Sadie Robertson Huff Talks Anxiety, Good Habits, and More with Dr. Daniel Amen
By John Tuttle, Contributing Writer
One of the former stars of the long-running American TV series DUCK DYNASTY, Sadie Robertson Huff, gave birth to her first child, Honey, back in May. Sadie heralded her daughter as the “pure goodness of God.”
Together with her spouse Christian Huff, Sadie had a name ideally suited before her infant’s birth. “Honey” is more than just a sweet name for the cute baby. As Sadie explained, her name is inspired by Proverbs 16:24, which says: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
And that’s precisely what little Honey has been for her parents and extended family.
After an emergency C-section, Sadie expressed her joy to see her new baby girl. Despite the immense happiness, she felt that on this occasion, her elation was mingled with fear. She addressed this with her close friend and physician, Dr. Daniel Amen, on a recent episode of her ongoing program, the Whoa That’s Good Podcast.
“I was dealing with so much fear, but I didn’t want to admit to it because I was also so happy and joyful, and I felt like, to admit that I was afraid, it was taking away from how happy I really, truly was. But I…realized it wasn’t that it was taking away. It was that they kind of went hand-in-hand,” Huff told Amen on the episode called “Don’t Believe Everything You Think – Battling Anxiety.”
Huff and Dr. Amen agreed that gratitude was a great way to counter the effects of fear. Gratitude is “such a powerful force,” the new mother said.
Regarding a response of gratitude in times of anxiety, Dr. Amen said, “It’s a daily practice just like working out.”
“If you can focus on what you love about your life,” Dr. Amen continues, “your brain actually works better. When you focus on fear, it turns off your frontal lobes and just gives free reign to the anxiety.”
A psychiatrist, author, and brain health specialist, Dr. Amen, revealed that he keeps up several quotidian practices to help get him in a mindset of gratitude.
Dr. Amen revealed that he begins the day with the mental note, “Today is going to be a great day.” He said that this simple practice helps him acknowledge what is suitable throughout the day instead of what’s wrong.
When he is ready to go to sleep, he prays. Afterward, he ponders what went well during the day. Instead of focusing on failings and areas for improvement, he strives to contemplate the good and the beautiful that he witnessed throughout his day.
“As I sort of review the day from a positive standpoint,” the psychiatrist said, “it actually sets my dreams up to be more positive.”
On several points, Dr. Amen stressed the importance of cultivating these good habits or virtues. Huff appreciates that he voices the significance of what she calls “the power of the habit.”
“These habits actually end up helping you through the hard times of your life,” she said in the podcast, adding: “I was 28 years old before I learned this, that I don’t have to believe everything I think. It was so freeing….”
He went on to reference the new Disney film LUCA to illustrate his point:
“There’s a whole part in [the movie] where one of the boys tells the other one to give his mind a name and tell it to shut up,” Amen said.
The scene stuck out to the author, and Dr. Amen said that it was a fun way to show a positive step that people can take toward mental wellness.
All these good habits—gratitude, mental discipline, positive intrapersonal communication—take on a more significant meaning when practiced through the eyes of faith.
Dr. Amen, like Huff, is a believer. His faith has led him to help other Christians struggling with brain problems, which often manifest themselves in what is frequently, and quite broadly, labeled “mental illness.”
Christianity was part of the structure of the higher education systems Dr. Amen attended. His involvement with his faith continues into his professional career. Over a decade ago, he was approached by a pastor asking for assistance in his health and that of his congregation.
The fruit of that discussion eventually culminated in the Daniel Plan, which links faith and fitness.
“The church is so important,” Dr. Amen said, “that we really want it to be a place of physical and mental health because then spiritual health is better.”
No matter your profession, “you all have an opportunity to work for the kingdom,” Sadie Robertson Huff said.