Life has always been a rollercoaster ride for me. Considering the fact that I grew up in a conservative Marwadi family, I was breaking barriers and standing up for myself since I was 13 years of age. I was intrigued to explore different mindsets of people around me. With time, I grew fascinated with human psychology, and my desire to learn everything about it became my primary goal in life.
Usually, when girls slip into their teenage years, they have colorful dreams of a life that they have imagined. I, on the other hand, was falling in love with the mystery of how and why people think and react differently in various circumstances.
Even my family started noticing that I'm unique.
My family was my first and biggest hurdle. We were four sisters in a traditional joint family, and it was challenging for us to pursue higher studies and work. In fact, we never saw ourselves as women who would just stay home and do things around the house. We saw ourselves as women who would do household work and also live our individual dreams of being successful. A good balance of both!
I really had to fight my way through all the naysayers. I even defied the idea of getting married at a young age. It was something quite unconventional for a girl in my community. My parents had a difficult time accepting the fact that getting married is not my first priority, and that I want to focus on things that are much more important to me in the grand scheme of things. They were incredibly disappointed at the time, but today they are extremely proud of who I am and what I do - and support me more than anyone else does.
Journey as a Mental Health Professional
My first gig in the field of understanding human psychology was at a child guidance clinic through which I was placed at a school. I worked as a counsellor at this school for nine months. The education system in India heavily relies on the western influence, and that's not applicable here in the real world. I realized that working with children wasn't something that I wanted to do. The scope and room for change was quite limited, and I wanted to achieve greater things.
I also discovered some exceptional loopholes in the overall mental health system and I wanted to bridge these gaps by enhancing the way people function.
And that's when I started my own practice. I registered and started my own company Out Aloud. Being an entrepreneur, the initial phase was quite cumbersome. I received help from a lot of people, and this added a lot of value to my work. As a person, I've always been a team player and have believed in the wonders of collaboration.
Today, I have built a team of my own. We are a team of 7, along with approximately 70 mental health and holistic wellness professionals that are affiliated with Out Aloud.
Throughout my journey, I've always intended to help people live a better life holistically.
Importance of mental well-being
For me, mental health is a lifestyle. Taking care of your mental health doesn't only mean attending therapy sessions. It's a holistic lifestyle that you're actively, consciously and wholeheartedly focusing on.
I hail from a therapeutic background, and have extensive knowledge related to food and mental health. Food is medicine. You are what you eat, and that directly impacts your mental health. You need to be cognizant of what you're eating, how you're eating, and when you are eating. I also feel exercise is crucially important to stay healthy. Being with the right kind of people also makes a lot of difference to your mental health. I love collaborating with mental health professionals, nutritionists, doctors, fitness experts, mindfulness and meditation experts - so that I can facilitate the best health and mental well-being services to people.
I also practice and preach the importance of self-love and positive affirmations. These practices not only benefit the mind and the body, but also fortify the soul.
A healthy mind, a healthy body and a healthy soul results in a healthy life.
I have explored the importance of mental well-being in copious detail in my upcoming book as well.
Wellness and its myths
There are various myths about wellness that can lead to confusion and misinformation. One such myth is that wellness is only about physical health, when in fact - it subsumes multiple aspects such as mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
I believe wellness is a lot more than solving one problem. You may be having a back ache, but that back ache could stem from deep-rooted traumas that you may have gone through.
It's important to understand wellness and consider it to be an ongoing process, instead of looking at your issue as a temporary concern that needs to be addressed momentarily. Therapy should continue even after the problem is solved. You need not have it every day, but at least once a month you can catch up with your therapist and check if you are on the right track.
Some people also believe that wellness is only for specific people or that it requires a significant amount of time and money - when, in fact, wellness is accessible to anyone and can be achieved through simple, daily practices.
Mentors and guides
Your mentor, your guide, your therapist, your counsellor - are a part of your life. In order to keep healthy - keeping in mind your personal, professional and social life, your physical and mental health - it's important to have one person overlooking everything. This one person could change as you get older. It's important for this person to be open-minded, receptive and non-judgmental.
You can also have different people for different areas of your life.
When it comes to my own journey - I've had multiple mentors in my life who have guided me along the way.
An incident that left an impression and changed your life
In 2017-18, I went through my own phase of depression.
When I look back today, I only have gratitude for the universe and God, for putting me through that experience. It made me far more empathetic and compassionate as a human being.
It made me stronger than I ever was!
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