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Serenity versus Fear- surrendering to a greater Love

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Fear and shame are damaging emotions that contribute to degeneration and block our paths to the biochemistry of experiencing a greater Love. Listen in and call in with questions and comments as Dr. Natalie Kather and her staff at Advanced Family Wellness discuss the benefits of optimizing serontin signals to obtain greater serenity while decreasing the detrimental results of the stressful state of fear.


0:03 Natalie Kather

Hi! Welcome to More Love, Less Stress with Dr. Natalie Kather. I am Dr. Natalie Kather and thank you for joining us today. Our topic for discussion is "Serenity versus Fear". I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. I am a double-boarded in anti-aging medicine and family medicine with a focus on metabolic medicine. So, in other words, my approach to health and what a person is feeling is a path of increasing repair and decreasing damage. I am really excited about our topic today because in preparing for the show, it has really become obvious to me that it is an issue that we should discuss more often in our culture and amongst friends, and it is an issue that is really important about how we grow emotionally and what we allow ourselves to deal with as far as our ability for personal growth. So, when I think about serenity, I think about serenity as this peacefulness that is externally manifested as mental clarity and it is repose or I love the expression "an ease of the heart". Internally though, I think that serenity is the deep core knowledge that one is loved and cared for and safe, and that everything that they need, they already have. Serenity lends itself to surrender. I find those words very similar and in surrendering ourselves, we have a better ability to experience serenity. Serenity is a chance to open up to one's intimate partner through that surrender. I think that serenity also allows for personal growth and improve emotional intelligence.

2:05 Natalie Kather

Fear. Many of us have a good idea what fear is like and it can be a distraction that results from a sense of vulnerability, like that we're not able to open ourselves up or even be physically present or mentally present in that moment. It's a response to may be a sense of wrongdoing. It can help protect us. We need it as a fight-or-flight reaction to be knowledgeable, to remove ourselves, hopefully, from something that is dangerous or traumatic, whether physically or emotionally, but it can express itself as an anxiety or an agitation or even as panic attacks, our body's ways of telling us that something is not right. It can be emotionally paralyzing and I've seen this happened to others and I have experienced it myself, and maybe this comes from issues of guilt or shame related to belief systems or motivations. Fear can motivate us to remove ourselves from these situations, hopefully, or it can be an obstacle to opening up, growing personally, and finding a higher level of intelligence emotionally. So, I am really delighted that I have a wonderful group of friends with me today, our Advanced Family Wellness staff. We are coming to you live from Olympia, Washington, here at the Advanced Family Wellness Clinic and if you are interested in some of the concepts that we speak about today or would like to learn more, or would even like to be a client of ours or patient, please call the clinic at (360) 570-8010 and schedule an appointment, so we would be happy to meet you. So, you know, these are my things that I think about for serenity and fear, but I think other people have ideas about what serenity and fear had been in their lives. What about you Tanya? What is your experience?

4:09 Tanya

Well, when I hear serenity or fear, I don't normally equate these topics to physiology, but instead to spirituality. What do you think of the philosophy that our spirit is in control of our physical being and not the other way around?

4:25 Natalie Kather

That's a great question and a friend of mine said, "You know Natalie, you can't do the show about serenity and fear unless of course you talk about the serenity prayer, and a lot of people are familiar with The Serenity Prayer. It was a prayer created by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, hopefully I said his name right, and the best known form is, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things that I can; and the wisdom to know the difference." And we should probably have this posted in our clinic because it is a very meaningful prayer. So, I think you are right in that spirituality has a big part of that concept of serenity, but maybe you have some other thoughts about that Tina? What do you think?

5:20 Tina

Well, certainly, I believe. Yes, I think it goes...it's hand in hand, looking at the whole person, the whole body, the spirit and mind. It is all interconnected. And I think that you can't...I personally don't, you know, believe that you can go one direction without, you know, taking into account the other. It is all a part of who we are and our mind plays into it, our body reacts to what our mind does, and physiologically, our bodies respond accordingly. So, I see that, you know, fear, you know, can take over your thoughts of your mind. It can greatly create imbalance in your body, as well as, you know, feelings of serenity and peacefulness and feeling nurtured and well, well-being and that all creates positive reactions within the body, as well as the mind and then the virtual effect of how that moves out into the encounters with other people and into the world. So, I look at that in that way. I think that spirituality is just as important as the physiological, the mindset, and everything else that goes along with it.

6:37 Natalie Kather

I think that you're so right about that because I think about even my own personal experience where when I was under a lot of stress and feeling anxiety all the time, my progesterone deficiency really got worse, and so I couldn't manage my life without being on a high dose of progesterone, which of course, is this "wonderful world peace molecule" and 600 mg sounds like a lot to a lot of people, but that is what I needed for me to make it through the day, deal with stress, and sleep at night. So yeah, balance is so important and when our lives get out of balance, I certainly experience that and you know, things became very deficient as far as my serenity aiding molecules and chemistry. Yeah. How about you, Melissa? What do you think about the concepts of serenity and fear?

7:36 Melissa

Well, I feel like at least from my own personal experiences, I feel like fear has kind of overpowered serenity in a way. When I think of examples, I think more fear examples. When I think of serenity and my experiences on that, I of course can't think of as many as when I feel fear like watching a scary movie, how my heart raises, how I feel anxiety. Serenity, on the other hand, is a...

8:21 Natalie Kather

I see you paused. That's very interesting that, you know, it's very easy for us in this society that we can acknowledge what fear is, but serenity is not so easy. And I would love to hear our thoughts from our listeners as well. Please call in with your thoughts about the chemistry of serenity and fear. We're going to talk some more about these kind of molecules, so we have much more coming in our show. So, please stay with us and do call in. The call-in number is area code: (347) 324 3223 and I know you have a great story about serenity and I would love to hear that more.

9:08 Sarah

I have had given birth to two children. I did them both naturally and with my first child, I felt, when I was giving birth to him in the hospital after I had pushed him out and saw him for the first time, I had an overwhelming sense of serenity. I didn't feel anything else. I just felt the joy of seeing my child for the first time and it overwhelmed my body and I felt wonderful. On the other hand, when I gave birth to my second child, I think that I built up a fear towards it and I experienced a lot of anxiety, therefore it caused me a lot more pain. I was more aware of what was going on and I just felt like fear just took over the serenity, and I didn't know how to get back to serenity. So...

10:09 Natalie Kather

As you talk about your experience, I think about bonding molecules, that human emotional bonding molecules like oxytocin that could be part of that and I remembered you had mentioned earlier about the deep breathing and how you felt that during your first delivery, you were much more focused on your deep breathing and so I think about how you must have managed, maybe your cortisol and, of course, your adrenaline, and dopamine levels, much better through that deep breathing technique, and in your second delivery, you know, we came to it with already some anxiety. So, may be your levels of dopamine and adrenaline and cortisol were even higher coming to that delivery than when you had your first one and being distracted by that anxiety you, you know, forgot to do what had worked so well for you initially.

11:06 Sarah

So, I hear you talking a lot about adrenaline and cortisol and dopamine, but I'm actually too familiar with what all of those hormones are and what they do in the body.

11:17 Natalie Kather

Oh, thanks for saying that, Sarah. Yes, so when we think about the chemistry of stress in the body, cortisol is a hormone that's made in large amounts by the adrenal glands and we need cortisol to live. It helped us regulate our blood pressure and our heart rate and it sends messages to the liver to put out glucose into the bloodstream so that it helps enable us to run away from whatever is trying to attack us or causing us fear. Too much cortisol, unfortunately, can cause us to gain fat and lose muscle and can be damaging, and that is a problem in our society, in America, is we have a lot of people that are built like apples with a lot of central body fat because of the stress in their life, that they are making a lot of cortisol and this, in turn, can create an imbalance with their dehydroepiandrosterone, which is another wonderful hormone for managing stress and (DHEA) dehydroepiandrosterone helps increase muscle and decrease fat. A good example of people that have good adrenal health versus people that have poor adrenal health is the stress reactions that we see at the airport. We have probably seen a grandmother with her grandchild at the airport and their flight gets delayed or it gets cancelled, and she's a grandmother who has poor adrenal health and very little DHEA in her system and maybe too much cortisol or maybe not even enough cortisol to manage that kind of reaction. For her, it is the end of the world. How dare they? You know, how dare they, even consider doing this that it has ruined her life that she needs to be at a specific place at a specific time. But for the young man who has wonderful adrenal health, he finds a way to busy himself and maybe goes and plays one of his video games, and he manages the stress of the situation. So, that is a very good example of how we can respond to stress by the health of our bodies. And dopamine and adrenaline are other important neuropeptides and hormones, so to speak, that help us to respond to stress and they can raise our blood pressure, raise our heart rate and again, this is to help mobilize the blood through the body so that the tissues have nutrients for responding to that kind of stress. Many people think about adrenaline like when they watch horror movies and unfortunately, that's very stressful for the adrenal glands. So, thank you for asking about those kinds of chemicals.

14:27 Natalie Kather

And Melanie, I know you have some thoughts about this and the concept of serenity and fear.

14:35 Melanie

I understand and know what fear is and how I react to it, but I don't know and understand what serenity is and I have never acted with it and if I have, I don't remember because I just don't understand it. What is it?

14:51 Natalie Kather

Oh, serotonin. Serotonin gets its name out of serenity. It's a wonderful serenity molecule. It's a neuropeptide and it can have a very calming affect on the body, and some of the things that a person can take, as far as supplementation to help improve their serotonin, includes 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is an amino acid. Many people are familiar with the amino acid tryptophan. People say, "Oh yes, because turkey has a lot of tryptophan in it, it's what makes people tired." With the 5-hydroxytryptophan amino acid, it is 10 times as potent as regular tryptophan and this molecule is used in the body to make serotonin, it is also used to make melatonin and one of our clients, I remember, she was having a horrible time sleeping and taking melatonin wasn't helping her. But, when she took the (5-HTP), the 5-hydroxytryptophan, she got better sleep, which was very interesting to me that she, you know, may be needed a serotonin support and not just melatonin support as well. Did that help answer your question about serotonin? Thanks, great question! Some other things that I think about when it comes to helping to support... Oh Great! We have a caller. All right. Hello?

16:31 Caller

Am I on the air? Yes?

16:34 Natalie Kather

Yes, you are on the air.

16:36 Caller

Well, I'm thinking as I'm listening that every marriage and family counselor ought to have a degree in endocrinology and feeling that, how would you kind of use your expertise in helping MSCCs around the country who are dealing with these issues everyday, but lacking your understanding of the importance of hormones and biochemistry?

17:09 Natalie Kather

That's a great question and I'll be honest that we get referrals from counselors where they are sending the client to me, unfortunately, often not for nutritional support, but for antidepressant prescriptions. We do have a few that will have the insight about hormone balancing, which is great and as more and more people understand that and appreciate that, I think that it is going to move our culture into a greater level of health. So, I would ask that our wonderful counselors out there that have taken on this very important career of helping others think about how the client's are doing metabolically, which is what are they eating? What are they doing as far as energy? Are they taking care of themselves exercise-wise? Bioenergetic molecules like, are they getting enough of their vitamin B6, their pantothenic, B12, and of course, hormone balancing? And these applies not just to people that are over 35, but we also have teenagers that are benefiting from having their hormones balanced when they are out of balance. So, we can look beyond, just saying, "Oh, well maybe they need an antidepressant to help them out." There might be other really great metabolic approaches that can be of benefit. Does this help answer your question?

18:49 Caller

Yes. It seems to me that we have got things backwards. Very often that we go first towards the emotional component of stress and stress management and in fact, ignore the underlying what is often, they underlying biochemical cause of that stress. So, thanks you so much.

19:12 Natalie Kather

Thank you. I think about my own chemistry and I am very thoughtful everyday about how am I feeling. Am I feeling more serene or am I feeling more anxious? And for me, food is a big part of that. I have a lot of food allergies and I have given myself panic attacks from what I've eaten and I my most recent panic attack was when I ate a couple of chocolate balls and I really should not have eaten that candy, but it was the most peculiar sensation and it was the most bizarre thinking. I had this thought about, "why aren't I Chinese?" You know, statistically, shouldn't I be Chinese? Why am I living in the US?

20:03 Natalie Kather

And I thought about my own mortality and the fear of death, and I'm really glad that I already had some idea about what was probably happening to me. That it was a chemical reaction. But it was horrible and I just had to get through it and work through it and let that toxic effect wear off. And I think about my food allergies and reactions to sugar, and my own issues of pre-diabetes, and I remember when I was a little kid, the first time I had kind of a panic attack or sense of anxiety, and I really didn't know how to explain it. And being reared in a very Catholic family, I remember I went to my mom and I said, "Mom, I think the devil is trying to speak to me." And like a good mother, she gave a wonderful response and she said, "Well, don't listen to him!" So, now I think about, you know, when kids are feeling this, how do they explain anxiety to us? How do they explain or describe their sense of serenity to us? And are there behaviors that we can watch in them, you know, as far as how they respond to what they've just eaten or certainly witnessed or experienced? And what can we do to help those children in their own emotional intelligence and growth to move from that place of anxiety to that place of understanding a sense of serenity, and that they are cared for, they are loved, and they are taking care of? So, thank you for the great question, caller. Do we have any other questions or any other callers, Melanie?

21:58 Melanie

What supplements can help reduce anxiety?

22:03 Natalie Kather

Thanks for asking that. We have a really great supplement here called Xtra and it helps with stress management, vital energy, and mental clarity, and it's made by our own local global biotech company Univera, and it has substances in it that help the powerhouse of the cell to work better, the mitochondria and through that, people can have better mental clarity when things in the cell help, they are working better. It has substances in it like Ashwagandha. It has the Pyridoxal 5-phosphate, which is the best kind of vitamin B6, the most bioavailable form. Some other supplements we have here include one called Anti-stress formula and it has some kava-kava in it and Ashwagandha again. And we have some clients that they actually use this supplement for helping them to sleep because they might go to bed with raising thoughts, or maybe they are ruminating about things that happened 10 years ago, in high school, and they know that they need to address that chemistry that's going on. They understand that it's not the situation so much as that there is an imbalance in their chemistry. I like 5-Hydroxytryptophan. I actually take that at bedtime because not only does it improve my sleep, but it also improves the quality of my dreams. I love to have happy dreams and the 5-HTP does that for me. Another supplement that I like is one called GABA. It's another amino acid and it stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, and this is a very harmonizing molecule, and it works with serotonin in helping create that peacefulness. So, when I think about more peace, then I think about the role of GABA, as well as serotonin. Hormone balancing, again, can be so beneficial in helping to decrease anxiety and stress and help with mental clarity in that respect too. And a lot of people don't know that thyroid hormone, actually, can help increase serotonin levels. And there are some endocrinologists that really you know, say, "wow!" You know, that's why so many people have such a great anti-depressant effect with thyroid hormone is because it really bumps up the serotonin levels. And for me, when I was just starting to get my hormones balanced, I was on two anti-depressants at that time, both Lexapro and Wellbutrin. And when I got onto the thyroid hormone, not only did I no longer need the anti-depressant drugs, but for the first time in 10 years, I got to experience joy. I had not realized how joyless my life had become. And so, for me, the thyroid hormone addressing the hypothyroidism that I was suffering, with of much greater benefit than just not having depression, but even better than that, experiencing joy and just loving life and itself again.

25:32 Natalie Kather

And then, of course, estrogen and progesterone. Those hormones help increase serotonin. They can also help increase GABA. I like Dr. John Gray. He has a book out and I mentioned that in our first show too, but he talked about the role of appreciation in increasing serotonin. And for women, it's to give him a little gift everyday, to show them appreciation, and that helps with their serotonin. And for guys, its things that help increase their testosterone. So, those things help support a more serene being, experienced, and can also help decrease anxiety.

26:18 Natalie Kather

We would love to hear your calls, listeners. Oh, we would love to have you call in, listeners. Our number is, 1) area code (347) 324-3223. We have a couple of minutes left for our show. We want to tell you a little bit about this show for next week. It's going to be "Building Appreciation." And it will be next Friday and we're looking at a time between 11:00 to noon. We hope you can join us. You've been listening to More Love, Less Stress with Dr. Natalie Kather.

27:01 Caller 2

Hi, Natalie! So, I had a question. You were just talking a little bit about love and you know, narrative relationships can be really beneficial. It is a kind of nurturing where we're at as our serenity goes. But I have a question in regards to you know, if your partner is experiencing serenity, but you yourself are may be experiencing fear, how does that impact like one another's, you know, accessibility to reaching serenity together? Some kind of may be more description on how to balance that out when there might be imbalances in what one partner is experiencing and what the other is experiencing.

27:39 Natalie Kather

We have clients that do have that happening in their lives. They talked about, that everything seems fine to their partner, but they are just full of anxiety and it might be a chemical response to what's happening in imbalances in their life or toxins or food allergies or just a situational kind of things where there's a disconnect in what's happening in their relationship. So, I think that would be certainly worth exploring for the couple to sit down and talk about what they are really feeling and open up about that. Maybe that serenity is really present there for the one individual or maybe it's just a superficial.

28:29 Natalie Kather

This is the close of our show and I just want to thank everyone for listening, and we look forward to being with you again in a week. Bye for now.