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Episode 34: Harnessing the Power of Joy for Hormones and Health

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“Joy can be so many different things. It can be very calm, it can be serene. That’s what it is. It’s an internal feeling. It’s an internal state of being,” explains Saadia Mian, MD. Saadia works as a holistic endocrinologist, incorporating integrative and functional medicine into her practice to better serve her patients. She is an author and self-certified “joy expert”. Throughout her journey through medical school, Saadia realized that all of her time was being spent nurturing the left side of her brain and not enough time was being devoted to right brain activities like fostering creativity. During her leadership program, Saadia began to notice even more the importance of joy and listening to her heart. 

She started to increase joy by using mindfulness practices to slow down and appreciate the little things like enjoying a cup of tea or feeling the grass under her feet. In her books, she shares all that she has learned about the impact of joy on health and how to make joy your default state of being.

Chronic stress can have very negative impacts on health outcomes, because it causes perpetually heightened cortisol levels which throw all of our hormones for a loop. When hormones are impacted, the entire body is impacted. This can lead to all sorts of medical concerns from late periods, to weight gain, to increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Embracing joy is the best way to combat stress and help bring cortisol levels back down while also increasing happiness hormones like dopamine and serotonin. It can be difficult to always find joy, depending on your personal situations, so one way to start is to begin with gratitude. It is sometimes easier to find reasons to be grateful than to be joyful. From gratitude you can begin to work toward finding reasons for joy. 

Joy can be a very powerful tool for combating the negative health impacts of chronic stress. By inserting more joy into our lives, we reduce cortisol levels which in turn helps even out the hormones in our bodies. Tune into this week’s episode of The Catalyst to learn more about how joy impacts hormones, the roles hormones play in overall health, and how to begin increasing joy in your own life.

About Saadia Mian, MD, FACE, ECNU:

Dr. Saadia Mian lives in Michigan where she works full-time as an endocrinologist. After completing an undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Michigan, she went to medical school at Michigan State University. After completing her internal medicine residency at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she went back to Michigan State University to do a fellowship in Endocrinology. She has a passion for holistic/integrative and functional medicine and has spent many years learning how she can incorporate this into her practice of Endocrinology to better serve her patients. She is also an author of two books and is currently writing two more. She is a self-certified Joy Expert and is on a personal mission to support people to create more joy in their lives on a daily basis.

In This Episode We're Talking About:

  • We must presence joy (and other positive emotions into our days)
  • Health depends on healthy body, mind, soul
  • Tips to come out of our heads and into our hearts (and bodies)


  • “Joy can be so many different things. It can be very calm, it can be serene. That’s what it is. It’s an internal feeling. It’s an internal state of being.” (11:14-11:24 | Saadia)


  • “Small changes can have a big impact on every cell in our body. And yet, we can be resilient. We can train our bodies to be more resilient in the face of stress.” (14:24-14:37 | Saadia)


  • “One of the things that actually brings me the most joy is when I see somebody’s life has changed because of something that I’ve supported them with.” (21:51-22:00 | Saadia)


  • “Joy is not only things that we perceive as happy-go-lucky, like lying on a beach sipping a drink, or being on vacation. We can also find joy in things that are challenging.” (22:14-22:30 | Saadia)


  • “Set a timer and just see how many things you can immediately think of that bring you joy. And maybe after practicing gratitude later on, try it again and see if it has increased.” (38:22-38:33 | Saadia)

Links for this Episode:

Connect with Dr. Saadia Mian:

Connect with Dr. Lara Salyer:

Thank You For Listening!

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About The Catalyst Host, Dr. Lara Salyer:

I worked as a family physician for 15 years until burnout changed the trajectory of my career. I realized I wanted to start a holistic functional medicine practice in my rural hometown and made it happen. In addition to practicing functional medicine, I now mentor practitioners who are looking to change their paths in healthcare by using what I refer to as the “Catalyst Roadmap”. I share each step of this framework with listeners so that they may apply it to their careers, relationships, personal goals, and projects. 

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