PRECONCEPTION

009: Mindset For Preconception w/ Shelly Sethi, DO

009

009: Mindset For Preconception w/ Shelly Sethi, DO

Welcome to the Hey Mami podcast!

Our guest today is Dr. Shelly Sethi, a double board certified family physician who provides integrative and functional medicine to people who are looking for clarity and root-cause resolution of their chronic health issues, and to people who want to optimize their body and brain to live to their full potential.

She is the Founder of Dr. Shelly Sethi Personalized Medicine and a national speaker in the field of Integrative Medicine. Additionally, she is the best selling author of Built to Thrive: Overcome Chronic Illness, Fatigue and Hormonal Imbalance and Get Your Energy and Vitality Back Without Medication or Surgery.

Dr. Sethi teaches culinary medicine and mind-body seminars in Austin and has been a practitioner and teacher of meditation for over twenty years.

Or listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube

In today’s episode we are talking all about mindset and how it can impact you on your path to parenthood. 

Highlights:

  • More info about Dr. Sethi
  • How can a breathwork and meditation practice support women on the motherhood journey?
  • The vagal nerve response
  • Mindset at preconception
  • Common myths about meditation
  • How to start a meditation or breathwork practice

Important Links

Find Dr. Sethi online here

Get Dr. Sethi’s FREE guide: Solutions for Increasing Energy and Balancing Hormones 

Built to Thrive: Overcome Chronic Illness, Fatigue and Hormonal Imbalance and Get Your Energy and Vitality Back Without Medication or Surgery

Follow Dr. Sethi on Instagram | Facebook

Quotes

“Breathwork and meditation are, in my experience, probably the most profound and effective means of getting ourselves out of that chronic stress response or that fear-based sympathetic response.”

“Mindset, it’s a word that can mean a lot of different things. But I think if I were to break this down physiologically and really try to understand what it means for somebody who is trying to conceive, I think it would be around just starting to really begin to focus on some of those aspects of nourishing yourself and just getting healthy overall and optimizing health from the standpoint of wanting to really care for yourself.”

009: Mindset For Preconception w/ Shelly Sethi, DO TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Carrasco:                      Welcome back to The Hey Mami Podcast. Our guest today is Dr. Shelly Sethi. Dr. Sethi is a double board certified family medicine physician who provides integrative and functional medicine to people who are looking for clarity and root cause resolution of your chronic health issues and to people who want to optimize their body and brain to live to their full potential. She is the founder of Dr. Shelly Sethi Personalized Medicine, and a national speaker in the field of integrative medicine. Additionally, she is the best-selling author of Built to Thrive: Overcome Chronic Illness, Fatigue and Hormonal Imbalance and Get Your Energy and Vitality Back Without Medication or Surgery. She teaches culinary medicine and mind-body medicine seminars in Austin, and has been a practitioner and teacher of meditation for over 20 years. Welcome to the podcast Dr. Sethi. Thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Sethi:                             Thank you so much, Dr. Carrasco and Dr. Maren.

Dr. Maren:                          We’re so happy to have you.

Dr. Sethi:                             It’s a pleasure.

Dr. Maren:                          What we didn’t say in that bio is that we’re all actually close friends and mutual respect and admiration for each other’s practices. So we’re super excited to have you here.

Dr. Carrasco:                      And we love what Dr. Sethi does. So we want to start out by just asking you to tell us a little bit about why you do what you do.

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah. So I’ve been really interested in the connect between lifestyle medicine and health for a really long time. And for the most part, it started when I was in my college years and realized that the aspects of our emotional health and our psycho-spiritual health really had a lot to do with chronic illness conditions or diagnoses like diabetes and heart disease. Some of which my father had been diagnosed with, so I really was in this situation of hearing that he needed to have emergency bypass surgery because of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and had to really consider the fact that there was probably something else at play that really led him down that path. And I discovered Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Deepak Chopra, started reading more about nutrition and meditation, specifically, and started my journey that way.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That’s beautiful. I think there’s always in a lot of our clinical practices or clinical stories that a lot of us have had these big moments of either personal health issues or family members with these health issues, and then trying to figure out the reasons why often I think leads a lot of us down this path.

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely.

Dr. Carrasco:                      So for our audience, we’re taking care of women, the whole motherhood journey from preconception, pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. What we’re really interested in learning from you is how can a breathwork and meditation practice support women on this journey because it is such a huge one?

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely. Well I know that both of you have talked about the fact that stress can interact with hormone production and the balance of those hormones. And so let’s look at that just a little bit for a moment.

Dr. Sethi:                             So we know that chronic stress overall can result in increases in cortisol, adrenaline, other types of endorphins in the body, which can then of course change the balance and levels of the production of all of our sex hormones, right, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, all of those. We also know that the stress response is critical in the body. We have it as an evolutionary tool to deal with getting ourselves out of a dangerous situation or addressing an acute moment of time. But when we’re in that state of fear for prolonged periods of time, what begins to happen is we’re releasing higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline continuously. So then, we start to have these shifts in our hormones and overall our reproductive health gets effected.

Dr. Sethi:                             So using breathwork and meditation are, in my experience, probably the most profound and effective means of getting ourselves out of that chronic stress response or that fear-based sympathetic response. And the great thing about these practices is that the more that you begin to form the habit of doing them on a daily basis, the more that you have it available to you when you are in a stressful situation to be able to then calm your body back down, calm those adrenals down, bring those levels of adrenaline and cortisol down so that long-term, you’re not seeing that chronic effect on the hormones.

Dr. Sethi:                             So that’s how I really see the connection between stress and utilizing breathwork and meditation and its effects on the hormones come into play.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah. So true. I mean, so you talked about the sex hormones. I mean, we’ll talk about thyroid hormones and seeing high reverse T3 and the presence of high cortisol and all of these kinds of things as well. And then also, one place where I see it as a significant impact is gut health, which as we know, has so much to do with this hormone balance and everything like that. But so many patients struggle with bacterial overgrowth because they’re chronically stressed and their motility’s messed up and all of these things. So I think there’s really… I don’t know if there’s any other way around it than to focus on meditation and breathwork, especially with all of the stresses that are going on right now with COVID and kids homeschooling and everything.

Dr. Carrasco:                      I think also probably the bottom line is it’s the vagal nerve connection that drives the parasympathetic nervous system. And that is what innovates a lot of the organs down the thorax all the way down into the gut. And so maintain that vagal nerve, I guess, control or strengthening that vagal nerve response is really where it’s all at. And I think, from studies and research, doing breathwork and meditation really, really works on that vagal nerve response.

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah. It helps to tonify it, and there is a direct connection. So the vagal nerve does directly innovate or go into the amygdala as well, which is where we have our fear response that’s where we perceive the threat or the fear or the stress. And then we begin to activate an entire cascade of hormones and reactions in the body. The vagus nerve also intervates the diaphragm. So this very specific direct between the diaphragm and the amygdala can happen through breathwork, right? Because when you’re doing breathwork, you’re changing or you’re shifting the movement of that diaphragm. And there’s an almost immediate response that will begin to happen in the body physiologically, which has been measured.

Dr. Sethi:                             So these breathwork practices, you can activate them or utilize them immediately when you’re starting to feel those symptoms of the heart rate is increased or blood pressure has gone up, you’re starting to breathe a little more shallow. And you begin to do that breathwork practice, even just three to five rounds of a particular breathworks will actually reset that response through the vagus nerve as you brought up. So yeah, there’s a direct connection there and link.

Dr. Carrasco:                      And in your expertise, the more you practice these exercises, is the response more effective because the body recognizes the response? Or how does that work?

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah, they do become more effective because it becomes almost a unconscious reaction, right? And so that’s the goal because most of us will realize that something happens, and before we even have a moment to say, “Oh, that’s dangerous, or no, actually I’m okay”, the body’s already reacting, right? Because the hormones, the stress hormones have already been released, the body’s already reacting before you even know it. You’re already feeling anxious or you’re feeling your heart rate up and things are already starting to shift hormonally in the body. So that’s a subconscious or an unconscious reaction.

Dr. Sethi:                             If you practice these practices of breathwork and meditation, when you’re not stressed, you’re doing them every day and they become second nature to you, what begins to happen is that you do begin to rewire the brain and its response mechanisms. So instead of necessarily that particular trigger, or maybe that particular environmental thing that happens causing you to go down the pathway of a fear response, instead, it invokes just the opposite, which is, okay, I can actually recognize that this is something that’s a trigger for me, and immediately just kick that breathwork in without even really thinking about it.

Dr. Sethi:                             So I think that’s where I’ve seen the most benefit in my patients is when I ask them to do the practices, regardless. A lot of times we wait until we’re in that acute situation. And then we try to meditate or try to do our breathwork. It doesn’t quite work as well then. The ball’s already rolling downhill and it’s picking up speed. So yes, they do become more effective. The other thing that happens, I think, which is something that we’re learning more about because we’re able to really scan the brain in different ways, we can use PET scanning and imaging and things like that, and combine that with serum labs or blood work to look at what’s happening physiologically.

Dr. Sethi:                             We know that the more that you get into these deeper states of meditation through breathwork or meditation, and get into that theta wave or a delta wave state of the brain, the pineal gland is being activated more and more. And as that pineal gland gets activated more and more, we’re starting to produce all of the compounds such as melatonin and antioxidants and other things that stimulate our body in really positive ways, as well as they cause epigenetic changes. So some of those byproducts of the pineal gland activation will go back and actually talk to your genes and tell your genes to turn on or off in a beneficial way to you. So that over time, deepening these practices or having a consistent practice on a daily basis, you’ll actually begin to see that your genetic expression changes.

Dr. Maren:                          And it’s so interesting.

Dr. Sethi:                             And that’s how we do see that a rewiring of the brain happen as well.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, that’s super interesting. I mean, it goes back to the studies on famine, right? So people are under this heavy, which then was like a very much a physical stress, but often, yeah, physical, emotional stressors can work the same way.

Dr. Carrasco:                      And affect generations, because as we’ve talked about several times before, we know that as a woman carrying a child, we’re affecting not only our children’s epigenetic expression, but also our grandchildren’s.

Dr. Sethi:                             A hundred percent I find it so fascinating because in more ancient cultures of medicine like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, they recognize that, they’ve seen that for a very long time. I don’t know that they called it epigenetic changes because they didn’t know how to say that. But one of the very first questions that you asked a young woman is, well, I should say a woman trying to get pregnant is, “What was the state of mind at preconception?” And so that state of mind, meaning, were you relaxed? Well, that’s probably not exactly relaxed when you’re conceiving. But generally speaking, are you a woman under stress? What is your nutrition like? What’s your environment like? But also, what is the relationship? What is the energetic relationship between you and the father of this conceived embryos?

Dr. Sethi:                             So, that’s just been something that… When I was a child and I would study Ayurveda, when I was younger, I would study Ayurveda, and then now I have the language to understand that as really asking that question about epigenetic changes. And like you said, passing that on generationally.

Dr. Carrasco:                      So you bring up such an interesting point that we’d love to pick your brain on further, but tell us more about that mindset at preconception, because a lot of our listeners are starting the journey and they’re on the preconception journey and it can be very stressful because a lot of times, you want to get pregnant, maybe you don’t get pregnant at first month, that second month, maybe it’s been several months and it can be a very stressful experience and maybe not as fun as it should be. So we would love to hear more about your perspective on that.

Dr. Sethi:                             I think that you guys have probably seen this as well and I’ve seen this in my practice. When I have moms come in and typically they come in to me anyway because they want to work on something else, right? They recognize that they’re really fatigued or maybe they have a gut health issue or something of that nature. And we begin to work on those things and they’ve taken, I want to say almost the focus off of the fact that they had been having difficulty getting pregnant. Almost as a side effect, starting to work on those other factors, really working on mindset, really trying to work on their just feelings of connection to their family and their community and nutrition and all of those other pieces, almost as a side effect conceptually they conceive, and it’s unexpected, right?

Dr. Sethi:                             It’s certainly not something that I focused on in my practice. So it happens unexpectedly. And so it’s led me to really consider this idea that I think sometimes when, and I’m going to speak from the females, the mom’s perspective, but I think sometimes when, as a woman, you start to focus on yourself and just think more about nourishing yourself and taking care of yourself just as a whole person, and maybe not this on this piece that feels like a failure or feels like the thing that’s really stressing you out and you want so bad. And the body starts to say, “I’m ready. I’m ready. Things are good. We’re whole. We’re feeling good.” And I think if we were to really break that down further, that probably has a lot to do with these hormones of stress that are circulating in the body.

Dr. Sethi:                             So I do think that mindset, it’s a word that can mean a lot of different things. But I think if I were to break this down physiologically and really try to understand what it means for somebody who is trying to conceive, I think it would be around just starting to really begin to focus on some of those aspects of nourishing yourself and just getting healthy overall and optimizing health from the standpoint of wanting to really care for yourself. That then begins to reduce those stress hormones in the body, which probably helps to begin to normalize some of the balance of hormones and those results hopefully in an easier time with conception.

Dr. Sethi:                             So that’s what I see, and I think again, that the studies that we have right now really linking all of those pieces together are getting clearer and clearer as we’re able to measure some of these hormones in the body of stress and inflammation, and also scan the body or scan the brain and also measure EEG in the brain. So there are devices out there that can, you can, they’re not inexpensive, but they’re not as expensive as they were years ago anymore. You can hook them up and see are you getting into those super deep states of relaxation because when you do get into that data wave EEG pattern or the delta wave, you’re starting to see those changes happen in the brain. And that’s where we begin to have a different mindset. We actually begin to rewire our brain to be thinking about ourselves as a person a little bit differently and probably have a more positive outlook about the whole experience.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, it’s interesting. I do think neurofeedback is pretty interesting and I’m definitely… I did some neurofeedback myself for a bit, but I think for certain people it can be pretty helpful. And the other thing I think too, is just these devices that we’re wearing, our Oura rings, right, I mean, they’re not going to tell us for getting into data wave and all that, but they can be a really good feedback for like what’s our heart rate variability look like day to day, how are we sleeping, are we getting deep sleep, REM sleep, all of that stuff, which is going to influence these other markers.

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah. HRV is another interesting one. And you guys probably have brought HeartMath or talked about it in your practices as well, but that’s another way to really understand what’s going on with the vagus nerve and the hormones of stress. And there are certainly some really good research happening right now looking at being able to look at your HRV prior to getting ill, right? Or can three or four days of a decreased HRV on your Oura ring really predict the fact that you’re about to come down with a cold? Or in the case of COVID, even we’re talking, they’re really thinking that as well. So I think it would be a good… Again, from a standpoint of thinking about mindset and just the stress that goes along with fertility, maybe taking the focus off the fertility for a moment and just thinking about sometimes it is helpful to put your focus on on other data points, which indirectly are affecting the ability to conceive and fertility itself.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, totally agree.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, I know that in my practice, I use HeartMath a lot, and I think that it’s a very easy for people that… And I want you to talk, we want you to talk about this as well, Dr. Sethi, but for people that have a hard time or feel like meditation is hard, which I hope you can dispel that for us.

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely.

Dr. Carrasco:                      But for people that have that block, using a tool like HeartMath can be very useful because they’re getting biofeedback that they know how they’re doing, they know if they’re doing it right, and so it takes some of that edge away. So I find it very, very useful for our data nerds or people that feel like they want to just make sure they’re doing it right. But can you tell us, how can someone get started on a meditation or breathwork practice? And then what are some of these kinds of common obstacles and myths that we hold about meditation that just are false, and how can we overcome these things?

Dr. Sethi:                             Yes. So I’ll start with the common myths and obstacles because those are always the first things we hear, right? So the most common thing I hear people say to me is, “Well, I’m just not a good meditator because my mind is always thinking, and it’s busy, and I can’t sit still.” And here’s the thing, the point of meditation is not to stop your busy mind, right? The mind’s job is to create thought. That’s really what its job is. And we want it to create thought. It’s all about your focus, where you put your focus. So we can either focus on this busy mind, or we can choose to focus on the breath or on a word or a mantra, or using the biofeedback, focusing on the biofeedback tool.

Dr. Sethi:                             But the other piece to that is that people who feel that they can’t sit still for very long. It’s not required to sit still. There are walking meditations. That could be a great way to start. And I think that that is a piece that people don’t think about, right? Can you walk into your meditation? And there are a couple of ways to do walking meditation. There’s the Zen style, which is very slow and mindful movements, really paying attention to how your foot feels on the ground and how it’s being placed on the ground. To be honest, I don’t do very well with that because I’m a fast-paced mover. So I’ve actually found walking meditations that are like, “I am speed walking.” And by the end of it, and I’m listening to like the music that is so uplifting, by the end of it, I am like on enclave. I am just sailing. And I feel so elevated, and that lasts for a good number of hours afterwards.

Dr. Sethi:                             So those are some things that I think can be helpful for people who say, “I can’t sit still. My mind is always moving. It’s always really busy.” The other thing I would say is that for a busy mind, understand that when you begin to take your focus off your busy mind, your mind is first going to act like a child. When you don’t attend to your child, they will throw a tantrum. And what happens when you ignore their tantrum, they don’t stop. They get louder. And then they try to do other things. They’ll throw themselves on the ground and they’ll just get louder with their voice. Continue to not direct your focus there, and eventually they’ll just stop. Your mind will do the same thing.

Dr. Sethi:                             And I’ve taught… I’ve been with many, many experienced meditators from all spiritual traditions and walks of life in different countries. And I will tell you that they all say to me, “An experienced meditator is not someone who can like shut their mind off for 30 minutes or 60 minutes or three hours. It’s somebody who just is in the practice of bringing their focus back to the breath and back to the breath and back to the breath.” And in one minute, you might notice that your mind has gone off track in a thousand times and a thousand different ways, or maybe the next day, you realize that you were able to, if you’re doing a county meditation, count to 25 before your mind wandered and started thinking about what you had to do for your kids that day. So I think that the myth of the busy mind is a big one, and sitting still.

Dr. Sethi:                             The other thing that people bring up a lot with me is that they don’t have time. And I like to start them off with a one-minute meditation. “Can you take a minute and start with this practice?” And I think the simplest way to do that is to do accounting meditation, where you just sit wherever you are. You can be in your car. You can be at home. You can be right before lunch or after lunch. Maybe when your kids hop on their zoom school, you’ve got a minute before they come and ask you for help. And you just start to count. One, two, three… Oh, my mind is off wandering, bring it back, start over again. One, two, three… Maybe this time you get to five and then your mind wanders, bring your mind back. So that’s a simple way. And you can set a timer. There’s Insight Timer, which is an app you can use. Even Headspace has shorter meditations.

Dr. Sethi:                             So I think finding time people say, “Well, what’s the best time of the day to meditate?” And I always say the best time is the time that you find to do it because trying to get into habit and routine is great, but let’s be real. Especially in today’s world, we’re all being thrown these wrenches all day long. I thought my kids were going to be on zoom in school till 2:00 and thought they were done at noon. So my day will shut. So there’s that.

Dr. Sethi:                             And then the last I think common myth is people will say, “Well, how do I bring this into my practice when I’m a very religious person,” specifically very Christian, “and we don’t do meditation or we haven’t?” I find that these traditions are oftentimes related to specific religions or spiritual traditions. The truth is that meditation really came about with humans. Whatever type of human, I guess we were Homo sapiens at the time sitting in caves really starting to study how the body responds, and they were studying the mind. There was no religion or spiritual practice at that time. There’re really wasn’t and we have evidence of this. So while we associated with these Eastern traditions, I just think of it as humans that were in a cave in what is now Eastern countries that were just studying the mind. So I don’t think that there’s a contradiction there, if you are somebody who’s quite religious or spiritual.

Dr. Carrasco:                      I think that’s a really interesting point. And I’ve also heard that from a lot of my patients. And when I was writing my book, I did some research, which I’m sure you’ve come across as well. But, a lot of the benefit that people get from, for example, from praying the rosary, is the same as someone that is doing their prayer beads, or you end up getting the same benefits. So it’s interesting that different religious traditions through prayer got this very meditative experience where you’re doing the same thing and saying the same thing over and over again.

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah, 100%. The act of repetition is what allows your mind to bypass the thoughts and focus on that repetition. So if it’s the rosary, it’s that repetition, and that’s when you will find, if you were hooked up to a machine that you’re getting into those deeper data states of meditation. So yeah, you’re right.

Dr. Carrasco:                      And what I’ve shared with my-

Dr. Sethi:                             [crosstalk 00:26:08] rosary [inaudible 00:26:08], right?

Dr. Carrasco:                      You do it. Yeah.

Dr. Sethi:                             What is [inaudible 00:26:10] meditative, right?

Dr. Carrasco:                      And what I’ve told, some of my patients that might have some questions around that is, “Well, find a verse in scripture that really speaks to your soul and just use that as your focus point.” And then you’re using it as prayer, and that’s your focus.

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely. Yeah. And I think the way that the second part of your question was what are some ways to get started? I think that’s a great way to get started, right, the verse having the rosary, even just picking a word that makes you feel good, and just repeating that over and over again. Counting is another way. I think one of the most effective practices that is out there with breathwork, specifically, lesser meditation, but breathwork is the 4-7-8 breath, which is pretty familiar to a lot of people and available on… You can watch a YouTube video. But even just doing three to four rounds of that 4-7-8 breath has been shown to move you from that sympathetic response state into the parasympathetic response. It’s something that I find myself doing quite often anytime of day. And I’ve also taught it to my kids.

Dr. Sethi:                             So, oh, and then that’s the other piece I wanted to also bring up is if you do have children and you’re finding it difficult to meditate with your kids being home or even other family members or a dog being at home, just make that part of the meditation. You can begin to incorporate what are called, what’s called an external focus into your meditation. So this is more of a Buddhist tradition, but focusing on those sounds that are coming in and out and allowing them to pass by like you’re watching leaves on the river. And so you don’t have to close yourself off and keep the doors closed and make sure that everything is super quiet. I think you just do the best you can. And if that’s the situation that you’re in, try to incorporate it into your practice.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, totally. I think that’s a great point.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah. I love that. [crosstalk 00:28:16}.

Dr. Maren:                          So would you say that maybe the goal is to… For someone that’s a total novice out there and listening today and they want to start doing this as a part of their daily work, would you say like you start with a minute a day and then you work your way up? Is there a maximum number that’s good of minutes? Walk our audience through what does it look like to have a rich meditation or breathwork practice established in their life and how can they get there?

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely. So, yes, I recommend typically starting with a minute a day couple days, and then going to a couple of minutes a day, can you do a minute in the morning, a minute in the evening, maybe a minute at lunch time. It’s like starting to workout. You want to start gently. I think if you sit down and you try to do 30 minutes right away, you’re going to get discouraged and your body’s probably going to hurt from sitting still. So it’s just like doing a workout. You’re slowly starting to exercise that brain muscle. And the other word for meditation really is just focused awareness. That’s all. It’s just focused awareness. So it’s where are you putting your focus? And so by starting with a minute a day, you’re training your brain to say, “I’m going to put my attention on this breath for 60 seconds right now, and then I’m going to do it again tonight. And then tomorrow I’m going to do it again.”

Dr. Sethi:                             And maybe after about 30 days of doing a minute a day, a few times per day, I would probably recommend trying five to 10 minutes a day. And you can use an app like Headspace or the Calm app or Insight Timer. There are so many available now. I think those are really great because you’ll get to understand that you can maybe do a guided meditation or maybe one that’s accounting meditation. There really are different ways to get you into that state. And then ultimately what we’re looking for is probably about 30 to 60 minutes a day, because to really get into those deep states and keep your attention focused for long enough to get the results we’re looking for, which are those epigenetic changes and the pituitary gland activation, we really want to have about that amount of time to really be able to see those changes happen. But work yourself up to that.

Dr. Sethi:                             And sometimes with people who have had experiences of meditation before, but they didn’t really, it didn’t work out for them, I’ll tell them to start with the 4-7-8 breath. Just begin to experience what it feels like in your body to not have that anxiety or that stress, right? Because once it becomes embodied in the body, you do start to… It’s hard to know what not feeling stressed feels like. So sometimes, breathwork is where we start. And I think the 4-7-8 breath is great. Box breathing is great. That’s another one that’s easily accessible for most people. And then if you were looking for something-

Dr. Carrasco:                      [crosstalk 00:31:26] people, that’s a great one.

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great one. And just beginning to say, “Oh, this is what it feels like to not feel that anxiety in my body all the time or that stress response”, and then move into the minute practices going to five, going to 10, hopefully getting to 30. And at some point, hopefully it feels so good to you that it’s like brushing your teeth. You wake up and you can’t really go through your day without your practice. Or, let me just tell you, your kids will point it out if you haven’t done your practice.

Dr. Carrasco:                      My kids always used to say the last spring, “Mommy, you need to go to the garden for a little bit”, because that was my time to…

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, totally.

Dr. Sethi:                             [crosstalk 00:32:10] you need to go do your Peloton.

Dr. Carrasco:                      But I am so excited about learning about the walking meditation that you can do with some oomph because I walk every day and I feel like it’s very meditative, but I hadn’t even thought about searching for a guided walking meditation that could actually get me to walk fast. So that’s cool.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah.

Dr. Sethi:                             Yeah, absolutely. I’m happy to share some of those with you there. They’re very, very inspiring.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Well, this has been really, really enlightening, and I know that you have a free gift for our audience. So do you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely. So it’s a guide to utilizing mind-body practices for hormonal balance and increasing your energy. And you’re going to find in there’s actually a 4-7-8 meditation. There’s, sorry, breathwork. There’s an easy meditation to get started with. It’s the one I typically give to my patients to just get them started if they do want to sit and do more than the one minute. And then there’s a vagal practice in there as well to begin to tone the vagus nerve as we talked about early on, and just some simple things you can do every day, like humming and singing and brushing a certain way to really turn that biggest nerve as well.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Oh, that’s awesome. What a great gift and we’ll have that in the show notes for sure. And then two more questions, where can people find you online and where can people get your book?

Dr. Sethi:                             So they can find me at drshellysethi.com. I’m also on Instagram and on Facebook under Dr. Shelly Sethi. And my book is on Amazon. So it’s easy to find there. And from time to time, we do put it on our website as well as a free download as well.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Great. Well, we’re going to link to all of that and we are just so happy that you came and shared your expertise. Christine, do you have any other questions?

Dr. Maren:                          Oh gosh, no, thank you. I do have one last question, actually. So I’m just curious. What is your habit? I’d love to know, like what’s your personal habit for meditation and how do you manage to do it with a busy practice and a physician husband and two kids at home and all of that.

Dr. Sethi:                             So I’ll be honest. My practice has changed over the years and that’s the other thing. I think it’s also really good to be flexible. And so the more that you try different things, I think that when you’re in different situations in life, like this pandemic that we’re all exposed to right now, you’re just going to have to be flexible and find what works. Prior to stay at home and kids being home and all of that, I was doing an hour and a half practice every single day, probably for a good year and a half because that was what fit into my schedule. Now with everything having shifted, it looks more like a 30-minute practice that I do when I get into bed. And I actually take melatonin at night. And then I start that meditation practice. And let me tell you, my dreams are amazing. So [crosstalk 00:35:16] melatonin. So that’s just what works for me right now. It’s really the only thing I can fit in until we get into more of a routine with our schedules, all of us being home.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That sounds like a way better habit than looking at my phone while scrolling to sleep.

Dr. Maren:                          Scroll.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Stop and scroll.

Dr. Sethi:                             [crosstalk 00:35:35] that up.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yes. Do you use a guided practice for that, or were you just doing your own [crosstalk 00:35:40].

Dr. Sethi:                             I do. I do. I actually was fortunate enough over the last few years to do some advanced work with Dr. Joe Dispenza. And he does have some meditations that are specifically for getting into that mystical dream state, which is a lovely way to get into sleep afterwards. So that’s what I use at bedtime. When I’m doing my daily practice during the day, when I’m able to do it, sometimes I use meditation as well that he’s shared. And other times I just use… I like to use music rather than spoken word at this point in time. So sometimes, I’ll just tune into that.

Dr. Carrasco:                      But it’s all very inspiring.

Dr. Maren:                          You have inspired my nighttime routine.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yes, yes. We’ll report back.

Dr. Sethi:                             Absolutely.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. We so appreciate it. And we’d love your work. We love what you’re doing in the world. And yeah, we’re just very thankful that you came and shared with our audience.

Dr. Sethi:                             And thank you guys. What you guys are doing is so needed. There’s very little out there for people to tune in to in terms of the type of resources that you’re giving people and the messaging. So just thank you so much and I’m happy to talk to you anytime.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Thank you. We will have you back.

Dr. Sethi:                             All right.

Dr. Maren:                          All right. [crosstalk 00:37:05].

Dr. Carrasco:                      Bye.

Alejandra Carrasco M.D. and Christine Maren D.O.

Hello! We are Alejandra Carrasco M.D. and Christine Maren D.O. We founded Hey Mami because we felt a lack of support for fellow mamis. As physicians, we see women every day who struggle with fertility, are forgotten about postpartum, and have put their health on hold for years while they raise a family. We’re here to change that.

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