A Psychiatrist's Wellness Puzzle

It's important to make time to fit in the pieces of your wellness puzzle.

COMMENTARY

My wellness puzzle consist of many pieces. These include prayer, spending time with family, exercise, writing poetry, and massage therapy. I would like to focus on the latter for a moment.

During my most recent massage I began reflecting while my my body lay prone on the restorative table. A multitude of thoughts percolated through my mind as my therapist used the power of her hands to relieve the tension in my mind, body, and soul. The literature is replete with evidence highlighting the benefits of massage. They include a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol and increase in neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that help regulate our mood.

I encourage all of us to discover what activity or therapy is healing and add it to our puzzle. We must be mindful that wellness is tailor made for the individual. Embrace the balance of self and be well throughout the journey of life.

I pray this poem is restorative and brings you peace.

Restorative Hands

Serene music and

oil du jour

an affirming table

awaits naked

vulnerability and

self-compassion


Therapeutic touch

and holism in motion

mind, body, soul

erupt with Handelian joy


Knots of catastrophic

thinking released

crescendo awakens trapezius

a stabilizing force

Anxiety exhaled


Tepid glutes

submerged in

reviving oil

thermostat reset

and tetanus

cheeks surrender

Depression exhaled


Cortisol filled brain

trepidatious but

consenting to

restorative hands

A welcomed

dopamine burst

Trauma exhaled


Dr Clark is an outpatient psychiatrist at Prisma Health-Upstate and clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville. He served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, and he currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion section editor and advisory board member for Psychiatric TimesTM.