Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., is a board-certified internist and a leading researcher in the field of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia. Dr. Teitelbaum has written extensively on health and happiness, and has made hundreds of media appearances. He is author of the best selling books, From Fatigued to Fantastic!, Pain Free 1-2-3, and Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy.
Smart Publications sat down with Dr. Teitelbaum recently to discuss happiness and the barriers people face in their attempts to achieve happiness.
Dr. Teitelbaum, we would like to start with some basic definitions. How would you define what causes anxiety?
Dr. T: Anxiety and hyperventilation tends to occur when people are burying feelings.
Dr. T: If they have something they feel bad or are worried about and they are burying it, then it’s going to come up as panic attacks. For example, if you are stressed about finances or your relationship, or angry at someone—and you don’t acknowledge your feelings—then you set yourself up for the attacks. It is interesting to note, panic attacks usually don’t come during the periods of stress. That’s not when they hit … panic attacks tend to hit during periods of relative calm. You are driving your car home, you’re watching TV, or taking a break. That’s when these feelings that have been buried have a chance to surface. And that’s why these anxiety and panic attacks hit during periods of relative calm.
And depression—what would you say that is?
Dr. T: Depression is suppressed anger … turned inward. If you suppress the anger or turn it inward … saying to yourself, ‘I’m an idiot, I’m a fool. Nobody loves me, everybody hates me.’ That’s turning your anger inward. You are taking that anger towards other people and redirecting at yourself. People think it’s not nice to be angry, but anger is not bad.
You just don’t want to suppress it …
Dr. T: You don’t want to suppress it because it causes depression. That’s the mind component. But then there is the biochemistry of depression and anxiety … you’ll see that certain things put you on a hair-trigger for anxiety, especially B vitamins and magnesium deficiencies. So, where anyone can get anxious, you are much more likely to get anxious if you go ahead and have deficiency of the B vitamins and magnesium—and that’s across the board. You know, magnesium is critical to for over 300 different chemical reactions.
So when you are treating people for depression or anxiety, do you take the biochemistry approach first?
Dr. T: I do both. You have to approach both the mind component and the biochemistry components. Because, I can go ahead and get your biochemistry better so you are less susceptible to anxiety. But if you still keep burying your feelings, you’ll still get panic attacks. Or you’ll get something else… your body will find another way to get sick.
Depression is more likely to start with the biochemistry because sometimes it’s purely biochemical. If you have a fish oil deficiency, your going to be depressed, if you have a thyroid deficiency, your going to be depressed.
I’m going to treat the biochemistry as soon as somebody walks in and they say ‘Hey, I’ve got these problems.’ I’ll say here take these …
If it’s anxiety, I’ll go with the Calming Balance™ formulation – wonderful product. And if it’s depression, I’ll recommend Happiness 1-2-3!™, which is a very, very good product as well.
So I’m going to start with those things …
Do you find people who have depression also have anxiety?
Dr. T: Not necessarily, but you can have both simultaneously. In those cases, you can use the two products together, although I would typically start by treating the anxiety component first.
Anxiety first … And what’s the time frame that you can see adjustments?
Dr. T: Six weeks … you’re going to see some effects with the first dose. If you are looking at anxiety and the Calming Balance product, you’ll see some effects with dose one. After one week, you’ll see a much, much higher effect. And after six weeks it’s going to be even more pronounced.
The thing about natural remedies is that they work to help repair your body’s machinery. They don’t poison the system like most medications do. They help re-balance the system, but it takes time.
Just like it takes one day to knock a house down and six weeks to put one up, it takes one day to poison us with medication, but six weeks with natural remedies to really get the whole thing better.
Like I say, with Calming Balance you’ll start feeling better with the first dose. By one week you’ll be feeling a lot better. By six weeks you’ll be sending us love letters.
Great. And you once mentioned that you thought happiness was listening to your feelings …
Dr. T: Happiness is letting out your anger and expressing your anger—and using your feelings to follow your bliss. You see what feels good to you, and you do what feels good to you, and not just what you think you should be doing.
So it’s really quite simple, it’s not several different activities …
Dr. T: Well, you have the three steps to happiness. Number one is being honest with your feelings. If you feel out of sorts and angry and sad … acknowledge it, feel it. Deal with it. Otherwise, you might feel that way for 30 years. Feel it and get it out of your system in a couple of days or a week or two.
So first be honest with you feelings.
Dr. T: Yes. And number two is … there are no victims. You have total control over your life. Which means no blame, no fault, no guilt, no judgment. No putting your responsibility for what is going on, on anybody else. And don’t blame yourself. Life is a no fault system.
That’s a nice approach.
Dr. T: As soon as you do that, you reclaim the power over your life. But if you don’t, you no longer have control over whether you will be happy or not. Good luck then …
But as soon as you recognize that others are doing their thing, and I’m doing my thing, and you are doing your thing, and that we are all doing the best we can. Even if you feel like ringing someone’s neck sometimes, that’s okay. But you know, if I’m angry or hurt or if someone is getting short with me—and I don’t like it—I have the option to walk away. The thing to remember is you have control.
And then part three is to keep your attention on what feels good. You know, our brain will tell us what we were programmed as children, what we should be thinking and doing. But the people who have been telling us what to do weren’t so happy themselves a lot of times.
So number three is really, to thy own self be true. Pay attention to what feels great to you.
So those three golden approaches work no matter what? As people are getting older … I was wondering if you change your approach as people get older.
Dr. T: Nope, nope … I don’t care if somebody is 6 years old or 60 or 120. These are just general guidelines that I have found after 30 years in practice, working in depth with patients. My new patient visits are four hours. That’s my average. I have some patient visits that go seven or eight hours.
And having worked in depth with people, this is what I’ve found. These are the psycho/spiritual keys to happiness. And, it’s very straightforward. Being honest with your feelings, taking your power back, and choosing to do what feels good to you.
Now what feels good to me is to go ahead and help heal the planet.
You’re doing a great job.
Dr. T: I give away all this money to our foundation, and if it was a sacrifice on my part … I wouldn’t do it. If it didn’t feel good I wouldn’t be doing it.
If it felt better to go to the football game, I’d go to the football game. If I wanted to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or buy a Lexus, I’d buy it now.
But I’m perfectly happy with my Mustang, and I can donate other funds to charity. It helps me. And there’s no altruism in it. It is perfectly selfish doing what I love to do.
In talking about Calming Balance™ and Happiness 1-2-3!™, how would you describe the difference between these two formulations?
Dr. T: Calming Balance is looking more to stimulate the relaxation system called GABA in your body, where the Happiness 1-2-3! is looking more to stimulate the happiness molecule called serotonin so you have different control systems in your body. Sometimes both are off. The GABA is down, the serotonin is down, the dopamine is down and you are going to get anxiety and depression.
The B vitamins help restore all of them. The magnesium helps restore both of those. That’s what helps if you have anxiety or depression. And magnolia bark, interestingly enough, helps with both anxiety and depression, because it is actually two different treatments in one.
It’s pretty convenient packaging if you think about it. Because it has the one component magnolol which is actually an anti-depressant, and you have honokiol that acts as an anti-anxiety treatment. How convenient is that? So you get a kind of two-fer with magnolia. So I use magnolia for both.
And let’s not forget the naturally occurring amino acids. L-Theanine increases brain serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels, and I included that in both the Calming Balance and Happiness 1-2-3! products. And 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), that’s another amino acid that works to boost serotonin levels. I included that in Happiness 1-2-3!
Was it challenging to come up with the two different formulas?
Dr. T: It is absolutely as obvious as can be … having read tens of thousands of studies … and at this point, probably a hundred thousand studies. It’s like if you go to a car mechanic, and he looks and knows the belt is broken. For me, I just know that there is steam coming out of my car. It’s pretty obvious to him as soon as he raises the hood. And as physician who has practiced natural medicine for 30 years now, it’s pretty obvious to me that these things help people do better.
Let me tell you a story about Calming Balance. When we first developed it, we beta tested the product in our office. We got in a few bottles and we gave it to folks and told them to try this out. And then the people came back … and they said ‘I love this stuff and I want some more.’ I had to tell them that there’s not going to be anymore for a couple of months and they had this look of ‘What!’ So Calming Balance is a wonderful product.
So now that you have supply available, do you have any statistics or clinical results?
Dr. T: I haven’t monitored people statistically. I just monitor by the smiles when they come in.
With Calming Balance, give it six weeks to see the full effects. It can be taken on a regular basis, and what I do is give a higher dose in the beginning. Then after six weeks you can take it on an as needed basis. Or just lower the dose.
And both Calming Balance™ and Happiness 1-2-3!™ can be taken together?
Dr. T: You are not going to overdose on any of the components. The B vitamins, magnesium and the magnolia … I haven’t seen any toxicity issues with any of them. You’re certainly not going to overdose on the B vitamins or magnesium considering the doses contained in the products. And the magnolia, I haven’t seen any toxicity issues.
So six weeks is the golden time where really it’s in full effect.
Dr. T: Six weeks is the golden time for most natural remedies. Like I said earlier, it takes one day to poison the system, six weeks to restore function. And you’ll see effects in the first week, but it takes six weeks. I don’t expect first dose effects with the Happiness 1-2-3!. That’s one that if you’re going to take it, take it on an ongoing basis. And you’ll start to see effects in one to two weeks, but you really need to give it six weeks.
For the Calming Balance, you’ll see some effect early on for mild anxiety, but give it a least a week, and preferably six weeks.
Thank you very much for your time. We really appreciate you sharing the three steps to happiness and your knowledge regarding your Calming Balance™ and Happiness 1-2-3!™ formulations. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. T: Well, in addition to the three steps to happiness, there are three keys to physical health. Number one, get your overall nutrition support. Make sure you are getting a B vitamin complex with magnesium. And D-Ribose, is such a biggie. It’s just a great thing.
Number two, get your eight hours of sleep a night. Of course, if you feel good on seven that’s close enough. But make sure you are getting enough good, solid sleep.
And the third thing is exercise, but do it in a way that feels good. Use your energy for things you love to do. Those three simple steps are the key to good physical health.
Again, thank you very much Dr. Teitelbaum.
Dr. T: You are very welcome.