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Myth-Busting Perspectives On Stress and Meditation

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Summary
  • The podcast features Dr. Calm discussing stress and meditation
  • Dr. Calm explains the misconception about meditation and the benefits of calming techniques
  • He emphasizes the importance of breaking the cycle of chronic stress by managing thought repetition
  • The discussion highlights the power of choosing positive thoughts and perceptions to shape one’s mindset and overall well-being
Transcript
Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Hi there. I’m Dr. Amelia Scott Barrett. I’m a neurologist and specialist in headaches with a background in functional medicine and biohacking. My own personal journey has brought me to truly understand what it means to live with migraines. So I know that what we all really want is to heal from those underlying conditions that are causing the headaches so that we can get back to the life and the people that we love. Because of this has been my life mission to empower others to take charge of their health. Join me today as we interview leading experts to uncover the latest cutting edge medical techniques and the most actionable health insights to power your health journey. This podcast is reaching you thanks to DrTalks. DrTalks aims to empower 1 billion people to get educated about their serious health conditions. Visit them today at Dr. Talk slash calendar to learn about upcoming summits. Hi, everybody. I am Dr. Amelia Scott Barrett. I am the neurologist and founder of Migraine Relief Code, and I am here today with my special guest, Dr. Calm. Dr. Calm, thank you so much for being here today.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

My pleasure, Amelia. Nice meeting you. Thanks for inviting me.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Absolutely. So to begin with, why don’t you just give us a couple of minutes overview of who you are, what your training is, and what you do, what you bring to the world.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Absolutely. So I was born in India and for the first 25 years of my life, I was brought up there. I went to med school and then I came over to the United States for a higher education, Native American public health. And then I did my internal medicine residency and soon after that are practicing internal medicine. But what I noticed is that there’s a lot of stress in people’s lives and that is directly affecting their health, not just the mental health, but also the physical health, as in so many patients who are stressed out, their diabetes is out of control, high blood pressure, and then they get migraines, headaches, heart attacks, strokes. And I noticed that stress had its fingerprints on almost every single organ system in our body. And I said, we’ve got to do something about it. And fortunately, when I was doing my Masters in Public Health, I took a course on resiliency and stress management that was offered in the Graduate catalog of courses. So and I totally loved it. And not only did I loved it from an intellectual point of view, I was going through a lot of stress at that point of time in my life, and I stumbled upon this course and some of the principles and teaching there, and that has come down instantaneously. Instantaneously. Well, it so happened that yeah, it so happened that the situation was dire at that point of time. Financial problems, care problems, and many other things going on. And I was like, I can’t do it. I can’t do it. And then as my mind was running at million miles a second, restless thoughts kind of upon some of these people competing for them would share with you. What happened was I felt this deep inner peace. I said, How is it possible? Nothing that on me changed the circumstances of still living. How could I feel? Peaceful. But a few moments later of feeling joyful, something prompted me. I began revealing a joyful life falling apart. So. And then they called me professor and asked her What going on? And she said, this sort of how you just accessed you are in need help your inner peace and joy that you would already have that is not dependent on any external circumstances. You tap into it.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

And you know, I think that is really a profound point that you’re making here, that you were accessing something that was independ dint of your external circumstances. And I love how you said stress has its fingerprints on on every organ in our body. That’s so true. Of course I see that all the time in my my people with migraine. So tell us a little bit more about that. I’m curious, what are your thoughts about where stress comes from?

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Should this by itself ease off of the half an hour lecture? But I want to cut it short so most people think that stress comes from their external circumstances or this happened. That happened my wife or husband or vase, you know, and but the truth of the matter is, those circumstances are not the true origin of stress. Stress is alternating from within what is hey. And stress is a state of mind. It is a state of mind at its core. And once you get into that state of mind, for whatever reason, there are three stages of stress. One is that stress, state of mind. What is it that you’re thinking, making you feel miserable and happy? And that leads to stage two, which is stress hormones and is the neurotransmitters and other hormones that lead to stress. And the third stage is the symptoms and things, which is like headache, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, sweating, all these things. So most people equate stress to the symptoms. But the truth of the matter is stress in the state of mind you get into whether consciously or unconsciously.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

So I think this is really profound that the stresses actually coming from your own state of mind as opposed to external circumstances because it’s empowering, right? I mean, you’re a doctor. I’m a doctor. We have both had conversations with people where we know that what’s going on is stress in their lives. They don’t see it. Sometimes it’ll happen that way. Right. And so you kind of gently, you know, walk up to this. So, you know, how’s your stress? You know, try to mess this up to the forefront. That and that. The what I always bump up against in these circumstances is people are telling me I can’t change my circumstances. I cannot change my finances, I cannot change my job. I cannot change my partner. And that always seems to just shut the door on me kind of progress because they feel so stuck in their circumstances. So that’s why I think it’s so important what you’re saying, that it’s not about changing the circumstances you find yourself in. It is about changing you. That is so much more empowering.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

It is absolutely engaging. And this is not to discount the kind of situation that we go through in life, the circumstances and all those things. Yes, of course, can be the triggers or threatening them. Not saying those are not important. Yes, those are important. I understand. I empathize. But as long as you’re giving power to them about circumstances, you’ll be stuck because there’ll always be something else in life that they don’t expect. So the only true way of stress management is go with him, know that the state of mind that is being created from within. I’ll give an example. So imagine someone is driving a car and their friend is sitting next to them and as they’re in their high, they they see an accident and there’s a lot of blood. Body parts looks terrible. 

And you look at it and you’re like, okay, then and then you look next to you. Your friend passes up quickly. They become your friend. And then after he or she feels better, you ask what happened? I don’t know. Like every time I feel blessed, I just pass out. I feel sweaty, palpitations, nausea. And you wonder why. Now the question is it’s stress. That stress reaction that person had is really coming from blood and body parts. Then every single person on the highway, including the policemen and ambulance people, they should pass out, but they’re not. You see, it is very specific. This is a very graphic example, but it’s very specifically about how your mind is producing information and taking it in, feeling the emotion. And that is what is leading to the stress reaction. You see.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

That’s a fantastic example. I love it. Yeah.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yeah. And I’m not kidding because we know that there are doctors who pass out and you see that, you know, I know profit margins, the general population, but it could be some kind of conditioning that happened when they were very, very little. You know, it could be some predisposition that they don’t even know. You know, almost subconsciously, unconsciously, it’s happened to them. But the point is, once you recognize, okay, it is originating from within, that they’re passing God because of that, that you’re reacting in a certain way, because of the situation in your life, whatever it is that is happening now, you have a control back in your head and you say, You know what, I’m not going to let that happen. And I will do everything in my capacity to change it. You are more powerful, not the situation.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah, yeah. You’re more powerful. So, you know, you’re talking about changing your perceptions, how you view things. I feel like one of the tools that people use to try to change their inner world is meditation. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think that’s an important tool?

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yes, meditation is absolutely an amazing way to cut down stress, feel peaceful. And there are so many health benefits because of meditation. In a previous, we used to think, oh, okay, maybe may not be, but now it is research proven. You can see on the MRI for then parts of your brain, like the emotional brain being kind of torn down. And so that is where all the anxiety, restlessness, all that comes down. You start feeling becoming more rational, more clear in your thinking. All that is proven. So there is no doubt about and there are so many studies on meditation, reducing your migraine headaches, our heart attacks and overall health benefits in general. So it’s clear. So I am a big advocate for meditation. However, the problem is once people don’t know what they’re doing when they’re doing meditation, that’s a problem.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah. Tell me more about that. That’s an interesting thing that you’re saying.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Is because you see our world, the Internet world, we are inundated with all this information. You see information overload about meditation and meditation that do this kind of meditation. That kind of meditation. Oh, not that. Not people are already confused to begin with, you know, and it’s hard. And this is adding more confusion. What to do, what not to do. Do I even know I’m doing it right? What should I feel within that? I’m doing meditation. So actually let us start there. What is meditation? And then in fact, I don’t even want to use the term meditation a lot of time because there are a lot of misconceptions about it. I simply call it a calming technique, a practical tool that you could use to calm your mind towards meditation. Meditation is attaining a state of mind. There is not even a flicker of restless thought there. Your mind is totally filled. That’s ultimate goal. That is then actually. Yes, I have touched that. And when you get there you are like.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah, so let’s explore this a little bit more because your best in a lot of minutes here today. Dr. Calm, first of all, you said stress doesn’t come where you think it comes from. And now you’re telling us that that meditation isn’t quite what you think it is, that there that it’s about kind of getting away from restlessness, getting to a place of stillness. Now, I think that a lot of people who are new to meditation feel like the idea is to sit down, calm your mind, and get rid of all thoughts. Right? And so then I, you know, I teach people meditation and they’re like, but I had a thought and now I feel bad and I did it wrong. And then they’re stressed out again. So tell me more about this. What do you think is the goal like? What are people searching for? Tell me about what that state of mind feels like that people are basically mentally rehearsing in their meditation?

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yeah. Yeah. So for that, I think we need to differentiate between premeditation and meditation, to be honest, to make it really clear. So premeditation, actually, you sitting there doing some kind of technique, trying to put yourself in a comfortable position and doing all those things. And as you continue to do that, practice the technique and to sit still and all that at some point of time. What happens is you certainly feel like no more thoughts in your head, kind of disappear as if someone has vacuumed them out. And then you feel this intense state of peace. You feel secure. You feel like nothing can really disturb you. It really doesn’t matter what happens. I’m happy that is your state.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah. I’m hearing a lot of elevated emotions in that peace, contentment that sort of thing. Do you do you suppose that it would help people to think, all right, I am going to intentionally feel these emotions and then the absence of thought is sort of a byproduct of that, because I feel like when people obsess about trying to stop their thoughts, all that happens is they’re more aware of their thoughts.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

To to because our human minds are very much used to being restless all our lives. We are running around thinking about this, trying to do this, that, you know, whatever it is. So our minds are habituated to restlessness. So let us touch point and meditation as you keep practicing it more and more. What happens is that habitual restlessness turns into habitual cognition. Your mind is not any more running here. You’re like focused, calm, and you use pot as a tool because court is nothing but a tool. You use it. I’m using my thoughts right now, talking to you, excluding people. Yet I’m calm. You see. So it is okay to have pop. It is not so much about not having thoughts or having pot. You know, when you need pot, use them and you don’t need them, put them to rest. That’s what people need to learn. And meditation is a very powerful way to do that. You know what you cannot do by yourself, you know, thinking about it because the more you think about it, the more respect you get. As you said, you know, I want to put myself in a happy state. And the moment you think about it, all the bad experiences start coming into your mind when you are happy. So meditation, by using certain techniques that are proven, you can bypass all these threats like pot, you know, all this conditioning that we are used to. You can bypass all those and cut through that and get to that one point or focus concentration, which is very essential, really deeply penetrate into that state of the call because what it is.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

So these techniques that you’re talking about is that part of your system or is that something different?

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yes, it is part of the system. What does speed is system is it was almost a decade ago I thought about, you know, trust is a major issue for a lot of people. And it is probably one of the biggest epidemic, if not the biggest epidemic of all time. That is what I think, because everyone is stressed and I go to seminars. How many of you are stressed? 99 of people raise their hand. There’s one person who is not raising their hand. And then I tell you, a liar and a lot. Yes. And they raise their hand, too. So no other disease, illness has affected people, you know, so much as stress, and yet it doesn’t get as much importance. You know, people say, yeah, it is doing it, but not really see how much we did for COVID, right? But stress is a far bigger problem than COVID. So now I said, you know, if we are dealing with an epidemic, a global epidemic of this size, then the solution must be very simple. Very simple, because if you do complex solutions, people are not going to follow them. So and then I designed this palliative system, which comprises of three principles to relaxation exercises, one, calming technique and what is say, even if you practice 15 to 20 minutes a day of this system, most of you sleep. I dare say 80 to 90% of just can be taken care of.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Wow, that’s a exercise. Tell us more about the question. Yeah.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yeah, yeah. So coming back to our discussion about meditation and part of it because it is related to the system, again, not you don’t need to feel guilty that you are having all these parts. It is totally okay because in your mind part flow continues. And let me give you an example. Per day, you have 50 to 70000 thoughts that run through your mind. There are so many thoughts, right? Because just parts flow continuously, like water flows continuously in the river, quite flow continuously in your mind, like water flows continuously in a river. Now this is what you need to remember. As long as the parts are flowing freely in your mind, you will be naturally peaceful and joyful. But in a natural state, the moment there is stagnation of parts, you feel stressed, miserable, unhappy, like for example, when there is stagnation of water, it is a dam. It is something that is blocking the water flow and the previously healthy river water all of a sudden becomes foul smelling, not drinkable anymore. The same way when you cleared the dam in your mind that is blocking the flow of pop. You feel unhappy, you feel miserable. Because what happened is how the dam formed in your mind is you thinking about something bad that happened. Your boss said something two weeks ago, the bottle quality forgot about it, but you didn’t. You keep repeating that in your head. Are you worried about something in the future? And then you keep repeating that in your head. You start imagining the most, you know, fear from the future. And as you do that, all that is going to make your thoughts accumulate. You know, you’re stuck on that, and you create that state in your mind. And often this happens unconsciously. Most people have no clue. This happens unconsciously.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah. You’re bringing attention to a very interesting thought here that it is really the stagnation of thoughts, the repetitive thoughts that are the problem. It’s not getting rid of all thoughts and it’s a global thing, but working on the places where you’re stuck. That’s what is more important. Yeah, I have not heard that perspective on it before. That’s interesting. Yeah.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yeah. And that is how we actually differentiate acute stress from chronic stress. So if you go into the definition of acute stress versus chronic stress, acute stress is a normal physiological response that we all have and it is a perfect response, supposed to help us from illness, from threat or tiger bear, if it is, you know, all kinds.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Of.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Hundreds and thousands of years ago. So it gives you the fight or flight response. So that, you know, your body adapts to that situation and can fight in front of me. Now, in this modern world, we don’t have anymore. Tigers are lions in our life. Our constant companions now are psychological stressors constantly. And we those are the tigers in large quantities of psychological stress. Tigers, you know, like anxiety, worry, fear, days that whatever it is. And what happens is we are turning that acute stress into chronic stress. Chronic stress is pathological and it results from a repetitive painting program. In your mind, that is a dysfunction. So let me give you an example. Imagine a zebra being hunted down by a lion in African savanna and the river escapes. Let’s say after that, maybe in 45 minutes or so, it comes back to its natural state. More time creates makes us different, but at the same thing happens to you as a human being. Let’s say you went on an African safari tour and then you got on the bus and straight away from the rest of the tour. It and then all of a sudden you see a lion there, your freeze that’s getting palpitations, you can move and the lion is ready to attack. You’re better done. You close your eyes and all of a sudden you had a gunshot from your tour guide. 

And the lion runs from there listening to the train and you are brought back to the bus, totally exhausted. And in the next 30 to 45 minutes, probably your body is going to slow down and you feel better, but your mind going to slow down. Now, you keep thinking about what happened. And not only that, everyone, Gared said only after what happened and you tell them the story, you do that the whole day, but end of the day you feel so tired. You go to sleep in the middle of the night, you wake up nightmares and the light is attacking you like this is terrible trip. I never want to go to Africa again. So you go back to your country and then you continue the story by telling everyone a gym at the office. And three months later you seem to feel like you’re being attacked by the lion. You wake up every night with nightmares. Now you’ve got PTSD, you see. So what’s happening with human beings compared to animals is being human beings have a tendency to turn acute stress into chronic stress by not letting go of that event for another month. We either attach it to the past memory or imagine a fearful future and repeat these negative thoughts in our mind like a stuck feeling. You know, just know revolving constantly. So it’s a reason for chronic stress.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah, it almost sounds like we have a choice with our minds. We can either repeat the negative events of our past, or we can focus on positive emotions, joy, clarity, peace, and whatever it is that we’re repeating. That is how we are going to sculpt the brain. We are creating the the forces that sculpt our own brains by what we choose to think about, either rehearsing those negative events of the past or, you know, rehearsing potential, you know, the positive aspects of the moment. And then you sort of end up with the brain that is the result of that choice that you’ve made. Sounds like that’s what you’re saying, right?

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

That’s rough on what you said. Yes. That your brain is a result of what you are thinking constantly. It is not the other way around. Of course, they both interact what you are thinking and how it affects your brain and what is your brain structurally and how it affects your thinking. You know, it is that simultaneous process is going on, but you do have a choice. That’s the whole point about this. And you need to break that chronic stress cycle. You know, you need to break the link between that acute stress and chronic stress and take out of that chronic stress. And that is what I teach. Like how you break it, break it, break a cycle, come out of it. You retain the acute stress, the physiological normal response that is good for you when it is meeting, but break away completely from that psychological stress that you’re experiencing all your life for one reason or another. And I am free now. It really doesn’t matter what you think of me. It really doesn’t matter what someone is posting on social media. So happy. Oh my god. My life is so bad competition. A lot of people live in that social media world right now. And even the real life circumstances, you know, financially, I’m not doing this. I’m not doing good. But you don’t have to give power to all those things. That’s the point. You know, if you can access your email, help what I call your inner set of peace and joy. That is reading for you within it is like an ocean within. And if you can access it, then the surface waves, all the things, the circumstances of life. Stop affecting your lunch. Yeah, once in a while. Once in a while, there may be a big tsunami will affect you. But from a day to day perspective, you know, you’re not anymore bothered by that. Okay. I’m happy as I am. So how does it matter if I had $1,000,000? Ah, yes, a little bit of money, of course. I’m not telling you to ignore your financial needs, your physiological needs. All those need to be met, there’s no doubt about it. You know, you don’t need to be poor, but also it doesn’t mean that you need $1,000,000 before you can be really happy.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah, well, Dr. Kim, you’ve busted another myth here today when you started talking about the difference between acute and chronic stress. I thought you were going to say, like a short term event versus a long term event, like long term events, because chronic stress may be related to job or partner or whatever. Yeah, you busted that myth again to buy a pointing out that it’s really our own repetition of that event that creates the chronic stress. Interesting. It’s an interesting take on it. Thank you for sharing that.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Yeah. And not that you brought an important point to it, not to undermine the effect of the chronic stresses in our life. If you’re in a bad relationship and abusive relationship, if there is something like chronic pain in your life, like migraine or something else, I mean, all those things do have real affect on our brain and our mindset, there is no doubt about it. But even then what I’m saying is by giving power to those things you’re making yourself, but if you start taking that power into your hands, you slowly cheapening those events in your life and make them powerless. Mm hmm. You know, I think that it’s a shift in the way that we think that is important more than anything else, you know, that is going to set the direction, because you said this is causing problems. This is causing problems. Probably are going to go down and think deep into the pit of misery. But you’re saying, you know what the problem is? There is my perception and what I do or what I do. That is what is going to help it. Then you’re going to slowly come out of that pit of misery and finally work on the problem. And it may be a long, arduous process sometimes, you know, because we have problems in life whether we want it or not. And that happens. And that is a whole complete discussion of why and all that. But it is how we are tackling it ultimately. But it is not only how we’re tackling it. What do you know that will help you tackle the right way? That is what the PD system is about.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Yeah, that sounds so helpful. And if people want to find out more about your work, how can they do that?

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Well, they can simply type in my name. Doctor, calm now. My name is Karen in Diyala. I’m a physician, author speaker I got this name from that is a big story, but that’s my brand now. So if you type in simply my name, Dr. Karen in Diyala simply type in Dr. going to try and we on Google are you can go to my website doctor calm dark world the film dot W R and D and a bunch of books that I have written and lots of videos on my website that are free. You could use it. And this is a webinar what is called Happiness Therapy. It is a 30 minute powerful video that you could use it right now and then. So more information. You can always email me on Twitter at free revolution, at gmail.com, and I’m here to help.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. And I just wanted to say that one more time. Dr. Calm, diet world slash webinars, DRC, al m, world slash webinars for more information. And Dr.. Calm, thank so much for being here with us today. I so much appreciate you sharing your myth busting wisdom about stress and what to do about it.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Dr. Bader, I really appreciate you. We had such a great interaction. And again, thank you so much for inviting me to this podcast. And I know you yourself are an expert in migraine and you advocate for calm in people’s lives by thereby meditating or doing something else. And thanks so much for doing all the things that you are doing to help patients and the people of this world. More people need it like you.

 

Amelia Scott Barrett, MD

Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate you saying that. All right. Thank you.

 

Kiran Dintyala, MD, MPH, ABIHM

Bye.

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