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081: Being Good Enough Is Great with Dr. Candace Good

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At first glance it may not sound like it but being good enough is great and it’s a great way to approach life. Here to explain this more is Dr. Candace Good.

Candace is a board-certified psychiatrist. In addition to her residency and fellowship training, Dr. Good has completed programs with Wellcoaches, Maharishi Ayurveda, and The Veda Center. She is also the author of Own Your Present: A Psychiatrist’s Guide to Mindful Meditation and Living a More Conscious Lifestyle.

Today, her private practice includes a yoga space, plus educational programs in meditation and Ayurveda. We’ll talk about her journey into this field as well as her book, how to deal with perfectionism and how COVID is impacting many people’s mental health.

The idea for her book developed, in part, from her own experiences. She began practicing yoga and mindfulness and soon she had the desire to write a book. She was working in a busy private group practice and chose to leave and write. She felt it was important for people to talk about their own mental health and she wanted to share what she learned about caring for her own anxiety, but she wanted to talk about these topics in a way that people could relate to and understand.

I wanted to dive into her personal experience a bit more – what things has she discovered to help her manage a busy workload in such a demanding professional field? She explains she had to learn, through her own experiences and battles with perfectionism, what it means to be good enough. We talk more about what it means to be good enough, whether as a parent or in our jobs and careers or any other part of our lives.

Which leads us to segue into when perfectionism can be helpful and when it is hurting us. If we stop doing something because we can’t do it perfectly or we lose sleep over whether or not something was done perfectly, it is time to look at our own perfectionism. We should be taking care of our brains and our mental health the way we take care of our bodies: through regular check-ins with a professional.

She adds in a few nuggets of her own: practicing gratitude is a wonderful way to lessen perfectionism and stay mindfully present in our lives. This practice can also help us find the silver lining in difficult situations: we can begin to see that we are good people having a bad day or going through a rough patch. Mindfulness and gratitude can also help us see that something good might come out of a negative experience.

We also discuss how the COVID lockdown is impacting people now and the potential long-term implications. You’ll hear all of that and so much more on today’s Awesome Health Podcast.

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. I'm Wade T Lightheart from the Awesome Health Podcast by BiOptimizers and we've got another great episode for you today. This one we're going to dive into mindfulness and we have as a guest, Candace Good, who has an MD and a board certified psychiatrist, and the author of "Own Your Present: A Psychiatrist’s Guide to Mindful Meditation and Living a More Conscious Lifestyle". Now this book grew out of her own experiences, as well as commitment to providing more holistic care to patients with anxiety and other stress related conditions. Hello, there's a lot of people really dealing with that right now. Now a little bit on Dr. Good. She graduated from Penn State College of Medicine in 1999 and continues to work extensively in college and in patient mental health. Her practice includes a yoga space where she offers educational programs in meditation and Ayur Veda. In addition, her residency and fellowship training. Dr. Good has completed programs with Wellcoaches, Maharishi, Are you Veda, and the Veda center. She was recognized as a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2007. Dr. Good enjoys knitting and spending time with her family and rescuing hounds. That's very interesting. And Dr. Good welcomes freelance writing opportunities to relevant to her specialty interests and maintains a writing portfolio blog and was recently chosen as a contributor to Psychiatry network. We'll put all the links where you can catch up with what she's doing in social media in the show notes, but more importantly, I want to welcome you to the show. Welcome Candace.

Candace Good: Thank you. Thank you.

Wade Lightheart: For those who don't know, I've been a big fan of psychiatry when I was a kid. One of my friends, both his parents were doctors and they had an exceptional group of kids and one was a general practitioner doctor and was the mom, and the dad was a psychiatrist. And every time I interacted with them, I always found it fascinating as some of the insights and things he could drop on us as teenagers. And of course all his kids were just extraordinary individuals. And I thought: wow, that was really interesting. And then years later I fell in love with the complete works of Dr. David Hawkins, who was a world renowned psychiatric practitioner, and also learned a lot about what happened withDr. Linus Pauling and Dr. Abraham Hoffer and orthomolecular psychiatry and treating the brain with the nutrition and dealing with other things.

Wade Lightheart: And let me tell you, psychiatry is a very difficult and complex field. It is extremely hard and people like yourself, Candace, do a service that is very often unrecognized in the world. Mental health issues are extreme and they're growing as we try to deal with the technological or the unintended consequences of technological innovation at a very rapid level. And I'm here in Venice beach, California, and I see massive levels of mental health, which are putting people into the streets, leading them to crime and drug abuse. We see this rattling and destroying families across the nation and of course it seems to be even more pervasive in this digital world. What are you doing to help the world in this? It's a heavy load and you're on the front lines, sorting out the most difficult cases. What are you noticing in this time?

Candace Good: Well, just like what I did, just that, I've been taking a breath, because access to care, the mental health system for anyone who's had a family or friend tried to access it is very difficult to navigate. Very often the insurance is totally separate from medical benefits and I think psychiatry, there are so few providers, you could double the number of psychiatrists and everyone would still be full. Even though most of us are trained in therapy, there's a big focus towards the medication side of things. Diagnosis then medications. So I'm still a believer in medication, but a lot of people also don't realize that any depressants are only 60% effective and therapy is 60% effective. And I guarantee you, when you put them together, it's not 120%. So after 15 years of practice, I myself was getting really depleted and I was looking for things. I had tried medication therapy to help my anxiety and I needed to take care of myself so I could take care of other people. So I started to turn to more holistic methods, started to turn more towards yoga and meditation and they made a big difference. So of course I want to share that with my patients and my family, although they don't really listen to me.

Wade Lightheart: No matter how successful anybody becomes in any given field, it's almost impossible to convince your family members about anything and I find that always ironic. I guess family has always to keep humility at the forefront of our pursuits. Maybe before we get into the topic of the day, there's two items I would like to kind of dive into. Number one, what is the difference between psychology, like a psychologist versus a psychiatrist? And then how did you get interested in decide to pursue a career in psychiatry?

Candace Good: Okay. Yeah. So psychiatry is a medical degree program, either an MD or a Doctor of osteopathic, doctor that you do a residency after medical school. So the main is going to medical school and getting more of like the medical background to things, medical complications of. Medications can mimic psychiatric conditions. There are a lot of auto immune diseases, for example, that are associated with anxiety and depression and so we're trained to recognize those. We're trained in therapy. Psychologists take more of like a different route, often a PhD route, where they're focusing on therapy with the patient changing thoughts. Very often we work together in the care of a patient and there are some states where psychologists are actually able to prescribe certain medications if they have appropriate training.

Wade Lightheart: Okay. That's great. That's a great description between the two. And how did you ended up getting into this?
Candace Good: I never once considered psychiatry. At least during the time I went to medical school during third year, this is after college, third year of medical school, you rotate through all the specialties. So I was going to be an OB GYN. You know, delivering babies and that kind of thing. And I just randomly got assigned to, psychiatry was my last rotation. So I'd already had my whole life planned. I ended up there and it was just so interesting to me… There was sort of an art to it. There wasn't like a set way to do things, how you interact with people, how you adjust their medication, how you take a team approach and work with their therapist or in the case of child and adolescent psychiatry, their family, their school. So that was it.

Wade Lightheart: Well, now, I think most people think of psychiatry as a person lying on a couch and someone going: so, tell me about your dreams last night, it's a source that you'll have and this sort of thing. What is the process of, like who hires a psychiatrist? What is the process that may engage? Is there different approaches and what are the approach that you use?

Candace Good: Oh, sure. Well, some psychiatrist, you know, the voice you were using as the sort of the classic analyst Freud, where you come for hours every week and talk about your parents, but there are more manualized therapies that are used in research that are more how to track your negative thoughts and turn them around. At least in the area where I work, again based on the number of psychiatrists, most are pushed more towards the diagnosis and medication management just so that they can see more patients, but certainly in cities it's very common that a psychiatrist might do both, the medication and the therapy, which in some ways is really ideal, because they're integrating everything they know in the moment with the patient. So a lot of times people will say to me: Oh, well, you don't look like a psychiatrist, and I'm never quite sure if that's a compliment or not. I think it's good I don't have a Freudian beard or something at least yet, but…

Wade Lightheart: Excellent choices in sofas.

Candace Good: Yeah. So I think I grew up in an area where people didn't really talk about going to see a psychiatrist. There was quite a stigma to it. I think that stigma still exists, but particularly with my work with college students, people will openly talk about being my patient and they sort of compare notes for better or worse, probably. Of course, I also compete with Google when it comes to medical information. I do think at the end of the day, people just want to be able to connect with somebody and be able to share their experience. And as much as my degrees or research I could show them sound impressive, they want to know what I do and what I tell my family to do and be approachable in that way. So that's sort of how I approach things at this point.

Wade Lightheart: So what type of person do you feel requires psychiatric assistance or guidance from a professional, such as yourself? Or can just about anyone benefit? And what are the kinds of things that you see as a psychiatrist currently?

Candace Good: Very often because psychiatrists are specialists, in particularly, as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, some sort of a subspecialist within there, but a lot of times people were referred from their primary care doctor, if they've screened positive for depression or anxiety, or maybe they've tried some therapy or one or two medications and they weren't particularly effective. So that could be for a variety of reasons. They might actually have a different type of depression, like bipolar depression or, you know, they might need to consider other medications or lifestyle changes. I'm somebody who also talks with patients about supplements or other herbal preparations and I know which ones are safe to use with their psychiatric medications and vice versa. So people come to me, because they know that I'm able to like talk both sides and I do see a lot of professionals just, because I've shared my story enough that there's no… There's a lot of stigma for mental health providers to come into care or to admit that they're not okay with all we have to hold about. You know, I could see people in any given day who are dealing with loss due to COVID dealing with sexual assault, doing terrible financial risk. It's a lot to hold and I can tell you with, you were talking about digital, our digital lives right now, I need more breaks. Like it's more important than ever to take care of our brains. And I really like your program so much, and that you focus on both mind and body.

Wade Lightheart: That's really beautiful, which kind of brings us up to you've just recently written a book. And I find it fascinating that someone with a very Western training which as you said, I think in the last particular, last 50, 60 years, maybe a little bit longer where it's moving more to kind of a pharmacological, you know, just take this drug and take that drug and then you kind of get on this kind of drug interaction program, but you also refer to about some of the Western, or excuse me, the Eastern philosophical components that you've practicing yoga, and Ayur Veda, and herbology, and things like that, that have been used for thousands of years to treat mental health. Is this kind of why the emergence of mindfulness in our busy technologically driven worlds and what you're seeing as a professional and also, you know, looking to really help patients? Is that what's in the book, or is there some other inspiration?

Candace Good: Well, part of it is just once I was practicing yoga and mindfulness, I started to feel more creative again, and I enjoyed writing. So about two years ago, I decided I was gonna leave. I was in a busy group practice. I just wanted to do something different. Things were fine there, like they were great in many ways. And then people kept asking what the problem was and I'm like: well, you know, I really want to write a book. So of course the next question is: well, what's your book about? And I said: I don't know. I started to feel like it was very important for people that work in mental health to be able to talk about their own mental health. So I wanted to share what I've learned about my own anxiety, how that relates to caring for your brain, but doing it in a way that wasn't like super sciency, something that I could share with my friends and patients. Like people realized, they noticed a change in me, like I seem calmer and happier but you can't really do it justice in just like 15 minutes. It's a lot to explain.

Wade Lightheart: One of the things we were talking before we started this, and you were talking about, obviously, just the simple requirements that you need to have to become a medical doctor, the intense course load to get there, plus on top of that, seeing patients and trying to maintain your lifestyle as well. This is an incredible burden. I think a lot of people really under appreciate the sheer volume of work and education it requires to be a medical doctor. And so often people get angry or frustrated with medical doctors and saying: oh, they don't care or they're only bought and paid for by pharma schools or all this stuff. But if they had to shadow a day in the life of a medical doctor or someone in your position, I think they would be kind of blown away by the kind of pressure that is subjected to you. How do you cope with that as a busy professional and someone that's on a very difficult field with all the education requirements? And where there some things that you brought into your life, which kind of led to the book that made that happen?

Candace Good: Yeah, so in addition to our work, there's also our family obligations and very often I do, for example, today at five o'clock, I go on call overnight for the hospital. I might have to go up if something happens that can't be handled over the phone. I'm rounding on the weekends. I've been on zoom all day. You know, so I was go, go, go, and I didn't stop to breathe or checking in my energy and I started to do some pretty scattered things. My book starts with the story about me just forgetting my daughter at Barnes & Noble. Here I am, I'm a specialist in parenting and behavior and I show up at my daughter's school, cause' I'm there to like sell tickets for the show that she's in. And the other parents who were actually like,parents of my patients were like: Oh my gosh, should we pay this lady for advice? You know, at least that's how I felt.

Candace Good: And the issue is that I was really, really having these negative thoughts about, it's very difficult to be a perfectionist working in an imperfect system like healthcare. There are so many things that are outside of my control and so many demands, you sort of have to get to this place where you realize: Hey, my energy… I need to hold back on certain things to really be there for the moments that count. And that includes with my work. That's one of the reasons I hate the term burnout a bit, because it makes it sound like there's something wrong with the person or that they're not doing a good job. I can tell you for sure, most docs have, if anything, high functioning anxiety and they're overdoing, over pleasing, still over-performing at work, even when they're not feeling well.

Wade Lightheart: It is seems to be one of the things I've noticed, we work with a lot of high performers and people who have achieved what many people would deem extraordinary levels of success, fame, fortune, these types of things, and I learned long time ago as a personal trainer, when I was training kind of the who's who in Vancouver, Canada, that many of these people lived in what I call the golden handcuffs. Outwardly they had all the trappings of success and, you know, the house, the family, the cars, the beautiful second home and the Rolodex of envy and all of the things, and meanwhile, they just kind of want to let it all go and like build a boat or something in Indonesia. These relatively simple, almost mundane things that they thought would be just extraordinary to be able to do.

Wade Lightheart: Is that something that you think is increasing in this kind of like, I call this… We're living in this kind of highly curated world with social media, where people are getting this impression that everybody's life is wonderful or perfect, or we all should be like the Kardashians, or we should all have careers like the latest celebrity and yet when we dive into many of these lives, they are extremely tragic and they have this high level of anxiety. It's never good enough. It's never great enough. One of the drivers is this quest for quote unquote perfection. What's your take on all that?

Candace Good: Yeah, you use the term good enough. You know, there was a term called the good enough mother, there was, since like older analysts. D. Winnicott had talked about that: a mom can't always be there for their kid or the kid doesn't learn to be independent and do things separately. He's the one that coined the term transitional object. You know, how kids carry their blanky around when they need comfort. When I was completing my training, I had an attending who kept calling me the good enough mother, cause' my last name's good and I had just had a baby and it drove me crazy. Good enough does not sound great. Nobody wants to be quote the good enough parent. You want to be the best parent you can be. I get stuck in there too, like I'll be on social media and I'll see everybody's vacations and their kids look so put together and I'm like, why can't I go on vacation?

Candace Good: So I think what people really want, and that's one change I've seen during COVID is, people want something real. They want something authentic. There's only so much you can do when you're stuck in your house to make yourself look great. So if anything, I've seen people in more realistic photos, you know, I'm pretty sure people are wearing pants, but they're certainly not dress pants. So it's interesting. I feel that people are letting perfectionism go a little bit in COVID, in the pandemic, because otherwise you can't function. I mean, there's no way to be perfect right now. And for athletes, for example, somebody like, I know Serena Williams in different interviews has talked about how, when she competes, she always focuses, she's winning, but she focuses on the part that she didn't do correctly. And the challenge is, that's what makes people great when you change, you improve. But if it's sucks away the enjoyment out of it. So again, you can have a lot of anxiety and still be functioning well, but if you're starting to really like lose sleep, not enjoy things, that's the time to really start checking in with a professional. And if you're not sure whether this is usual stress or not stress check in with somebody. I mean, getting our brains checked or working out, or taking care of our brains should be just like going to the gym. It really should.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said. I know wide range of people and I've been very blessed. I'm a very much of an extrovert, so I get connected to a lot of people and I love diving into things. And what I've noticed over the last, oh, probably, I guess it's now getting close to 25 years is an increasing amount of anxiety in people that I'm associated with and people that you might not imagine having anxiety. Do you think there's an increase in anxiety in the population today? Or do you think that there's just more people feeling comfortable discussing it?

Candace Good: Well it's like anything, it's probably both, but I mean, there's definitely been an increase in perfectionism among college students. Which the problem is if you can't do it perfect, then you're more likely to shut down and not do it at all or procrastinate, which only fuels anxiety, right? But I also think some of what we're sensing as anxiety, like this feeling like: gee, I don't want to feel like this, it's actually being overstimulated from our schedules, from our time online. I talk with students a lot, particularly now. I mentioned me needing more breaks from zoom. A break from zoom is not checking social media on my phone or getting on Netflix. Like those things are fun, but they're not restorative for my brain. So I have my own tells, like I know that it's too much when I start talking over people in meetings.

Candace Good: Like that's definitely my tell that I need a break. Unfortunately by Friday it usually happens. Well before my day's over. Those are things. Mindfulness isn't that you don't get stressed or scattered, it's just that you're more aware in the moment and when you do have distress, like you're okay with it, like you don't have to do anything about it right away. Like if you get these emails, like I get a lot of emails that create distress. I used to like fire back right away, and then they're firing back and like, if it's important you can take some time to think about it. You don't have to answer texts right away. My patients are sort of blown away by that.

Wade Lightheart: It's ironic when I hired my assistant a few years ago and she's very expedient in her responses. She saw my computer, which at the time had, I think somewhere around 155,000 unanswered emails. Her eyes went saucers and she was telling me at that moment, she almost didn't take the position. She's like maybe I got myself into something, because her being a bit younger than myself and in a different component maybe kind of a different value system or that sort of stuff. She, who clears her inbox every day and responds properly and all that stuff, which is what I needed someone to help me with. I just couldn't build the ocean with a teaspoon of my little boat. And I thought, wow, that's interesting.

Wade Lightheart: But I had studied extensively with Dr. David Hawkins, who also made the conclusion that he, although he had been a meditator for 20 years during his extensive psychiatric career, he found that the pressures of society, he moved more to a contemplate of style or which would be quote unquote mindfulness and the Zen experience. And he said something at one of his events that really struck me. He said: in the West, we celebrate sainthood, which is the perfection of the personality, and in the East, they celebrate enlightenment, which is the transcendence of the personality. In other words, one sees oneself as kind of this wind up toy and it's like: Oh, well, there I go again, interrupting, or there I go again, getting it like this. This piece was very helpful for me in my own life by identifying my own insecurities or my own challenges, or my own defects of operation, or psychology, or actions, or things. I found that very wonderful and I began incorporating a mindfulness technique into my life to kind of put these checkpoint, I don't have it perfect. How did you kind of come to this conclusion and why did you write this book to kind of help bridge the gap for people like suffering from the pitfalls of perfection?

Candace Good: I turned to mindfulness when I was truly suffering. I mean, I got to a point, not too long after I forgot my daughter at Barnes & Noble, that should have been a sign. I was in the hospital for like four days with asthma, and then there were several months where I just couldn't recover and I was on steroids during that time, which are miserable as I'm sure many of your listeners know. You don't sleep, you're jittery and every doctor I went to, like, I went to, I call it the March of the specialists, to figure out what's wrong. They couldn't really find anything, you know, an underlying problem. Yet I wasn't getting better. And then no one said to me: Hey, maybe you're working too much. Like, because they're doctors too, I guess, or that's just not the model that we look at within healthcare.

Candace Good: I probably would have minimized it anyway. I can tell you when I started working with a meditation teacher and then tried to do things on my own I ended up quitting, because I thought I was terrible at it, cause' my thoughts were all over the place and it was in no way, restorative. I just felt like: there I wasted another 30 minutes of my time, you know? And nobody really explained to me at the time that that's sort of what to expect at first. And that happens sometimes. That's your body releasing stress. It doesn't mean it was a bad meditation, just like: Oh, that's Candace's brain doing her thing. And that is so liberating if you're able to do that. So I did get better and I fell back into old habits, but you know, over time I think that what really made a difference for me was working with a teacher who was also a busy you know, women's rights attorney, typer.

Candace Good: She just got me and she was able to explain things in a way that working one on one with somebody, they can really adjust things to your body and your weak. Whereas, I was pretty intimidated going to yoga classes and I mean, half the people were like half my age and I was always trying to, even though I say I'm not competitive, you're always looking to see if you're the least flexible person there. So you overdo it and yoga can feel sort of like a punishment.

Wade Lightheart: So funny. One of the things I've learned tothat I've found very liberating and again, I learned that from Dr. Hawkins was to actually embrace and be entertained by my poor performance in areas and to not feel bad about it, but just kind of enjoy my own incompetence. And so I've used that as a lead both in my personal life and as well as inside my business. So my team members who work with me who have assembled strengths and abilities that are far superior than mine in my areas, I make sure that I laugh about it and like: Oh God, you know, Wade's got to organize his life. He can't. I mean, I can't even organize my desk, let alone my life, so I have people that do this for me and we laugh about it.

Wade Lightheart: Same as going to a class like where maybe when I was younger, I wanted to do everything perfectly or I wouldn't do something, because of my incompetence. Now I celebrate my incompetence, because my business partner said something a long time ago that I think was really great. And he said: you know, the best thing, when you start something new, you go: today is the worst it's going to be. Like I will learn something. I will get a little tiny, tiny bit better, even if I don't notice it. And I think that's part of the celebration that we can bring into our lives. What other things have you found important to illustrate in your book Mindfulness?

Candace Good: Well each chapter sort of include some of my personal stories that illustrate concepts. I talk some about the neurology, neurologic basis of stress and how certain movements help with that retraining our fire alarm that is our amygdala. That's constantly going off when we're stressed. So we talk about that again, not a sciencey way. I give people short exercises or activities. I like to call them at the end of each chapter, whether it's reflecting, listening, each one generally has an intention. That's the wish of what they take with them. I mean, as I get to the book sort of starts with, here's how to make space and what present moment awareness was like for me, but then I got over some hurdles related to my past and the idea of being a psychiatrist who has like pretty impairing OCD at the time. It's interesting now, like I barely have any OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms and it's just because I learned to like, be okay with it. Like I saw it more instead of this terrible blemish or horrible thing to have, I saw it more as this glitchy thing my brain does when I'm stressed. And once I like made peace with that, it pretty much went away. It's really unbelievable considering how tortured I was. It's funny now, but I was pretty tortured for years.

Candace Good: A lot of it had to do with checking things and like, I got to one point, you mentioned my hound dogs, I got very focused on their safety and I couldn't leave the house without making sure they're inside, because here in Pennsylvania they could actually freeze to death outside. And it got to the point where it's even hard to leave the house sometimes, cause' I was so focused on the dogs and it's sort of like, who wants to see a psychotherapist that can't even get out of their driveway. I don't know. I guess if for me, I like to see doctors that have had some health issues themselves and are willing to work with me as an individual versus just, this is the way the book says to do it.

Wade Lightheart: I recall reading Hippocrates and he suggested that the best doctors were not those who had robust health, which were people, who actually had great challenges oftentimes and suffered extensively, because it provided both the empathy to the patient as well as the drive and commitment to solve the problems. It's kind of echoed by Tim Ferriss said that he found that the best companies, best products and best services were developed by people who were scratching their own itch, so to speak. And so what other elements or ear marks do you think are important to cultivate a practice of mindfulness?

Candace Good: Well, particularly right now, I think gratitude is extremely important and being able to think outside of the box a little bit. People often think of a gratitude practice as you have to keep this like intense journal of all the things you're thankful for. I can tell you there's been some days right now that I didn't feel very thankful at all. I used to think: gee, that means I'm not a thankful person. Now, what it means is I'm a good person having a bad day. So let's just focus when people are depressed or highly anxious it's hard for them to feel overjoyed about anything to write in a journal, so we just focus on things that you notice. And since we all have phones around, for some people, I'm not a big,= like write a down all the time person, I'll take like a little voice message or take a picture.

Candace Good: Like me going through pictures on my phone, I view that as like a gratitude practice. Once we're able to think outside of the box on that, I think we can start to find gratitude in times that we don't except. Not everything has to be perfect. You can just have the sense that: Hey, something good could come out of this. And it takes awhile to get there and I don't feel like that every minute. I think that's important to tell people too, When you talk about mindfulness, you want to be realistic, cause what I was initially trying to sell the patients as this easy thing to do, when I wasn't doing it myself, like when they did try what I described, didn't match their experience. And I can guarantee that patients don't want to come back and pay $40 copay to let you know, they failed at something. Like they're just not going to come back.

Wade Lightheart: One of the things that I thought was fascinating when comparing notes between Dr. David Hawkins, as well as a number of different Eastern mystics and Canada's, Dr. Jordan Peterson is a psychologist who quite renowned, and what was fascinating is all of them talked about the historical aspects of humans. And I think a lot of people don't realize the evolution of life as a human on the planet, and the abject poverty and suffering that almost everybody endured for most of history, other than a few select people. But most people life was really tart. You had to work hard. You know, family members died, because of no modern medicine or sanitation requirements and you go to some countries it's still that way. And then now we're living essentially, in probably, the most advanced age and widespread personal economy. We're the most prosperous group of humans that have ever existed as a total. Yet I see so much unrest and so much anxiety about what people have or what's going on or whatever. Do you feel that this is a legitimate observation or is it, because we lack perspective or is there a deep comparative analysis that's creating: hey, I'm not as good as this group or that group? What's going on there?

Candace Good: Well, I'm not sure I have a full answer, but from an evolution standpoint, we evolved, our personalities have evolved to connect with people. I mean, humans, we're not solitary beings. So the issue is now we're having to learn to connect with people in different ways. And as of March, 2020, everything really sped up. It's a question of like how to go about that. Again, I think part of this feeling, I call it not this sprain and that when you're overstimulated like thatwe often will give it the word anxiety, but it's sort of your brain saying, like, I can't process everything's going on. I don't know what I want, but I don't want to feel like this. So then not this brain is the one that's, you know, we all do things to make ourselves feel better, a glass of wine after work or using College population, I'm constantly, I don't know if impressed is the right word, but there's a lot of marijuana available. We're not a state. There's medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, but it's not legal for other uses. So like not this brain is trying to find some kind of escape. Again, I think everything goes back to trying to find ways to take care of our brains. I think a lot of people will spend time maybe going to the gym or doing other things, but don't even think about taking a break mentally. I think it's that high achiever brain that we're selecting for.

Wade Lightheart: So true. I find it ironic right now that during maybe one of the most stressful events of our history as the chosen mitigations for the COVID virus is to lock everybody up and we can't assemble anymore and we can't go to church, which I think is a big resource for inspiration and gratitude for a lot of people, our connection to some kind of higher vision, but we can go to the alcohol store and we can go to like literally my building is right behind the med men store, which is selling all different types of marijuana and like there's a line up at that place every day. And I saw the increase, I've seen some of the literature on the increase of antianxiety drugs, the increase in alcohol and drug consumption rate now.

Wade Lightheart: What are you noticing right now with what's happening? And do you feel that there is going to be significant longterm implications? Cause' I don't even know what the implications are of locking down a society like this for so long. I know it certainly playing out in the political arena, people are very angry and very upset. There's a lot of distrust to authorities. Then it's spun off into riots and division along racial lines. It seems like a very, very explosive time. Is that part and parcel, because it's bringing up things that we weren't addressing or is it kind of bringing up an amplification of these things?

Candace Good: I think a lot about the energy in the world and when we have the energy and upset, cause' from a mindfulness standpoint. I think prior to mindfulness that used to think angry was like a bad emotion to have, cause' when we think of angry, we think of punching the wall or like telling somebody off and losing your job, that kind of thing. But anger, like I always say: the more yoga I do, the more angry I am, cause' it's in there, like anger is just like this energy for change. And so when people don't have the energy that they're getting out by usually going to the gym or going to work, or doing other things outside, the energy is going to go somewhere. So I think that's where it gets funneled. Some people that anger, if it's not turned outward, then it gets turned inward and anger turned inward we've classically known as, as depression.

Candace Good: So certainly there are people becoming more depressed and isolated, at the same time some people with social anxiety and perfectionism I've seen, have been doing better at home. From what I've seen working on in patient mental health, there was a period of time where things were pretty slow, like nobody was coming in and then people who maybe usually rely on family to get them to appointments or to pick up their medications started to come in. And now it's a lot of drug and alcohol. A lot of alcohol detox, a lot of you know, I remember like two weekends ago when I was on call, I felt like everybody was testing positive for methamphetamine. And I'm like: there's gotta be something wrong with like the drug test that we're using. I'm going to go to the emergency room and see if I'm on meth. It's nothing to joke about obviously, but it was just unbelievable to me. Yeah, it's interesting, cause' people aren't just using, usually I think people be using substances to like calm down as you may have heard meth is not a substance that helps to calm down.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah. Don't take a hit on meth just to chill out.

Candace Good: Yeah. I am worried about what things are gonna look like and I worry about the people that aren't coming in. At the same time, access to telepsychiatry and telehealth for therapy has really expanded who can see who, and I'm very glad that I can work remotely for a big part of my job.

Wade Lightheart: I think that was one of the really big breakthroughs that happened during this crisis, when the administration started to kind of open up the channels for telemedicine, because nowadays the way urban structures are, or people in rural areas, it's difficult to get in, to see the practitioner you want. There's an efficiency that can happen when you're communicating like this and you get a lot of the energy. Maybe you don't get the physicality presence, but in a professional environment that might even be better. People might be more not picking up so much on all the physiological cues, dealing with a professional, dealing with some parts of their anxiety. How do you see this progressing over time as something that allows you to kind of expand and do think that might attract more practitioners into the field, who want to live maybe a more rural life and address people living in city? Do you see that as a longterm benefit positive?

Candace Good: Right now, some of the issue is, is that tele-health legislation States sustain has really not kept up with the technology. Also when it comes to drug enforcement agency. So right now, the main change I think will happen is that there will be availability to work more across state lines. It's a real challenge in college mental health. I see students well, primarily Northeast, New York, New Jersey. I was able to get temporary licenses for some States that required them, but it's very difficult to continue care when it gets disrupted by something like this. I think as much as I was not excited to do zoom, cause' I do think there's something special about being in the room with somebody. And there are mannerisms that I just can't pick up on by. I do like, that I'm able to see them without masks and very often they are more relaxed, cause' they're in their home environment. I get to meet their pets and all of those things. So I don't see psychiatry in particular going back very far. I still think there will be in person appointments, but I think the broad use of telehealth that we're seeing during the pandemic is going to stay in place just because of improving access.

Wade Lightheart: And I think that's a huge, huge benefit. So again, for people, there's always silver linings to massive crisises that. There's a book I have on my desk it's just 'The Obstacle Is the Way'. And again, it comes down to many of the biggest challenges in our life to bring up our capacity to solve those challenges and end up with a longterm benefit. What are some other things from a mindfulness perspective that you have incorporated that you think is really pertinent for people to start to practice in their own lives in order to have, I would say optimal mental health?

Candace Good: I'd like to move into, you know we talked about starting to get some work with present moment awareness, then gratitude. I mean, the next step is really coming to this. We've talked a lot about perfectionism today, which is I think great. I sort of expected it, cause' I know the type of clients that you work with and the high achievers and, the next step is being able to, as you talked about, just embrace and really be thankful for. I'm thankful for my quirks now and really that helps me carry my authentic self on this journey, like doing these interactions, doing new things that if you would've asked me a year ago, if I'd be on this podcast, Awesome Health Podcasts, would say: no way, you know, that's not my thing. When I look at somebody who's truly present, it's being comfortable in your skin, being able to show up and not do everything for everybody, but a big part of leadership and mindful leadership is knowing like how to manage your own energy and to be able to share that with other people, it really affects them in ways that I didn't expect.

Candace Good: So that's been a really cool part about becoming an author and having a book, is people will read it and contact me and share their own stories. Apparently a lot of people leave their kids places who knew.

Wade Lightheart: It's very interesting, you know, cause' one of the things that we've cultivated in our company cause' both my co founder, Matt and I, we've gone through an incredible evolution individually and collectively in our business career and personal. We've had all the battles that you could possibly imagine and found it and one of our mindfulness practices that we incorporate inside of our company meetings is to have the check-in before the meeting. So, you know, how's your physical energy, what's your biggest emotional challenge, how's your problem solving capability, how much Ram do you have available and what's your greatest challenge? We identify those things and each person does their check-in first, so we know where the person is at that moment, so they can manage like sometimes I'm jumping out of one meeting and some disaster has happened over here or maybe there's a personal challenge that someone on our team might be going through or myself at that given time. And it's nice just to quickly identify. That's one of the mindfulness practices that we bring into our meeting. And what's interesting is it really makes people feel that their situation is more manageable, that there's some empathy from their coworkers and it well helps our coworkers be able to see where that person is before they might give some feedback or deal with the challenge and recognize where that person is. Is there are any things that you suggest or recommend for like interpersonal communications or families, or business, or stuff to maintain mindfulness?

Candace Good: Well, I did talk a little bit about after you've been practicing mindfulness a while, then you're more available for sort of active listening. And some of those techniques are things we actually do with like little kids and I think what happens a lot of times, and I did this as a leader initially too, is I would sort of jump in and try and solve the problem versus just hanging back, listening to the person with my full attention. That means, you know, cell phone, cell phone away, you know not 50 popups on my computer, just listening with full attention and reflecting back what their emotion is. In psychiatry there was, can you rate your mood on a scale of one to 10? And I don't use that, but when it comes to energy, I sort of think about this whole visualization of a funnel.

Candace Good: I use the funnel exercise and that, you know, you've all heard you can't pour from an empty cup. Well, most of us, like when you start yoga or whatever practice you're doing, you're not filling up right away, because we're all doing things. So if you think about it, it's more of your energy is going in and going out at the same time, sort of like water through a funnel. I think when I'm frazzled, I sort of see myself as an upside down funnel and that there's so little going in and there's so much going out in different directions. But using something like you described at the beginning of the meeting is great. It just so speaks to mindful leadership, because the person in charge that knows where everybody's at and who really needs uplifted, cause' when we think about a leader, you think about a leader being the front of the pack, but really the more mindful leaders are the ones that hang back a bit, that they can help people along, you know, they can report to the front and that doesn't mean that you're working any less, you're just working differently.

Candace Good: So now a lot of the things I do in leadership or life, I'm just as busy, but it's just different. I feel different about it. So mindset's huge. When it comes to mindfulness, other performance, sports those types of things.

Wade Lightheart: How important do you feel routine is in developing a mindfulness practice? So if I look at almost all of the top performers that I've interviewed or connected with, or work with, or friends with… Almost all of them, there's a few exceptions, they have their routine, their prep stuff, like it's kind of to get into the space of their zone of genius or whatever they're doing. Is there things that you've noticed in mindfulness or can too much, like where's the balance, I guess, between becoming like so ritualistic that you're going mindlessly through your day versus mindfulness through that? You know what I mean? Like where's the balance between I'm doing this to go through the motions versus I'm doing this with full attention?

Candace Good: Right, right. So I think that's certainly self-compassion like, ideally I meditate 20 minutes twice a day, but there are some evenings where things get delayed, I don't get to it, I'm just too tired. Like I don't force myself to do it and I'm not like: Oh, now you're like, you know, it's not like I have to start over from scratch. I think…

Wade Lightheart: Take nine tails and start flogging myself.

Candace Good: For busy people routine's important in the sense that there are better times for you to meditate or quote recommended times. It doesn't mean you have to do it at that time. And it doesn't have to be 20 minutes. If you have 10 minutes, you do 10 minutes. But first thing in the morning before you have anything to eat, and then later in the afternoon, again, before your evening meal, or like the optimal times, because you want your nervous system focusing on your brain, not on your gut for digestion and you know, how important digestion is. So those are things that are all part of Ayur Veda, which I love tremendously and that I don't incorporate every aspect into my morning routine every day, or I personally wouldn't get out of the house in time. But I try to use those topics and talk about our body's natural rhythms when I talk with students. Like if you sleep till two in the afternoon, that's not how your body is programmed to function so you're going to be more tired than if you got up at noon, for example. Don't know sometimes they go for it.

Wade Lightheart: Is there any other items that, I think, you illustrate inside of the book of mindfulness that would be very attractive for people and things that they might not be aware of that they need to kind of incorporate?

Candace Good: I think really is just trying enough different things that you find what's gonna work for you. One thing that I really stress right now with people I'm working with is looking at some type of loving kindness or Metta meditation, because of where the energy is in the world, when your mind's very busy. I practiced transcendental meditation, which is in a silent mantra. When I first started meditating, I couldn't sit silently for 20 minutes. And when on days when my mind is very busy, I do like something that's more guided. So when you're very stressed and getting started, you have to start, you know, it's like the people that start going to the gym and they're like: I'm going to work out two hours a day. You can't start there, you know? It's the same thing when it comes to your brain, but loving kindness meditation is really about wishing people. First wishing yourself, health and happiness, then people that are close to you and your larger community, and your world, and throwing in that person, that's really giving you a difficult time. Somebody you have a really hard time with That's the hard one, because there are people in our lives that are just the pleading for us, and we have to think about how to deal with them. But in the end we all want to be healthy and happy and have time for our families and our hobbies. So there's way more that we have in common with each other.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said and beautifully illustrated. Just sort of curiosity, how did you get attracted into Ayur Veda practice and incorporate it as a physician here in the Western system? And was that embraced by your colleagues or was that poo-pooed by your colleagues?

Candace Good: Well, most people don't know what it is or how to say it, and I probably mispronounced it too, but this Vedic philosophy, this ancient Indian medicine that goes along with yoga philosophy falls right in there. I had gone to a yoga retreat at Kripalu and they gave me this list of a million different things to do and it was really overwhelming. That was my first exposure. And I'm like, I really need to learn more about this. The thing that really attracted me to Ayur Veda was I'm pretty convinced that a lot of psychiatric conditions are due to chronic inflammation in the body. And Ayur Veda is very focused on digestion and how toxins that aren't fully like disposed of from our bodies, from ourselves, how that creates something called Alma, which is this toxicity in the body that creates mental fog, mental slowness.

Candace Good: So the beauty of Ayur Veda are there are different mind body types and what works for one person may not work for another person. So I'm all about being efficient. It's the same thing when it comes to meditation, I want to do the best meditation for me. Psychiatry doesn't really have a great explanation for why some people with depression don't sleep and get very anxious and why other people sleep too much and really lose their motivation or there's some people in the middle, they get very angry. Ayur Veda explains that very nicely. So in Western medicine, how I'm trained, you prescribe the same antidepressant for all three of those people, right? Andayur Veda, you have Vata Pitta and Kapha, the mind body types. And you would prescribe a different routine and healthcare routine for each of the three people based on their individual types. So when it comes to personalized medicine, I think you can't get better than Ayur Veda. I know everyone thinks of personalized medicine is getting a cheek swab and getting their DNA run and matching it up. I can tell you I've personally ordered thousands of those tests and,occasionally it'll help me decide like whether to dose a certain medicine up or down, but it doesn't predict response and it doesn't always match what I see clinically.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah. I find it so fascinating how this science existed literally for thousands of years in another culture and interestingly enough, a lot of people aren't familiar, but pharmacology, surgery, advanced levels of surgery were all practiced in India thousands of years ago. And now we're seeing this beautiful fusion between the technological advancements of Western civilization and the emergence of maybe philosophical practices from the East. I think that you're embodying those in such a beautiful way and it's so wonderful to have a professional in the Western medicine that has been able to incorporate that to advance the health and wellbeing of your clients. I think people need to grab your book. I think our listeners need to get a copy of this book. Can you share with us who this book is for? What you hope that they're going to learn from it? And more importantly, how to get ahold of, how to get a copy of this book? How to find you on Facebook and Twitter, all that sorts of things, all that stuff? So please you have the floor and let us get this product.

Candace Good: Can I show you the book, cause it's really beautiful?

Wade Lightheart: Oh, wow. Yeah. That's beautiful. And you got kind of the Lotus leaf on the bottom.

Candace Good: Yeah. So the Lotus flower is a sign of resilience and that's what we all want, something beautiful to grow out of the mud. That is 2020 for a lot of people. The book is really, it says it right on the back mindfulness for busy people. Like I said, it's a lot of practical advice and therapy mixed in with therapy techniques and other activities to help you, even if you're already doing a mindfulness practice, I think working on the mindset that goes along with it can really help deepen the practice. So it is available on all online retailers. Obviously Amazon's a big one. There you can get a free sample of the book. If you're someone who likes to support local businesses, you can support my local bookstore, Webster's bookstore and cafe by shopping at is also a nice place to get it. All of my social media handles I've switched over to goodenoughdoc. And that is pretty much me. I do a blog How To Shrink A Shrink. So my website is It started as a weight loss blog for running, but I stopped running and wasn't losing weight. Just kidding. But that's where the name initially came from.

Wade Lightheart: Dr. Candace Good, you are a wealth of knowledge and have really done a great service in the world. I'm so happy that you've put this book together, that you've done this practice and that you've taken the time out of your busy schedule to join us on the Awesome Health Podcast. Because I think today this is as essential as sunlight, air and water, and food, and all the things we talk about in the show is we need to be able to incorporate mindfulness in this crazy rapidly technological advancing world.

Wade Lightheart: Thank you so much for joining us today on the Awesome Health Podcast. For our listeners, grab a copy of Candace's books, check out her social media handle, and we'll see you again next time on the Awesome Health podcast, skews me by BiOptimizers take care and be mindful.
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