Interview hosted by Dr. Valjevac, author of a new book, Diabetes and the Eleven Mighty Laws. https://diabetes11laws.com/
Hannah Hamlin is a fourth-year medical student who lives with Type 1 Diabetes since she was a teenage girl. That, however, has not stop Hannah for pursuing her dream – to become a Family Medicine Physician. She already holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences. Hannah knows that lifestyle choices play a huge role in quality of life, longevity, and overall experience on this planet.
Hannah knows that her mindset plays a HUGE role in her health, and she enjoys sharing that knowledge with others. In her spare time she is very engaged in inspiring other people with diabetes to find self-love, expand their mindset, protect and improve their health. You may want to visit her website https://drhannahhamlin.com/ and follow her Instagram profile @heartbeat.han, because there she will share with you what she has learned from her personal journey and her experience in medical school.
I wanted to check if Hannah is using the Eleven Mighty Laws, so I asked her if she would be so kind to agree to an interview. She kindly accepted.
Salih Valjevac: Hannah, you say that mindset plays a HUGE role in your health. Do you agree with the saying that we become what we think about?
Hannah Hamlin: Absolutely, I believe that our beliefs become our reality. Often, parts of reality are out of our control, but the way we perceive reality is entirely up to us. We each have our own individual experiences and learned patterns that influence the way we see the world.
I have found that the more I recognize and question my learned patterns and decide if they are right for me, the more I grow in a positive direction.
We make decisions and have thoughts about our set values, I believe that questioning those values at baseline is an important first step. A lot of my preset values I love and feel they provide great guidance through life, others I have found harmful to my happiness or productivity, so I made a point to change them.
For example, I used to feel that diabetes represented a part of me that was broken, I now see it as an asset that provides me with valuable insight and strength.
SVJC: I believe that at any moment we can find and have something that can help us improve our health. What do you think?
HH: Each day we are faced with thousands of decisions, some smaller than others. A lot of those decisions have a direct impact on our health.
There have been times in my life where my choices of healthy options have been limited. I think in these times it’s best to do what you can with what you have and be proud of your choice.
It’s easy to get stuck thinking that our choices are not vast enough or good enough for our health. My goal is just to do the best with what I can in the moment and at times when I’m unhappy with my choices, I make a plan to improve them in the future.
For example, finding a healthy snack in the airport can be challenging. So I’ll find a snack that I think will do and plan to pack almonds and other healthy snacks on my next trip.
I think the most important lesson here is that it’s important to feel in control of our health and to feel empowered. It’s important to know that our decisions do matter and that we can impact our outcome with our own autonomous choice.
SVJC: I suppose you too have heard about the Law of Attraction which states that we attract what we focus on. Are you using it, how are you using it and does it work for you?
HH: Yes, I use it daily when I complete my gratitude list and set an intention for the day.
I believe that what I pay attention to grows. I think that this thought is very much in line with the idea that our thoughts create are reality.
I recommend a gratitude journal to anyone who is interested in trying it. It takes me less than 5 minutes a day and allows me to check in with myself and intentionally set my mood and goals.
SVJC: The Law of Receiving says that only when you give you can receive. If you believe it is true, could you suggest people with diabetes some of the ways they can use the Law?
HH: I believe that giving is receiving. The feeling and empowerment that giving has on the human psyche is incredibly fulfilling.
As it relates to diabetes, I believe the more work, time and attention that you give to growing your self love and optimistic health mindset the more you will receive in both longevity and quality of life gains.
SVJC: To increase our health, we first have to praise it and be grateful for it. What do you think is the best way to express our gratitude for our health?
HH: It easy to fall into the victim mindset with diabetes, it’s a lot of work and at times doesn’t seem fair.
Over the years I’ve has diabetes, I have grown and I am now able to catch thoughts that align with the victim mindset quickly and dispel them.
One thought I come back to often is this, “A small portion of one organ is not functioning in my body, but I have seventy eight that are working perfectly, that’s pretty freaking amazing.”
As for gratitude for health, I say evaluation of core values and having an intentional mindset that is practiced regularly really helps me.
SVJC: Through your blog on your website and on social media you are helping others. What is the compensation that you receive?
HH: My compensation at this point is purely knowing that I have tried to help others in a small way. My goal is to help others get through health and mindset struggles similar to the ones I have had in my life.
I love when I get comments and feedback on my post because it allows me to know that I have helped someone in a positive way and feel connected to them.
I believe that interacting with a diabetes community is really important for all people with diabetes. It’s important to know that we are not alone.
SVJC: Do you think it is true that whatever we resist, persists? How do you respond when you meet with an unwanted resistance on your way? When would you recommend resisting a resistance, and when a non-resistant approach?
HH: I have recently learned, that when I encounter a problem, I do a lot better if I question my beliefs and thoughts about it before I question the reality of the problem itself.
For example, is the problem that someone looked at my continuous glucose monitor inset with a funny face, or is the problem that I let their reaction make me feel less than?
I chose to believe that feeling less than is a bigger problem in my life, and I therefore chose to question that belief. I remind myself that I don’t believe anyone in this world is less than, including myself, and move on with my day.
Resistance then turns into a positive reminder.
SVJC: Have you experienced a healing power of forgiveness? Do you think it is important to differentiate between forgiving and forgetting?
HH: I don’t know if I have enough life experience to answer this question fully.
I believe that it is entirely possible to forgive and not forget.
It is possible forgive a person or an action and strengthen a relationship while still being aware of the incident in order to protect yourself from let down again.
SVJC: What is the difference between a loss and a sacrifice? I believe that many times you chose to sacrifice something valuable for something else; you did it willingly and you enjoyed making the sacrifice. Can you share one example?
HH: This is an interesting question, I believe that the difference between a loss and a sacrifice is purely a perspective.
I could chose to believe that my years in medical school were a loss of social time with loved ones or I could chose to believe that they were a sacrifice for a better future that will allow me to be able to make decisions about how I spend my time and grow my relationships.
Better yet, I actually choose to believe that my years in medical school were a time of incredible personal and intellectual growth and I don’t view them as a loss or a sacrifice at all.
I think it can be distilled into a pretty simple principle, chose a perspective that makes you feel the best.
SVJC: What does the word “obedience” mean to you?
HH: At first glance, this word didn’t mean anything significant to me so I looked it up. Synonyms of obedience are subservience, submission, and deference.
As these relate to my life with type 1 diabetes, I feel that they are not terms I would use to describe my relationship with health at all.
I think it is really important that people with any chronic condition do not feel like a slave to their bodies in any capacity. I think it is important that we learn to see our body as a part of our greater whole and not look at physical and mental health separately.
It’s easy to fall into the, “It’s me against diabetes,” thought process. We hear the term, “a fight against diabetes”, all the time. I see it as a synergistic relationship, I am not obedient to my diabetes in anyway, I learn to work with it and appreciate it.
I am not fighting it, I am at peace with it.
SVJC: What do you think is the secret to successful, healthy and happy life with diabetes?
HH: Unconditional Self-love. I would actually say this is the key to a successful, healthy, and happy life regardless of the presence of diabetes.
If someone asked me what one thing they could do to improve their health and their life in general, I would say start here. Relentlessly pursue unconditional love for yourself and once you start moving in that direction everything will get better.
SVJC: THANK YOU!