Wellness Connection MD

41- Emotional Wellness: Part 2

January 20, 2024 James McMinn. MD Episode 41
Wellness Connection MD
41- Emotional Wellness: Part 2
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is Part 2 of a series on Emotional Wellness.  The conversation explores various aspects of our emotions, including the connection between lifestyle medicine, such as exercise, sleep, and diet, and our emotional well-being.  We also discuss promoting emotional well-being in schools and in the workplace.  We discuss the influence of social media and technology on emotional wellness.  Emily breaks down the positive effect of connection with nature, and fostering deep and meaningful relationships on our emotions.  She discusses the challenges faced by different groups in relation to emotional wellness: men v. women, old v. young, and differences along racial lines, as well as other minorities.  She then turns to the concept of an emotional set point and sensitivity.  She identifies the red flags  of emotional distress, and how we cqn support others who might be struggling.   The path to emotional wellness begins with awareness, and Emily discusses other strategies such as journaling and breathwork to help us move our emotional wellness in the right direction.  Emily emphasizes the importance of changing perspective and blocking out negative self-talk. Instead she suggests using mantras and positve affirmations to promote self-love.  Emily also highlights the importance of seeking help and support when needed, and the need for public mental health campaigns to foster open conversations about mental and emotional health, and to dispel stigmas. The conversation concludes with personal stories of emotional challenges that the  panel members have experienced.   We finish the podcast with Coach Lindsay's  pearls of wisdom.  We hope that you enjoy the show.  

Support the show

Please CLICK ON THIS LINK to support the show.

-Check out our website at https://mcminnmd.com for other IMPORTANT LINKS, including social media links. You can find these at the bottom of the main page under the heading "Helpful Links."

-Click on the following link for our FULLSCRIPT dispensary for a 10% discount on physician-grade supplements: https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/jmcminn/signup
FullScript Dispensary is an affiliate from which I receive a commission.

Check out Dr. McMinn's Wellness MD Blog at
https://mcminnmd.com/wellness-md-blog-1

Go to https://mcminnmd.com/reviews to see How to rate and review this podcast on an iPhone

You can contact Dr. McMinn at DoctorMcMinn@yahoo.com to leave comments or to make suggestions for future shows.








Speaker 1:

Hello, this is Dr MacMillan and welcome to Wellness Connection MD. This episode is part two of a series on the important topic emotional wellness. You might have fabulous bodily health, but you're not optimized unless you also have emotional wellness. These are challenging times we live in these days, so whether you need to climb out of an emotional hole or you want to get emotionally optimized, this is the show for you. Our special guest today is Emily Huedek, and she will present to you some practical take home solutions to help you achieve your emotional best. We hope you enjoy the show.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Wellness Connection MD podcast with Dr MacMillan 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 MacMillan is an integrated and functional MD and Lindsey Matthews is a 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 wwwengendcom 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 contain 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 MacMillan and Coach Lindsay.

Speaker 3:

In this age of advanced technology, how do you see social media influencing emotional wellness, both positively and negatively? It seems to me that the social media platforms are not always healthy places to hang out, especially for our young kids, who might not have the filters to know what's truth, what's not truth and how to deal with that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so I think social media is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to remain connected, it allows us to stay in touch with family members and friends and so forth. And you know that's not to say that real in person connection is not more valuable than, say, a connection via the internet. I think we learned that a lot with the pandemic and it's really wonderful that we had access to telehealth and we had access. But you know, a lot of research was done on social isolation during that time and you know social distancing and so forth, and I really don't believe it has the same effect necessarily as having in person, you know, connection. So in one way, we can be grateful that that was, you know, that was available to us, because I think outcomes would look very differently if we didn't have such a powerful ability to stay in touch with people. And then, on the flip side, I think social media is, you know, negatively influencing us. This comes from, you know, the fact, that diet, culture and you know this ideal body image and you know comparisons and all of these expectations that these children and adolescents and teens, and even now as adults, that we have and we place on ourselves, based on the highlight reel that we see on social media, and I think what's problematic here is the fact that I feel very lucky that my generation I don't think I was maybe 17, 18 when social media really became more prominent in my life, right with Instagram and TikTok, wasn't even a thing right. But now we're seeing generations one-year-olds, two-year-olds, three-year-olds exposed to these platforms, so their understanding of reality is already skewed before they even have the words to really understand what it is that they're seeing. Right, and I think that this is so harmful because we have such a distorted view now of what is reality, what is falsified, what is, you know, an elaborate illustration of? You know what the female body should look like, or you know these routines and these lifestyles that are so over the top and buying all of the latest and greatest, and you know it's a very elaborate, very luxurious and materialistic type of view, and if we're not able to see the difference, we can only imagine how that's going to impact an individual's self-esteem, how they see themselves, their body image and so forth. Right, so I think it can be seen in both lights and I wanted to be sure that I emphasize the positives of it too, but I think, negatively speaking. It's definitely headed more in that direction.

Speaker 3:

Well, it circles back to me to just our whole conversation about emotions in general. You have bad and good. Well, you have positive and negative emotions, just like you said, and I think the same could be said with the social media experience. So, just like we're talking about having emotional intelligence, I think we almost need to coin the term like social media intelligence.

Speaker 1:

Sure.

Speaker 3:

Like just those boundaries and how to create them and what that looks like. So I appreciate your insight on that.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it seems to me like socialization is an important aspect in developing emotional wellness. In the old days we used to stop by spontaneously and visit with each other and spend quality time with friends and neighbors and family. Down south we call that front porch time. You know people come by and next thing you know they come up on the porch and we're chatting and we get out to Ben Joe in the fiddle we smoke a corn pop pipe ram it to back.

Speaker 2:

Which you truly do play the by the fiddle, dr McMahon, I do.

Speaker 1:

You're laughing because you've probably done that. You've had that experience I have. It's a good experience. Right, right, but nowadays it seems like it's almost rude to even call somebody, have to text them and say is this an okay time to talk, right, yeah, sure, much less like stopping by spontaneously. But it seems like I don't know. In this sort of high-paced, fast-paced world we live in, how can we foster deep, meaningful, authentic relationships with others? I mean, that's something that's really missing these days.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think you know we don't have those experiences like you're saying right, where you would just stop in. Or, you know, with more spontaneous, less planned and like you're saying now it's, I have to send a text before I even make a call. Why can't I just make the call, right? Or why can't I just stop in? And you know, to some extent, I'm sure there's some relationships that you know that still does apply. But I think when it comes to, you know, fostering these meaningful, authentic connections, I think part of it has to do with, like we just talked about, staying connected with someone, right? I think that that's an obvious, an obvious example of how we can continue to maintain these relationships Staying connected, staying engaged, staying, you know, in communication with someone, right? I think, making time for these individuals. I think that is a big thing. That's changed as well is we're just too busy. We're just too busy for others, and I find it for me for sure. I notice sometimes, if I haven't seen certain girlfriends of mine, or my mom or my dad, you know, we just get caught up in the day to day, the go, go, go, and we forget how important social connection is and how important these relationships are. I think remaining present with these people is really important and avoiding distraction. I think we are constantly, even when we're out to lunch or we're having coffee with someone, we're checking our phone, or our phone sitting on the table or you know, we're distracted by what do I have going on? Next, what happened before? Right, we're very non-present, and I think just mindfulness and being present is a whole topic of conversation in and of itself. But I think, when it comes to spending time with these individuals, even if you only have 30 minutes, be in those 30 minutes with that person, right. Be willing to stay and be there with that person for the sake of that connection, because I think we underestimate how valuable that can be and I think we are Constantly being pulled in a thousand different directions. And, yeah, maybe you do have a lot going on and maybe you do, you know, stress and worry about the meeting you have later in the day or what so and so said to you yesterday, or your phone is blowing up with a million emails, right. But think about it in relation to the respect and the relationship that you have in front of you, right, the respect for the relationship that you have in front of you, and it might take a little bit extra effort right to to to do this. It might be harder for some to do this, but I think, ultimately, if we really want to establish and maintain these relationships in a way that you know is long term, that feels authentic, that's genuine I think that this is it were the world is against us in that regard, but I think we really can foster them still so long as we're conscious of what needs to, what needs to happen in order for them to Sustain, for them to maintain. And then, I think, lastly, just take care of yourself, Right? I think we forget sometimes that investing in ourselves also means investing in those around us. It means investing in our children and means in investing in our children's children by taking care of yourself in a way that's both supportive of mind and body. I think that's one of the best ways to be authentic to the relationships that you have. I think that's great.

Speaker 3:

I think that that last bit that you were just talking about talks about a topic that doctor that is near and dear to Dr Whitman and in my heart, which is just loving kindness loving kindness to ourselves and the people that were around, and and just how that impacts Everything when it comes to how that's so foundational. So I think that just highlights how that plays a big role in emotional wellness, how we mirror that loving kindness back on ourselves in the form of self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-love. I think think those have a big place there in our emotional wellness. Do you have any other comments on that or any other thoughts about loving kindness?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, well, just briefly, I think it is. It is so unfortunate how hard we are on ourselves and we don't have self-compassion, we don't have self-love, we aren't forgiving of ourselves, we're not patient with ourselves on our journeys, on our wellness journeys, on our journey of life, right, and so you know, while we might consider ourselves Perfectionistic or we want to work hard, I think a lot of it has to do with the hustle culture and the toxic productivity and so forth but Just practicing and setting forth with each day with the intention of cultivating that self-compassion and self-love and whatnot it emanates, you know it really does, you know, impact those around you when you're able to show that for yourself inwardly. So I think that that's really all I have to say on that, but I think it's so important, so so incredibly important and, like I said before, it does make a huge difference in our relationships and then, as a result, our wellness.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, emily, previously you've kind of touched on this, but I'd like to just talk about a little bit more any particular challenges faced by particular groups of people in relation to emotional wellness, such as Women versus men, old versus young or other sort of cultural or racial breakdown of emotional wellness.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think this is definitely not a one-size-fits-all Issue, like we had been kind of touching on throughout this whole conversation. When it comes to boys and men, I mean, I had an entire class in grad school just on counseling for boys and men because of the fact that, statistically speaking and in terms of how mental health issues present and and fake challenges men face versus challenges women face, it's different, right, and it's not going to manifest the same in one person versus another. And it's certainly not going to manifest the same in terms of women versus men. And so I think, when it comes to men, I think there's an under Acknowledge prevalence depression and anxiety and men because men are much less likely to report Symptoms or or report struggling or, you know even further, they might even be able to identify that they're experiencing depression or anxiety or any other mental health concern for that, for that issue, right. So I think in men it's it's not that it's not there. I think a lot of our research and all of our statistics are shown in women and any statistics that are shown in men are probably Underrepresented, right. So definitely, in terms of mental health concerns, I think men need much more Support and I think boys, young boys, need that. Like we had said before, that's further education and support in in terms of Creating and strengthening their emotional intelligence. I think with racial backgrounds, different racial backgrounds, like just being a part of a group, of a minority group, is Traumatic in and of itself, right. So it's essentially just this concept that you know, being a black background or being of an Asian descent or whatever the case is Right. Being part of a group of a minority, right, that comes with its own trauma and you know these kind of microaggressions that exist, that are embedded within our country and our culture and so forth. That plays a big role in our emotional wellness right. And for those who are maybe female, who are considered, you know, of a minority group and having a different racial background, also, you know, having multiple identities that are considered the minority that just comes along, that inherently is Stressful, inherently has its own kind of traumatic flavor to it because of what we're faced, you know, society-wide. So that is definitely influential on emotional wellness. Socioeconomic status, for sure, Influences emotional wellness right. This changes our access, it changes our ability to To have, you know, resources when it comes to emotional wellness. And then also young versus old, I think that that plays a huge role as well. Right, older generations maybe have a different exposure to you know what it means to be emotionally well the younger generations. So, like I said, we're seeing more suicide, we're seeing more self-harm. So, definitely, based on you know, a Generational shift what the conversation looks like in terms of you know older generations versus younger generations I think is going to make a big impact on their level of emotional intelligence level, emotional wellness as well. So I think it's it's all different, it's it's varying in all arenas.

Speaker 1:

It seems like a lot of people have what I call an emotional set point. Some people just sort of pop out and they're called the cucumber. Others tend to go through life kind of tightly wound. Similarly, certain triggers For one person that same trigger might be devastating, while the other person just kind of rolls off their back. So talk to us about just for a moment, the concept of, say, an emotional set point, or why some people are more sensitive than others.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think it comes back to the conversation, like you're saying, about nature versus nurture. It's centered on our upbringing, it's centered on genetic components potentially right. And I think you're able to actually increase your emotional set point if you are willing to develop that emotional resilience that we've kind of touched on here and there. If we're willing to put in the work to really identify and raise our awareness around our feelings, we can actually strengthen that ability to respond differently to certain issues that might have otherwise been more challenging for us to face. I think that's beautiful, right, that we're able to actually shift and change through neuroplasticity, right Through, you know, awareness. One author that I really love her name's Jensen Sarrow. She wrote the you Are a Badass books, very motivational, and she says self-awareness is the key to transformation. And that's so true, right. The more that we can identify and understand our emotions and really respond to them in a more constructive way, the better equipped we are at responding to emotional situations that maybe six years ago, eight years ago, 10 years ago, would have really triggered us and caused us a lot of distress, whereas now, yeah, it can still be difficult, it can still be triggering, right, but how we respond to it can also change, and the physiological reaction that takes place within the body can also change too. So I think, while there's an emotional set point that might be predetermined by genetic makeup or just by the way that we're born, I think there's a lot of room for growth there as well.

Speaker 3:

So let's kind of talk about what people can do when they are in that negative emotional funk state. First, what are some of the red flags that we really can be on a lookout for as a friend to those people or a family worker or a coworker. What might indicate that someone's going into a bad, a negative emotional state that raised a red flag?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, totally. So I think, first and foremost, what I would encourage anyone to do is really authentically check in with the people around you, right, and even if someone appears okay, right, quote, unquote, okay, it still does not hurt and it still does not mean that someone isn't still struggling, right and suffering. And I think, just asking someone, how are you Not the, how are you, oh, I'm good, how are you Right, the actual legitimate, how are things Right, talk to me, what's going on right? And some might dismiss you, some might still say, oh yeah, everything's fine, no big deal right. But I think that can go a long way for someone, because I think a lot of times, people who are struggling can put on the facade, can put on the mask, can put on the I'm okay type of behavior when in reality, underneath the surface, they're really not doing well. And so I think, first and foremost, that would be my suggestion is you willing to invest in the people around you in that way? Because it could be an opportunity for them to open up and ask for help or ask for support, and that could really change their lives Some of the more prominent ways to identify when things are maybe not so right or maybe dysfunctional in some capacity, shifts in mood, maybe some extremes of irritability or anger or sadness Draw is really big right. Withdrawing from normal activities, lacking productivity or lacking interest in things that maybe someone previously found interest in Conscious and eating patterns, I think is really big too. And then, also considering that there's a lot of subtle changes that could take place, and I think that's where this question of asking someone and checking in with someone can be really valuable, because it's not always noticeable and especially when we're very caught up in our own day to day, in our own lives, maybe we're not taking notice to some of these things, right, because they're so subtle. So taking time out of your day just to check in what someone can be really transformational and really helpful for someone. And it's not always super obvious when someone might be struggling. Sometimes what we see on the surface isn't so obvious as being oh, this looks like this person's depressed or this person needs help, right, because a lot of times we just try to push through and we don't want to acknowledge that we're struggling or we're suffering, and sometimes that can progress to being too late, right. So definitely just checking in with someone and then noticing some of these more prominent symptoms. That can happen too.

Speaker 1:

There are lots of medications out there, emily, for anxiety and depression and whatnot, but we'll leave that for some other discussion for right now, but to be clear, there's a time and place for meds, but we're going to focus more on a holistic approach. Today, However, on our podcast, as you know, emily, we're all about trying to lead people with practical take home solutions, and so if you could just sort of summarize for us some of the things you would recommend for people to help to improve their emotional wellness, just for everybody, but also especially for somebody who might be in a dark place- yeah, sure, yes.

Speaker 4:

I could go on and on about this, because I love to talk about it, but for the sake of just offering a few tangible takeaways, really taking an audit of your lifestyle behaviors and looking into how's my quality of sleep, am I moving my body in a way that's consistent? What does my relationship with food look like? Am I eating real whole foods and nourishing my body and making choices that are in alignment with good brain health? I like to say, feel for the body and feel for the mind and feel for the soul. So talking about foods that are really nourishing for the body, talking about foods that are really nourishing for the brain and then feel for the soul, are all the good stuff that we like to have Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie and ice cream on a summer day, things like that. But what does my relationship with food look like? Am I choosing good quality nutrition, stress management and self care? I cannot speak on this enough. I think really being in tune with how you feel stress, what your experience of stress looks like, nervous system support and regulation is huge. So integrating things like breath work and meditation, journaling and maybe some of these more woo-woo approaches to health, which can be absolutely transformational for you if you can consistently integrate them on a habitual daily basis and for someone who might be in a dark place. I think it's a challenging place to be, and I say this because of the fact that I saw clients who are very depressed in my work as a therapist. And for me to tell them eat healthy, right, I'm oversimplifying it. Right, for the sake of the example, eat healthy, move your body, get the best quality sleep. For someone who's actually very depressed, who's lacking motivation, who feels hopeless, who barely gets out of bed in the morning, right, it can be really hard to try and advise them in this way when they're barely eating right, and then they need to just eat whatever they may have access to for the sake of that day. Right, because they need to eat it. So, when it comes to someone who's in a dark place, or maybe someone who's just getting started, I suggest really starting small. Right, taking time to get outside, even if it means for a minute to get some sunshine. Right, that could be one small thing that you do to get that exposure. It helps support a healthy circadian rhythm. You get a dose of vitamin D, right, you get some fresh air and it's not a massive change that you're requiring yourself to do, but maybe emotionally you're just not in a space to do that and really anyone can do this. Like I said, it's definitely helpful for somebody who's in a darker place to implement but for the sake of getting started, if it feels overwhelming, taking small, bite-sized pieces of maybe the larger goal can really help you implement them a little bit more consistently than through the benefit. Through the improvement, you're drawn to do more of it right, you're motivated to invest in it more, and that's really what you want is to build the momentum. So I think you know if I'm going to give tangible strategies, it's, as I mentioned before, around nutrition and movement. Getting moving is so important. I actually founded a nonprofit organization a few years back called Move for Mine, and it's all about movement and mental health and how we need to be. You know, moving our bodies daily to support mental health and then you know, incrementally making those changes to really cultivate this daily practice that's best supportive of your emotional health and well-being.

Speaker 1:

Hey, emily, I was out there one day and I was listening to something on the radio and they're talking about how just listening to bird sounds produces anxiety. And so just think about if you go for a walk, like say, a gratitude walk Okay, you're outside, you're getting sunshine, fresh air, blue skies, whatever You're in nature, you're exercising, and you're hearing bird sounds. Wow, that's powerful medicine. Yes, it is Just getting on the side alone.

Speaker 4:

Okay, goodness, yeah, yeah, yeah, amazing that would be good medicine for folks.

Speaker 1:

yes, yeah, absolutely. You know your comment about. You know taking what. Have you phrased it? Taking account of your motions? I think journaling is a powerful tool for that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, totally.

Speaker 1:

Because I think sometimes you know, we go through our day and we don't really realize what emotions we're having. But if we really stop and we just write it down, force ourselves to write it down, and you can kind of go back and look at it and stuff like that, but yeah, I think journaling is a really powerful tool.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

I think journaling is one of the most transformational because you're getting to know yourself on the level that a lot of times we don't have. That you know that relationship with ourselves, so totally.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 3:

Sometimes when you write out those things, you realize what kind of chatter has been going on inside and you think I would probably never say that to someone else, but I'm saying it to myself. You know, I think sometimes when we're get down, we can have these repeated loops of negative self-talk and limited belief. So how can we break those loops, Like you were saying, I think? What was your statistic earlier about the percentage of thoughts that are negative, the ones that are subconsciously also like? Talk about that and how we can break the cycle with those negative thoughts.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah. So 80% of our thoughts are negative and 90% of them are repetitive. So when we really think about that, the vast majority of what we're thinking a lot of times are on autopilot, right. We're not even recognizing them as being problematic, because they are something that we just commonly think, whether it's from our childhood, you know, some sort of belief that developed over the course of our childhood and upbringing and so forth, or beliefs we've developed for recently, and they're mostly negative. They're mostly negative self-talk, they're mostly negative based, right, there's flavors of negativity to them. So, when it comes to breaking the loops and overcoming this chatter, once again we're talking about awareness, right. It's the key to transforming our lives. It's the key to transforming our mental health and really tuning into how powerful our thoughts can be. And something I do with clients and something I did as a therapist was we did something called a thought log, and now I've actually been doing a similar strategy, a similar activity, with my clients as a coach, just with, you know, different techniques associated with it. But a thought log is essentially really tuning into thoughts that are coming up for you, identifying the emotion that's resulting from it. And then what is? How? Is that changing your behavior, right? How is that driving a certain behavior? And it's really a very microscopic process, which I think it makes it both easy and challenging, right? Because it's like, oh well, all I have to do is just tune into these thoughts and be aware of how they're playing out. But then it's also, like I said, it's very microscopic, so it can happen in the blink of an eye and we don't even realize. I have this negative thought about my ability to make a lifestyle change. I had this negative thought about my performance at work and if we're not really tuning in, we're not going to be able to do anything about it. So I think journaling, as we just mentioned, is one of the best ways to start to uncover that for ourselves. In, you know, journaling and over the course of several weeks or several days, and then going back and noticing patterns and noticing things that are standing out to you that are like wow, this shows up a lot, right, or this concept or this thought I'm having really makes itself apparent, right? How am I able to maybe look at this and then stir to tune into when that thought comes up, and then what we know is that we can respond to it in a way that's more productive. We can reframe it. We can, you know, rewire it a little so that it's maybe not so negative, or you know it's it's. It's all about tuning into the thoughts that are driving the emotions and driving the behaviors and replacing them with something that's more productive, maybe more positive. And it's not to say that you know you're going from I'm the worst at my job to I'm the best at my job. Right, it's maybe I don't perform as well as I would like and I'm getting better right, or and I'm working towards improving it. So it's not this kind of you know, unrealistic way of looking at your thoughts where you're suddenly going to say you know, I'm the greatest person, I do all these things right. It can be a dialectic where it's you know, I'm working on it, or I'm getting better, or whatever the case may be. So I think, ultimately, if we're looking at maybe a step one that would be my suggestion and getting started, and then the process becomes a little more organic for you. But at first it can be a little wonky because you're not really taught how to do this right. So anything new is going to feel uncomfortable at first.

Speaker 1:

You know, one tool I use sometimes is just to, when I catch myself in a negative loop, I try to come to back to my breath and try to sort of be in the present moment when I can, because we've lived so much of our lives in the past and the future, and if you could be in that present moment and say gee, right now things are pretty good, and so just try to enjoy that and be with your breath. And also, I think sometimes developing mantras can be helpful. Sure, like your subconscious is just telling you this negative loop, but you can make up a positive mantra that you can, you know, substitute it with and to keep repeating that phrase, whether it's something generic. I used to actually give my patients mantras based on their palm, but the general one would be. You know, like every day and every way I'm getting better and better. I mean, that's just a general mantra. If you keep repeating that over and over and over, it can really improve your process. But you can have specific mantras based on your loops.

Speaker 4:

I just wanted to mention, you know, the author, louise Hay. I'm not sure if you're familiar with her but yeah, so she's big on that where you know, that's another illustration of her other illustration of the mind-body connection, where you know rewiring and you know speaking healing into your body in that way, I think, is a really powerful tool that you can implement alongside, obviously, all these other strategies. But it just really does further how your thoughts create your existence. And if you're continuing to say I'm always going to be sad or I'm always going to be anxious, you're really perpetuating that. And so by you know identifying a mantra that's more specific to your circumstances and your needs, or like you're saying, every day I'm getting better and better, are we healing every day? Whatever the case is really tuning into that, looking into the mirror and saying that, repeating it and then kind of creating that as part of your mental chatter for lack of a better word. Right, you're actually able to make a huge difference, not only in your mindset but also in your physiology and your body. So I'm glad that you mentioned that because it's super, super powerful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah, emily, I'm really kind of interested in technology. I'm an old guy but I'm trying to learn new tricks. But you know there's so many podcasts and apps and stuff like that these days on anxiety and depression, grief, et cetera. I remember this interview I heard by this Harvard mental health professional about an app called WESA, w-y-s-a, and it was really kind of interesting. It was sort of a mental health bot friend you could actually, you know, carry on a conversation with, and this bot friend would actually get to know you, and the academicians from Harvard were really kind of positive on it. And it's kind of interesting from a guy who grew up. Well, most of my life we didn't even have computers, much less AI, and now we have these bot friends. It's really kind of fascinating. So I'm just kind of interested in your thoughts on using. We talked about technology, social media as a negative, but what about using technology in this situation to help us with emotional wellness? Any thoughts on that?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, I think that you know I'm very grateful that a lot of these apps and online resources do exist, because I think it's really expanding access, which it's funny because in my ethics class in grad school we talked about and this was back in maybe 2018, I would say 2018, we talked about what are the effects behind online therapy and we're like no way, no way, this is not ethical, we can't do it, it's not the same. And then fast forward, right, two years and what do we do? Right, we had no choice. So I think telehealth if we're speaking just kind of generally, telehealth is wonderful. I'm very grateful that it exists and access now has probably quadrupled, right in terms of someone being able to access help in that way, especially from the comfort of their own home. But then other resources that I found to be helpful there's the calm app and the headspace app, which are both meditation, mindfulness based apps. So that's really wonderful that you know you're able to access maybe daily meditations or mindfulness practices that you know can, can be specified to certain needs, whether it's a calming or a, you know, anti anxiety or whatever. It is right. So there's a lot of resources like that available now, too. I know. There's a lot of journaling apps, too, out there that you can. You can access and offer you prompts. Personally, I prefer handwritten when it comes to journaling. I think there's a there's a level of impact that is greater when it comes to handwritten journals, but I like that. That exists right. I like that. That's available For me personally. I am a Peloton rider and I have the Peloton app and there's meditations on the app and I love that. So I wanted to be sure. I said that because I use the meditations on Peloton all the time, and not only, obviously, the physical activity benefits that come along there too. And then there's a lot of apps now that that offer you mantra mantras rather. So I have one that you know it's called. The app is called I am, and I get reminders throughout my day of just auto auto mantras that are sent to me that I can, you know, read and reflect on, and so forth. So I definitely think there's a wide array of resources available. Do your research would be my suggestion in terms of what you're utilizing and, you know, be willing to kind of shop around and find what works for you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, cool, interesting.

Speaker 3:

Emily, when a person starts down that slippery slope towards those more just, predominantly negative emotions and you get in that negative loop we were talking about, just to cycle back to that, how do they get help? What are their options?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, well, I think, first and foremost, I would say you know, most of us are not going to reach for help until we've hit rock bottom, and so if anyone's listening and is in a space that they feel that help would be beneficial to them but maybe they don't feel like they're at a place yet where you know they're sick enough or unwell enough or struggling enough, there's never a wrong time to reach for help. You know, I think even those who are maybe emotionally in a good place, right, and just want to have that level of maintenance and upkeep, you know, by checking in with the therapist from week to week or whatever the case may be, I think there's a lot of benefits to that. But if you're feeling like you are struggling and you need help, I think, first and foremost, reaching out to someone that you trust, whether or not they're a healthcare professional or not, I think that can be really helpful, just so that there's someone there that knows you're having a hard time and so I can check in with you that you feel, you know you have a relationship with, that you know you can confide in. Maybe they can offer you some support or guidance. But then also just talking to your healthcare provider right and seeing what is available and you know what's around you. They can also make suggestions on level of care right based on how you're presenting what your symptomology looks like. For me personally, I'm not a practicing clinician anymore, but if someone was interested in working with me, it would be a lot of. You know nutrition, exercise, health related strategies to help promote emotional wellness, so there's plenty of individuals out there that also offer that type of approach, whether they're holistic or an integrative. You know health coach or whomever right, so there's a lot of options. It's just about being willing to to reach out, taking that first step knowing that you're not alone in that and then really finding someone who aligns with what your needs are at this moment in time.

Speaker 1:

You know, in the back of the old days when people had something like depression, we just didn't talk about it, we swept it under the rug. It was almost like having a STD or something like you know, a sexual disorder disease. It was harsh when it was kind of shameful to have depression, but it seems like things are starting to change for the better, although we still have a ways to go. So tell us about the importance of sort of a public mental health campaign to encourage open conversations and to foster a more positive supporting environment for people who have things like depression and to dispel some of the myths and stuff like that to go along with that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, I just I think, like I said at the beginning, right, I mean we see commercials and, you know, organizations and associations and efforts and all sorts of energy put into physical health, right, and we need to be doing the same and we need to be putting forth the amount of investment into our emotional health and really opening the conversation. And you know we hear a break the stick. You know that's that's kind of the tagline associated with mental health and you know the National Association of Mental Health and Mental Illness and so forth, right, but I think really being willing to put forth the energy into this epidemic that does exist is the only way that we're going to societally dismantle these stigmas that do exist around mental health. And I'm grateful that you shared that about, you know, depression, kind of being likened to an STD, because that just goes to show that we have progressed right, because we certainly don't have that same, that same shame that's associated with it. But it's a willingness to step forward on an individual level, on a societal level, to really start to normalize the presence of these issues and then also call into question and start to, you know, discuss prevention and what are we doing that's causing such a widespread increase in depression and anxiety, and that's a whole, but the topic for a whole nother time right, you know, really exploring why is this happening, what can we do about it, and where are the resources that are necessary to help anyone who needs it. I think access is a really big issue. There, too, it's a lot of, you know, a lot of money, and you know we don't have enough healthcare providers to go around. So that would be my, that would be my, my encouragement for us to step forward in a different way yeah.

Speaker 3:

You know there's just so. This topic is so expansive, I feel like we're just kind of like touching on the tip of the iceberg and there's a lot under the surface to really explore. There's so much we could go into, like the microbiome just, for instance, and the gut brain connection, how neurotransmitters are made there in the gut, how so many of them are and how that affects mood, and also then just talking about supplementation and herbs that can affect emotional wellness. But in the interest of time we'll have to save that discussion for another time. In the meantime, emily, are there any final important pearls of wisdom that you just really want people to take away from listening today?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, I think you know I really want to emphasize how important it is for us to take care of ourselves every day, in both a physical and emotional capacity, and we can do that through the foods that we're eating, through the lifestyles that we're feeding. And so if I were to suggest to anyone how they can get started here, it would just be to look at these components of their day, their daily habits and, you know, be willing to address those if you want to feel better and improve your quality of life. And then also, you know, really emphasizing that there is help for anyone who needs it, right, there is help in all different capacities, for anyone out there that needs support in any way, and I think you know just being willing to communicate and step forward and ask for that help is really the hardest part, right, but there's so much available to us and you know it's important that you're taking that time to be honest with yourself when you do need help, and doing it for the sake of like we said before, right Investing in yourself. You're doing that for the sake of your relationships, for the sake of your workplace, for the sake of your children, your siblings, your you know parents and so on. And you know, it's really about not only taking care of yourself physically because you would immediately go to the doctor if there was an issue with you physically but also being willing to take care of you emotionally.

Speaker 1:

You know one lesson before we wind down on the podcast, just sort of make this personal in a way. Let me ask the two of you for any particular times in your lives that you would like to share with us? Were emotional challenges played a major role in your life? And I'll be the first one here to be involved in this issue. I'm thinking about a few years ago, when my mom and dad both passed away unexpectedly within a few months of each other after about 65 years of marriage. The family farm was our home and it had been our anchor for all our lives, and so without them it seemed like I was just sort of a ship without a rudder or an anchor, and I must admit it kind of shook me up a bit. It took me a while to kind of find my safe harbor. Unfortunately, I had a wonderful support system that helped me through it, especially my brother, my sister, my wonderful wife Cheryl, and so that's sort of my story about. You know an example of an emotional shipwreck that I got through. What about y'all? Anything comes to mind you'd like to share? And, by the way, in the state and age of HIPAA, you're both welcome to decline to answer the question.

Speaker 3:

Well, I can go first. You know I've talked about this on the podcast before, but I think probably a really low point in my journey so far was when my husband got sick about five or six years ago and we didn't know what was going on. You listeners, you can reference back I don't know the podcast number, but it's the one on dysautonomia and that was just a really hard time. Honestly, there were points when I thought, well, tyler might die, and that was really hard. I think a couple of things were really key in helping us move forward and I would say, dr Mack, you are one of those key pieces. You helped us find solutions and you reminded us of hope. Dr Mack, you always had that picture in your office of this black canvas, or maybe a stark green, but then it had the bright words of hope across it and I'm so thankful for the role you played in our life and then it's many other patients' lives, and I think that's a joy that we all three get in the functional medicine field of you know, when you're digging into these places, you're digging into the root causes and you can really provide hope for people.

Speaker 1:

So I think Dr Mack, you're here who can't find it elsewhere? By the way, who can't find it elsewhere, what do you mean? Who have been to other places and they can't find?

Speaker 3:

any hope? Yes, exactly, they're given. No, hope.

Speaker 1:

But through functional, integrative, holistic medicine they find hope Realistically, exactly, absolutely, absolutely cool.

Speaker 3:

Yes, absolutely. And then you know, the other key cornerstone of moving forward out of that time was our faith, and God really brought us through that. And now, looking back, seeing how that hardship has provided a platform, you know you go from pain to purpose and your paid gives you a story, makes you stronger, and then it gives you purpose in your life to help others. So that's my point. What about you, emily? What's your story?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think I was trying to think you know, what experience in life would I feel most compelled to comment on? I think, you know, I went through a pretty challenging time in my mental health, probably one of the first times I experienced some level of depression and anxiety in my late teens. I was going through some life transitions. I was, you know, going up to college and it wasn't the right place for me. So it was just kind of like a culmination of transition that all happened to happen at the same time and that was when I really, you know, started to, you know, recognize the depths that one can face when it comes to mental illness and mental health. And I saw psychiatrists at this point in time and, you know, I definitely look back and I reflect on how I managed and of course, at the time I didn't have the knowledge that I have now and so I think about the things I would do. Right, I was drinking more because I was in college. I was, you know, using food as a coping mechanism. I wasn't taking care of myself in the way that I know. That if I physically was, well, I think it would change a lot in terms of how I was feeling emotionally, even though I was going through a transitional period of time, and I'm super grateful for that experience, not only because it gives me an experience to now empower others, right, because I've learned what it's like to be in those positions and you know, that's one of a few different times in my life where I kind of been confronted with a similar experience but really social support during that time was the best thing, the best, best thing. I am such a talker if you hadn't noticed that, especially when I'm navigating issues, my girlfriends probably are sick of me, right, because I just like to talk about it, I just want to go over it again and again. And so it was really during that time, even though I was in a dark time, you know, I was not able to turn to people that cared about me. I was getting help in some form, to some extent, and you know, I made my way out of it and I think that that gives me the faith and the hope that, no matter what I go through, I can get through it, because that experience was so challenging. But at 18, 19 years old, right, it can often feel like, oh, this is my life, this is how I'm going to live and there's no hope, and I think that's where a lot of people sit and they feel like they're going to stay there forever. That's from this experience and from others experiencing a similar time in their life. There is hope, there is something coming, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it's a very dark place that you're in, and I hope that you keep that in mind and remember that you know how important it is for us to hold on to that, because I think that's where a lot of turmoil exists, and then things can happen that we can't undo. So I just want to share that that there's hope and a light, you know.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you both for being vulnerable and sharing I appreciate it.

Speaker 3:

And thank you, Dr McMinn, for sharing your story to the audience and your parents.

Speaker 1:

We all have stories.

Speaker 3:

Yes, and, emily, we're so grateful you could be on the podcast with us today to share your knowledge, your wisdom, your experiences with us on this really important topic. It was great to get to know you a little bit today and we just hope to have you back too in future episodes to talk about some of those things we just couldn't get around to. This ended up being a nice long podcast for you listeners out there, so thanks for hanging in with us. In the meantime, please tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you or, if they want to see the resources that you could provide them, tell us about that.

Speaker 4:

Sure, yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for that, lynding. I can be reached on my website, wwwallwithemilycom, and I also am very active on social media. My Instagram is at underscore hole with Emily If anyone wants to connect with me on there, and I can also share my email, if that's relevant too, or if you want to just list that. If anyone is interested in connecting or has feedback or thoughts or questions about anything, I'm happy to connect with you in that way, as well, will you say your website again, emily? It's wwwholewithemilycom.

Speaker 1:

And we'll have all of Emily's contact information, the website address, social media platforms, all that stuff listed on the website. You'll find that all on my homepage under the banner helpful links and that's at wwwmcmdcom, by the way. That should do it. Please check out our stuff. It's really first rate. I've looked at it myself and it makes me feel like I need to up my game because Emily's stuff is so good. So please check it out.

Speaker 3:

You'll also have a brief bio of you, emily, and a picture of you under our guest biographies, so that you can get to know her a bit better as well. We'll have some other resources on the subject of emotional wellness that Emily recommended, and we'll list for that for you listeners on our website, wwwmcmdcom.

Speaker 1:

And, by the way, just last month we started a blog, kind of a companion blog, to the podcast, and it's simply called Wellness MD Blog and you can also find that on wwwmcmdcom. Just look at the headings at the top of the page and you'll see one called Wellness MD Blog. I'll also put a link to that blog and show those for you as well.

Speaker 3:

Well, that all about do it for this episode of Wellness Connection MD. Thank you for joining us. We hope that we are able to share something today that was helpful to you listeners.

Speaker 1:

But do take a moment to rate us on iTunes. These reviews really do make a difference for us.

Speaker 3:

Thanks so much, emily, for joining us today again, and it was so much fun to pick your brain on this important topic of emotional wellness.

Speaker 4:

Thank you so much to both of you. It has been such a pleasure having this conversation. It's so important, it's so needed, and I'm hopeful that it touches your audience in a way that empowers them and encourages them to take a look at their own emotional wellness and they feel excited to invest in it today.

Speaker 1:

And now, coach Lindsey, can you leave us with a final? Coach Lindsey, pearl of Wisdom.

Speaker 3:

Thanks, dr Mack. I'm going to circle back to what Emily said about taking that audit Listeners. Take that audit of your life, look at your habits, look at what things are serving you and what's not serving you, what's moving in the direction that you want and what's not, and expand on the things that are retract on the things that aren't. And emotional wellness doesn't happen overnight. So what I would take then from your audit sometimes there's habits that are keystones, so to speak, ones that are movers that in themselves, support more and more habits. So think about what could be your keystone. Maybe it's exercise, maybe it's journaling, but think about that keystone concept in audit listeners. That's my pearl today, dr Mack.

Speaker 1:

That's a good one, I think getting to a better place starts with awareness, right, and that's what the audit will help you do is to become aware. You'll find an illustration of that on the website on this, one called the Arch of Wellness. So anyway, that should do it. Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr McMinn.

Speaker 3:

And this is Coach Lindsey.

Speaker 1:

Take care and be well.

Social Media's Impact on Emotional Wellness
Emotional Wellness and Understanding Different Challenges
Recognizing and Supporting Emotional Wellness
Implementing Small Changes for Mental Health
Resources and Importance of Mental Health
Personal Stories of Emotional Challenges