By Courtney Snyder, MD
Half of my work day is spent honing in on details. For each person I evaluate and treat, I’m considering multiple symptoms, lab data, contributing factors, and treatment interventions. Left unchecked, this amount of detail hurts my brain - figuratively and literally. This type of work might be considered “left brain“ and appealing to someone who is “undermethylated,” which I am.
The other half of my work day is involved with addressing how, from a spiritual perspective, we:
By spiritual, I mean our inner life. My writing and teaching about the intersection between neuroplasticity and spirituality is essentially about how we exercise those parts of the brain that relate to that inner work. Instead of honing in on details, this is about pulling back and looking at the bigger picture of our lives and our humanity. This right brain work feels good.
Courtney Snyder, MD
Purpose, Healing and Happiness
Whatever language, symbolism or religious framework we use or try not to use, many of us believe there's a reason each of us are here ...at this time, in this place and with these people. Though I think a lot about the details of health, I fall short on the bigger picture of healing if I forget that our wellbeing depends on much more, not the least of which is having a deep sense of purpose in our lives.
Purpose can energize us. It is a reason to do the hard work; to get out of bed. It lowers stress and it’s associated physiologic responses. Futility is stressful. So is incongruence - the mismatch between our natural abilities and passions and what we’re actually doing. With purpose comes a clarity about what and with whom we want to spend our time.
By Courtney Snyder, MD
I never like to hear, “You should….," Whether it’s a well intended friend, or a facebook link on how to “IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH IN JUST 5 MINUTES A DAY.” The suggestion that anyone knows the right answer for all of us is annoying. When it comes to health and happiness, there's no one size fits all. Some of us need more protein, some of us need more vegetables; some of us need to minimize toxic exposures, some are less vulnerable; some of us need more routine, some of us need more spontaneity; some of us need more self care, some of us need to give more of ourselves; some of us need better boundaries, some of us need more connection. Within each of us is a knowing of where that balance is. The trick is being open to new information, while trusting and listening to that knowing part of ourselves.
All that being said, I do believe that whoever you are, IF YOU DO THIS ONE THING FIVE MINUTES A DAY, IT WILL IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS! If you think you just heard the enthusiastic voice of the television spokeswoman selling the latest exercise gadget, then you've heard correctly.
I'm a conventionally trained child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. My current approach to health is both holistic (pertaining to the whole person) and functional (addressing the root causes of illness). I write this blog to share what I've learned.