170: Navigating Through the Stress with Dr. Phil Carson



Losing a job, going through a career-existential crisis, or even if you’ve made the conscious decision to make a career change on your own terms are all BIG LIFE CHANGES.

In any type of life change, it is important to be aware of the effects these changes may have on your health and wellness.

BIG life changes, especially if they are unexpected like a job loss, can bring on an overwhelming amount of stress. It may feel like the world is turning upside down on you and when you’re in it, you might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, it’s there. Believe me, it is there.

Today, Dr. Phil Carson, a registered Pharmacist and practitioner in alternative, holistic medicines and therapies, joins the show to share his story about the stress he experienced through losing his job, starting a business, losing that business, the growing debt that came with it, and how he was able to deal with all of it with high spirits.

Dr. Phil Carson continues to encourage living a healthy and balanced life during times of stress. He teaches people in these times of unrest how to shift their way of thinking to a practice in natural therapies.

The biggest takeaway is that if you are in an extremely stressful situation that has begun to effect your health, get out of there. Look for something else. Your health and wellness is top priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody can fix that for you.

If you can’t get out of the situation, learn techniques to keep the stress to a minimum. Here are some tips from Dr, Phil Carson on how to better manage your stress to find relief:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Develop a morning routine that will clear your mind and energize you throughout the day
    • Exercise
    • Meditate
    • Quiet-time for yourself
  • Begin easing into your day, instead of rushing into it
  • Find a hobby that you can turn too in times of stress
    • Find your soul/spirit

Dr. Phillip Carson is a registered Pharmacist who enjoys sharing the message about how alternative therapies changed his own health and he continues to promote this message of finding natural alternatives and integrative nutritional solutions to health problems.

He is passionate about encouraging and teaching people how to live more balanced, healthier and vibrant lives and believes in equipping people with the knowledge to make the right choices for optimal health.


Carson Natural Website

The Feeling Good Podcast

Episode 47: The 7 Keys to Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole


Dr. Phil Carson on Linkedin

Carson Natural Health and Wellness Consulting on Facebook

@DrPhilCarsonRx on Twitter

Scott Barlow: It’s Scott. I’m excited to bring on today’s guest. We have someone who has a different background than we normally have on our show. There are specific reasons for that.

Welcome to Happen To Your Career Phillip Carson. How are you?

Phillip Carson: Hi Scott. I’m awesome today. I really appreciate you having me on your show, it is an honor. Thank you.

Scott Barlow: Absolutely. I’m excited for you to be here. There are so many things I want to ask you and talk about. Before we get to that, how on earth do you describe what you do these days?

Phillip Carson: These days I am a natural health architect. I help develop plans for people to live a healthier life and guide them through the plans to make lifestyle changes and live healthier every day.

Scott Barlow: That is perfect. We have a bunch of people making lifestyle changes that also want to be healthier. This is going to work out. I’m excited. I’d like to delve into your background. You have an interesting history. You started as a pharmacist and have made a number of changes along the way. Where does this all begin?

Phillip Carson: It begins, career-wise, back in 1985 when I graduated from pharmacy school. I went to work for a big chain. I had worked there in school and they hired me right out. One year into the job the manager quit and they made me manager. That was one of my most stressful years in my life. I had experienced a lot of stress in college but I wasn’t prepared for this situation. It was major stress and stressed every aspect of my life. I was a newlywed. My health suffered. I was on the verge of developing ulcers, and not sleeping. I slept in a recliner most nights because of digestive issues from the stress. It was killing me literally. I wanted to quit pharmacy all together and do something totally different. Fortunately, an older gentleman who owned independent pharmacies came and asked me to come work for him. I jumped at that for a less stressful situation. I started working for him and did so for many years until he sold the operation. I didn’t see eye to eye with the new person so I opened my own business in 1999. I opened a pharmacy from scratch in a small town and started a new adventure building my own business. It was a whole different kind of stress for quite a few years to get the business going.

Scott Barlow: It can be a different kind of stress. I’d like to talk about that - the original stress and how it is different from the other types of stress in building a business. Let’s talk about the first type. I think a lot of people are there, right now. Their work and situation is causing, like you, digestive issues; you couldn’t sleep in your bed. I’ve had a similar experience to that. I very much dreaded going into the office and was having anxiety and panic attacks. I’m curious now that you do what you do, do you run into a lot of people having similar things in your line of work and are you ending up treating those symptoms or giving advice around natural solutions besides get out of your job? How do you think about that through your lens?

Phillip Carson: Experience is a great teacher. The experiences I’ve had in stressful situations is something I get to share with people because, you are right, I see a lot of people dealing with that today. It is the number one thing as far as health issues that I deal with for people; the effects of stress on their lives and what it is doing in the jobs they are in, or owning a business. Sometimes it isn’t business related but family. That is the majority of my patients. Patients having health issues because of the stress in their lives.

Scott Barlow: How do you describe the difference between the stress of being in a terrible job that doesn’t fit and the stress of building a business? How do you compare those two? I’ve been through both.

Phillip Carson: In the job situation I was in working for the chain, there was tremendous amount of pressure to perform and make the store profitable, to produce certain numbers, manage a big team of employees, and it was a lot of pressure. A lot of employee issues, was one of the major things. I had employees that were stealing product. I had one very trusted employee stealing drugs off the shelf. It was a bigger operation with magnified problems. As a smaller business owner with less employee’s and a smaller place I could keep a better eye on things. Because it was something for myself I didn’t look at the stress the same way. It was more enjoyable work to me because I was building something for myself. I was in the process of doing something that I felt was of great value to me and my family and to the people I was serving, more so than working for a big chain operation.

Scott Barlow: That makes sense. I think I’ve had probably a similar experience because there is no denying that when you are building something for yourself or a business there is some measure of stress. I’ve built a couple of businesses and it’s less but different types of stress. I’m curious then, you ended up going and starting this, what happened from there?

Phillip Carson: When I started my one business in 1999, prior to opening it, I had started to develop a hunger for learning about natural products and therapies. When I went through pharmacy school I was taught the history of natural medicine but not the application. Natural products were taboo, that didn’t work. The modern drugs were what people should be taking. Forget about the natural stuff, the herbal and homeopathic. We were taught they didn’t work. I had people start coming into the store I was managing and asking me questions about the products that I couldn’t answer. I wanted to be able to help people and answer questions. I started learning and went to courses to learn about natural products. When I opened my store I kept moving in that direction. I learned more and traveled all over the country for weekend courses and seminars. Different doctors came in to teach people on how to use the natural products and therapies. My interest grew. When I shared with my customers I would see the changes and they would thank me for what I shared with them or what product I sold them. They told me the difference it made and it was rewarding. I’ve continued to move in that direction. There was a lot of adversity because I made doctors mad because I told their patients about something natural. A couple called me up and cussed me out because they didn’t want me telling their patients about natural products. I’ve been called a health nut.

Scott Barlow: I understand there is a definitive rub or tension in that industry, or in pharmacy, medical, etc. Where does that come from? I don’t know enough about it. That is question one.

Phillip Carson: It comes from what people are taught. What clinicians are taught in school? The pharmaceutical industry is all about selling drugs. I’m not anti-drug. There are quality medicines that save and change people’s lives. But there are a lot that cause harm. People get addicted and destroy their lives and families. That happens. What clinicians are taught is that natural stuff is taboo and there is no solid science they say. But that is changing with studies. There are solid studies behind natural products. It comes from that mindset that is driven into doctors, pharmacists, and clinicians in school. That is shifting and changing over the past several years. More doctors are being open-minded about natural things. The patients are telling them it is what they are doing or wanting to do. You accept it or you don’t, work with me or not. One of the fortunate things I’ve seen, even in my area where we are behind the rest of the country, sometimes 20-30 years behind your area of the country, in advances in medicine and natural things. The basic thing is it is a mindset.

Scott Barlow: The combination between what they are taught and developing the mindset and for many years lack of information and studies. That makes sense since studies are funded by companies, often drug companies, and there is no incentive to study natural products. On the flip side there are a lot natural products that aren’t that good for you. It’s not exclusive. I really like your approach where you are saying let’s look at what is getting results.

Phillip Carson: That is what I’m about, results. I want people to get results and get relief of their problems; their health issues. Sometimes there are health issues that there are no answers for with drugs. Many people come to me and they are frustrated because they have been in the medical system and gotten no answers, results, or relief. Only some symptomatic relief. They want to know why they are sick. They want more than just a Band-Aid. They want it corrected. That is one thing I do. I try to help them find the underlying cause of the sickness, not just giving them a supplement or dispense a medication for the symptom but to alleviate all of it.

Scott Barlow: What are some of the common things that you see? When a lot of people are coming to you and experiencing things that can be alieved by drugs what are some of the common things?

Phillip Carson: Like we talked about before, it’s the stress and health issues because of the stress in their lives. They are being prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that give temporary relief but they are still dealing with the stress and symptoms. The health of their adrenal glands is never looked at. These glands sit on top of our kidneys. They are the stressor glands that produce hormones that our body needs to control functions in our bodies. When we are under heavy stress for a period of time or have a traumatic event, emotional or physical, it affects their function and they don’t work as well. Sometimes a person can go into adrenal fatigue. Their adrenals can shut down and they end up with Addison’s disease. It isn’t looked at closely or recognized or validated by certain medical professionals as a problem. But I see it as a problem all the time. We do some tests to see how people’s adrenals are functioning. We can see what is happening and tell them what they need to do to restore health.

Scott Barlow: This is interesting because I think many HTYC-ers are in a place where they are prone to experiencing this. What would I look for in terms of signs where I should reach out and get other help?

Phillip Carson: The number one issue that people with adrenal dysfunction have is inability to sleep or get restful sleep. Generally I have patients that have major issues getting to sleep or major issues staying asleep and resting through the night. Sometimes it is both. Because of that, not getting the rest, they are anxious and have depression. Another thing that is a major issue is fatigue from the lack of sleep or from adrenals being weak and not functioning like they should producing hormones that give us energy. Those are the two main things people complain to me about. I’m wiped out, fatigued, no energy and can’t sleep. There is a long list of others that go with these but those are the top. Others go undetected like osteoporosis. Adrenal dysfunction can contribute to that.

Scott Barlow: It seems like there would be one or two ways to go in the situation in terms of me experiencing that. Is it a case where 100 percent of the time I need to change my situation or can a train my body to react differently?

Phillip Carson: It can be either one. Sometimes we need to get out of the situation. I’ve been working with a close friend in a stressful job dealing with very uncooperative employees and management and it is creating a major amount of stress. I’ve told him if you see it isn’t going to change or get better then look for something else. Get out of the situation. Sometimes there are things we can do if we can’t get out. You learn to manage. I tell people you have to learn to stop letting the stress manage you and you manage the stress. I talk to them about stress relieving techniques and exercises that can help combat the effects of stress on the body and adrenals. Everybody should be doing this if you have any type of stressful job. Incorporate stress management techniques daily and it can make a tremendous difference in how your body reacts and responds and how you react and respond emotionally.

Scott Barlow: That is interesting. What would be some of the best ways I could get started? Let’s say I am interested and want to take small steps right away to build routines. What can that look like for me?

Phillip Carson: I’ve developed a guide called the “7 Keys to Stress Management or Relief.” One of the main things I tell people is deep breathing exercises. You can do them easily and it doesn’t cost anything. You don’t have to buy a supplement or drug. Deep, controlled breathing. I do it often in stressful situations. I just stop and find a place - get in a closet, or bathroom. You don’t want to do this out in public because people will think you are crazy. I get in a private place and I lift up my arms, stretch to open my chest, and take some deep breaths. I inhale and exhale slowly. Taking in the deep breath calms and relaxes me. It relieves some of the stress. It always brings me down a notch and helps me get perspective. As I’m exhaling I’m blowing the crap out. I say I’m blowing the stress away. It’s an easy thing anyone can do anytime.

One of the things that has helped me over the past several years as I’ve been going through tremendous stress is getting a morning routine. I don’t get up just in time to get ready to grab a bite to eat and head out the door or eat going out the door, being in a hurry flying to work, and all stressed out when I walk in. You get up early enough to start a morning routine. I get up and exercise, have quiet time where I read, devotions, prayer, and/or meditation. I ease into the day not rushing into it. I start the day out with prayer and meditation. Those things feed my soul and spirit and help me to handle the stresses of the day much better.

Scott Barlow: To be fair part of your story and your stressors is you ended up building the business and losing it as well. Then you accumulated a bunch of debt right? I’m helping people understand the context that it all sounds good but it is trial tested as well.

Phillip Carson: Right. The business I started in 1999, I spent 10 years to build it and lost it all in 2009. December 31, 2009 I locked the door to my dream and lost everything I spent 10 years building and then the downturn in the economy in 2008 happened. In 2009 I became a causality and I had to shut down the first business I had opened. I closed the second one in 2009 that was primarily a natural pharmacy and health food store. That was my dream and I lost it all. The next several years, were extremely stressful emotionally. Emotional stress created physical stress. I was dealing with all of that firsthand. During that time is when I began to learn more and more how important having a routine is. Spiritual connection is important and having a healthy soul as well as body. I spent a lot of time soul searching and praying and seeking God’s help through all of it. I learned to trust him more. I learned that I couldn’t do it all by myself as I ahead tried to do so many years.

One of my downfalls was I tried to be superman and many business people do that. They think they can do it all. I never believed that I would lose everything that it would happen to me. I said I was stronger and better. I didn’t allow people to help me when I should have. I tried to do too much on my own. That is a source of stress when we think we can do it all alone and don’t allow others to help. I learned to delegate. I learned that I do need help. I learned that the stress in my life could be managed better.

One of the things that came out of the years following the loss of everything was that at night - I will say fortunately I got a job, being a pharmacist the jobs are plentiful - I got a job in a neighboring town and that helped tremendously because I have five children and two were in college. Having a good paying job helped a lot, but during that time of stress and soul searching I’d come home late at night because I worked as many hours as I could to get out of the hole. After the kids went to bed I’d go outside and walk. We live in the country and I’d walk up and down the road and cry out to God and pray. One night as I was walking this confession began to come out of my mouth. I began to say “I am happy, I am healthy, I am whole.” I just kept saying it over and over as I walked every night. I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t experiencing that. I was depressed, heartbroken, soul sick, and in a hole. That confession kept coming out and I kept repeating it.

In 2012, a gentleman I knew that had a successful business in town said he needed a pharmacist and would want me to invest with him and help him open a pharmacy because his business model was changing. We served a lot of diabetic patients, which I enjoyed. He needed a pharmacist. I told him my situation and that I didn’t have anything to invest. I was still trying to dig myself out of a hole. He said I’ll put in the money to start it up and you can put in what you can. I had some equipment, like computers. I said I’ll work 6 months for free. I worked 6 months, moonlighting on nights and the weekend, and we built that business. We started with one small operation in a warehouse and today there are six operations/stores.

Last year I sold most of my shares in that business. Earlier this year in March a doctor friend of mine that I had worked with, one of the rare doctors that believes in natural medicine and uses it in her practice, approached me. I told her to open her own practice for years. She called me and said I’ve decided I want to do what you have been telling me but I want you to do it with me. In March, we co-founded the Life Transformation Medical Center and opened it. We are growing and it is an amazing thing. It will be 7 years in December that I lost everything and 7 years later I’ve gotten my dream back and I’m debt free. It’s amazing that it has happened in my life. I have to give glory to God because I didn’t do it by myself.

Scott Barlow: Congratulations first of all. I know you went through your life story. What you are talking about in the ups and downs resulting in making major changes along the way. One of my biggest takeaways is what happened with her being able to come to you and you both making the switch and selling your shares of the other business, getting debt free, and everything else that happened, all built on each other over a long period of time. Nothing happened overnight. I’m hearing that clearly throughout all of it. I think congratulations are in order. It’s been a long time coming if you will. I do not know the half of it.

Phillip Carson: There is a whole lot more in between but it has been an amazing ride over the last several years and nothing I would believe would happen. I never believed in 2009 that I’d lose everything. I wouldn’t believe that seven years later I’d have everything restored and even more than I lost. And be able to pursue my dream again in a greater fashion than before. When I opened the natural pharmacy in 2006, I always dreamed of working with a doctor and having a medical center where people’s lives could be transformed and they could get answers to their health issues. Natural answers and therapies to find their true underlying cause. Not just a Band-Aid on their problem.

Scott Barlow: That is fantastic. I’m ecstatic we finally got to put this together we had to reschedule once or twice and it’s been a long time coming. I’m glad we did. I know some HTYC-ers will be excited to learn more about you and you mentioned the guide earlier. I’m not sure if we gave people a place to go get that and I want to make sure people know where to get that if they are interested in more information on stress relief. Where can they go to find out about you and get the guide? How can they get more Doctor Phil?

Phillip Carson: Carsonnatural.com is my website. They can go there and find out about me and what I do and the services I provide. I’ll create a landing page through carsonnatural.com/htyc where you can go get the guide “7 Keys to Stress Relief.” There are 7 key things that can help a person dealing with daily stress.

Scott Barlow: That sounds fantastic. Thank you so very much for taking the time and making the time. I really appreciate it.

Phillip Carson: Thank you Scott. It’s been an honor being on your show and I appreciate you having me on.

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