This week’s episode of We Gotta Talk was all about shifting your perspective and mindset to encourage your body to heal. And boy oh boy, do I have some good takeaways for you if you’re ready to heal up after a hard year. (And who’s not?)
I interviewed holistic doctor Brooke Stuart, who’s been in practice for over six years, and whose method involves addressing the spiritual and mental components of physical ailments. She’s a true ray of light, and I’m so honored she lent her wisdom to us for an hour to dig into this issue.
Before we get into specifics about what Dr. Brooke suggests to begin your healing process, let’s acknowledge what you probably already know implicitly: The mind-body connection is real.
Ask anyone who has had a panic attack or who has clinical anxiety what her body feels like when the attack is happening. Ask someone who has depression how those symptoms manifest physically.
Our minds and bodies are inextricably connected, a point Dr. Brooke mentioned time and time again during our interview. When we begin to recognize and honor that connection, we can start to make it work for us, rather than against us.
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking: Not all mental issues can be solved by a simple changing of perspective. And that’s true.
But where most people fall—from the mild end to the mid-point of the anxiety spectrum, where it’s not severe—Dr. Brooke says a shift of perspective can truly set you down the path of healing.
What struck me during our interview is when she said, we can see our physical symptoms (in this case when we were talking, it was about psoriasis), as a positive way our body is showing us that it is working to heal. To be grateful that this problem is manifesting in a way that prompts us to pay attention to it. It’s as if your body is saying, “Hey! Look over here! We’ve got to deal with this.”
This kinda bowled me over. I’ve always looked at physical issues or symptoms as road blocks. When we can change our perspective to see that they are markers along our healing journey, a block is lifted, and we can begin our work with a lighter mental load.
We get into the nitty gritty of the healing process during the talk show and podcast, but here are the basics of what Dr. Brooke says. Take these as your steps for healing from the inside, out:
You might be surprised (I know I was) that this step can be the most important in fixing your challenge.
Think about it: You can’t fix anything unless you acknowledge the problem specifically, right? And that’s why Dr. Brooke uses this as her first step to healing with her patients.
So how does this look in real life? To me, it means giving my problem words—and as specifically as possible.
For example, lately I’ve been feeling a low-grade anxiety that pops up when I think about work-related issues. (Rebranding and relaunching an entire blog, podcast and talk show is no small task!) This can sometimes physically result in an upset stomach, or an indeterminate sense of dread that I can’t—or rather, couldn’t, until now—fully grasp. When I did some digging, I realized that my lack of organization and planning is the core issue at work, and if I take time daily to address that, I can start to feel better
My method for articulating my problem is simple. I get quiet and sit still for five minutes. Yep, that’s it! I sit down in my closet, close my eyes, put my timer on for five minutes, and just be. I often find that time alone, with no distractions, helps to produce a calm in me that allows me to articulate what is truly happening inside.
Try it! Sitting still costs nothing, but it can do everything to help you reconnect with your true feelings.
Dr. Brooke has an amazing way to reconnect with your true self as well; check out her “Reconnect, Reset, Remember” method here.
This is as simple as knowing you are now in a position to fix the problem. It hearkens back to what I wrote a few paragraphs up about the person dealing with psoriasis (this was one of the submitted questions I got for the show)—seeing a physical issue a sign, rather than a stumbling block.
Reframing, Dr. Brooke says, allows you to find a path to healing.
So this is where the process gets personalized. Dr. Brooke says she works with clients who have physical issues (insomnia, gut problems, chronic health issues) by eliminating potential trigger foods from their diet, and working on their sleep routines.
Of course this will be different for everyone, but Dr. Brooke says she sees most people having negative physical responses to gluten and dairy, so that’s where she often starts.
As for getting better sleep, her tips are: Wake up early and get outside (natural outdoor light stimulates a process in our brain that kick starts our day); be as active as possible during the day; turn off electronics for an hour before sleeping; and introducing, with your doctor’s okay, magnesium into your supplement routine.
A couple personal notes: I have seen a massive benefit to my sleep quality since incorporating magnesium into my nighttime routine. I stir one teaspoon of this sweet-tasting magnesium powder into my water and drink it an hour or so before bed, and I always sleep deep and wake feeling rested. I also wear blue-light blocking glasses when Andrew and I watch TV before bed, which I feel help as well.
I really encourage you to check out the episode with Dr. Brooke to hear her dive into her process. In this episode I also took viewer questions beforehand, and she gives her advice on treating the following issues:
How to stop overcommitting our time and energy
Jaw clenching while sleeping
Dealing with a fear of dying, especially as a mother
Fear in general
I know you’ll get as much from this episode as I did from interviewing her. Check out more of Dr. Brooke Stuart and her Let Go and Grow program here.
If video is more your thing, Like the We Gotta Talk Facebook page, and tune in for the LIVE show every Wednesday at 10am! Look forward to seeing you there!