther beyond what we're capable of as human beings, and I think that this is playing a big role in our physical health outcome, emotional health outcomes, and if we were able to implement more self care opportunities, more wellness based practices within the workplace, I think we could see a lot of reduction in the depression, anxiety and stress-related issues that exist as a result of the workplace. Does that make sense? Am I clear on that? I want to be sure I articulate that properly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you are clear, but unfortunately, yeah, that's not the real world.

Speaker 4:

For most people.

Speaker 1:

I talk to my daughters. Of course I'm recently retired, but I talk to them and once an engineer and the other is a doctor and oh my gosh, the stress and the hours and the workload. It just seems as a father just listening to it. I feel for them and I wish we had a more compassionate workplace. I really do, because, to your point, it takes us toll on people, and there's a wonderful Chinese proverb I learned many years ago called the body is a puppet of the mind, and so when people have this mental issue and a mental, I mean like emotional dysfunction that does trickle down, as you're alluding to it, it's all connected and that trickles down into things like gut dysfunction or heart attacks or cancer or whatever. So just expressions of all this stress we're under all this time. So, anyway, I thank you for painting a picture of an ideal world and I think we need to move in that direction, but that's certainly not the reality of a lot of people, is it?

Speaker 4:

And so, unfortunately, when I think to that point. You know I wanted to be intentional with this ideal world way of thinking, right, but I think it's not until we actually consider within our country, within our culture, the influence that poor emotional health and stress and so forth has on our health overall, will we actually be able to make some sort of change. I just don't think there's that acknowledgement yet where we're considerate of the actual influence. It's not just oh, I'm stressed out and I'm going to continue to live my life and it's fine. We're not like you're saying, gut dysfunction and then hormonal imbalances and sleep deprivation and so forth. So once we, hopefully in maybe 10, 20 years, once we really notice and acknowledge that interconnectedness and how it's, you know, decreasing our productivity and decreasing our performances and all that, will we actually be able to hopefully implement something so that they know it's for the longevity of your company, of your workplace and for the quality of life that these employees can have, you know. So I think that I'm hopeful, I'm optimistic here, but I also acknowledge it's very idealistic.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's what we're doing the show today. We're trying to do our part to move the needle in the right direction. Yeah, that's right.

Speaker 4:

So what are the?

Speaker 1:

common triggers that start people down a path towards emotional dysfunction.

Speaker 4:

There are definitely more abrupt or isolated events that can trigger emotional dysfunction or trigger emotional suffering, right? So something like loss of family member, loss of a pet, loss of a relationship, of a job, you know, breakups, financial stress, right. Maybe you suddenly, you know, had some sort of massive financial responsibility that you put and take care of, right? That's more abrupt, more isolated. Maybe there's a traumatic event that took place, or a national disaster or a worldwide pandemic, right, things of that capacity that can definitely generate emotional distress and then, you know, kind of compound within itself to really contribute to dysfunction. But then I also think there's just this ongoing, almost subclinical stress that exists, that also strikes when it's and you don't even realize that it's happening where it's. You know, these subclinical, psychological or even non-psychological stressors that we encounter from day to day, and if we don't have any understanding of the importance of nervous system regulation or stress management, self-care, they just kind of exists underneath the surface. And then the next, you know, we wake up the next day or months down the line and we're depressed or we're, you know, running out of bed with massive amounts of anxiety. And it's really because of this compounding experience of I don't like my job, I'm having trouble in my marriage, I hit traffic every morning and it's, you know, activating my fight or flight every single day, and now I'm chronically activated. So I think it can be a number of different things and it's really about building awareness around the psychological stress that we all know, right. Financial relational et cetera. But it's also these non-psychological stressors that we don't even realize are stressing our body right, like processed foods, sedentary living, environmental toxins, and that then, you know, can impact our gut health, like you had mentioned, it can impact our hormone health and it all kind of creates this storm and then, like I said, we wake up, you know, and we're feeling especially lethargic or depressed. And then I think there's also trauma and adverse childhood experiences, which definitely plays in. I'm especially passionate about this topic just because of what we know about trauma and how our experiences as children and certain types of experiences can result in autoimmune and long-term, you know, depression, anxiety and so forth. So I think it's a couple of different things, right, and sometimes it's all the things, other times it's one or the other, but in most cases it's one of these few things I would argue is being most prominent.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, there's just so much to talk about on this subject of emotional wellness and Emily is just such a fountain of knowledge. But out of respect for your time, we'll pause here and save the rest for part two, which we'll have out for you shortly. Let me give you a heads up on what you'll expect to hear on part two. We'll get into some interesting topics like the role of social media and technology in emotional wellness, how to build meaningful relationships and emotional resilience, how to identify red flags and how to get help if you or any of your friends or family are having emotional difficulties. And finally, emily will provide you with some practical take home solutions to help you become emotionally optimized. We will have Emily's contact information, website address and her social media platforms listed on the website. At McMinnMDcom, you'll find it on the homepage under the banner helpful links. Please check out her stuff. It's really your first rate. You'll be glad you did. Also, at McMinnMD, we'll have a brief bio of Emily and a picture of her under the heading Guest Biographies, so you can get to know her a bit better, and we'll have some other resources on the subject of emotional wellness that Emily recommended for you. By the way. Last month, we started a blog to go along with the podcast, simply called WellnessMDBlog. You can also find this at the McMinnMDcom website. Just look at the heading at the top of the homepage, which you'll see one called WellnessMDBlog. I'll also put a link to the blog in the show notes for you. Well, that will about do it for this episode of WellnessConnectionMD. Thank you so much for joining us. We hope that we were able to share something with you that was helpful for you. After all, that's why we do this. Please take a moment to rate us on iTunes. These reviews really do help. These can be difficult to do, so if you're not sure how to do them, then I have a detailed explanation on how to do it on an iPhone, which you can find at McMinnMDcom slash reviews. Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr McMinn. Until next time, take care and be well.

Exploring Emotional Wellness
Emotional Wellness and Cultivating Awareness
Emotional Wellness and Nature vs Nurture
Sports and Emotional Wellness Impact
Promote Emotional Well-Being in Workplace