Guest: Dr. George Zgourides
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: George D. Zgourides, M.D., Psy.D., is a board-certified family physician and licensed clinical psychologist. His books include DON’T LET THEM PSYCH YOU OUT!, STOP FEELING TIRED! and STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR HEALTH! Dr. Zgourides counsels listeners to recapture their zest for life. Dr. Z’s unique background has led him to reject the medical approach of “a pill for every ill,”focusing instead on lifestyle medicine and the power of the mind to heal the body and build energy. Recommending the best evidence-based approaches to wellness, Dr. Z inspires listeners to bring themselves into balance and experience life as it is meant to be—with mindfulness, vigor, and energy.
Segment overview: Dr. George D. Zgourides, M.D., Psy.D., discusses the leading cause of exhaustion and some unexpected causes of fatigue which he covers in his book, STOP FEELING TIRED! 10 Mind-Body-Spirit Steps to Fight Fatigue and Feel Your Best (Second Edition).
Health Professional Radio
Neal Howard: Hello you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, so glad that you could join us here again today. The holidays are upon us, at last week as a matter of fact Halloween marks the kick off of the holiday season. And many are having parades and candle lighting ceremonies in various downtown areas across the nation and across the world. But along with the celebration and the gift giving and the joyous time comes exhaustion, comes tired of cooking, tired of looking at the dishes that you have to clean up after the thanksgiving bash where people you haven’t seen for years showed up and ate everything you had (laugh). Well it tires you up both physically and mentally. Our guest in studio today is Dr. George Zgourides both a certified family Physician and a Clinical Psychologist. A strong proponent of modifying lifestyle in order to achieve overall wellness as opposed to the well ‘pill for every ill’ approach that many, many of us seem well almost programed to take. How are you doing today Dr. Zgourides?
Dr. George Zgourides: Neal I am doing just great. Thank you so much for having me on.
N: Thank you so much for returning with us. As a I mentioned the holidays are here, we’re all stressing over finances, over that perfect gift, we’re stressing over family and friends that are gonna be traversing many, many miles just to come and visit and hopefully making it safely back to their own destinations. It causes lots of stress, but it causes a lot of down line exhaustion as well. I mean are we talking a mental exhaustion? A physical exhaustion? Or are we talking about a combination of the two that’s keeping us all down and out?
Z: I have to be honest Neal, I believe it’s a combination of the two.
N: Uh huh.
Z: And with all of the mental stress going on related to holidays, and just general your life activities -everybody is engaging in all sorts of exhausting kinds of rituals and behaviors in order to make that perfect holidays you mentioned. And that also is leading to physical burnout as well.
N: Now if we could alleviate stress, could we do away with exhaustion in one … swoop or is there a connection between whether it’s chronic fatigue and stress?
Z: Well I personally believe not only through just clinical experience but also my own personal experience, that chronic tiredness is absolutely related to too much stress. And tiredness is very frequently the end result of a long and predictable series of events. All of these life pressures, demands, and annoyances add up to a negative experience which we frequently label as “stress.” And unfortunately that same stress can lead to a variety of health problems, both mental and physical.
N: Now when we’re talking about some of the physical problems that are related to exhaustion and the stress of being chronically exhausted – when you’re talking about altering lifestyle in order to feel better. Well our lifestyle is what keeps us alive – we go to work, we go shopping, we eat, we have kids, we hail taxes. Are we talking about small changes? Or are we talking about an absolute complete makeover of everything that is our everyday life?
Z: Well it would be ideal to have a complete total life makeover. That sounds wonderful, isn’t it? Most of us are unable to do that at least not do it in one … swoop. So I always advocate taking small steps, start where you’re at and go from there. But as both a family physician and a clinical psychologist, I’ve really invested in helping folks find healthy alternatives to common problems. And I would say one of the main things related to stress is “living out of balance.” In other words, what we want to try find is moderation and balance in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and this applies to everything not just holidays. But trying to find that happy medium where you’re not too busy or not busy enough, but kind of finding that sweet spot kind of thing. And a lot of folks find that that helps reduce their stress and as a result, they have a happier healthier life.
N: Okay now I understand reducing the stress. But as not only a physician and a clinical psychologist, you’re an author. The author of “Stop Feeling Tired: 10 Mind-Body-Spirit Steps to Fight Fatigue and Feel Your Best” in its 2nd edition available throughout the major literary outlets, including Amazon, Barns and Noble and at your website, I do believe. What is your website?
Z: Oh the website is www.livingwholelivingwell.com so Living Whole Living Well dot come, yeah.
N: Now as the author of this book, what would you say is the leading cause of exhaustion in today’s world? We’ve talked about alleviating the stress but what about the exhaustion that causes you to be stressed out? Because you don’t have enough energy to do the things that you need to do or want to do.
Z: Well it’s complicated of course, but it’s also simple. And the simple answer is I think we’re all, in western society, we’re all pushing ourselves too much. I think the fast phase living, that we’re pushing to succeed, we’re pushing our personal reserves to the limit trying to do too much. And ultimately we’re just really not designed to do that as human beings and we end up causing chronic tiredness and fatigue. But as a society I really feel like everyone’s we’re sort of, you used a great word earlier, ‘programed’ – we’re programed to burn the candle at both ends. We’re so all in this need for speed. So we push, we push and we push to be successful and to accomplish things and squeeze in more, stretch our personal reserves to the limit and we end up having unrealistic expectations about what we can do versus what we should do.
N: Uh huh.
Z: And I think the ultimately to find more energy, one again has to find that “moderation.” So finding that “balance” between not overdoing it, but of course you’re not under doing it. And being able to do enough in a way that is healthy for you and helps you to just have happiness in life.
N: Well that seems extremely ironic to me that almost everything that we produce technologically is designed to make our lives simpler, to make us exert less energy physically. I mean we’re talking about what about your cellphones, your tablets, your car, your microwave? Everything is designed so that you don’t have to exert so much energy. Why is it then we’re even more exhausted that we were say 40 or 50 years ago?
Z: It is interesting Neal, I’ve asked myself this question too. Looking back I’ve said that again we’re back to like “what you can do, what you should do” aren’t necessarily same thing. And so I would just use computers for example, in the day and again I’m dating myself – typewriters, and you type a paper in and you’ve might use white out just to exert a word or whatever. Now with all word processors and super lightning fast computers, there is no excuse like for things to be late or not to be up to 100% perfection. And so I think what’s happened we’ve all gotten into a mindset or the society’s got into the mindset to push, push, and push because we can. So the things can go faster they should go faster, which means you can squeeze in more, get more stuff done for your boss or whatever. And I think there is some limits to this or at least some people feel bad.
Z: And I certainly find that a lot of folks that are complaining about just that kind everyday chronic tiredness, really when they stop to look at everything that they’re trying to do, they’re just really trying to be super parents, super person, super son, super daughter, and super spouse. And it just that doesn’t always fit with a healthy lifestyle.
N: You’re a Mind-Body Expert and you Counsel your listeners and your patients to recapture their “zest for life.” Now recapturing implies that getting something back that was lost. I mean is “zest” like sleep and once it’s gone, that’s it? You don’t get it back by sleeping twice as much tomorrow because you didn’t sleep last night? Or can you actually regain your level of energy to the point where you use to be, maybe in your teens or early adulthood?
Z: I absolutely believe that that is possible and have seen it in many people I’ve worked with, in my own life, and my wife’s life, and family members. It’s quite possible to have a good return to normal levels of energy. Now a lot of times when we’re younger the energy levels are a bit excessive and kind of hyper behaviors, staying up all night and going to all kinds of events and things. That is not necessary healthy for older folks but yes, you can absolutely gain your zest and regain your zest even, and feel really good about things. And enjoy life especially if you feel like you really lost something, you certainly can regain that, especially back to again we really promote it to a healthy level. We’ve got people that was excessive, and then again I feel like that is really feeding into the society and all.
N: Once again back to bounce.
Z: Yeah, need to speed.
N: Or back to balance.
Z: Right. But I think as far as a good physical mental health, finding a moderate load level of energy is actually in the long term going to be the best …
N: Now wrapping up, as the author of Stop Feeling Tired: 10 Mind-Body-Spirit Steps to Fight Fatigue and Feel Your Best in the 2nd edition – what would you say briefly is the first and most important step in that journey to regain that zest and feel less tired thereby feeling less stressed?
Z: Actually I think it’s probably going to involve changing the thought patterns, that’s really where it begins. So one has to really look inside, do some self-reflecting. And look at life and patterns and behaviors and the like, and see where am I out of balance? And then once you kind of come to the understanding that the problem is often between your two ears, right in your head there – and you can get that straightened out, then a lot of the other stuff will come naturally and will follow more easily. So I would say changing the unrealistic expectations and needing to be perfect, needing to be everything to everybody. Those types of thoughts, working on those and I think when you could you do that, the rest of it starts to come into place for you…
N: That’s great, good news to hear. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. It’s been a pleasure talking in studio today with Dr. George Zgourides. He is a board Certified Family Physician as well as a Clinical Psychologist and a strong proponent of modifying lifestyle in order to achieve overall wellness as opposed to common the medical approach of a pill to every ill. And he instead focuses on lifestyle medicine and the power of the mind to bring about healing, inspiring people to find a balance and experience life as it was meant to be with good health and plenty of energy. It’s been great having you here with us today Dr. Zgourides.
Z: Thank you so much Neal. I really appreciate being on the show with you.
N: Thank you. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.