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Dr. Bill Bergman: Holistic Medicine / Stress Management

 

Dr. Bill Bergman

Bill Bergman, M.D. is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. • He has been practicing holistic medicine and stress management for close to 50 years. • Dr. Bill lives in Naples, Florida where he is offering private stress management consultations, volunteering as a health educator for St. Matthew’s House and serving as a clinician for SignifyHealth.

“Well, to really have real hope that whatever you’re dealing with, whenever a person is dealing with, no matter what the challenges are, it’s not what it may seem to be. There’s opportunities in every challenge to be able to grow through it, to learn from it and to really advance in a kind of soul development. And of course we want the best for everyone. We want the best circumstances, but life is what it is. And it’s, for most of us, perhaps every one of us, it’s filled with life challenges. But we can be very hopeful that God is there, that there are insights that we gain from the latest brain science that help us to be able to understand how stress is formed, how unwanted habits are formed, that that understanding and insight gives us a way through all of this, so that we can really have much greater freedom, much greater happiness and wellbeing in our life, whatever circumstances we might be facing”. -Dr. Bill Bergman

Contact Dr. Bill Bergman:

Website:http://www.drbergman.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billbergmanmd/

Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMDAHR5rUNwZQSiiNDzLcTQ

 
 
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Show notes:
  • Nada Hogan:
    Women are powerful and have accomplished great things. Yet, sometimes we suffer from self doubt, fear, and limiting beliefs. We often believe that we are not good enough. These negative beliefs stop us from achieving our goals. Welcome to Sprinting to Success, a podcast dedicated to women who have experienced struggles, yet found ways to step into their power, their greatness, and learn to embrace challenges. These women will share their stories and give you insights to help you on your path so you can follow your dreams. And now here’s your host, Esmie Lawrence.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Welcome. This episode is sponsored by my coauthor course. I’m looking for 10 to 16 writers for the book, step Into Your Power. You write your story, or I will interview you and turn your interview into your story. Use your story, only 4,000 words, to inspire others. Speak on stages, do workshops, or become an authority. Contact Esmie today at esmielawrence.com, and now, my guest is a magna cum laude, Phi Delta Kappa graduate of Amherst College, and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has been practicing holistic medicine and stress management for close to 50 years.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    He lives in Naples, Florida, where he is offering private stress management consultants, volunteering as a health educator at St. Matthew’s house, and serving as a clinician for Cigna Health. My guest today is Dr. Bill Bergman.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Dr Bergman. It’s so nice to see you.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Thank you Esmie.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Oh, it’s an honor to have you on my show. I want to go back to you. What kind of child were you, and what challenges did you have as a child?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, I guess, I always wanted to be a doctor, somehow, even when I was young, I was watching TV shows with Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare, and I had, as a child, I had a very strong influence from my family, particularly my father who was a dentist, his father, my grandfather was a dentist. My uncle was a medical doctor, and so I really was kind of… I had kind of the perspective on wanting to be in the medical field, and wanting to be of help to people. And I was very idealistic, and I was raised in a Jewish home, although it was more kind of culturally Jewish, it wasn’t really like a lot of religion, but I sort of at the prompting of my uncle, my folks sent me to Hebrew school, and I really was kind of interested in why we actually, as a Jewish person, why we didn’t read the New Testament.

    Dr. Bergman:
    As I was growing up, I had friends in high school who were Christian, and they introduced me to the Bible and Jesus, so there was some kind of conflicts with my family. Not serious, but just where, I was very idealistic, and kind of very open minded, and was willing to really kind of explore whatever was out there. But through it all, it was really kind of a career in medicine that was the stable point for me.

    Dr. Bergman:
    I was not really a great student as a youngster. I mean, I had my challenges in doing well in school, but somehow I began to kind of blossom in high school, from the point of view of really taking an interest in learning, and being able to kind of understand things, and began to read more and actually became a pretty good student in high school. Then as a result, I could go to a good college and from there prepare to go to medical school, and I had a pretty good background. There’s no doubt about it. I had parents who were very loving and very supportive, and the influence from my uncle in terms of the medical field. Even though there was some challenges in my teenage years, I basically had a very good childhood.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Where I began to have some more serious problems was when I kind of became a hippie. It actually, for me, was happening when I was in medical school. Again, it was partly a kind of idealism, kind of open minded to explore everything, and I think I probably got into some difficulties with kind of the hippie lifestyle in those years. But I still pursued my interest in medicine and graduated from the Medical School at Columbia University, and through that I kind of became interested in a more preventive, holistic approach to health care.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    So you were destined as a child to become a doctor in the medical profession, because that’s your family’s history, and then of course you weren’t a good student, growing as a young child, but then you found your way in high school. What were some of the challenges that you had in high school as a young man?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, in high school, I really wanted, at that point it was clear to me I was going to have to really work hard to get into medical school, and so I began to kind of really focus on doing well enough that I could get accepted to medical school, and I think in some ways I really enjoyed high school, but I kind of maybe became more of a kind of… It wasn’t necessarily the most balanced approach, because I was so focused on really doing well enough to be able to go to college and eventually get into medical school. I think in some ways I remained very open minded, but still I wasn’t necessarily… It was a challenge to be able to really kind of be a balanced person.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. What was the point in high school that you said to yourself, “If I want to go into medical school, I better start studying”? what point was that and what brought you to that point where you say, “I need to get better marks”?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, I think I kind of… My mother was a very strong influence in my life, and she could see that although I had this kind of interest in medicine, even from when I was a child, that somehow I wasn’t taking my studies that seriously, and she kind of pointed me in the right direction in terms of academics. That’s when I really began to focus.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. In high school you were just mainly an academic young man, or did you try and do other things in high school?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Yeah. I mean, I was like the editor in chief of our high school yearbook, but my focus was pretty much on, at that point, getting into a good college, going to a good medical school eventually, and it wasn’t necessarily, as I say, balanced. I would’ve been better off also, getting involved in some sports activities, which I ended up doing in college, became involved with wrestling for a number of years, but the focus really was a good college and a good medical school

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. Now, how did you become a hippie? Explain that one.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, in medical school, it was the 1960s, and there was a lot of upheaval going on. I was at the medical school at Columbia university. There was a lot of upheaval at the main university campus downtown. We were at the medical school, which was like…

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Well, what was happening during that time?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, it was the war in Vietnam was happening, and there was a lot of social unrest. I had friends who were very much involved in kind of political activism, and then I had other friends that were kind of more interested in being kind of like a flower child of the 1960s, and meanwhile I wanted to really do well in medical school. But, in the climate of that kind of cultural upheaval, either kind of getting involved politically or kind of dropping out from society, that was kind of the cultural context in which I was pursuing my medical education.

    Dr. Bergman:
    I ended up going out to, after medical school, going out to do my postgraduate training in Denver with friends who are kind of more on hippie side of things, and left my New York political activist friends in the big city, in New York, and went out to the Rocky Mountains with that other group of friends.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right.

    Dr. Bergman:
    That was a time that I, as I look back, I think it was, there were elements of it that were very constructive, but I think there was also, that kind of hippie lifestyle was not really healthy, as I look back on it now.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    So, give us an example of the hippie lifestyle.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Just too much marijuana, I would say was the main feature there.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Was that drugs and free love, is that what it was?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Yeah, not to an extreme. I mean it was basically the marijuana, which kind of, for me was… I kind of justified it at the time as kind of personal development, exploration of higher consciousness, but I didn’t realize at the time, you pay a price for that kind of experimentation with drugs. Fortunately it was not into more serious drugs, but… Yeah.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Well, they say marijuana is a gateway to other drugs.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, it can be, certainly, it can be. I think any time that we really begin to look for something outside of our ourselves to fulfill our spiritual longing, for the soul development, we’re going to have some challenges. And when it comes to using substances, whatever the drugs might be, or alcohol, whatever it is, I think that’s going to, at least from my point of view and from my belief system, based on my experience and what I’ve seen in so many other people, is that the drugs really are very enticing, but it ends up you pay a serious price.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Now, fortunately I was able to kind of wake up from all of that, began to read the Bible much more seriously in the early ’70s, graduated from the medical school in 1970 and then became much more involved reading the Bible and the New Testament, even though, as I say, I was from a Jewish background. The first time I was really kind of identifying with the wisdom that where I was reading in the New Testament, The Sermon on the Mount, and the attitudes, and really realizing that was the true path for me.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. Tell me a little bit more about… You, coming from a Jewish family, and believing in the Old Testament, and then now meeting new friends, and exploring the New Testament. What did that do to the family when they realized that you were doing this?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, it was kind of challenging. I mean, that was one of the challenges that was going on between myself and my family. I mean, I became kind of convinced that this was not only the right path for me, but that I wanted to kind of share it, maybe a little bit too aggressively with my family, in terms of my interest in the Bible, my interest in the New Testament, my interest in Jesus, and it created some tension, to say the least. But again, I had a very loving family, not just my immediate family, but also my aunts and uncles.

    Dr. Bergman:
    It’s not that they were that kind of… As I said, they were more kind of culturally identified with Judaism rather than it really being a kind of a religious path for them, but my uncle, he was much more definitely religious, and he had a harder time with my interest in not only the New Testament and the Bible in general, Jesus, and all of that, but also my interest in holistic medicine. Here I was a graduate of the Medical School at Columbia University, a very, in many ways, very conventional, traditional medical school, and at the same time I was kind of exploring about homeopathic medicines, and herbs, and acupuncture, and some of these alternative… At that time we called it alternative, now, we kind of call it integrative approaches to medicine and health care.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. What brought you to study alternative or integrated medicine from the traditional way of doctor’s doing things? What brought you to look at someplace else?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, I originally, as I said, I had always wanted to really have a career path in medicine and healthcare. When I went to medical school I was very much thinking in terms of becoming an eye surgeon. They have a great Eye Institute at the Medical School at Columbia University, and that kind of was my initial path, but in the third year of medical school, when you leave the classrooms, in the first two years, and you really go into the hospital for the first time, you’re assigned a kind of older professor of medicine, a preceptor they called it, a mentor, and he would bring our little group of seven or eight third year medical students around the wards of Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Grokoest was his name and he was a specialist in researching rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune illness. As you know, autoimmune illness, whether it’s rheumatoid arthritis, or other of autoimmune illness, is when the body takes antibodies that are normally protective against infection, and begins to turn it on the body’s own tissues. That’s why they call it autoimmune, and he was just-

    Dr. Bergman:
    … tissues. That’s why they call it autoimmune. He was a specialist in that, and he was doing major research in that. But he sat us down one afternoon, a little group of third year medical students… And this was after days of him showing us patients in the hospital with serious arthritic problems and autoimmune illness, and analyzing the physical exam and the laboratory values. He sat us down one afternoon and said, “Never forget that this is a psychosomatic illness.”

    Dr. Bergman:
    I was absolutely stunned because when I heard him say psychosomatic, I immediately thought imaginary or like, “What’s he saying? That the patient is kind of imagining that this illness?” This was after he had shown us the physical exams and the laboratory reports.

    Dr. Bergman:
    But he went on to explain that psycho means mind, somatic means body, and psychosomatic means mind body. So he pointed me for the first time to what we now know to be the mind-body connection. That changed my career path from a career as an eye surgeon to a career path in… Back then we called it holistic medicine. Again, we now call it integrative or functional medicine, because everything is now based on the science coming more and more together and unifying. But back then it was alternative medicine, holistic medicine.

    Dr. Bergman:
    But that was the thing that kind of just changed my career path. That one relationship with that one medical preceptor.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. Tell us a little bit more about holistic medicine. The mind, the body.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, holistic medicine is based on a worldview, or let’s say a mindset, that recognizes that the human system is one integrated whole. That we have the body, we have the mind, and we have the spirit.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Now, that to me is a more amplified view of what we mean by holistic medicine or integrative medicine. That we recognize not just the physical and psychological elements of human existence, but we also recognize the spiritual elements. But the spiritual element is very much marginalized in the kind of general consensus out there. Even in holistic medicine, people will sometimes talk about the spiritual aspect, but the emphasis is very much more on the mind and the body.

    Dr. Bergman:
    I believe that that’s very incomplete, unless we take into account that we have a spiritual nature as well. That we have higher spiritual qualities. That we have the mind, we have the body, we have the spirit all working together. It’s an integrated whole.

    Dr. Bergman:
    When we become ill, our whole system, to some degree, is out of balance. It’s not like an automobile where you can have one little part broken, and somehow every other part is perfect in the car. It’s just one little part. You go ahead and you bring it to a mechanic. He finds out what part needs to be replaced, he replaces that part, and then the car is fixed.

    Dr. Bergman:
    In chronic disease… I’m not talking about an accident, which actually is where a kind of mechanical view of the human being makes sense, and in trauma and an accident. But when it comes to chronic disease, we’re not a biological machine. We have to understand that any part of the body that’s out of balance is going to affect the rest of the system in some way. And so-

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Like compensating, I guess, right? Like compensating.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Yeah, and-

    Esmie Lawrence:
    If one is off, then the others are going to compensate, and they’re all going to be off.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Yes. The whole system has to be in balance. Mind, body, and spirit. That’s why we… And I feel that the spiritual element is very important because that, I believe, is the eternal part of what really we’re about as a human being.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. How does one stay healthy spiritually mind-body? How does that work? When you see somebody who is imbalanced, what does that look like?

    Dr. Bergman:
    When they’re out of balance?

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Imbalance. Imbalance first, yes.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Yes, imbalance. Well, depending on the genetic background, which is something that we inherit from our ancestors, that will define the way that the imbalance within the system expresses itself.

    Dr. Bergman:
    For example, we can have genetic tendencies towards, let’s say, Alzheimer’s, or genetic tendencies towards cancer, or we can have genetic tendencies towards diabetes. But that’s just the way in which, based on our genetic background and the genetic expression of our genes which get turned on and off, that defines the nature of the chronic illness in terms of what the symptoms are. How it expresses itself, how it manifests itself. But the cause lies in deeper imbalances within the system.

    Dr. Bergman:
    That’s why we have to… To get to the root causes of it, we have to look… Well, if we’re talking about the physical elements, we have to look at particularly our nutrition or our environments. We have to look at the degree to which there may be environmental toxins that are impacting us. We have to look at our diet and whether or not the food we’re eating, because of the processing or the additives, might be causing an imbalance. We have to look at kind of the psychological aspects of what might be throwing us out of balance psychologically, like stress for example, is a very significant cause of stress. Actually, it’s a stress source. Stress comes-

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Dr. Bergman, so explain what stress is.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Stress is actually our response to anything which is tending to throw us out of balance. We call the thing that’s triggering the stress response within us, we call that the stressor.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Now, a lot of times, we think that the stressor is the cause of our stress. But the stressor is something outside that is triggering potentially a stress response within us. The stress response is the tension, is the uncomfortable feeling that we experience. But the cause is not the thing that’s triggering it. The cause is how we are relating to that trigger.

    Dr. Bergman:
    That’s why I’ve moved from stress management to stress relief, because we actually can… By understanding the nature of stress, that it’s a potential response to the stressor, but it’s how we respond to the stressor. So the power is within us. We can be exposed to very significant stressors and still not necessarily experience a high degree of stress.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. Hans Selye I think that’s said that it’s not stress that kills us, it’s how we react to it.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Exactly. That’s why it’s very important to draw the distinction between the stressor, whether it’s an environmental toxin or whether or not it’s, let’s say, a challenge at work, and the actual stress experience, which is how we’re relating to that. If it’s an environmental toxin, to what degree do we have, for example, the ability to deal with that toxin through the liver, for example, or other detoxification mechanisms that are within the body? If it’s, let’s say, a difficult situation at work, we can change the way we relate to that situation in such a way that we either feel a lot of stress, or we don’t feel any stress at all.

    Dr. Bergman:
    So that gives us the power. Because it’s not that stress is being caused from the outside, it’s how we are responding to the stressor. That’s within our control.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. I love what you said, that it gives us the power. Because two different people can be in the same environment, and one can manage stress really well, another will go totally crazy and they’re totally stressed out. So it’s how we see it, and how we think about stress. So it’s coming, and we know stress is always going to be there, but it’s how we react to it, how we think about it. So I’m glad you say that, because we have the power, we can control how we feel about a situation.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Your example where two people might be exposed to the same stressor but have two very different experiences.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Outcome, yes.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Even within ourself, if we’re, for example, maybe not getting enough rest, or we’re not really kind of eating properly, then our response to one stressor could be completely different than that same stressor after we’ve had a good night’s sleep. So even our own response can change, which proves that it isn’t the thing out there, the stressor, it’s what’s happening within us. The power is within us.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Ladies and gentlemen, did you hear that? The power is within us. I love that.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Let’s talk about stress management. So then how does someone… I know that we talked about the mind and it’s what we think about stress. But give somebody who’s out there still struggling with stress, what advice can you give them to relieve stress?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, I think the more insight we have about how stress is created within us, the insight itself begins to change how we handle the stressors in our life. The key… I mean, stress management is basically saying, “Well, I’ve got stress, so I want to manage it. Maybe I want to kind of like avoid the situation, or I want to kind of like just release the stress.” That’s all stress management. But what’s much more empowering is stress relief. That’s where we actually come to an understanding we have the power to define our experience, no matter what the stressor.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Now, the stressor may be, in some cases, could be very, very traumatic. I mean, it could have been a situation where someone is facing a robbery, or rape, or whatever. A stressor can be considerably traumatic, but the person’s response to it is still, in a way, within them. Even in the most challenging situation, a person can see stress in a way in which loses a lot of its power. That has to do with just gaining more and more insight that the stress response is within us. It’s not being caused from the outside. As soon as you think it’s being caused from the outside, in other words, that the stressor is the cause of the stress, then you are becoming a victim of your circumstances.

    Dr. Bergman:
    The more insight… So stress management is giving people kind of like tools to be able to handle the stress. What I’m talking about in terms of stress relief is helping people to gain their own personal insight as to how stress is being created from within them. That is very empowering. Rather than being a victim of circumstances, we are basically expressing our own inner power.

    Dr. Bergman:
    That’s where the spiritual element comes in. Because from my point of view, God is there wanting to help us in every situation in every moment. But one of the biggest challenges that we have is we may not be thinking of or believing in a God that really is kind of wanting to help us and loves us in all circumstances.

    Dr. Bergman:
    They’ve done studies on this. A large percentage of people who believe in God believe that God is very angry with them, that God is ready to punish them if they make mistakes. That view of God actually turns out to be quite unhealthy. They’re even proving this now with brain scans and all. Because if we believe in a God who is angry and upset with us and always ready to kind of like punish us for our mistakes or whatever, it creates fear within the system. That itself is a very unhealthy emotion to carry.

    Dr. Bergman:
    I mean, fear is fine in a short situation. If you’re driving down an interstate, and a truck swerves in your path, you want to be able to have fear of an accident and really, the stress response kicks in to save your life. But ongoing fear, ongoing stress wears away and creates inflammation at the cellular level. So the more we understand a God of love, that’s the key. It’s not just believing in God, it’s believing in a God who is there in every moment, wanting to help us.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    A God that’s kind, and loving, and caring. We’re his children, and he wants the best for us. So you can ask God for help, right? But he’s not going to be angry at you. You have to believe in a God that’s loving and kind, and then take your power back. Take the control of your life, and know that you can manage stress. Right? So whatever comes your way, you know that, “I can do it. I can manage it.” Even if you fail the first time or second time, just if you believe that you can manage stress, that will definitely make a difference in your life.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s so well stated.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    You were talking about the leaky gut. What’s the relationship between leaky gut and stress?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, it’s very interesting. The leaky gut is a situation where inflammation that can cause all kinds of problems within the body, especially, begins in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result of inflammation… This inflammation in the gut, I mean, part of it, it can be generated just again, through very poor food choices, environmental toxins. But the stress response, we often feel emotions in the gut.

    Dr. Bergman:
    We identify the gut with feelings. I feel like I got punched in the gut. Because the gut has its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system. It’s very, very sensitive to toxins, to stress.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Sensitive to toxins, to stress, to the stress response, and as a result of inflammation in the gut, which means a low grade damage to the lining of the gut inflammation. When it’s kind of an acute inflammation like a sprained ankle or a bruised elbow, that will come and go, it will heal. But what we’re talking about here is low grade ongoing chronic injury to the lining of the. And that kind of inflammation in the gut, it creates these kind of pores, openings, that normally are not there, but as a result of inflammation and injury, low grade injury, we develop a kind of porous gut lining and they call it leaky gut. And it means that things that normally would be kept out of the bloodstream begin to get absorbed. Toxins, bacteria, pre digested food particles, that normally would be kept out through the porous gut lining from the inflammation, begin to allow things that should be kept out of the bloodstream to be absorbed into the bloodstream. And this generates inflammation in many parts of the body. And again, it depends on the genetic background. For some people, it will take more of a form of inflammation in the brain. Other people might take the form of inflammation in the blood vessels to the heart. There can be all different ways in which inflammation manifests based on the genetic background.

    Dr. Bergman:
    But basically causes some of the major injuries to the gut lining, the leaky gut. And from there it creates problems, as I say in the heart and the brain. In fact, now there’s a lot of research on the gut brain connection and how inflammation in the brain, which is predisposing people to early onset dementia and all these kinds of neurological problems, actually originates in the gut.

    Dr. Bergman:
    So that gets to the point I was making at the very beginning of our interview, which is that, to be like an expert now in neurology, you’ve kind of got to understand a lot of gastroenterology, whether it’s to really understand brain science, you have to also understand about the science of the gut. Years past, you could become a gastroenterologist and you just focused on the gut and that was that. Or you became a neurologist, you focused on the brain and the nervous system, and that was that. Now to become a leading edge neurologist or a leading edge gastroenterologists, you have to learn the other specialty because everything is interconnected. And the leaky gut and gut brain connection is one example of that.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Wow. That’s amazing how everything connects, as you say, the body, the mind, the spirit, everything’s all connected. So back in the day, in the caveman day where we were afraid of getting eaten by a lion. We’re stressed and then the line is gone. Yeah. And then of course the stress decreased and we go back to living normally. But now, it’s almost like people are so stressed out. It’s almost like there’s a lion behind them every single day.

    Dr. Bergman:
    That’s right.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    How does that affect their health?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well that’s it. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Stress is a God given response to danger because there are legitimate dangers out there. But the problem is that we’re living in such a way that we more or less are putting ourselves under stress. Again, it’s the what’s being created within us by the way that we are looking and interpreting our challenges, our problems, our circumstances in such a way that we have ongoing persistent stress. This is highly inflammatory in the system and it’s one of the major causes of chronic disease, no matter what form that disease takes.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    All right. I was watching them a few YouTube channels regarding stress. And you were saying a lot of patients go to the doctors and they’re on antidepressant and it’s because of stress.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, unfortunately, we’re in a time in our culture where people want immediate results and no medications… Now, I’m not against Medicaid, I’m not against pharmaceutical medication when it’s necessary. But I work with so many people that are looking for an alternative to prescription drugs, either they are having side effects or not getting a particularly good response and they want to get off of them or people who are just looking to avoid taking them in the first place. And there are so many ways in which we can help people to be able to really manage their emotional States. Again, from my point of view, bringing the spiritual element into it gives us such an enormous advantage compared to a more secular view of things where you look at the mind and the body, but you don’t necessarily take into account there’s a God of love ready to be there and assist us all. All that’s needed is for us to recognize, acknowledge and ask for that help, in a way it couldn’t be more simple, not that it’s going to be problem solved, but just over immediate. But it’s a process. But we want to bring the spiritual element in as much as possible.

    Dr. Bergman:
    The whole idea is to be able to give people options so that you can avoid taking medications unnecessarily to begin with, or get off them if they’re having side effects or whatever, or whether they’re just looking for a better way. And those are the people that I work with, and particularly now I focus on people with destructive habits and addictions because that’s a major cause, a major stressor for the stress response, is people just having an addiction to a substance or to a particular behavior, whatever form it takes. The brain science on this is very exciting because the prevailing point of view is that, we have to somehow solve all of our deep emotional causes, that we’re responsible for creating our habit to begin with but we have to solve those deep personal problems before we can end the habit of the addiction.

    Dr. Bergman:
    It turns out that’s not true. We do have to just understand how the brain creates a habit or an addiction, reverse that process, and then when the habit is no longer a problem for us, then we can get on with dealing with the challenges of our life and the personal issues that maybe help to form the habit in the beginning. But at least the person will no longer be encumbered with their addiction or with a destructive habit.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Right. And so Dr. Bergman, how do you decrease your stress?

    Dr. Bergman:
    I am always turning to God. Remember I mentioned stress is a God given signal that maybe there’s something legitimately to fear that we need to take corrective action? Well, the way that I look at stress, the way I’ve come to understand it and now that I teach other people is that you can think of stress even more broadly as kind of like the rumble strips on a highway. You’re driving down and then you kind of deviate a little bit and you start feeling those rumbles on the tires, that tells you you’ve got to make the correction with the steering wheel, right?

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Like warning signals.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Right. And that’s the way I think God intended it. That stress is actually like the rumble strips, well maybe like the check engine light on the dashboard telling us that we’ve got to take some corrective action. So in my case, and I recommend it for anyone who chooses to look at it from this point of view is that, that’s kind of like a signal that rumble strip, that stress response that, oh, I’m off course, and then think about God, think about… And for those who maybe want to just think in terms of a higher power with some spiritual element that works for them. For me, the idea that there’s a personal God that loves us and wants to help us in every moment, is just the most fantastic truth to eventually understand as being true. That’s how I personally handle it.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    That is awesome because spirituality, believe in God. When I’m feeling stressed out, I pray and I said, “God, help me, guide me and protect me,” because my mom would say, “If God is for you, who can be against you.” So it’s really nice to know that there’s a higher power that’s protecting you and guiding you, a kind and caring, loving God that wants the best for you. And He’s behind you, in front of you, He’s all around you, guiding and protecting you. So that’s a great way for me to relieve my stress too, because I believe in a higher power that know that no man… If God doesn’t want something to happen it’s not going to happen. And so whatever happens in my life, I know that God guide me that way, protected me. Even though I might think, I miss that, something happened that I could have been hurt, but I didn’t because God has protected me.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    I remember a couple of years ago when my daughter was in a car accident. It was just a miracle that she didn’t die because the way the car flipped. And I said, “That is God’s protection.” I love that.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    So, Dr. Bergman, what would you like to share with our audience today?

    Dr. Bergman:
    Well, to really have real hope that whatever you’re dealing with, whenever a person is dealing with, no matter what the challenges are, it’s not what it may seem to be. There’s opportunities in every challenge to be able to grow through it, to learn from it and to really advance in a kind of soul development. And of course we want the best for everyone. We want the best circumstances, but life is what it is. And it’s, for most of us, perhaps every one of us, it’s filled with life challenges. But we can be very hopeful that God is there, that there are insights that we gain from the latest brain science that help us to be able to understand how stress is formed, how unwanted habits are formed, that that understanding and insight gives us a way through all of this, so that we can really have much greater freedom, much greater happiness and wellbeing in our life, whatever circumstances we might be facing.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Awesome. And on that note Dr. Bergman, thank you so much for having a great conversation with us today.

    Dr. Bergman:
    Absolutely. And if folks would like any kind of additional opportunity to communicate with me, they can go to get a free complimentary strategy session with me by just going to enddestructivehabits.com and arrange for their complimentary a strategy session on ending unwanted habits.

    Dr. Bergman:
    I’m Bill Bergman, medical doctor. I help people with destructive habits and addictions and I’m sprinting to success with Esmie Lawrence.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Thank you so much, thank you so much Dr. Bergman for the gift of our audience. And to learn more about Dr. Bergman, you can also go to esmielawrence.com.

    Esmie Lawrence:
    Thank you for listening to Sprinting To Success podcast. Have an amazing day.

    Nada Hogan:
    Thank you for listening to Sprinting To Success, with your host Esmie Lawrence. Please be sure to subscribe, rate, and review this show on iTunes. For more information about Esmie and to hear other episodes of the show, go to esmielawrence.com. The information in this podcast is not intended as a substitute for professional or medical treatment or advice. Always seek advice from your healthcare provider.
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