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Dr. Whitney Hamed: “Affirmations”

Affirmations: The way I speak to myself and others is a reflection of what I am thinking. I have trained myself over the past decade and a half to retrain what I focus on and the language I use. It is more than just positive thinking. It is a focus and intention to see my […]

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Affirmations: The way I speak to myself and others is a reflection of what I am thinking. I have trained myself over the past decade and a half to retrain what I focus on and the language I use. It is more than just positive thinking. It is a focus and intention to see my strengths or the good in the situation or person and speak into that with positive words. Affirmations are a great way to start that practice. At first your brain may have a hard time believing positive statements you repeat to yourself. Over time, like an exercise, your brain will start to believe the positive statements you are saying to yourself. Then you will have a natural tendency to focus on saying positive words and being solution-oriented.


As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Whitney Hamed.

Dr. Whitney Hamed has been practicing as a doctor of chiropractic for more than 17 years. She graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in health science. She then went on to complete her Doctorate of Chiropractic at Logan College. She began her first years in the practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Dr. Jason Hamed. Later, they made the move with their first daughter to O’Fallon, Missouri. This is where she and her husband teamed up with their business partners and close friends, Dr. Olivia and Dr. Bryan Joseph, to establish The Wellness Connection. For 14 years, Dr. Whitney has been a co-owner and practicing chiropractor of a multi-million dollar wellness clinic that serves clients with cutting-edge chiropractic care, rehabilitation, and functional medicine. Dr. Whitney specializes in pediatric and prenatal care in her practice. A mother of four, Dr. Whitney began her studies in these areas early in her practice life. She has completed 200 hours of post-graduate work in the areas of pediatrics and pregnancy through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. During her second pregnancy, she began writing her e-book, My Well Pregnancy, available at www.thewellnessconnection.com


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in a small farm and coal town in southern Illinois with no other form of healthcare other than one practicing family physician. All I knew was traditional medical care until I started to do research on potential jobs in healthcare when I was about 13 years old. At the same time, I was sick of being sick and only getting prescribed an antibiotic or medication for every ailment. At a young age I thought, “There must be another way to get healthy.” When I was looking at all the healthcare professions that were available, the word chiropractic came up. I had no idea what it was other than what I read: “Chiropractic care is a philosophy, art and science of adjusting the spinal column so that the body can communicate properly and heal on its own.” That one statement put me on the path of wanting to do something different in healthcare. It set me on the path to become a chiropractor.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

What is so unique is that no one in my family, including myself, had ever even been to a chiropractor nor even knew what chiropractic care really was. To me it seemed like such a common-sense and natural way to get one’s body healthy. So, led by faith I completed all of my undergraduate work, entered into Logan College, and received my very first adjustment as a chiropractic student. The second after I received my adjustment I knew, experientially, that this is what I would do for the rest of my life!

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My husband, Dr. Jason Hamed, and I have practiced together for 17 years. We have shared many frustrations and many achievements in practice together. He has been an integral part of my ability to still practice today. He was there to cover my practice through 6 pregnancies and 4 children. He has stood by my side when I was struggling to be a mother of young children and still stay in practice. He listened to me, challenged me, gave me honest feedback, and supported me through 10 tough years.

I also have had several amazing chiropractic consultants over the years: Larry Markson, Janice Hughes, and Mark Mauw with The Remarkable Practice. It has been priceless to lean on masters of our profession and their wisdom.

Last but not least, are our dearest friends, business partners, and colleagues. Dr. Bryan and Olivia Joseph have been there with me as I have grown as a mother, practitioner, woman, and business owner. A foundation of my success has been largely attributed to having friends and partners who have the same values in life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I was only in my first month in practice when I decided to be blatantly honest with a patient who had never had chiropractic care before. To this day I think about what I said and laugh. This patient must have thought I was crazy or just trying to scare him. His was a 6’5” African American man in his 40s. He was rough around the edges and had lived a hard life, but he had a great attitude and was very funny. Within 5 minutes of explaining where his spinal problems were and showing him his X-rays, I turned, looked at him, and said, “You are going to need chiropractic care for the rest of your life!” I blurted out what I really felt was necessary for him before even explaining what chiropractic care was or what his course of treatment was. He laughed and could feel that I was being sincere, but I was thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I just let that come out of my mouth.” I was so excited yet unpolished back then. Now having over 17 years of training in patient communication, my approach to explaining chiropractic and chiropractic recommendations is much different. Although, I can truly say sometimes it’s refreshing to think back to the times when I just said things from the heart, even when a patient wasn’t quite on the same page!

More recently, the biggest lesson I have learned is that patients want to know how much you care, not always how much you know. They want hope with an explanation and recommendation. I recently got so caught up in explaining what was wrong with a patient’s spinal column and their misalignments that I could see that they were totally in panic mode. I was so consumed with the clinical explanation of their problem that they felt lost and hopeless. The blessing is that I could sense this, was quickly able to recognize I had lost them, and was able to turn the conversation around. I was able to be truthful and honest and tell them where there was hope. By the end of the conversation, they could see that there was a way to regain their life back and get on the road to feeling better.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

7 Habits of Highly Effective People was my first drink out of the fire hydrant of personal development. It was also my first investment in myself. I had a long drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I would make my start as a chiropractor. I was excited and nervous for the beginning of my professional career. I bought the audio book of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on CDs. Remember, this was 2003 — before the digital age. I bought it simply because the book sounded easy to remember, meaning it sounded simple. I listened to those CDs all the way from Illinois to Oklahoma. It opened up a whole new world of thinking for me. The idea of personal responsibility was what launched me into the thought process of “I create my success and my results.” It was the springboard of how I began to gain the confidence to really put myself out in the community and promote my clinic and chiropractic. What I have loved about 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that it is a book you can read every couple of years and something new will make sense or stand out. I found that with wisdom and maturity I began to really understand the application of each habit with passing years.

After my family’s move to O’Fallon, Missouri to start our new clinic, The Wellness Connection, I was able to attend a live 7 Habits workshop. Through an amazing life coincidence, I met one of the author’s head trainers. Ms. Judy was the owner and founder of the Montessori school that three of my children attended. She helped 7 Habits become a part of our clinic’s way of operating, and it has been infused into the culture of our Wellness Connection team. The principles of 7 Habits is now an automatic part of how I live life and also how I parent. It is a foundation of who I am and how I live my life.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”

This quote has been on a big chalkboard in my kitchen and now lives across a large wall in our home gym. My life is the result of a vision and dream that I had when I completed my undergrad and left for chiropractic college: to become a chiropractor, to raise a family, to own my own business, to be healthy and fit, and to be successful in life. My dream was clear and I am living it today. That dream did not just happen to me, though. It was the hustle and the discipline that got me to where I am and all that I have. I still dream and I still hustle. It is my favorite quote because it is a code I can live by in every stage of my life.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Currently, my husband and I are doing a series called “He Said, She Said.” It can be viewed on our personal Facebook pages and on our YouTube channel, Hamed Hustle. Jay and I have been married for 15 years and with that has come amazing times and times of struggles in our relationship. We are working parents raising 4 kids, dealing with the struggles of life, and at the same time trying to stay fit and healthy in our bodies and our relationship. We have been fortunate to have a lot of help and guidance through family, faith, personal development experiences, and life coaching. It was through getting help and working on our relationship that we came through the hard times and now we are at a place where we can talk about it and help other couples by starting the conversations. So with that, we created a fun and inspiring way to ask each other an impromptu question each week around the areas of health and marriage. One person is in the hot seat and then the other person asking the question gives an answer, too. It is our way of calling out the hard stuff and then giving a healthy perspective or solution around it. We want other couples to know that it’s possible to have a healthy body and marriage in the middle of the stress and struggles of life.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In our work, we talk a lot about cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Meditation: I use a meditation app, Insight timer, for at least 10 minutes every day. I gravitate toward guided meditation practices. Meditation is one of the best, time-tested ways to recenter and calm the mind and body down. No matter what your job title or major role in life is, we typically encounter stress and a fast-paced life. It is a way to practice deep breathing and to give the brain and nervous system a break from the exhaustion of worry and stress. Just 10 minutes makes me feel as if I took an hour-long nap.

Journaling: It is a way for me to either practice gratitude or to get what is bothering me out of my mind and onto paper. We all have different emotions on any given day, but when it is a negative emotion like fear, worry, or anger, it can start to affect our health, especially when we harbor those types of emotions for weeks and months on end. The healthy habit of daily or weekly journaling helps me to recognize what is going well and appreciate it — in other words, to strengthen good emotions. It also serves as a way to detox a current stressor that may be on the verge of taking me down a path of negative emotions, which can lead to a decline in my health.

Affirmations: The way I speak to myself and others is a reflection of what I am thinking. I have trained myself over the past decade and a half to retrain what I focus on and the language I use. It is more than just positive thinking. It is a focus and intention to see my strengths or the good in the situation or person and speak into that with positive words. Affirmations are a great way to start that practice. At first your brain may have a hard time believing positive statements you repeat to yourself. Over time, like an exercise, your brain will start to believe the positive statements you are saying to yourself. Then you will have a natural tendency to focus on saying positive words and being solution-oriented.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

Prayer is often very helpful for me. However, yoga with a finishing 5-minute meditation can be a moving prayer for me. When my mind feels like it is moving 100 miles per hour and I feel like I can’t settle down and connect in prayer, it’s amazing how moving my body through peaceful music can get out the racing thoughts and allow for the deeper peace and prayer I am seeking. It’s like letting down your guard and then relaxing into meditation and prayer.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care is the number one way to keep the joints of the neck, back, shoulders, and hips working at their best. Chiropractic care restores and maintains the physical health of joints in the body. When the joints of our spine are not moving or aligned properly, our joints start to move improperly. When this happens, nerves do not fire correctly from the muscles to the brain. A symptom or injury of the joints and muscles may not appear for years. So, chiropractic care is a gentle and effective way to restore proper joint and nerve function so that the body can move with more symmetry and alignment. This provides greater ease for a person when doing physical activities such as exercise and prevents injuries over time. Chiropractic care is not only something I do as a chiropractor for hundreds of patients every week, it is something I also receive on a weekly basis to function at my best!

Exercise: Continually moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day is essential for physical health. Exercise comes in many forms and levels. The key thing to remember is that it takes continuous movement for 10 to 20 minutes that is either conditioning the muscles and joints of the body and/or cardiovascular health. I make it a priority to balance walking, running, weight training, plyometrics, and yoga each week. Exercise is like a vitamin for your body and aids in detoxification when you sweat. The key is to find a good steady routine and make it a healthy habit! Through being a full-time working mom and 4 pregnancies, I always found a time and a way to exercise. It has not always been easy, but when I get my session in during the morning or day, for what is now going on 20 years of exercising consistently, I just simply feel at my best.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

The major blockages to eating healthily consistently and as a lifestyle really boils down to two things: your “why” and your relationship with food. For example, if my “why” to eating healthily 90% of the time is because I want to be as healthy and vital as I can be in my 70s, 80s, and 90s, I have a focus every day. Everyone gets off track with healthy eating for a day or two, but it’s really about what happens after. Do you have a big enough “why” to get back on track with healthy eating? Busy schedules and improper meal planning are the two biggest obstacles to getting off track, but when you have a deeper focus, you will find solutions to eating healthily consistently.

One’s relationship with food is the second reason healthy eating consistently can either be a success or a failure. For example, I once coached a lady through a weightloss program. She did great in the beginning. As soon as life stress and challenges hit, however, she began reverting back to eating lots of sweets and chips. This is a great example of how she viewed food as comfort. She and I then talked about her response to stress and how she could replace her emotional eating habits with a new habit such as taking a walk. When you view eating healthy food as a way to fuel your body and infuse it with making it fun and tasty, it can be something you enjoy as part of a lifestyle.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I have learned over the past decade that my emotional wellness is a combination of taking deliberate time for myself and living life as much as possible through my highest values. For example, each day I make sure to have at least 10 to 15 minutes to shut the noise of life out. I will either just sit in silence, meditate, or take a relaxing walk. When our emotions stack day after day and we don’t take time to create some amount of space for ourselves, the cup boils over. Instead, why not be proactive and do your best to schedule a short amount of time daily to just process emotions that are building up? In addition to processing, it’s integral that you also reset and find some peace. This is where meditation, talking it out, taking a walk, or journaling can help you move forward with better emotional wellness.

Second, I do my best to commit to or plan around what I say yes to outside of my work that really reflect my highest values. For example, family, health, freedom of time, and organizing my environments are on my top 4 values. It’s not always perfect, but I do my best to make sure I say yes to the right things that allow for me to live my week experiencing my highest values. You can run your life or your life can run you. When your life always runs you, your emotional wellness will eventually suffer. All you have to do is take time to do the things that help you, your emotions, and your well-being in just 10 minutes.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Another one of my favorite quotes is “fake it until you make it.” There are some days that it may be hard to smile because of what is going on in life. I have found that when I don’t feel like smiling, I smile anyway. After about 10 minutes of faking it, it is amazing how my thoughts and mood start to turn around. I begin to genuinely want to smile and encounter people who begin to light up with a smile because I am. It’s truly amazing how our brains are wired to register this facial expression and start to associate positive thoughts or positive experiences. Smiling can truly turn your day around, and I believe we can lift others up with this simple positive habit!

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Spiritual wellness is connecting to our deepest and most authentic self. It is getting past the labels, roles and personality that we are and connects us to our higher power. It is a feeling of empowerment and connection to our soul.

Prayer is my number one practice for spiritual wellness because it raises my spirits daily. I love prayer because I can do it anytime and anywhere. I am Catholic, so I do enjoy going to Mass because of the sacredness and the rituals. Mass for me can really set the space for me to have time for prayer. But, I feel that my car, nature, or my home are all places that I can pray and feel peace through reflection. Prayer connects me to a higher purpose and is a way for me to ask for grace, to have courage, to have patience, and to express gratitude.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Nature is always available to us as a refuge for peace and prayer. We can see the beauty and peace of creation all around us. It is literally grounding. I love to ride my horse through the fields near where I board her. It is a very spiritual experience for me to just be out in nature, riding and connecting to my deepest spiritual thoughts. My husband loves when I take off to ride because I always come back grounded and at peace.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

If I could inspire a movement, it would be to teach married couples how to live a fulfilled and healthy life together through the foods they eat, the emotional wellness that is needed to have a thriving marriage, and how to maintain a healthy, physical body throughout life — together!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I truly admire Brené Brown’s work. Her work through her Daring to Lead workshop changed my life this year. If I were able to have lunch with Brené, I would ask her so many questions about courage and vulnerability and how it relates to aging with optimal emotional wellness.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can find my work through my clinic website www.thewellnessconnection.com and through my YouTube channel Hamed Hustle, which hosts the current series that I am recording with my husband.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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