Habits & Health episode 15 with Andrea Pennington MD. We discuss healing trauma & developing real self love, how she overcame perfectionism & self-criticism and much more.
Andrea is CEO of In8Vitality & Make Your Mark Global. The founder of The #RealSelfLove Movement. She used to be a presenter on the Discovery Channel, has delivered three TED Talks and written a few books.
Topics discussed include:
- Growing up in a dysfunctional home
- Suicide and depression
- The flow state
- Qi Gong
- Presenting on The Discovery Channel
- Healers burning out
- Unrealistic expectations
- People victimising themselves
- Adverse childhood experiences
- What your ACE Score is
- Trauma training
- Holistic healing
- Coming out of the pandemic
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Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits and health Episode 15.
Welcome to the habits and health Podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. here's your host, Tony Winyard.
Tony Winyard 0:20
Welcome to another edition of the podcast where we give you ideas for habits you can create that will improve your health in some way. Today's guest is Dr. Andrea Pennington. And it's difficult to know where to start with Andrea. She's done numerous TED Talks, she's been on TV on many different shows. She's written a few books. She's an expert on self compassion, and in many other areas as well. So rather than me keep talking, we're gonna, let's get to the episode as quickly as possible. And if you do know anyone who you think would really get some benefit from some of the great knowledge and wisdom that Andrea shares, please do share this episode with them, because they could really benefit from this time for this week's show.
Habits and health and I'm delighted to be joined today by my guest, Dr. Andrea Pennington. How are you doing? Andrea?
Andrea Pennington 1:15
I'm well thank you so much for having me, Tony. I'm well
Tony Winyard 1:18
Are you in the States?
Andrea Pennington 1:24
I'm not in the States. I am in the south of France.
Tony Winyard 1:27
Oh, very nice. Where are you? I was gonna say were you stranded there, which is the wrong term to use in a place like the South of France. But have you been there during the pandemic?
Andrea Pennington 1:38
Yes, I've actually lived here for 10 years. This is home.
Tony Winyard 1:42
Wow. And what was it that drew you there?
Andrea Pennington 1:45
To be honest, I think it must have been a past life here. Because I really feel like France is home. For me. It's a very strange thing. I think in my early teens, I felt this calling this pull towards the language and the culture. And then visiting here through my 20s and 30s. I just feel every time the plane touches down, it's like, there's this feeling of home. Like every cell in my body, my soul just says. So I feel actually more comfortable and at home here than than anywhere on the earth.
Tony Winyard 2:18
Did you get that feeling the first time that you visited? Do you remember that?
Andrea Pennington 2:22
Yeah, I did. I mean, I was just a teenager, the first time I visited any of Europe. And I definitely felt like there's just something magical about the place that resonates with me.
Tony Winyard 2:33
And you're an expert on compassion and self care. How would you describe yourself to listeners?
Andrea Pennington 2:41
Well, I'm a little bit of a strange one. I started out as a medical doctor and a licenced acupuncturist and I have evolved into being a healer, helping people to recover from childhood trauma, and family dysfunction through a variety of modalities. But ultimately, it all comes back to reconnecting with the authentic self, practising compassion and learning to build a foundation of real self love. So it's a little bit strange. But now what I do is work in media. I host workshops and retreats around the world. And I work with a select group of other luminaries and healers to really spread this message that we can harness the power of our lifeforce energy, we can tap into the wisdom of a variety of traditions around the world. And we can actually access higher states of consciousness to turn on the body's innate healing systems. So there's a whole range of things. But it really boils down to holistic healing, building resilience, and recovering from trauma.
Tony Winyard 3:55
What was it that led you down that path in the first place?
Andrea Pennington 3:58
My own journey, I never would have said that I grew up in a dysfunctional home. But I recognise now that that really influenced me. I grew up in the United States, my parents got divorced when I was three. And I noticed, I guess, around my early teens, that I just had this kind of continuous sense of sadness, and loneliness. I always felt like, I don't know, I just felt like I didn't either fit in or I didn't belong. And I heard someone say you were asking about a quote, I heard someone say, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And I didn't grow it grow up in a particularly religious household. But there's something about that, that struck me that to be absent from my body, I would be in the presence of God and that just seemed like mystical but also peaceful, and it seemed like an end To the misery that I felt I had been teased, I had been bullied, there was a lot of family strife. When I was a baby, I don't have very many memories of it. But the only memories I have when my parents were together were very painful ones. So when I was just in my early adolescence, I was contemplating suicide. And I was literally thinking of where I could get a hold of pills. And I ended up kind of going through my mind thinking of all the places that I knew that I could get what I might need. And I heard a voice. I heard this voice say, listen, you're already pretty advanced. And if you kill yourself, you might come back at a lower form. And this voice said to me, just hold on, you're gonna get through this, which was kind of weird, because I didn't know anyone who believed in reincarnation. So like, where did this idea come from? It was really weird to me. But something about it, again, just struck this chord of peace. And I was still depressed, but I kind of went through life until my early 30s when the depression resurfaced. I was already working as a physician. I was the medical director of discovery health channel. So I was on air and I was running a big Wellness Centre. And despite having everything that, you know, the American dream, I was miserable. I was really unfulfilled, and conflicted because I was on TV telling people how to live a full life. And yet, I was suffering on the inside. And when I went on my own sort of awakening journey to really figure out like, What does lead to true happiness? Why am I so miserable? I mean, I tried everything from antidepressants and talk therapy. In 2005, when it was really bad I, I went to shamans and trance dance in Sedona I met with, met with and got mentored by Deepak Chopra. Like I was really on a journey. And I ended up in the Mediterranean on a vacation. And that's where everything shifted.
Tony Winyard 7:26
What was it the shifted? Was it a conversation, what happened?
Andrea Pennington 7:30
Well, it was a little bit mystical. I was in central pain. And I was invited to sing as this, you know, hotspot. And I, the thing is, I got totally caught up in the music, the atmosphere, I was singing my little jazzy tune, it was like this crowd of people moving and swaying. And it was the, the feeling like I could describe was that flow state, where I felt like I was completely one with everything. And I felt bliss and joy and love. And I felt like I was really being my true self. And then I got back to my hotel here and con not far from where I am now. And I woke up thinking like, like, on that stage, I felt like I was more me than I've ever been.
And then I remembered, I'd have to go back home, back into that box of conformity. And I knew I couldn't do it, I was so miserable, that I cried out to God and said, Take it, take it off, take my life, my business, I don't know what I'm doing with it. Because at that point, I'd already made an agreement that I wasn't going to kill myself. So I had to call on God. And I flung myself onto the bed, just sobbing my eyes out. And that's when I felt my body kind of melt into the bed. Then there was this bright, bright light. And I was so confused. I started searching like, how could the sun get any brighter, but it was in my head. And then I felt myself leave my body, I was pulled into this light. And it was so peaceful. I felt just complete calm, and love. And when I got to the other side, I literally thought God was answering my prayer. And taking my life, I saw life review. And I could see how every decision I'd made from childhood up to that point, would inevitably lead me to depression. And then I got this sense that oh, I mean, I could have made different choices. And once I kind of got that understanding, I saw that what we are literally like little drops of consciousness or light that comes from like, imagine a big ball of the Sun is light and there's little drops of light. And I saw this vision that as we the soul consciousness incarnate come into human form on the earth. It's up to us to determine who we will be. Not our religion, not our parents, not society. And when I got that awareness, I was like, Okay, well, I can, I can go back if you're saying I could choose. And that's when I was shown a vision of my future. And in this future vision, I was walking along the beach, I was holding hands with a child. I was singing professionally in this vision. And I was healing with my hands. But that part sounded a little weird. I was like, really, God, you're gonna make me in one of those weirdo woowoo doctors. But everything else sounded and it looked good. So I said, Yes. And I came back into my body. The depression was gone, that dark cloud of dread was gone. And I began changing my life and shifting from away from the traditional practice of medicine. I started singing and writing songs. And a few years later, with my four year old daughter at the time, I moved to the south of France, where we live today.
Tony Winyard 11:02
That's quite a story. And so now, once you came back to France, had you already started beginning working with your hands, as you mentioned, and helping people with What happened now? What was the journey between leaving and coming back?
Andrea Pennington 11:19
Well, one of the things that happened was, I met my ex, and I got pregnant. And I knew that for one I didn't want to repeat. The cycle of dysfunction that I grew up in. My mother was a divorced, mom of three, I was just a baby when she went to medical school. So I knew I wanted to focus on being a mom. And then I became a single mom. So I stopped working my crazy 80 hours a week and flying around doing TV shows and all that and just focused on just learning how to be a mom. And travelling I was doing instead of flying to everyone else, I made people fly to me, and I was hosting retreats. And then, you know, five years later, after that, that vision, I came to France. And again, I was just sort of immersed in figuring out life on the Riviera, getting my my daughter into school and acclimated. And that's when I started to really deepen my meditation practice, I did discover a CI Gong practice and medical Qigong, where indeed, these masters could heal with their hands, even at a distance. So I started learning that in 2011, and, you know, it's, I didn't seek it out, it was somebody mentioned it to me, and I was like, Oh, my God, that might be what the vision was about. So that's, that's what happened to get me over here to France.
Tony Winyard 12:48
And so coming back to today, how do you help people now?
Andrea Pennington 12:55
Well, through the course of the last five years, what I what I've done is I first opened a boutique consulting agency coming here, a lot of people ask, like, oh, how do I get on TV? How do I how do i do what you've done. And so I just started doing consulting on branding and marketing. And that kind of evolved into me speaking in multiple countries and at events. And pretty soon, I've noticed that people were kind of stuck in ego mode. And I'm like, I've been there. I've done that, with all the celebrities I worked with in the States, if you're an ego mode, you eventually have to compromise. It's like if I'm going to play the game, to become a best seller or whatever, which is a very ego dominated game. Very often it's going to be at the detriment to your soul.
Tony Winyard 13:45
Could you just explain what do you mean when you say ego mode?
Andrea Pennington 13:50
Like so for example, for me, when I started working at Discovery Channel, the head of production, when I went to him, you know, having all these ideas for like documentaries. He was like, you know, you have a face for television, but you look too young. No one's gonna believe you're a doctor. He literally said that to me. So my first year as the medical director of discovery health channel, I was not on TV, I was supervising scripts. I was building up a medical advisory team and content on the internet. But it wasn't until a new president came in who said, I've got an idea. I want you to host your own show. I want you to host anchor the news. And suddenly, I was being given this opportunity, but I still had to work with that production guy. And he was like, Okay, well, we're gonna have to hire you know, a makeup artist and they started to dress me in these very news, angry clothes to try to make me look older and they hired a coach to teach me how to deliver the news with an authoritative tone. And my daughter, you know, teases me to this day. She's like, Can you turn it off? Can you stop sounding good I can't apparently. And so imagine after four years of doing this, I was on TV every single day, in every household in America that had cable TV had me. And pretty soon I was recognised on the street. And I remember being in this ice cream shop. And this girl was like standing there with her mom. And then she turned around as soon as she saw me, she was like, Oh, my God,
ma. And I thought in my head. They think that I'm that boring doctor on TV. That's not me that prude buttoned up? No at all. And that was that that was the beginning of this sense of anxiety. And I realised that I was compromising who I really am by building this false identity. And I'm more of a performer, I grew up with the theatre being kind of my lifeline. So at the time, when I started, it was like, Oh, this is no big deal. I'm a doctor, playing a doctor on TV. Cool. But over time, I wanted to start sharing on TV, what I was learning in my medical practice, about this mind body connection about how we could heal and prevent diseases with a whole range of complimentary therapies. But the world wasn't ready for it yet. So when I say the ego was like, Oh, you know, we have to keep up this, this fame, and this image and this role and reputation. But my soul was saying, No, there's a whole nother story that you're not living out. And for me that created conflict. So when I got here to Monaco, and France, and Scandinavia, and people were saying, I want to do what you did, I was given a clear message that I needed to train people in both maintaining their spiritual core, so that you show up as your authentic self, while still working with the media to leverage the media so that you get your message out to a global audience. So I've been doing that for the last six years. And during the course of that, that led me to start hosting events, so helping people with Speaker training and storytelling, and the most recent event, which was kind of magical and mystical. It's called the Global luminary activation experience. And so in that five day workshop, we brought people to the south of France and took them to Monaco for a day. And through that, that process, and then a one year follow up programme, we are we're able to help people find out who they really are, and how could they express that as healers and coaches and therapists, in a way that is, is media savvy, but without compromising their their groundedness. So I should say that I don't work with just anyone, people who just want to become a best seller or you know, a star. They don't, they don't, they will not work with me and my agency, we're really aligned with the soul centred and the heart inspired entrepreneur, and healer. So that's what I've been doing. Of course, COVID kind of threw a spanner in the works and prevented us from hosting all of our events. So much of it has moved online. But what I've also noticed in the last few years is that many of the entrepreneurs I was working with, were burning out, and I'm like, dude, you can't be a healer, and burnout, like, you've got to put in the same practices. So it kind of led me back to my healthcare training, to work on programmes for resilience. So building resilience has become, you know, a big thing for me over the last two years. So helping people publish books around the topic, we're now creating an app. So my work is sort of this weird hybrid of helping people get their message out, but also helping them maintain their well being and their resilience. And then we take that and we put it into consumer packages, so that the general public also can get access to these these resources.
Tony Winyard 18:52
You're talking about healers burning out, why do you think that was happening? What was occurring?
Andrea Pennington 18:59
Well, there's a couple things. One is we we tend to over give. And because we're so passionate about the work that we're doing, like we feel like this is really our soul's calling, we will go too far, we will work too much. We will compassionately take on more than we need to without sufficient rest. And unfortunately, we get to the point of nearly breaking and then we have to rebuild. So it's just a weird trait. And I also find that many of the people that we work with who were high in compassion, they didn't just they weren't just born as in deeply compassionate people. They were programmed that way they were moulded that way. So much like in my case, growing up with this dysfunctional family and a very harsh and critical parent. I grew up to be a perfectionist, always striving for approval and validation from the outside world. It drove me to overwork and to Create all of these false images to try to live up to. And ultimately, that's not sustainable. like nobody can sustain that for long term long term.
Tony Winyard 20:09
So once you you were helping these people who had burned out to change things, to reframe things, so are they now working in a different way that they're being more compassionate to themselves?
Andrea Pennington 20:23
Yeah, across the board, I help people first reclaim control over their schedule. Again, it's sort of a personality trait. You could call it codependence, we tend to want to fix people, and we want to be always on and always available. So a lot of the light workers and healers I work with, they didn't even have time off. Or they they so overbooked themselves, that they thought, Oh, I just need two days to recover. And sometimes that's not sufficient, especially if you've been on stage and you've been leading a training or doing deep healing work. So the first thing we do is help them just learn how to read schedule, their time, in accordance with their body's energy and their mental energy. And then that usually translates into a change with creating new boundaries for what they say yes to learning to say no. So all of that about honouring self and then building in self care. And self care, I think has gotten kind of a bad rap, like people think of it as you know, Fufu, Lala, spa days. But it's like self preservation. Like if for my entrepreneurs, I say, if you truly believe this is your soul's destiny, then you owe it to all the people you want to serve, you owe it to them to look after yourself first. Like we literally have to put our own well being first. And that is that that takes time and practice for a lot of people.
Tony Winyard 21:54
One thing about self care is the way many people seem to talk to themselves, they would never talk to their friends in the way that they talk to themselves. So I guess that you help people to have that awareness maybe of how they are talking to themselves?
Andrea Pennington 22:14
Absolutely. Yeah. I wrote a book or compiled a book with several authors, the top 10 traits of highly resilient people. And the way to build a stress resistant personality and prevent burnout is to have positive self talk. So a lot of people will say, Oh, I'm so hard on myself, or I'm such an idiot, or What a dumb ass. And I'm like, Okay, let's let's identify the source of those voices.
Tony Winyard 22:42
I guess they're not aware, they're saying those things?
Andrea Pennington 22:44
No, they're aware, but they're not aware of how destructive it is. Right? Okay. Because our authentic self, you know, you could call that the inner child or the original self is hearing those critical voices, which are usually taken on by parents and coaches and teachers. And it was, it was a self protective thing that the ego like takes in these voices internalises them to keep us in line so that we don't get kicked out of the tribe, or rejected or beaten or whatever. But unfortunately, those critical voices that are so familiar that we think we need in order to not procrastinate, we get things done, they are very damaging to the real self. And it damages our self confidence, our self esteem, our willingness to put ourselves out there. And so they're aware, many people are aware of the critical language, but they're not aware of how much it is linked to their poor performance, and their low sense of self.
Tony Winyard 23:42
And so how are you able to shift that
Andrea Pennington 23:46
I have them literally write things down, like writing down and at first identifying the source. So for me, I noticed that I have like 13, Supreme Court justices, you know, each of these different judges had a different voice, and a different thing about me that they critiqued from my body, my looks the way I spoke my performance at work, interpersonal relationships, like I had all these judges in my voice in my in my head, and I could, when I started to have this awareness, I could trace back and I'm like, Oh, I know who that is. But I was my dad. That was my mom. So I can trace back and see the voice of my dad, the voice of my mom, the voice of this coach. And then you can ask yourself, Is that true? That may have been true then that I needed this mean kind of person cracking the whip, but do I need that now? Is that serving me now? Is that voice even the voice of truth? In most cases, it's not. It's this harsh leftover critic from the past. And so that awareness helps. And then for some of them, I literally give them a mental diet, a 10 day, negativity fast that they cannot say mean things about themselves. And every time they do that, either have to put $1 in, in a jar or some other incentive to keep track of it. And with that awareness, then you can make change.
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Tony Winyard 25:54
What do you generally do you find people struggle with most in in those exercises, what what is hardest for them to do?
Andrea Pennington 26:03
The hardest thing is believing that they don't need to be whipped. Right? So many people feel like I am I'm not worthy of praise. So I need someone to criticise me or I don't deserve success. Like there are literally these warped beliefs that I am not worthy, I am not enough, I am fundamentally flawed or defective. That is the hardest thing to overcome. Because all of that criticism from the past impacts the ego sense of self. And it's like well, I wouldn't have been beaten or yelled at or abandoned if I was good enough. So because when we are children, you know, all the way up to our 20s The brain is developing. So if you heard really critical remarks before the age of 18, especially if it was ongoing, the part of your brain that does critical reasoning and critical function wasn't even online. So your little premature brain with this ego developed, developing, believes what people say about them. And you add to that any physical punishment, or the tone of voice or the look that a parent might throw at you, and the sense of self will will start to form meaning out of those experiences. And unfortunately, it lasts up until up until we wake up to realise Oh, I mean for me exactly. For example, I didn't walk around saying, Oh, I don't love myself, I hate myself. It wasn't until I realised that I was trying to live up to these unrealistic expectations. And when I had done everything that was expected of me and I wasn't happy, that's when I started to go inward. Like what the what the. And that was when I realised hearing, I literally heard one of my patients say that they didn't feel worthy. And it sort of sparked this thing. Like, alright, I don't feel worthy. I don't feel like just unconditionally worthy of acceptance, love, I felt like I had to work. Everything was conditional, I needed to work for love and approval and validation. And so that idea of finally coming to realise that we don't love ourselves. That's, a mindtrick that it takes real effort to get beyond.
Tony Winyard 28:27
Once people do get beyond the stage, they start to really, really understand what it is you're saying, I'm imagining you've seen huge changes in people?
Andrea Pennington 28:39
I have, I've seen it in myself, I've seen it in my patients. It is dramatic. Because when you've been living as someone else, a false self for so long, and you start to reconnect with the heart and soul of who you really are. I mean, it leads to this healing of your inner child, and you start to instal kind of a loving voice or a loving parent instead of that critical voice of the critical parent. And then suddenly you have permission permission to do the things that either you were judged for, or teased or bullied out of. And that can that can lead to a complete revolution in the way you show up in the world. So I've seen people change their relationships, change their businesses change their their physical appearance by getting healthier and embracing who they really are.
Tony Winyard 29:28
What signs should people listening to this maybe? What signs should they maybe looking for in themselves or even even in their loved ones?
Andrea Pennington 29:39
Well, if you're looking at yourself, you can just answer the question. If you were to look in the mirror right now, could you say I love you? Me? Could you say that to yourself and mean it? Could you say I love you to yourself without breaking into tears. Most of my clients so they couldn't We're gonna answer the question, do you believe that you are unconditionally worthy of love? success? happiness? answer those questions. And that'll start you going. And you can really tell in if you were looking at your loved ones or family or co workers, you know the words that they say, Do you ever hear them saying things like, I'm such an idiot? Here it is par for the course, I always screw up or insert whatever, you know, self deprecating thing. When you start to recognise that, then you can ask, where'd you get that from? Like, or I one thing that I've heard some someone say is, don't talk to my friend like that, when they hear the external, critical voice, and it really helps people open their eyes like, yeah, I guess I am kind of hard on myself. And it's all a journey of discovery of self discovery to figure out how did you get programmed that way? Because you weren't born with it.
Tony Winyard 31:01
So if you do have a close friend, someone you really care about, or family member who is talking to themselves like that, what would be the best advice to help them?
Andrea Pennington 31:11
I would ask them to investigate where they got those messages from? Where did they take them on, like looking back over the course of your life, or their experiences. And then I have a five step process that I lead people through, I've actually it's free on the internet, where you can do some journaling and some guided meditations to uncover those source beliefs, and then you can start to unwind and reprogram the mind. So that's where I'd say, you could start
Tony Winyard 31:43
and how much of this is connected with people playing the victim and victimising themselves?
Andrea Pennington 31:49
Oh, a tonne. You know, we learn we learned to be victims. We're not born as victims. I mean, unless there was major, major trauma, most babies come out wanting to explore and express you know, we don't come in expecting that. We should just give up we learn to give up we learn helplessness, we learn victimhood. And so it's the same five step process of like looking at these traits, finding out where they started finding out what happened, where you got those messages, where where did you learn to give up and become a victim? But you can break out of it. It doesn't have to be lifelong.
Tony Winyard 32:27
Is it a case of the people who are most cynical about this kind of thing? And probably one's most in need of help with this?
Andrea Pennington 32:34
Usually, because there's like a part of us that's like, Okay, what do you mean, I could really reprogram my subconscious mind. What do you mean, I've got an inner child, I got to reparent, myself, and the people who are sceptical, they are the ones that are typically in denial, where they think this is the other thing I get so often Oh, yeah, I mean, my parents fought and there was dysfunction in the home. But I mean, it wasn't that bad, at least I wasn't, you know, they list any really serious abuse. And if I had $1, for every time, someone said, My childhood wasn't that bad. And yet, they had one of the 10 adverse childhood experiences. I don't know if you've seen that study out of the United States, it's been replicated in many, many countries. But back when I was in medical school, there were two doctors that did this study, looking at 17,000 people, and they compared their children and adolescent case studies with their adult health problems. And they found that people who had one of these 10 experiences so physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, poverty in the home, witnessing violence of someone else, like seeing a parent being slapped or beaten, a person in the immediate family going to prison, someone in the household using drugs. So these experiences, people who had one or more had a greater likelihood of having these health conditions. People who had up to four more had lower longevity, like they had early mortality. And so a lot of people are in denial. And it's that denial. And you know, as you put it, this sort of scepticism that keeps people locked in. And that's, and that's why I'm here doing this podcast with you. It's why the majority of my work is on the internet for free. I lead a monthly q&a and healing session for free. Because if I as an educated physician, didn't even learn about the extent of how screwed I was until my early 30s. I mean, I've seen 1000s of people come through my programmes that were the same way and they were like, Oh my god, I finally understand. So that's my longest answer to your question.
Tony Winyard 35:02
When do you think? Can you see a time when the medical community bring this into actual medical training for doctors and so on?
Andrea Pennington 35:12
Yeah, we finally arrived at that point. So now for for one thing, the ACE study was so huge, so groundbreaking, that now most doctors, all nearly all paediatricians in the United States, most doctors, even for adults, will have people take what's called the ACE quiz. It's a very short questionnaire that will tell you what your ACE score is. Because if you came in with diabetes, or asthma or arthritis, chances are, if we don't address that hidden trauma that was never processed as a youth, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what drugs, medications, surgery, talk therapy, if you don't get down to the root, most people will not fully recover. So we have come to the point now where physicians are being trauma trained, or at least they are trauma informed to recognise that if someone comes in with a high of a score, if it's outside of their scope of training, they start to refer people out to therapists who can help them address the underlying trauma. Because the thing is, when you grew up with toxic stress, or adversity in the home, for long periods of time, before the age of 18, when your brain was developing, it has impacted your brain, your nervous system, your immune system, the cardiac system, that's why all of those health challenges appear. And so we have to address it so that you can release that trauma and hopefully get the body back into a state of vitality. And, again, that's, that's what my work is all about now.
Tony Winyard 36:45
Are doctors who have been working for the last 20, 30 years, are they being retrained in this?
Andrea Pennington 36:52
some, and that's why I say some are at least being trauma informed. So they may not have like I when I first discovered this, it literally was 20 years ago, I was working with a patient population that included people with eating disorders and addiction. And they were the ones that first gave me this clue about this lack of self love. And so as I'm digging in to understand, like, Look, we've given you this beautiful environment that had acupuncture and essential oils and talk therapy and food and nutrition therapy and a spa. And they some of them weren't getting better. And those were the ones that had a history of trauma that was unresolved. So when I had that awareness, I as a physician took myself into trauma training, and learning about like somatic experiencing, that's one of the body oriented therapies, EMDR, and so many others. So other physicians who are now recognising that trauma is impacting adult diseases, if they're not willing to go get trained, they're at least, you know, referring people to trauma trained therapists. So I think it is shifting it's it is shifting in a big way. And people are getting more more help and support.
Tony Winyard 38:06
And to your knowledge is this mostly just in in the states and some Western countries or how much of this is going around the world?
Andrea Pennington 38:16
It is definitely in western countries. But, for example, there's a therapy, they call it meridian tapping. I don't know if you've seen people doing EFT and TFT. Well, that is a therapy that has been tested and clinically studied in war torn countries. In Rwanda, for example. So people who have either experienced major trauma, either they've witnessed a trauma or they've been experienced, experiencing it themselves. They're now these alternative therapies that are in flourishing. So I think, I think the the message is getting around the world. And now we also have good clinical studies that are coming out.
Tony Winyard 39:04
You've done a TED talk haven't you?
Andrea Pennington 39:06
I've done three
Tony Winyard 39:09
What were the TED talks about?
Andrea Pennington 39:11
The first one was become who you really are, which was my kind of coming out. It was the first time I really got back on the major scene after living in France for a few years. And that one was really me coming out and explaining that I had dealt with depression and anxiety and I had this crazy out of body near death experience. And that I wanted other people to know that they need to investigate who they really are. The second one was about mindfulness meditation, and a five step meditation process that I teach. And my most recent one where I sing live, was about how music saved my life. So I took my n d story a little bit deeper, so that people could understand where I am today I recognise the programming, you know of the past. And now how I'm living going forward.
Tony Winyard 40:08
And how long ago was your book published?
Andrea Pennington 40:13
Well, I published several. Last year we did the top 10 traits of highly resilient people and holistic healing and manifesting love. And then the year before, that was the real self love Handbook, which is now also available in audio book. So the other three are like a compilation of other authors. But the real self love handbook is my own book with a five step process on healing and recovering.
Tony Winyard 40:44
Have you written anything since the whole pandemic started?
Andrea Pennington 40:49
Yes, we released two books during the pandemic. One is holistic healing, which includes several authors stories and my own, about how we can recover from trauma and illness, and how the mind body connection really should inform us as we recover. And then the other book is called manifesting love. We published that in November as well. And that is about how we can become more self aware and actually use the law of attraction to manifest a love relationship.
Tony Winyard 41:25
Because from what you've seen, how do you think things have changed in as far as how people are treating themselves since this pandemic started?
Andrea Pennington 41:34
Well, I've seen two broad categories. One are the people who had a complete meltdown, of stress and anxiety. And then they've had a breakthrough. So I remember getting a message from this woman who said, I'm actually grateful that the pandemic revealed how near to burn out I was, so that I would stop, she said, I know that if the pandemic weren't here, I'd still be working like a crazy person. And as painful as it was to endure a lot of loss in a financial, you know, devastation, she's now rebuilding her life. And I've heard that across the board that a lot of people, as scary as it is, they recognise it as a wake up call to shift into healthier lifestyles. And then for other people, I've seen that the pandemic also gave them a justification to actually break away from either corporate structures or jobs that were unfulfilling and finding their true passion.
Tony Winyard 42:37
Do you have any thoughts on when we eventually do come out of this? And I won't say go back to normal. I don't know what normal is, what are your thoughts about how things might change?
Andrea Pennington 42:50
Well, I don't think we will ever go back to that sick, sick way of, of living and existing and working and consuming. I think we will create a new normal. Something that really impresses me is the level of awakening. Like I've been using all this sort of spiritual jargon with you that I've lived over the last 20 years. But now we see people who would have never been considered, quote, unquote, spiritual or woke, they're waking up, they're realising that these old paradigms of power and financial, you know, attachment, and government and all of that all those structures are crumbling, and they're being exposed for what they are. And so people are Waking up, waking up to their own sense of personal responsibility and accountability. And maybe through the devastation and fear, they're realising I need to connect with some sort of force, or power that's greater than me. And so whether that's a, you know, religious thing or not, people are recognising that there has to be something more than the old world of consumption.
Tony Winyard 44:04
From a political point of view it seems like there's been some real backwards steps in some countries. I'm thinking of certainly where I am and where you're from, and some other places over recent years?
Andrea Pennington 44:17
I agree. I think that the state of the United States right now is just atrocious. I think the level of ism, from racism to sexism to ableism, to homophobia, I mean, all of it is just disgusting. I'm quite often ashamed even say I'm American. But again, I feel like those old structures, the people in power, know that their time is coming. And having that crazy bully in office just gave permission to these people who already had these sentiments. They were just a little bit quieter. They you know, put loud speaker, I don't think that that can last forever. I don't think the level of hatred and violence that we see perpetrated on the news every single week in America, I don't think it can last. I do think that we are coming to an age of awakening where people will will not tolerate it.
Tony Winyard 45:19
I wonder, as you were just saying that it made me think, I wonder in a strange way, it maybe it could be seen as a good thing him taking power, because those people were drawn out into the public and being their real selves, rather than just hiding as maybe they were before?
Andrea Pennington 45:39
Yeah, that would be a slightly evolved spiritual way to look at it. But I've also talked to people, people who are not spiritual, who said they could have predicted this. I mean, if you could look, historically, at the way that government has been set up the way people have voted the way that economies have shifted, it was a turning point that it was a right moment in American history for a big fat bully to step up and say, no, we're not going to be fair. We're just going to take what we want. And it for these people, you know, some of these, these pundits and futurists, they say it was inevitable. And so yeah, maybe it was a necessary I won't say a good thing, but I will say maybe it was a necessary step towards healing. Yeah.
Tony Winyard 46:31
If people want to find out more about you and the the ACE programme and the workshops you do and your global seminars coming up, where's the best place to look?
Andrea Pennington 46:46
there are three, you can go to Andreapennington.com. And that's everything that I work on. If you're interested in the health stuff, building resilience and healing from trauma, then visit in8vitality com And if you're interested in the publishing and branding side, that is MakeYourMarkglobal.com.
Tony Winyard 47:14
And are you active on social media?
Andrea Pennington 47:16
I am. I'm very active at Dr. Andrea Pennington on Instagram and Facebook and Pennington media on YouTube.
Tony Winyard 47:26
Do you have a book that's really moved you in the last few years?
Andrea Pennington 47:33
Well, there are tonnes. One that I'm actually really appreciating right now, for a lot of my clients is a book by David Burns called Feeling Great. His book, 15 years ago, Feeling Good, which is all about cognitive behavioural therapy, which really gives us insight you and I've been talking about these thought processes these voices in our heads. His work really kind of blew the world of cognitive behavioural therapy wide open. And he recently published a new book, where he's taken CBT to the next level. And I just got a hold of that book this year. And I'm really recommending it a lot.
Tony Winyard 48:18
You mentioned a quote earlier on, is there another quote that comes to mind?
Andrea Pennington 48:23
Yeah, I'm inspired by this other quote, it is: "Be yourself. Because an original is always worth more than a copy".
Tony Winyard 48:34
Why does that resonate?
Andrea Pennington 48:38
I think because I came from the Hollywood media world where everyone's trying to be a copycat. When you work with enough many celebrities, that's trying to be the next insert famous name, and you realise that it's not the same energy, the vibe, or the outcome. So when I came across that quote, in my TED Talk, it's like, yeah, an original is always worth more. And enjoy your experiment.
Tony Winyard 49:04
A real pleasure speaking of you, and thank you for sharing so many great thoughts and your wisdom, with my audience, it's been really appreciated.
Andrea Pennington 49:13
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
Tony Winyard 49:21
Next week, Episode 16. My guest is Geoff Girvitz. He's a Tiny Habits coach, and he builds systems for health and positive impact. He helps people around movement and exercise. And he's a real wealth of knowledge. He's got a great knack for hearing someone's issues, and really being able to give them some fantastic advice and ways that they can create habits to solve whatever issue is that they're facing. So that's next week, Episode 16 with Geoff Girvitz, if you know, anyone who you feel would get some real value from some of the wisdom and knowledge that Andrea shared with us, please do share the episode with them and hope Have a fantastic week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at TonyWinyardcom See you next time on the habits and health podcast.
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