How to Recover from BurnoutJul 01, 2022
What does Cortisol do during stress? Dr Ameet shares about how stress affects the body, trauma and stress related disorders and how to reduce stress hormones naturally. He also shares about the connection between gut health and liver health and the role adrenal glands play in stress and burnout.
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Ashley: Hi, welcome to the beat healthcare burnout summit. I'm your host, Ashley Ghose. I'm excited to have you join us today. Today our expert is Dr. Ameet and he is going to share with us a holistic approach to healing and recovering from burnout. He's been voted the top 43rd therapist worldwide. Dr. Ameet helps you to heal the root causes of mood problems and physical illness by focusing on healing personal trauma, negative beliefs, your ancestral trauma and your biology. He combines neuropathic functional medicine, Gestalt therapy, EMDR therapy, family constellation and homeopathy to help you heal your mind and body together.
Dr. Ameet's best-selling book and Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online help you to set a better foundation for your health by targeting five root causes of emotional pain and illness, emotional trauma, leaky gut and inflammation, toxicity, burnout and negative beliefs. So Dr. Ameet, welcome. Thank you for joining us today.
Dr. Ameet: Thanks a lot, Ashley. I'm really excited. We're going to really deep dive into the causes of burnout, biological and emotional causes. So that listeners can really understand how to treat themselves effectively rather than only relying on supplements or only relying on therapy. So let's go for it.
Ashley: Yes. And I bet you the people that you come in contact with as well have probably tried like one thing in particular to heal and overcome burnout and haven't been successful, so could you share with us why one thing doesn't just, and I'll use the word fix, but helps or heal, have someone heal from burnout? Why do you focus on the different things that you do focus on to help somebody heal from burnout?
Trauma and stress related disorders
Dr. Ameet: So Ashley, there's multiple causes of burnout and why are some people more prone to burnout than others. Usually it's because of adverse childhood experiences, things that happen to you during childhood that prime your nervous system towards anxiety, depression and burnout. A lot of people feel that stress, chronic stress and work stress and night life, etcetera, causes burnout. Yes, they are exacerbators of burnout, they lead to burnout, but they actually enforce the vulnerability that people have in their body, in their nervous system based on childhood traumas.
So if you were abused as a child or there's lots of violence at home, sexual abuse, financial issues, a lot of moving, a lot of travel, a lot of sense of unsafety and not feeling a sense of connection and you tended to go into more isolation or you had to work really hard to get a parent's attention then your nervous system is already busy and it's not feeling safe. And so as an adult now you end up either protecting yourself a lot, guarding yourself, ruminating a lot, over thinking or you might be trying really hard to be a high achiever just to get daddy's smile, for example. You just over compensate your own natural rhythm in order to achieve, in order to fit in, in order to have that sense of belonging to the crowd who's succeeding or who's moving along.
And those beliefs then cause you to stress more, to work harder, to stay up late or to party hard, right? And that leads to burnout. So two people doing the same activities in adulthood, whether it's working late hours and staying up late, etcetera, none of those are healthy, but the person with more adverse childhood experiences and emotional triggers will likely burn out faster because their emotional resources, emotional resilience, has been used up and their nervous activity is more engaged, more active while they're going through stress and trauma as adults because of that conditioning during childhood.
Ashley: Got it. And so it's basically saying like if we looked at the nervous system that it's basically turned on all of the time, and part of that is due to the trauma or the lack of safety or connection some individuals have had in childhood that kind of leaves their system, their nervous system, kind of more ramped up and a little bit easier to tip the scale from stress to burnout. Does that sound about right?
Does stress increase Cortisol?
Dr. Ameet: Absolutely. And we forgot to mention inflammation which I'll go into, but inflammation is a major cause of burnout for many people and don't realize that because inflammation is this biological activity in your body coming from the wrong foods, having too much gluten, having too much dairy, having a toxic liver which we'll talk about today. Inflammation causes a stress response in your body, it's actually a stressor, it causes the release of cortisol from your cells as well as from your adrenal glands. And your adrenal glands when they're chronically stressed with life stress they have to go into the fight-or-flight mode and they have to continuously produce cortisol to manage inflammation. Your adrenal glands burn out faster.
And your adrenal glands are the seat of emotional or metabolic resilience, so when they burn out you go into a cortisol imbalance and that then suppresses serotonin, dopamine, GABA, melatonin, which leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia, nerve fragility, hypersensitivity to noises, all those things that come with burnout. And we'll cover how to heal inflammation and detoxify your liver later on today.
Ashley: That's wonderful. Thank you for adding in that inflammation piece because it is such a part of what I refer to as like the domino effect that really allows someone to go from kind of stress to a full blown burnout way of living. And before we move on a little bit deeper into the inflammation into the healthy gut and stuff, I want to come back for just a moment to some of the comments of the trauma in childhood because I think that we often think it's just like the stuff we see on TV, the emotional, the physical abuse, not to say that that's not a horrible thing but there are other things that can lead to that disconnection or that heightened state feeling unsafe. And in my own personal experience what that looked like was none of the trauma when you think of it, that wasn't me. The trauma that occurred for me honestly was that I was going to school with a learning disability that was undiagnoseable at the time, we just didn't have the information that we do now, but as a result of that I never felt comfortable in school or I always had more self-doubt that was there as a result of a disability that I didn't have ... at the time we didn't know how to work through. And so for me that was the traumatic experience. And so I didn't know if you wanted to talk into a little bit of the maybe other things that can be a result of trauma in childhood.
Can mental stress cause fatigue?
Dr. Ameet: Right, okay, great. So you going through that disability and having to try harder or not feeling confident about yourself will trigger a stress response, the fight-or-flight response, because of the sense of unsafety. And there's many other things that trigger that response. So I combine Gestalt psychotherapy, EMDR and family constellations therapy. And with family constellations therapy we actually heal ancestral trauma as well, some trauma that's happened to your parents, to your siblings, to other relatives and to your grandparents. And these traumas are passed energetically and genetically down generations and they affect our nervous system as well, right?
For example, if mom was abandoned by dad or if dad was an alcoholic and was violent with mom (1) is seeing that violence and feeling unsafe with the violence is one trauma. The other thing that happens for children often is that they become loyal and favor one parent over the other, so they reject that and favor mom, they carry her burden. So this feels over sense of responsibility towards the mom - they got to carry her pain, they got to suffer with her and they might even feel guilty being happy in their life because it means subconsciously, it's not a conscious thought, but subconsciously they're stuck with that sadness of mom and trying to connect with mom in sadness because that's their relationship they've developed from childhood and to let go and to be happy in your life would almost feel like leaving mom alone in her sadness. And that is a chronic stress that a lot of people live with that leads to unhappiness, depression, burnout and anxiety.
Family Constellation Therapy
So in family constellation therapy what we do is we do healing sentences like, "Dear mom, I really respect you and I understand that you are the big one and I'm the little one, I'm the daughter, I'm the son. And that you are capable of healing from what happened. And I don't have to carry this for you and both of us stay miserable. When you're happy after healing whatever happened I am free to take energy back into my body, into my soul. And your happy energy as well, I can see that and I want to be able to see that as well so that we're not both suffocating and suffering in old memories of pain." So you disentangle yourself from your mom or your dad and then you become energetically free. When that happens your nervous system stops the fight or flight or reduces it.
And then what happens is then you find that you're also healthier in other relationships because people who are caring for their parents or over caring for their parents they go into codependent relationships where they feel they need to care for dysfunctional partners a lot in order to be seen, recognized and loved. Because that when I heard a lot from my mom and my dad that was an affirmation of love, a sense of belonging, so now I know that when I do that with a partner I'm going to expect some sort of the recognition or being seen. So I'm not fully relaxed in a new relationship, I'm always working. Combine that with work stress, financial stress, life stress, late nights, lights on the streets at night where you don't go into a deep sleep so your melatonin doesn't trigger enough. This loyalty, this extra working hard in codependent relationships contributes to that burden of stress leading to burnout as well.
So these unconscious stresses or traumas also exist for many people. It's not only the violence, the rape, the sexual abuse. It's this loyalties, these feelings of self-doubt, sometimes it's also having a ... if your parents have had a miscarriage or abortion, I see this very often in my clinic, people who think they're the first child in the system, in their family they come to me feeling this overwhelmed, always working hard, never achieving enough, not living, not doing enough in life. And I'll ask them, "Please ask your parents if there was a miscarriage or abortion before you or even after you." And lo and behold, they find out there was a miscarriage or an abortion, a missing child that hasn't been acknowledged fully.
How to Heal Emotional Trauma
And then suddenly I'll ask my client to say, "Okay, you know what? Just feel yourself as the second child. Not the first, but the second child. Know that there's somebody else to fulfill that role that you're trying to replace." And when they get in touch with that feeling of second child there's a sudden burn that lifts off them, their head clears, they suddenly feel their right place in their family. And that can create a very deep relaxation for someone. And then the nervous system calms down making you less prone, of course, to burnout. Because if you don't do those interventions, if you don't treat the root cause which is the family entanglement, which is a missing child, then you will overwork yourself to burn out in that because you're always trying to compensate for something missing, a missing piece of information in the family system.
And no matter what therapy you do if you don't do a good family constellations therapy and really look at this, I mean, we'll talk about, of course, healing the adrenal glands with herbs and detoxifying the liver but if you really don't treat this emotional root cause then you're in trouble, you're in trouble.
Ashley: I can very much understand and see how that plays, and even personally a very strong role in ... and I see it even if maybe some of our viewers aren't really sure about the connection from different ancestors to yourself and that generational ... I mean, I can just personally speak into it, I can look back at two generations ahead of me and see similar patterns and habits of anxiety and depression and all of these things. And even now that I've worked and healed myself through burnout and continue to stay away from burnout it's I can see some ... I used to be able to see some of these habits and this way of being even show up in my children, and that was a personal time like, "Oh, nope, we're done. We need to heal this and move forward because I want to help to break that cycle."
So even though we were talking about it from also the nervous system and ancestral you can also see it outwardly in habits that not only you might possess but you can go back and say, "Oh, yeah, my mom and dad did that. And oh, my gosh, my grandmother even did that." All of these things to kind of really see that it's a little bit of training that you're bringing with not only energetically but then also your ...
What does Cortisol do during Stress
Dr. Ameet: Biologically speaking and genetically speaking we change, right? Because imagine, and they've proved this, right?
So I've had lots of people whose grandparents have been in the holocaust, for example, or in 9/11 bombing and they've done research where ... so imagine your grandmother now experiences a lot of stress and trauma and she hasn't given birth to your mother yet but your mom's in the womb or your mom is not even conceived yet but she's going to be made out of one of those ovaries. So your grandmother goes through stress and trauma, her physiology will change, she'll be hyper-responsive to certain things - loud noises, danger, sense of unsafety, etcetera. And through epigenetic the genes of the ovary or the baby in the womb they start shifting, right? They're more responsive to cortisol and adrenaline and other stress hormones.
So now your mom is born with this hyper-responsive nervous system, and guess what? You're going to be born from your mother. So your genetics are already altered because of what her genetic changes based on her grandmother's experiences. So now you might be born with a tendency towards anxiety, OCD, depression and nervous system disorders as well, and these are healable.
Ashley: And to me that's just amazing, first of all, that we can trace that path so to speak. Because I know for me personally it was like, "Okay, this makes sense. I'm not really broken in any way, it's just this is just where I came from and I get to heal, it's possible to heal," which I think is a great transition into healing from the inflammation that is also caused from this high state of stress or high sensitivity nervous system as well as what our gut is doing or maybe not doing, as you're working through, or in burnout. So if you wanted to, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on how burnout affects not only the inflammation as well as how its effect on the gut? And then what's that healing process like? How do you pick which place to go?
Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online
Dr. Ameet: So before I go further I want everyone to know that there are Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online on my website that walks you through exactly what I'm going to share - how to heal your gut, your liver, your adrenal glands and emotional trauma and how it all ties together. So you can always read and watch those videos if you get lost here. But first of all, you have a stomach and you have intestines, your intestines are like a nice tube, a nice lining, it kept healthy by good bacteria and good food. Over time with antibiotic use, poor diets, there's gluten, dairy, too much sugar, etcetera, the good bacteria get killed off, the lining gets damaged as well and you get holes in your intestine.
Then with that toxins leak into your bloodstream and that causes inflammation everywhere in your body - leading cause for asthma, eczema, arthritis, a lot of chronic conditions. The chronic inflammation triggers or stresses your adrenal glands to produce cortisol. And your adrenal glands are already stressed with the loyalties we talked about, with stress, with trauma, etcetera, combine that with the demand for cortisol from inflammation your adrenal glands burn out even more, you go into adrenal imbalance. Adrenal imbalance then suppresses serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and GABA, leading to mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, OCD, insomnia.
Cortisol and Gut Health
All this inflammation creates more toxins in your body. These toxins have to be dealt with your liver. And your liver is also inflamed from chronic inflammation, so your liver takes a double whammy, actually five times whammy if there's a word for that - one from inflammation, one from toxins created by inflammation, then, again, from the pesticides in our foods and then from all the toxins and processing of drugs and everything else we're taking, and also from the fumes in the air, and also from emotions such as anger and resentment - it goes straight to the liver. So your liver is really burdened. I would say 90% of the world's population have a stagnant liver, an exhausted liver.
And the liver is the master organ - it produces bile for digestion and it detoxifies your body, right? So suddenly what's happening is you're not detoxifying as well so you get more toxicity, more inflammation, more cortisol imbalance and therefore more burnout (1), (2) the liver produces bile and if it's stagnant or tired it produces less bile. With less bile you're going to get more gas, bloating, indigestion and constipation. What does that mean? It means the worsening of your microbiome, your gut. So your gut is going to become unhealthier because of the lack of bile flow, meaning you get more leaky gut, more damage in your intestines, more toxins leaking into your bloodstream, more chronic inflammation and a vicious cycle of toxicity and inflammation.
How to improve Liver health
Your liver also controls your hormones, so now suddenly when your liver is toxic and stagnant progesterone goes down, for example, and estrogen might go up. So you're led to other diseases such as hormone-sensitive cancers. And also very interestingly, is that GABA, this neurotransmitter for sleep and GABA also reduces anxiety, it depends on progesterone to work well in your brain, so suddenly you have low progesterone you're going to be more prone to anxiety and insomnia.
Now imagine if you have insomnia and anxiety you're going to be nervous all the time, you're going to wreck your nervous system, right? Your adrenal glands will burn out faster. So you can see how liver health is super connected to mental well-being, resting well, good sleep and therefore preventing burnout.
So what I do in my Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online is I help people heal their gut with probiotics, vitamin D and other lovely nutritious supplements basically that really repair the gut lining. And then we're going to detailed homeopathic remedies such as milk thistle, dandelion and special homeopathic remedies for the liver that really detoxified even more so you get more bile flow and restore gut function much faster I should say and more deeply. So you really get the root cause of inflammation rather than only taking probiotics or only avoiding certain foods.
A lot of people make the mistake of going on special diets and only taking probiotics but they forget to heal the liver, but I'm telling you from my experience the liver is the seat of health and needs to be treated in conjunction with your gut.
Ashley: I can 100% agree and share ...
Dr. Ameet: So that's the combination.
Ashley: Yeah, that's amazing. It's definitely as you were explaining the liver's function and role or at some point when somebody's in burnout it's lack of function, it's stagnant, how that can lead almost like the cycle, it's like a self-feeding cycle of burnout and how that inflammation and all of those things really connect and get people. I can see how it's very easy to get stuck in a cycle and I can also ...
Dr. Ameet: You lose me, what did you hear last?
Ashley: I heard everything about the liver.
How to treat Adrenal Fatigue naturally
Dr. Ameet: I'm going to continue about the adrenal system. And then the third thing I do in the Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online is to make sure people's adrenal glands are restored, right? Because they've been burnt out so much from inflammation and from stress your body's depleted of certain nutrients that support adrenal gland function. So I'll use adrenal herbs such as rhodiola or ashwagandha or B vitamins, depending on what the person needs. Zinc is also great for restoring adrenal gland function.
Because, remember, physiologically they've been depleted, so yes, you can rest and you can meditate which is all great and you can go for therapy to release the trauma and the stress but physiologically your adrenal glands need to be rebuilt and that's done through using adaptogenic herbs. So if you want to prevent or treat burnout it's super important to work on healing emotions from childhood, releasing generational trauma through family constellations therapy and healing sentences that we do, and also make sure that you reduce inflammation and toxicity by healing your gut and detoxifying your liver. And then finally, of course, then rebuilding your adrenal glands so that they're resilient and they have enough nutrients or compounds really, natural compounds in them, to sustain every day and past stress - everyday stress and past stress.
So that's really a combined approach, a more holistic approach to burnout rather than just popping pills.
Ashley: And I love the holistic approach that you have shared with us because I can personally say that there were certain times in my life that I was like, "All right, what I understand that I'm burned out so I'm going to ..." I would do one of those things and then wonder like, "Well, I'm meditating or I'm resting or I'm taking a supplement that it's supposed to help, and why don't I feel better?" Or I've even gone through healing some of the ancestral trauma and was like, "Okay, so I feel a little bit better but would still go right back into that burnout." And so I love the holistic approach because it really does, as you've already mentioned, really just hit all of those key points to allow somebody to really heal.
Homepathic stress relief
Dr. Ameet: Right, and the other thing I really recommend also is using homeopathy for stress and trauma. So in the Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online I also cover those remedies because sometimes therapy takes long, right? And it doesn't really go to the root-root pain fast enough. And there's some wonderful remedies such as aconite, ignatia and other remedies that I cover which really go deep down into the nervous system and release that stress response that's wired into your system.
Homeopathy is fantastic energetic medicine that can speed up what, I don't know, months of therapy takes to do. It really goes deep and can provide a lot of relief both to depression, anxiety, heal past trauma as well as, of course, heal physical symptoms. It's often used for physical ailments but I use it a lot for mental health issues and it works amazingly well.
Ashley: That's amazing. And a question that comes up is I hear a lot from some of my clients, and I don't know if you hear this as well, but they hear all of these wonderful things and they just don't know where to start. It seems overwhelming. And so if you could share with us a little bit about where, and I'm sure it's very personal, I'm sure there are different clients that start at different phases of healing, but what have you found that is a great place to start for someone who is currently in burnout or believes they are and they're just thinking, "Oh, my gosh, if you give me one more thing I'm not sure that I can handle it."
How to reduce stress Hormones naturally
Dr. Ameet: So I'll just channel what I need to say here. First is deep breathing, long deep breathing at least five times a day, five to ten deep breaths five times a day or ten times a day. That resets the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is this big beautiful nerve that controls your parasympathetic resting and digestion. The more you engage your vagus nerve, the more you engage parasympathetic activity your brain will rewire itself to trust in the environment and not going to fight or flight. So you're reprogramming your nervous system through practice, through activity, to stop the fight or flight and therefore prevent burnout. That's number one.
Number two, eat healthy - reduce inflammatory foods, avoid the sugars and the carbs which create this insulin spike and a sugar spike and a sugar drop which stresses your adrenal glands. Make sure you're having enough protein in your diet to stabilize the nutrients in your body. Then, of course, eat whole grain foods, healthy foods, because you need those B vitamins, enough Zinc, enough minerals, and of course, to nourish those adrenal glands.
And then, of course, feel free to take a look at the Free Holistic Meicine Courses Online where you can learn how to detoxify your liver. And there's a very, very interesting deep meditation. I've given a free meditation where you can heal emotional blocks. I think that's video four or five there where you'll say certain sentences to yourself that take you out of that subconscious fight-or-flight state. It's about becoming comfortable with your inner conflicts and emotional conflicts and emotional patterns really and dissolving some of those conflicts so you go into more resting and digesting, and you start feeling safer in your life with your own feelings and in the environment.
And then those are the stages you can work towards, and then, of course, engage a therapist - family constellations therapy, Gestalt therapy, somatic experiencing, any therapy that also gets you into your body to get you to feel viscerally what's happening.
I don't usually recommend analytical therapies or things like cognitive behavioral therapy. They do help some people a lot, but I'm looking for more of those somatic releasing therapies like Gestalt, EMDR, family constellations - that's what discharges stress from the body more effectively.
Ashley: Would you say it's a quicker way to get rid of some of those emotions than it would be the cognitive behavioral in your experience at least?
Effects of trauma on the brain and body
Dr. Ameet: In my experience yes, in my experience yes. Because your body stores the trauma, it's not on your mind. And you've got to go into sensation in order to release, you got to also include safety in body sensation while you're working on emotional memories. You don't go straight into like looking at the trauma and revisiting. No. A good therapist will help you feel safe first, give you some grounding so that when you're looking at those memories you're not over triggered or over stimulated. And your nervous system will say, "Gosh, I'm feeling comfortable and I'm looking at this again, and I'm not over triggered. Some safety resources are coming back to me in my senses, in my heart, in my throat. So I don't have to run away or hide myself as strongly as I was before."
That sense of safety then will ground your nervous system so that when you go out of that therapy session back into life you'll be less in a frenzy with all the activities that are going on in your life, because you'll trust in that comfort in your body, and that would heal burnout as well.
Ashley: Great. Thank you so much for elaborating on that as well. And I know that it's not something ... like I love the Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online that you have and the information that you share, what is your take on people going at healing burnout on their own? Is it possible and is it better? I don't know, maybe better is not the right word, but can it be helpful to have a coach, a therapist, a mentor that helps take you through this process?
Dr. Ameet: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, so people who do the Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online, of course, they come and see me for therapy or they still have a therapist. It's super important to have that feedback I think and to have a compassionate observer for your inner process so that you can make contact with the outside world, with somebody who's caring enough to hold you in your vulnerability so you can come out of that fight or flight that's going on for your inner child. So I definitely recommend using a therapist, using a health coach or empowerment coach in order to get that nervous system to reset while you're, of course, healing your body and some of the traumas on your own.
Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online
Ashley: I love that. And I, of course, am in full agreement with that especially because it gets somebody out of their head, right? And instead of that analytical processing that as we were talking about a little bit is good but at the same time it doesn't allow you to drop into your body and to see, have that outside caring perspective to support you as you start to foster your healing process.
Dr. Ameet: Absolutely, absolutely.
Ashley: Well, thank you so, so much for sharing all of this information. And I will make sure that there is a link that's readily accessible for the Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online that you're sharing so it's something that's very easy to find for everyone. And before we go, is there anything else or any thing that you would really like to leave the audience with today?
Dr. Ameet: Deep breathing with self-love and self-forgiveness. So if you're hard on yourself, if you have negative thoughts, intrusive thoughts don't fight against yourself, don't criticize yourself for being in the state you are. You're doing the best you can. So do a few deep breaths with the intention of self-love and self-forgiveness and that will calm your nervous system down because some of the stress in our lives is from inner conflict and negative self-talk. So definitely add that to your plate.
Ashley: Wonderful. Thank you. I love that and do that often. So thank you so much. And with that, I will wrap us up for today. Again, thank you, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, your time and your energy with us today, Dr. Ameet. Thank you.
Dr. Ameet: Thank you and lots of love. Ciao.
Ashley: All right, bye, everybody. Thank you.
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