Dr. Rozina Lakhani is a mother of two, a volunteer, a businesswoman, a teacher, an author although most people know her as a Psychiatrist ( a Medical Doctor with a focus on Mental Health).
Dr. Rozina loves what she does. The satisfaction that she gets when a person gets his or her smile back, knowing that they initially came with tears in their eyes, is indescribable. These are the moments when Dr. Rozina feels that she is fulfilling the purpose of her life.
When she provides treatment as a Psychiatrist, she can decrease suffering for hundreds of people. As a part of the group of providers at Shifa Health, and as a Medical Director at Residence XII and as a Clinical Professor at the University of Washington, she can touch thousands of lives indirectly. Dr. Rozina now wants to expand her reach to help millions of people like“you,” to prevent stress and suffering and live a healthier and happier life.
The goal of this interview is to help you shift your focus from treatment to prevention.
1. Maintaining Perspective Through Trauma and Hardship
Dr. Rozina shares her experience with a car accident. She had her dominant (right) hand crushed and for a time it was not useable. She recalls a morning in her shower after the accident. She was finished washing and needed her family’s help to get out of the shower. Unfortunately, everyone was downstairs and could not hear her cry for assistance. She became so frustrated in the moment that she began hitting the shower with her left hand. This lead her to an epiphany. Despite the inconvenience and pain, the accident caused, she realized she still had use of her left hand. She examined that she was overall quite healthy and the accident could have been much worse. One of the best ways to endure hardship is to assess what we still have to be grateful for. This lead Dr. Rozina to begin journaling what she was grateful for. These things included the health and usefulness of her left hand, her home, her family, and more.
2. Grieving Losses and Avoiding Depression
Dr. Rozina considers stressors in life like traffic lights on the road. Sometimes the lights are green and the traffic is flowing. Other times the lights are red, in which case you have to stop and assess your resources. No matter how difficult the traffic situation is (a challenge in life), know that life will start flowing again. Sometimes you can work through challenges by yourself, but it is okay to get help when needed.
3. A – Acknowledge. C- Calm Down. R – Reflect.
According to Dr. Rozina, the first step to dealing with any issue in life is to acknowledge. Acknowledge is different than acceptance. You do not have to “give up” or “settle” with where you are. Acknowledge where you are if you want to get to where you want to go. If we do not first honestly acknowledge where we are, we cannot get to where we want to go. Stop fighting ‘what is’, so you can begin to take steps to get to where you want to go.
Calm down in the midst of a frustrating situation in life. When we are worked up about something, we cannot think through to a logical conclusion.
Reflect on how to respond to whatever situation you are facing. The habit of reflection allows us to respond with intention instead of reacting. Reflecting allows us to avoid making mistakes. Reacting is far more likely to yield a negative outcome than reflecting.
Dr. Rozina has found that once you start writing things down, it helps clarify things a lot. Dr. Rozina recommends journaling to help the reflection process. Writing establishes neuronal pathways in the brain.
4. Set Healthy Relational Boundaries: Empathy vs. Sympathy
Dr. Rozina shares that having and developing self-awareness is key to understanding your boundaries. Without understanding boundaries, we cannot know at what point we are allowing our life to be damaged by a lack of healthy boundaries. You must have compassion towards yourself, not ONLY for others. If you do not take care of yourself you cannot take care of others. Boundaries help ensure that you can remain happy, healthy, and resilient against stressors that come into your life.
Sympathy is different than empathy. Empathy lets you observe a situation with understanding and compassion, while still maintaining your boundaries. These boundaries are 100% necessary for you to live a consistently resilient life. If you come across manipulative people who leverage their life story or painful journey to pressure you in any way, be empathetic, but up front and direct with them that you do not appreciate it. Sharing of one’s pain and hardship should be done, but only with consensus from each person involved in the sharing. Being open is important, but be sure you share with someone who has agreed to hear what you are going to share.
To avoid this being misconstrued.. yes, be kind, loving, and listen to others. But recognize when people are using their life story to try to “guilt” or “shame” or even pressure you to take action on their behalf. This is a classic manipulation technique and should raise “red flags” in your mind as you reflect. If you have ever dealt with individuals who try to leverage their circle of influence, let them know you care for them but that you do not appreciate being pinned down or pressured. If you are someone who tends to do this, the healthier approach to this is to simply ask sincerely for help and find people who are willing to assist (small groups, therapists, doctors, etc.).
Heart Healthy Hustle Round
Heart: What activity do you use to care for and strengthen your internal character?
Dr. Rozina enjoys journaling and specifically uses a daily gratitude journaling practice.
Health: How do you maintain your physical health and avoid burn out?
Dr. Rozina implements 5 pillars for optimal health:
- Good nutrition: carry healthy snack packs in your bag or pocket so you can snack on these if you cannot remember to eat full meals.St timers for every 3 hours.
- Water: drink at least 16 oz. of water per day.
- Body exercise and movement. Aim for at least 15 minutes of exercise and movement of your body.
- Mindful exercise (keeps brain active and challenges it). Stimulate your brain through being more mindful in the mundane tasks, and challenge it through learning new skills. This develops new brain cells and helps to avoid disease like dementia as you age.
Hustle: What’s your main motivation for doing what you do and “hustling” to the max of your potential?
Dr. Rozina’s goal is to make a difference in as many people’s lives as possible. She aims to impact at least one million peoples’ lives. Focusing on her endpoint keeps her going. Keep focused and keep getting better every day. GBD: Get Better Daily. On the way, you can make a difference in those who come around you as well.
“The Park Bench Paradigm”
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self? Why?
“Each failure and difficulty is a stepping stone towards your success. So keep trying. If you are tired of starting over and over again, don’t give up. Keep trying. And no matter how challenging life is, it is going to get better. You can transform your stressors into opportunities for growth. Whatever happens, happens for your best.”
What do you think is holding most proactive individuals back from fully thriving and actually becoming the person they know they can be?
Fear and worry. Fear of failure. Worry about what people think of them or people not appreciating them. If you are willing to work hard and do your best to make a difference in people’s lives.
Connect with Dr. Rozina
stresstojoy.com/podcastgifts – Get YOUR FREE gifts (this includes a pdf from Dr. Rozina’s guided gratitude journal, an audio recording of the mindful driving exercise, and a video on how to stop worrying so much).
Dr. Rozina’s book: “Stress To Joy”
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