My passion in raising awareness on preventing illness while bolstering mental and physical health has endured. It all started with my monthly column in the Mint Business Newspaper titled Wellness Sutra. I wanted to be of service to others and the column and the book was about assisting others in living the healthiest and the happiest version of their lives. To serve that purpose more deeply I trained as a life coach so that I could use my learnings about health and wellness in helping others more directly. I did not have an innate desire to become a coach initially but the desire to serve others more directly and help them develop to their full potential led me to train and certify as a life coach.
Prolonged Effects of Stress
The connection between stress and its debilitating impact on all aspects of health was something that I got interested in during my postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA. I was working in Dr. Chrousos's lab at the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Chrousos is one of the most renowned scientists in the world when it comes to research on stress and its impact on health.
While working in his lab it became quite clear that stress is toxic to just about every organ system including our immune system. And since I was trained in immunology I studied that further. Personally, a very close friend was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating chronic illness similar to long covid and the only causal link that doctors had made at that time was with chronic stress. So the link between chronic stress and illness became evident to me quite early in my career. Over the past two years it has become clearer how we still need to find ways of managing our stress better if we are to lead the happy and healthy lives we are meant to.
Publishing 99 not out!
The impetus for writing 99 not out! came about after a chance to have a conversation with Jayapriya Vasudevan who is a book agent in early 2017. She had read my columns and believed that there was a book that needed to be written. She offered to market the idea to book publishers and we received offers from two publishers by end 2017. The 29 principles are essentially from the 100 or so Wellness Sutra columns that I wrote for Mint over the years. The book deal came about in 2017 and the book was submitted to the publisher in early 2019. It was published in May 2019. Writing a book had never been part of my plan but it all happened organically. The book couldn't have been written without the support of my family, my husband, my children and my parents and my agent.
Beyond The Barricades
Writing a book like the one that I wrote was challenging as a creative endeavor because the goal was to make the science simple and engaging. It was also challenging personally as I was raising two young boys at the same time. I engaged the services of a life coach for the six months that I was focused on writing to help me meet my writing goals. I also blocked out a couple of hours every weekday exclusively for writing. The blocking out was done with intentionality; I kept my phone in another room and told my staff not to disturb me during that time. Building a private practice as a life coach takes time and I am enjoying the process. I love coaching my fellow human beings and I look forward to doing so for a long, long time.
Zest for Singing
I trained in Hindustani vocal music as a child under the tutelage of Savita Devi in New Delhi. When I returned to India, I resumed my studies under Ustad Jawaad Ali Khan of the Patiala Gharana. My interest in Bhajans and Sufi music was kindled by both of my Gurus. I haven't considered an alternate career in music thus far, but who knows what the future holds? Picture abhi baaqi hai :) ( The story is not over yet).
Habits as a Wellness and Health Coach
I start my day by walking 5k steps every day. That is followed by a gentle 30-minute yoga practice. I also meditate for 20 minutes every evening and pray for 30 minutes every morning after my bath. I don't drink or smoke and I eat mostly gluten-free vegetarian meals with fresh fruit and salads. I also avoid sugary and fried foods. I make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Every day, I try to meet or talk on the phone with a good friend, even if only for a few minutes. I make sure that our family connects over dinner without any devices every weeknight and I try to maintain an optimistic growth mindset despite the challenges that life throws at us ever so often.
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