Many people suffering from chronic illnesses and other diseases experience a feeling that is somewhat akin to defeat. Patients often drift from medicine to medicine, hoping to find the right one that will provide them with the long-term relief they are looking for.
However, there often is a way to pursue better health by looking at the overall wellness of the body and mind. Counselor and healthy lifestyle advocate Dr. Kamilah Stevenson has dedicated her life to helping people with diseases and chronic illnesses become their best selves by learning how to take care of themselves physically and mentally.
In her youth, Dr. Kamilah experienced health complications, which made it difficult for her to pursue her dream of running. She had to turn down college scholarships and give up on her hopes of becoming an Olympic athlete.
But the fact that doctors were not able to give her the relief she needed to pursue her dreams inspired her to take matters into her own hands and learn how to heal her body and get well. Now, she has found a new passion: sharing this information with others, so that they do not have to have their lives limited by disease.
Understanding how mind and body are connected
Dr. Kamilah believes strongly in the profound connection between physical and mental health. “For the body to heal, you must understand how the mind can either enable or disable this from happening,” she says. “Several neurological disorders result from stress and can prohibit stable functionality in the physical systems. To experience true wellness, you must first begin with mental health and understand the dynamics of a healthy mind.”
Many turn to medication to get relief from their physical and mental health ailments, but fail to realize that medication only masks their problems — it does not solve them. Yet, the medical system has conditioned patients to think that medication is the relief because of its near-instantaneous (if only temporary) gratification, allowing them to quickly “get back to the grind.”
Instead, people would be more effectively served by investing time into a long-term solution, such as counseling or therapy. Counseling and therapy help people process their conditions and find practical solutions to overcome the obstacles they face. Although this approach can sometimes be a lengthier process — medicine will provide short-term relief, but only vaguely masquerades the real problem and will cost you more in the end — the long-term relief you can experience from including therapy into your process is worth the commitment.
Dr. Kamilah has found that our bodies and minds do not have the ability to break ongoing negative cycles on their own, perpetuating destructive patterns in our lives. “We do not have the natural tendency to question our toxic habits and personality disadvantages,” she explains. “We have blind spots — both innate and acquired — and counseling allows us to work with another person to open our eyes to these areas in which we need improvement.”
Improving mental and physical health together
When working with her clients, Dr. Kamilah encourages them to reevaluate their habits and determine how they may play a role in their physical and mental health. “Habits like eating foods that help you utilize energy properly, strategic exercise, meditation, stress and sleep management, vitamin/supplement therapy, and more can all make a big difference in your emotional and physical well-being,” she adds. “We all have the ability to respond in a way that either helps or further hurts the condition. I work with my clients to learn the habits they need to implement for their well-being.”
Dr. Kamliah’s goal is to empower the community to live healthier lives by sharing this knowledge with them that they might not otherwise have access to. “I want to help my clients and everyone around me create balance and thought-provoking opportunities that lead them to awareness,” she says. “I encourage people to look within themselves to see if there are levels of change to be made that can benefit their quality of life.”
For those ready to experience this level of change and greater well-being, it is important to commit to self-improvement — both mentally and physically. “I find that the most effective way to establish sustainable change is by living in a way where people can experience your life as a book that’s ready to be read, so people can choose to make changes just by watching me,” Dr. Kamilah concludes. “When people get inspired to make changes without you telling or forcing them to, this leads to lasting results and continual positive outcomes because they made the decision themselves. When you tell someone to take action, it can mean something to them. But when they take action because they decided (and wanted) to, it means everything.”
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