The Mind Hates to Be Controlled but It Understands Discipline the Most - Shreya Sethi

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1. Tell us more about yourself and your profession.

I think I could describe myself as a teacher and a helper. I teach Yoga, I used to teach Psychology and I am a Counselling Psychologist.

Overall, I assist people to adopt a healthier lifestyle through a more holistic approach. By this, I mean I assist people if they need a physical change like better posture, weight loss, improving flexibility, strength through Yoga (also Pilates) and I also counsel for mental health. 

Even though these domains seem different, they are actually very interrelated. I use Yoga as a psychotherapeutic tool for mental health. 

I have taught Yoga to high profile clients in Delhi since the last 6 years, I have taught Yoga in different countries like Kingston, Singapore, and Canada, I have taught Yoga to people who have been diagnosed with Psychological disorders and I have been a counseling psychologist since the last 4 years. 

2. What led you to take up this career path? 

Psychology happened randomly and I had no idea I would get so connected to the subject. I loved each and every aspect of understanding how the mind was analyzed through the course of history. 

During my Master's degree in Counselling Psychology, I felt a gap in the practice of the subject. Maybe it was because I was more kinaesthetic in nature. This gap was filled by Yoga. 

I believe Yoga, (not only the physical practice but the philosophy too) is a great tool for holistic health as it not only caters to physical health but also mental and emotional health. So, I wanted to use them together- Psychology and Yoga. 

Also, my love for Yoga and anatomy made me want to teach it separately too.

3. How can people practice mindfulness? 

Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways. Ever started to draw or paint or read a book and got so engrossed that you didn’t know when hours went by? That’s a form of mindfulness. 

When you are doing what you are doing with a 100% focus and sustained attention and no other external information distracts you or you are in the "zone", you are practicing mindfulness.

The easiest way to practice mindfulness is on something concrete like I mentioned: reading a book or drawing or painting or even running. 
Then, there are more detailed ways like in everyday activities Like mindful eating or mindful walking. 

The best way to practice mindfulness in my opinion is through breathing. 
Breathing is directly related to your emotions. If you are able to mindfully breathe (there are so many techniques of breathing mindfully), you are able to mindfully emote.

It gets a little more complicated as the concepts to focus on become more abstract. With that I mean, focusing on the mind. This is the thin line of difference between meditation and mindfulness. 

4. How can one maintain a healthy lifestyle?

I’d like to answer this with an irony of the mind. The mind hates to be controlled but it understands discipline the most.

I’m sure you’ve heard that a healthy lifestyle is a Choice. In reality, choosing every day is not easy. Till the choice is not a Habit, it will always be an effort. 

Healthy lifestyle in a broad sense encompasses:
  1. A Good Diet: that includes eating well-balanced meals, avoiding fried food, avoiding refined carbs, and having good saturated fats.
  2. Sleep Hygiene: Where you ideally sleep from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am, completing 8 hours of sleep.
  3. Hydration: Drinking at least 3 liters of water every day.
  4. Regular Workout: Any type of workout that suits you. At least 1 hour a day.
  5. Mental Balance: To be able to manage all aspects of life like work, family, friends, hobbies, and to be able to have the emotional stability that comes with the feeling of personal growth.
All these, if seen as a choice, become hard. Once you make them as obvious as brushing your teeth every morning, it becomes easier. Basically, make them a habit. For sure, to form a habit, it takes time in the beginning after which it becomes automated. 

Another thing that I tell my clients and people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle: no matter what, move every day!

At the end of the day, you should be able to recall that you made an effort to get off your bum to move a little. Even if it was for 10 minutes. It works towards building that habit.

5. How can one build a successful career in your field?

First, train and educate yourself till you feel you know enough to start helping others. Second, train and educate yourself till you feel you know enough to continue helping others.

Basically, each year, I made sure I trained in something different in my field so I added something new to my skills. Adding layers of skills definitely makes you stand out. 

6. What are some common myths in society about psychology? 

Where do I begin?

  1. Professionally, the most common one is "only crazy people go to shrinks" - Well, are we all not crazy at some level? If no, then "No One" is. 
  2. "The problem is not so big that you can’t handle on your own." - Never minimize your problems. Everyone needs help sometimes and you might not always get great advice from people because only you know what you are going through. Seek help if you think you need it. 
  3. "Psychologists will give you medicines" - Psychologists do not prescribe medicines, psychiatrists do. Please please check out the difference between the two of you don’t know.
  4. "He is depressed" or "She is mentally retarded" - No! The person is not depressed, the person has depression. The person is definitely not mentally retarded, the person has an intellectual deficiency. The person is not the illness, the person is separate from the illness. The person has a personality other than having depression or an intellectual deficiency.

7. What is your fitness mantra? 

Health is not part-time. At no age should you find yourself saying I wish I started earlier?

- Shreya Sethi
  IG: shreya_yoga

- Interviewed By: Anurag Jaiswal

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