Women In Wellness: Morgan Myers Of East Dallas Therapy On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Women In Wellness: Morgan Myers Of East Dallas Therapy On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Don’t be afraid to take risks, especially at the beginning. You have so little to lose when you start a business from scratch!

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Myers, LPC (licensed professional counselor).

Morgan grew up in West Texas where mental health was often misunderstood. Her experience with depression as a child and through adulthood showed her what a lonely journey this could be and led her into counseling as a profession. As the founder of the counseling practice East Dallas Therapy, she and her team help support the mental health needs of their local community.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Igrew up in West Texas and I struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my childhood. I really didn’t understand mental health. I thought all of my struggles were about a lack of faith in God or not trying hard enough. It wasn’t until I became an adult I realized there was something missing. At the time it was much harder for me to do normal things, like get out of the house or socialize. After getting married pretty young (22), I decided to go back to school for counseling. After having my first daughter I started my Masters in clinical mental health. My grad program was an eye opening experience for me. I saw how trauma can affect your brain and body. I saw how integrated our mind, body and heart- seeing people holistically. I learned about medications and treatments that help. In one of my classes we learned all about postpartum depression, and it started to sink in that I had experienced post party depression after my first daughter. I became very depressed and shut down and I struggled through the first 12–18 months. Again, I found a lot of answers in what I was learning about the human mind and how we respond to that kind of life change.

I finished school just in time to have my second daughter. Since I was young I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted the freedom, creativity, and flexibility of owning my own business. So shortly after finishing school I started my practice East Dallas Therapy with one of my good friends.

We chose a location near our neighborhood because we wanted to feel like a community resource. Within a year, the world shut down because of Covid and my business partner and I decided to go our separate ways. It was one of the most challenging experiences of my lifetime. I felt the powerlessness of life on all levels. My family struggled to adjust and my business was almost dead in the water. I remember seeing clients over zoom for 1 or 2 clients a week while my kids played and yelled in the next room. The business was barely hanging on. I was in pure survival mode. I knew this is what I wanted and I couldn’t give up, even when I had to face my own fears every day. Helping people grow and change has brought my life so much satisfaction, it is a real gift!

Starting a business has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But now, 5 years in, I am so grateful for what it has become. We get to serve people in our neighborhood! I’m very proud of what I have been able to accomplish.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

COVID has to be the top of the list. I started my practice in 2018. It was such a formative time in my career and I had to make so many quick decisions and take so many steps it was like putting my career development on a fast moving train, and it wasn’t slowing down. I had to turn things on a dime. One week I was seeing clients, the next we were all online, which I had never done before. I felt like I was shaped and molded by my need for survival. I was trying to make a paycheck, trying to learn how to do my job, and trying to help people cope with the same fears and suffering I was experiencing simultaneously. I had never experienced that as a therapist before, and I haven’t since. In sessions, therapists aren’t supposed to talk about our personal experiences because we want therapy to be a place for our clients to express themselves. But when my clients would come in afraid for their health and safety, afraid for their family members, I would commiserate. In a strange way it was bonding.

It was also a time when I had to teach my clients (while learning for myself) how to cope with an anxiety that is actually based on something very real? We often deal with irrational fears or projecting our fears into the future. Like, “I’m afraid I have brain cancer” or “I’m afraid of flying in a plane because I might crash.” However, in the early days of COVID people were afraid for their lives, and indeed there were moments I was too. I was afraid my dad would die when he got a severe case of COVID. I was afraid we would run out of food in those early days. I was afraid our political system would fail. These are all feasible concerns. And I know people who experienced the death of a family member, or who lost their job and didn’t have money to buy what they needed. We all had to face an actual real threat to our safety and security. Trying to work through these fears with clients was challenging. I still don’t have answers for this kind of fear and suffering, often we’re all just trying to weather the storms and let go of what we can’t control.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started with my business partner, I know I made many mistakes. I didn’t communicate what my needs were. I was timid and uncertain of myself. I learned very early that I don’t let people in on what I’m thinking. I know that kind of guardedness can be inconsiderate and confusing. My lack of communication and transparency can hurt people, even if unintentionally. In an effort to not hurt someone’s feelings or not come off too opinionated, I hide what I feel and then eventually get so overwhelmed by it that I want to back away from my relationships. Since then I have learned to keep short accounts with people and be more authentic. A mantra of mine is “Clear is kind.” It’s tough in the short term to be honest, but in the long term it is a way of honoring yourself and the other person in the relationship. I think often our mistakes in business are the same areas we struggle in life in general. A lack of confidence, fear, or need for control all show up in us as helping professionals.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

A huge focus of my work is getting people to understand their values. In our city (and maybe most others in the country) we base so many decisions on what is expected of us, what others are doing, what our kids ask us to do, or what we are shamed into doing. These are all “external sources of control.” When we make decisions like this, we’re giving up our control to other people. Our lives are our story, and when we live this way it begins to look like someone else wrote the book. The goal is to have an internal source of control. I believe if we all clarify our values, what we hold closest to our hearts, we can live a life that represents who we are and what we think is most important.

For example, I value beauty and creativity, so I try to make my office space feel serene and beautiful with local artists’ work and nice furniture. At home I take my kids to museums and watch documentaries about nature to instill that value in them. It’s not just what I do, it’s an expression of who I am.

When we all live according to our values we make a rich contribution to the world around us. We no longer have to “put on” someone else’s idea of success, we can make decisions in line with who we already are, and we can commit to action that leads us further into the life we imagine.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

1 . Clarify your values! This one is huge. You can find a list of values and how to implement them on my website: https://eastdallastherapy.com/feeling-lost/

2 . Start with your basic needs. You can’t outsource or hack this. You have to tend to your physical and basic needs in order to move to the bigger goals in your life. Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs- https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Picture: link from the article above

Maslow shows in his pyramid that we must meet our most basic needs in order to move up the pyramid. It starts with physical needs and safety and goes up to love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization (or reaching your full potential).

Here’s a simple way to illustrate this. Think about when you’re at an event and you really need to use the bathroom. You can’t focus on connecting with others, and you can’t fully listen to the person speaking until you take care of your bodies needs. Similarly if you are in an abusive relationship and you don’t feel safe at home (safety/security on the pyramid), your brain and body won’t be able to think about your future goals (self esteem and actualization on the pyramid).

3 . Physical movement does wonders for mental health. “Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by: Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.” From the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495#:~:text=Regular%20exercise%20may%20help%20ease,your%20sense%20of%20well%2Dbeing)

4 . Remember your to engage in your spiritual life. It is my belief that we are all spiritual beings. It can be so healing and helpful to have a ritual or spiritual practice that reminds you to let go of those things you can’t control.

5 . You are not in a vacuum. We are wired for connection to others and the world around us. Our culture emphasizes our individualistic goals and our wellbeing. But your wellbeing is your kids wellbeing. Your marriage’s wellbeing is your wellbeing. If you haven’t left your four walls or your small universe, you aren’ts seeing yourself in the greater context of the outside world. If you are lonely or disconnected, you won’t find “wellness” and you can’t find satisfaction in your life. So make sure your wellness always includes a connection to others and the outside world.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Making engaging with nature as part of our educational and health care systems. For the last few years, I have been in training for Horticultural Therapy. I want bring plants to therapy as a way of helping people find connection and emotional regulation. I want gardens to be everywhere people are: in every hospital, school, and community center so they can be part of our wellness journey. I believe every single person can benefit from a connection with nature.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

1. Don’t force it. Growth happens over time and if it’s slow, it’s because that’s the nature of growing a business. Remember to go slow and maintain high quality services over going too fast and compromising on what’s important.

2. Don’t be afraid to take risks, especially at the beginning. You have so little to lose when you start a business from scratch!

3. Celebrate every step of the way. Celebrate business birthdays, hitting 100 clients, hitting a revenue goal, even celebrate holidays to make business feel fun!

4. Find your people. It is extremely lonely and can be scary as a business owner. Find other entrepreneurs with similar challenges or with experiences you can learn from.

5. It’s ok to make a decision based on your personal priorities, even if it doesn’t make financial sense. I wish I had given myself permission to grow at the pace I wanted, rather than trying to optimize my income. Obviously growing revenue is important, but it’s not all there is in business. I now know I value community and service to our neighbors. That affects how much I charge, what kinds of people I hire, and even where I want the office to be located. This hasn’t always maximized my revenue but it’s allowed me to live according to my values.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Obviously mental health is huge for me, but I do care deeply about environmental change personally. I view this issue as another symptom of disconnection from the world around us. I think we all need to be more conscious to the nature around us and how we affect it. An example: If we spray for pests outside, we don’t have butterflies. Our decisions directly impact the earth around us and in turn our communities.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

Find me at eastdallastherapy.com


instagram: @thegardenistherapy

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com.

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