Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
She treats a wide variety of conditions
Office & phone appointments available
Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)
Happiness Is Essential For Good Health Interview with Dr. Angela Agrios, ND My personal naturopathic doctor. Dr. Agrios is in Los Angeles and
accepts office and phone appointments.
Most everybody who comes to my office who’s sick does not feel well. They not only physically don’t feel well, but emotionally, they don’t feel well. And this sounds really, really basic, but it’s actually really huge and we need to look at this. There’s a whole field now known as psychoneuroimmunology, which essentially tells us that stress and the way we feel on a daily basis dramatically impacts how we feel and how our bodies are working. So this is really something we actually do need to look at. We need to do more things in our daily life that promote a sense of joy, love, security, harmony, balance, and peace. It’s the basic, basic things, but they go a long way in terms of maintaining health. When we’re stressed, we can actually see now that we have lowered immune function, and when this is chronic, we actually get adrenal fatigue and burnout and we do feel tired all the time.
And the other really big thing that stress does is it actually increases the systemic inflammation, and this is a big one. I mean, everybody who reads, whether it’s the paper or Time or Newsweek, I mean, inflammation has just been the big buzzword for the last few years. And what we know is that inflammation chronic, low-grade, long-term inflammation is really associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s. These are all things we really don’t want.
So it’s really actually very important for us to do the things emotionally that we can to turn down inflammation. There’s lots of things we can do nutritionally, but emotionally as well because if you follow the best diet in the world and take a bunch of supplements, but you're still not feeling well, there’s still a very valid leg of the stool we haven't addressed yet, so we do need to take a look at that.
I think we know a lot of these things, but I just kind of wanted to bring them to our attention again tonight since we’re talking about this. Some things that we can do on a daily basis that can really improve our sense of wellbeing. One is to have some type of daily gratitude practice. So this is the “Is the glass half empty or half full?” kind of thing. There’s lots of days when things are not going well and we have a lot of stress or a lot of pressure, but most of us have at least one thing that we could think about that we’re grateful for on a daily basis.
And so just that shift in lens sometimes is enough to alter the way we perceive stress or the pressures around us. So I want you to practice focusing on what’s going well in your life, at least one practice. Meditation or just small breaks throughout the day. Some people meditate; some people haven't quite gotten to the practice of meditation. But even if you just take a small break to just kind of clear your mind and notice what’s around you so to just bring you into the present. So noticing the beauty that’s all around you, the ocean that we have out here, the sky, the trees just the basics the nature sounds that are all around you that can really help calm you.
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Breathing practices are another really good one. If you notice how adults breathe versus how little children or babies breathe, babies are always using their bellies. I mean, they just have these cute, little things and their bellies are always moving. And we’re really tight in our chest muscles. When we’re stressed, we stop breathing; we breathe up here versus down here. And so just to notice how you're breathing. I mean, if you have to do it to train yourself, just like, lay on a table, put a book on your stomach, and make your stomach move the book. That’s just how you practice belly breathing, and it can be a great thing to do that takes five minutes in a given day.
But even if you just take pause and notice how you're breathing, that’s a first step. Another one and this is so simple, but it’s great is to just watch comedies. The more you laugh, the more you're actually activating your parasympathetic nervous system. So you're actually tonifying your adrenals when you laugh, so it’s a really basic thing to do. I mean, you can watch a comedy show or a movie at the end of the night that’s funny and just laugh. It goes a long way.
Another big one is I think we need to spend a lot more time connecting with our community and our friends. We’re all very pressured; we all have very busy lives, lots of demands. And so what that leads to is a lot of isolation where we feel isolated, and that’s not healthy for our overall sense of wellbeing. We really want to work on getting more connected.
Volunteering, if people have time, is another really great thing to do. It helps connect you more with your community. You meet more people, and you feel good about having a sense of purpose, and it feels pleasing to most people that they're doing something that they believe in.
So those are just some basic thoughts on doing things that might improve our sense of wellbeing, and the take-home message here is really that happiness is really an integral part of health. It’s really basic, but it’s really true. It’s really key in our health. I also want to put it out there that it’s okay to get a professional to help you in this area.
A lot of people really struggle with this, and for some people, there’s stigma around seeing somebody who might help in that area, whether it’s a therapist or a hypnotherapist or a life coach or whoever it is that helps you shift your lens. You are worth it, you do deserve to be happy, and so don’t hesitate to access those services if you feel like you don’t know where to start.