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Tackling Cultural Stress – A Q&A with Wellness Expert Dr. Howard Murad

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NewsWhistle is pleased to introduce our readers to dermatologist and wellness expert Dr. Howard Murad, a legend in the skincare industry.

Below Dr. Murad talks mind, body and skin, and discusses why this month is a great time to reduce your “Cultural Stress.”

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Dr. Howard Murad Headshot
Portrait of Dr. Howard Murad

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Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a board-certified dermatologist and pharmacist who has studied the effects of the environment, nutrition, and lifestyle on skin and overall wellness since 1972. At 50 years of age I founded Murad, Inc. and launched the first science-backed, modern doctor-branded skincare line. Over the years I’ve come to understand that healthy skin comes from the inside out. My holistic approach recognizes the mind/body/skin connection in living a healthier, happier life – at any age.

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2. We always connected you with skincare and dermatology. Did you push into a new territory, wellness, after your company was sold to Unilever? 

Wellness has always been my passion. At Murad, Inc. I was the first to introduce “internal skincare” first through supplements and later expanding it to include mental and emotional well being which became the beginning of my Inclusive Health movement. After years and years of treating patients, my inclusive health protocol has been fundamental in reversing the effects of “Cultural Stress,” a condition I named and identified as one of the largest contributing factors scientifically shown to have a negative impact on cellular health. Today much of my work involves teaching people how to manage cultural stress through a comprehensive treatment plan outlined in my books.

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3. What is Cultural Stress? What should people know about it? 

Cultural stress is a certain kind of stress that is specific to our modern day-to-day living. Unlike normal stress (like if your break your arm, or if a family member is sick) cultural stress is a product of our overworked, digitally dependent, and technologically invasive lifestyle. Those usually affected by cultural stress are professionals in the developed world. This over saturation of being constantly “on-line” (whether it be phone of computer) for work, pleasure, socialization and so forth, has led to isolation and loneliness, sedentary lifestyles, chronic disease, and anxiety. Those who feel the effects of cultural stress suffer from what I call Cultural Anxiety Syndrome.

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4. Here’s a softball question for you 🙂 Why make an announcement about Cultural Stress in February?

February is American Heart Month, Relationship Wellness Month, and Boost Self-Esteem Month, among many other important topics. Cultural stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, excessive drinking, sedentary lifestyle, and overeating or poor diet. Acknowledging problems that arise from cultural stress may help to reduce these issues.

The month of February is also a celebration of high self-esteem, relationship wellness, and Valentine’s Day. This Valentine’s day, we can fall in love with ourselves through acts of self-care and some much needed “me time” that can help break us away from being technologically dependent and overworked. That’s why February is the month to recognize self-love and self-care as the solution to many of the stressors in our day to day life.

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5. How can people help their Heart Health and reduce their Cultural Stress?

I believe through positive and healthy mediums of self-care such as daily self-affirmations, meditation and journaling, we can release the stress that has been bottled up inside of us.

Yet at the same time we must recognize that we all are on our own journey to inner health, and we must develop our own system for dealing with our inner stressors. Try a variety of things until you find something that works for you.

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6. Where can people decrease their Cultural Stress in LA? Any recommended parks, comedy clubs, restaurants, yoga/exercise studios, etc.?

The biggest recommendation I can give is to just go wherever your feet take you and find something new and exciting. It’s not so much where you go, but who you go with. Meeting a friend at the coffee shop down the street is just as effective as the trendiest coffee shop in the city.

For me, I enjoy strolling through Palisades Park and wandering amongst the Venice canals. Exposure to nature is proven to not only make you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well being as well. This time of year is great for hiking outdoors where you can take advantage of cooler temperatures, the elusive SoCal greenery, and even waterfalls that are flowing full force.

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7. Where are some of your favorite places on the planet to relax and unwind?

Mii Amo is a spa connected to a hotel in Sedona that has about 13 or 14 rooms that you can enjoy. Along with having fabulous massage therapists who have a truly healing effect on the body, they also have astrologists that find out where you were born and can tell you more about yourself. They also have psychic masseuses and tarot card readings. I truly believe in the power of touch and the masseuses at this spa really understand how to connect the mind and the body to be energized and motivated.

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8. Anything else to add, discuss, or promote?

This year is the 30th anniversary of Murad, Inc. and it also happens to be my 80th birthday. When people ask me what has been the biggest challenges I have faced throughout my career, I don’t know what to tell them because I only see challenges as opportunities. I learned this positive attitude from my father who faced incredible adversity. I was born in Iraq and in 1946 my family fled Baghdad when I was just seven years old. We left all of our wealth and possessions behind and started a new life in a new country. I talk more about this in my Health & Happiness Series book The Best Is Yet To Come – which has become one of the mantras I love to share as I help other people through their own troubles and how to transform their challenges into opportunities for growth.

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PHOTO CREDITS

  • Portrait Courtesy of Dr. Murad
  • Lead-In Image Courtesy of haveseen / Shutterstock.com

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