Surrender is Not Defeat: Improve Your Health & Well-Being by Letting Go

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: If you're in some sort of pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional, it can be extremely debilitating.
Air Date: 3/18/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Judith Orloff, MD
Judith Orloff, MD, is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com.
  • Book Title: The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life
Surrender is Not Defeat: Improve Your Health & Well-Being by Letting Go
If you're in some sort of pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional, it can be extremely debilitating.

One way to eliminate that pain, according to psychiatrist and intuitive healer, Dr. Judith Orloff, is to surrender to it.

Surrendering decreases your stress hormones (cortisol in particular) and increases endorphins, those "feel good" neuro-chemicals that can relieve pain.

In order to properly heal, you need to boost your immunity to its maximum potential. One way to help achieve this is to simply breathe; take a deep breath and let go. Even negative thoughts and emotions can ramp up your cortisol, so you need to take control and remove them from your consciousness. 

Keep in mind, surrendering is not about defeat. It's learning to "go with the flow," as they say and relax your body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Orloff advises to try to relax into the pain, in both its physical and emotional forms. And, give your pain some space, instead of obsessing about it.

Listen in as Dr. Orloff explains more about the benefits of surrendering, as well as simple things you can do to decrease your pain and improve your overall health and well-being.

RadioMD PresentsNaturally Savvy | Original Air Date: March 18, 2015
Hosts: Andrea Donsky, RHN & Lisa Davis
Guest: Judith Orloff, MD

Your organic search is over. Here's Naturally Savvy with health experts Andrea Donsky and Lisa Davis:

LISA: We are so glad to have back on the show Dr. Judith Orloff. We talked last about her book, The Ecstasy of Surrender: Twelve Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life. It was such an insightful and powerful conversation that we wanted to continue because surrendering can be difficult. So today, we're going to highlight five of the twelve ways to improve your health and well-being.

Dr. Orloff joins us now.

Hello, there.


LISA: It's so great to have you back. Alright. So, surrendering is so essential for health and healing and we talked about that. For people who missed it, just give us a little bit about why this is so key.

DR ORLOFF: Well, as a physician, if somebody's going through an illness or pain, the first thing I teach them is how to let go and how to surrender so that they can relax their bodies enough as they're going through the process. Surrendering is so important because what it does is that it decreases the stress hormone and increases endorphins which are blissful neurochemicals that relieve pain. If you want to heal, you have to have your immunity very, very high. So, you want to maximize that. So, you want to decrease the cortisol and increase the endorphins. That comes from taking a deep breath; from letting go; from not clenching; from not holding; from not destroying your healing with negative thoughts going around in your head that increase cortisol, so you can take control of your body during the healing process by letting go.

LISA: You know, I love that you say that. For those who are listening, because sometimes letting go is easier said than done. I remember listening to Oprah years ago, and I don't know if I mentioned this on our last call, but she was saying how she really wanted to try out for a role in a movie. This doesn't have to do with health or anything, but this was about surrendering for what she wanted for her goals. She said as soon as she surrendered and she stopped obsessing about it and stressing about it, the role came to her. So, what can you recommend to people and how can they do it. If they wanted to surrender, what are some ways that they could do that because sometimes it's easier said than done.

DR ORLOFF: It is. Surrendering is not defeat. It's about learning to flow and learning to relax rather than trying to over control everything. I just want to make that clear. So, the first thing you can do, if you're listening, is just take a deep, deep breath now and let it out slowly and feel how your muscles relax. That is a surrender. Surrender is an exhale instead of a clench. The same is true with negative thoughts. If you have negative thoughts swirling in your mind. "I'm not good enough. I'll never make it through this day." Whatever is going through your mind. Take a breath, let them go and replace it with the thought of a beautiful sunset or something fun. You can take control by letting go of what's toxic for you.

LISA: You know, it's funny. My husband had a cold last week. Now, my daughter has a cold. Then, this morning, I woke up with the headache which they said was the start of theirs. So, all morning, I was stressing out. "I can't believe I got their cold. This stinks. I'm not feeling well. What am I going to do?"


LISA: Then, I do that and I get more upset and then I get my cortisol up and then I get more worked up. So, this is really helping me because, I just have to give in. Like, "You know what? If I caught their cold, I caught their cold." What are you going to do? You know? I'm having some chicken soup and drinking a lot of water.

DR ORLOFF: You surrendered. You worked it down.

LISA: It's so hard. I don't want this cold.

DR ORLOFF: I know. Of course. Who would want it? But you have to work it down instead of working it up because if you're working it up, your cortisol is increasing and you're healing more slowly.

ANDREA: So, what are some other ways? I mean, I love the whole deep breathing and I love meditation. What are some other ways that you would recommend for people to surrender?

DR ORLOFF: Well, like, for instance if you're going through a pain process, instead of clenching around the pain, to begin to try and relax into the sensations of the pain and, ironically, it makes the pain less because the more you clench, the worse the pain gets. The more you can relax into it, not give in to it, but relax into it, the less the pain gets and the same is true with emotional pain. You know, if you're going through the pain of a breakup or whatever pain you're going through, if you could begin to work it down and give it some space, instead of obsessing. Obsessing is the opposite of surrender. Obsessing. "Why can't I get this? Why aren't I getting this?" And to begin to focus on other things other than obsession; to break the obsession; to consciously use your will to say, "I am not going to obsess" because, you know, once obsession kicks in, you're a goner. It just keeps gathering speed. You're going to turn it around. Then, you cut off that process.

ANDREA: You know, I love that you just said "You're relaxing into it and not giving in to it," because giving in to it, kind of, some people might think that it's surrendering or they're defeated, whereas, when you're relaxing into it, you actually have the power which is so beautiful. So, those of you who are listening, that's a gem right there, what you just said.

DR ORLOFF: Thank you. Well, in the book, I really wanted to make that distinction---that you're not giving in to the pain, you're relaxing into it. It's a Tai Chi movement. It's a martial arts movement. It's not a giving up, it just learning to flow with whatever your opponent is, rather than go right up against him or her and combat in that way. It's just a different—it's more an Eastern way of dealing with life than Western. Western is, you just go right at it. Eastern is more you flow with the energy and you wait for your opportunity. That kind of thing. As a psychiatrist, I'm much a proponent of that way. Tuning into your intuition and waiting for the right time and going with the flow and when the flow comes, then you just go for it. But, you don't try and push when the door is not open.

LISA: Dr. Orloff, how did you come to this way of thing, especially as a psychiatrist? Then, did the intuitive part and this Eastern part come later or was it when you went to school for psychiatry, you had this in mind?

DR ORLOFF: I was an intuitive child and both of my parents were physicians. I come from a lineage of 25 physicians in my family, so very strong scientific heritage. I was a little girl who was extremely intuitive and could read energy and was able to know things about people. So, my struggle, as I depict in the book, is how I came to grips with my intuition rather than thinking it was strange or weird and how I used it as a psychiatrist. So, it's been a process for me. Anyone who wants to learn to tune into their intuition for their health and healing purposes, I really encourage you. Really begin to listen to your body. Listen to your gut. Not just your head as you're going through a healing process.

ANDREA: I love that you're saying that. What about for those people who aren't necessarily wanting to heal? I mean, I guess there's always the emotional healing, but they really want, like I love that you said, to just "get in touch with our gut". Get in touch with that inner voice. Where do you practice? If people who are listening and saying, "You know what? I would love to go to see Dr. Orloff," how could they? I guess they have your book, but if they wanted to see you in person, are you in private practice? How does it work there for people?

DR ORLOFF: Yes. I do phone sessions for people who aren't in L.A. or I have private practice in Los Angeles and my website is DRJudithOrloff.com for anyone who wants to contact me. I'm also giving a workshop at Esalen Institute in Big Sur July 26 on developing intuition.

LISA: You know, I'm glad you mentioned that. I love Esalen. It's absolutely beautiful. What does it actually mean? I think when people say, "Oh, I have that women's intuition," but when you said you were intuitive as a child, what does that mean?

DR ORLOFF: That means that my parents could have friends over and I could sense when someone's relationship wasn't working out or if there was anger and nobody was expressing it. I once predicted that a friend of my parents committed suicide which was quite traumatic for me as a child to have been right about that. So, it's about just sensing things about people and knowing things about people and that helps me so much as a psychiatrist. You know? Now. But, as a child, it was really scary.

ANDREA: Well, we're out of time for today, but, as always, we find you so fascinating and interesting and I love the whole "listening to our intuition" and really learning how to develop it even more. So, for those of you who are listening, go to Dr. Orloff's website: DRJudithOrloff.com.

Thank you so much for being on our show today and we look forward to having you back very soon.

I'm Andrea Donsky along with Lisa Davis. This is Naturally Savvy Radio on RadioMD. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @YourRadioMD and @Naturally Savvy.

Thanks for listening, everyone. I hope you develop your intuition today. And, stay well.