Ellen Vora, MD takes a functional approach to mental health as a holistic psychiatrist practicing with Frank Lipman, MD at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. She has a B.A. from Yale and an M.D. from Columbia Medical School and is boarded in Psychiatry and Integrative and Holistic Medicine. She’s also a licensed medical acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?
“Breathe. It’s going to be okay.”
What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?
“Heartbreak taught me that I have to work at resilience. I was manufactured as one of the low resiliency models of humans :). So in order to stay afloat during challenging times, I need to work at it. For me that means getting enough sleep, eating well, getting outside into nature and under the sun, feeling surrounded by community, and carving out time to do nothing and let my brain relax.”
What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?
“Well…I’m not sure I had any rituals in place during my last breakup. If I were to go through a breakup today, I would lean heavily on yoga, hiking, and being around a positive community of friends. I also think it’s important to let yourself cry hard. If you’re feeling strong emotions, don’t suppress it or push it under the carpet. Let yourself primally wail if that’s how you’re feeling. Letting the emotions go up and out is so much healthier than pushing them down.”
Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?
“Lol, too many to list. I tend to dwell on old photos and indulge in all kinds of unrealistic fantasy thinking.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?
“I’ve learned that for me, what I need in a partner is the following: a good person, a good listener, a good communicator, someone who pushes me to be the best version of myself, someone who makes me feel good when I’m around them, someone who is open to growth, and someone who shares my sense of humor. All the “on paper” qualities I thought I was looking for (tall, rich, and whatever other kinds of misguided drivel I thought was important), ultimately have no bearing on whether it’s a happy and fulfilling relationship. If you find someone you can really communicate and laugh with who is open to personal growth, then there’s nothing you can’t get through as a couple. With that foundation, you can take on the world together.”
Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?
What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?
“Heartbreak hurts, but what’s the point of life if you decide to just hunker down and protect yourself from the next heartbreak? I want to be out there feeling as many deep emotions as possible, no matter how vulnerable that makes me to future heartbreak.”
What is your favorite song about heartbreak?
“Beyonce’s Lemonade, obv.”
What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?
"I just filmed a course on holistic approaches to healing depression for mindbodygreen.com. I'm writing a book about holistic approaches to insomnia, and I'm finally dipping my toe in the social media waters with my new video blog called Rebel Health."