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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

How to Be Emotionally Resilient, Naturally

Sep 04, 2012 07:11PM ● By Susan L. Phillips AP, DOM

I have treated 15 women in one week alone, ages 40 to 65, and every one of them has been on an anti-anxiety drug along with an antidepressant for more than three years. What is worse, they came to me for anxiety and/or depression! This brings up a good question: If the drugs work, why are they still suffering?

Is this an unusual week for me? Frankly, no, and that is why I am writing this article. This is very commonplace in my practice, but I am finding myself more and more, professionally and personally, affected by this. As I sit and listen to the stories of these wonderful women, I begin to realize that had I sought refuge in western medicine for all the emotions that I’ve experienced almost every day, I also would be amongst the ranks of the medicated. Having been immersed in western medicine for 35 years, I know better than to follow that path. However, many people have no idea that there are other approaches to physical and mental well being. Consequently, they get swept into the mainstream of what is taught as the ONLY way. Additionally, not having been taught that as we grow/transform (spiritually), pain is inevitable, we seek refuge in ways that are dreadfully unhealthy. When we take that ritual martini every evening, are we not trying to ease our pain and deaden our consciousness? Before we know it, it becomes two or three every night and we reach the realm of addiction. We reach this point with no recognition of what is happening to us and we have no control over it. Life is not a straight line. In fact, in western medicine a straight line on a monitor represents "death".

In one day’s time, is it not okay to feel? Happy? Sad? Angry? To experience grief at someone’s passing? Is it not okay anymore to have a bad day or rough days? Most of these women were undergoing a "stressor" of normal complexity at the time they were placed on the drugs. Two of them had no such issues, but were placed on the drugs because of jaw pain and insomnia and migraines.

Why are we afraid to feel our feelings and how can we get back to that place of balance where it’s okay to just be who we are, where we are, at any given moment? We obviously need to reconnect with ourselves and with ALL that we are. We are, indeed, complicated organisms with a whole host of emotions. We need to celebrate this fact, not run from it. Deepak Chopra talks about this in his book, Power, Grace and Freedom. If we are so willing to give up who we are to drugs, then we have sacrificed our ability to feel our joy and happiness, to experience love, and to see beauty in all its fullness. These medications rob us of our full potential and we lose sight of our essence — our "authentic self". We have numbed out and copped out. We are not loving ourselves at the deepest level. In an article I recently read by Diane Williams, she states, "We don’t live in a culture that celebrates our imperfections. It is all about masking them or correcting them. The truth is, we are all beautiful wrecks." Accepting who we are at this place and time in our lives, and being grateful for that is critical to living a richer life. Every time I say this to someone, nine out of ten times a light goes on. But it’s not just that easy. It takes work; and if you are currently on medication, you may be very, very afraid of who lives underneath that veil. This is what I am hearing and this is why I am here.

I am not a holier-than-thou extremist. There are times when drugs are indeed appropriate, but for the most part we do not need them. We need strategies to maintain our state of balance and we need courage. We need self-love and acceptance. Often times, nutritional and hormonal deficiencies are contributors to our lack of emotional resilience. There are many safe and effective natural products to help support the nervous system as we age and move through crises. (Be sure to always seek the help of a health care professional prior to discontinuing any medications.)

Here are some strategies that may help keep you in balance, have worked for many, and have helped many women and men alike get off the medication train and live happier, healthier lives.

1. A daily meditation practice. It does not matter what religion you are. This is about reconnecting to your essential self. It has nothing to do with religion. Spend time in nature every day. Sit in silence. Create a sacred space.

2. Stay hydrated. Something as simple as this allows every cell to function to its maximum capacity. 85 percent of patients come in dehydrated.

3. Avoid refined sugar and caffeine. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Red wine has resveratrol and is good for the heart in small amounts, but not every day.

4. Eat high fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Do not eat after 7 p.m. Eat organic whole foods!

5. Exercise daily.

6. Create a loving support system for yourself by establishing non-codependent relationships. If you struggle with relationships, get professional help to establish what your role may be and how to change it. You can only change you. You cannot change others.

7. Establish a community of others where you feel safe — church, synagogue, temple, etc.

8. Find a Natural Health Care Practitioner.

9. Feel your fear and do it anyway! Whatever it is you fear, if it is holding you back, find your courage. Life is short! Good luck!


Susan Phillips, RN, acupuncture physician, and holistic practitioner, has been in practice for 13 years. Her practice bridges the gap between East and West. She has offices in Spring Hill and Oldsmar at Get Zen Healing Centers. For more information visit or call 813-475-7252.

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