People are often surprised to learn that I suffered terribly with depression for many years. Of course, when you see me now you might think I’ve always had this sunny disposition, warm smile and optimistic attitude. Unfortunately, it just ain’t so!
In my book, The Pennington Plan, I explained that I grew up in the performing arts regularly singing, dancing, acting in school plays, community theatre and in college I had major roles in professional theatre and some indy films. You could say that I am most comfortable, joyful and in the ‘zone’ when I’m on stage or in front of a camera.
When I entered medical school, however, that sense of harmony and bliss disappeared. I was in a very competitive environment which made me feel like I had to study ALL of the time in order to keep up with my brainiac classmates. So, after being so heavily involved in the arts, I became engrossed in gross anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.
Little by little I felt depressed, anxious and pessimistic. Fortunately the doctor at student health remembered me from the interview process. She recalled that I play classical piano and asked how often I was playing. In shock I told her that I studied all the time. She encouraged me to play for 30 minutes a day. When I looked at her like she was crazy, she suggested 30 minutes per week.
Just that little ‘permission’ to follow my bliss allowed me to reconnect with my spirit. For me, the arts are not just a frivolous luxury, they are the very basis of my spiritual existence. I learned in that moment that when we deny the expression of our spirit – in whatever form – we can experience depression.
Years later, I could easily recognize the same syndrome in my patients. Many people would complain of insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines…and in many instances I realized that there was no physical cause to be found. While probing into our preferences, strengths and values we often discover that not aligning our life with our deepest truth leads to dis-ease in various forms.
So I wonder if you, too, find that there is something in your world that feels off balance, misaligned or otherwise maladjusted. Do you have something deep inside your spirit that is crying out to be acknowledged in some way? Is your soul screaming out for expression and the ‘cries’ are being felt in your body as pain, illness or dis-ease?
If you can at least start to recognize the symptoms as messengers and look inward for a possible cause, you may be surprised at how much peace you can find by making certain lifestyle shifts to accommodate your deepest desires.
For me, and for many of my clients, creating balance between mind, body and spirit allowed for greater peace, improved health and even spiritual growth. I believe these are all inherent to our very being. It is the conditioning of the world that clouds over our innate state of wellness. While learning to bring balance and harmony to life, I’ve been following and teaching a 5-step motivational plan to achieve success in my life. I hope that it will help you tap into your internal potential for wellness, too!
Wishing you peace on your journey to Total Wellness,
About Dr. Pennington
Dr. Andrea Pennington is a respected medical doctor and a leading authority on wellness and prevention. She is the author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success.
The former medical director for Discovery Health Channel, Dr. Pennington has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Oz show, the Today Show, CNN and the Early Show on CBS.
Dr. Pennington offers Empowerment Life Coaching, Business Success Coaching and Weight Loss Success Coaching upon request.