#legendchats: Recalibrating mental health to achieve peace, self-acceptance

Hong Kong-based Sonia Samtani is a best-selling author and two-time TEDx speaker who founded the leading wellness facility, All About You Centre. As a clinical hypnotherapist and qualified life coach and counsellor who made it her mission to shift mental and emotional issues to one of self-acceptance and peace

Samtani’s All About You Centre was established in 2013 where she offers private sessions and personal development workshops, as well as certified practitioner training programmes. In addition, resident and visiting practitioners offer their expertise in hypnotherapy, energy healing, NLP, regression therapy, tarot reading, public speaking, Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), couples counselling and coaching.

Her services have never been more relevant or higher in demand. As the world is reeling and recovering from the effects of a pandemic-restricted and imposed lifestyle, the search for a new mental balance is a top priority.

But what sort of support do clients come to see her for? “Clients come for a variety of reasons including anxiety and stress, depression, overcoming fears, dealing with pain and loss, needing clarity, and having persisting complaints,” Samtani says. “The underlying need for most clients is to be at peace. Once the clients attain peace of mind, they get clarity and can access their own tools of courage, resilience, strength, trust, and acceptance.”

Though it may sound easy enough in theory, the practice is a different story. Especially in a city such as Hong Kong where the average person leads a demanding life, there are major stressors accompanying such a lifestyle.

Samtani explains, “People with demanding lives usually showcase behaviours of addictions, insomnia, stress, and compulsive eating to name a few. Their day-to-day stressors would be the need to finish their task list or being the perfect parent, or perfect child, or feeling overwhelmed with not meeting deadlines. The deeper stressors that drive those needs are usually the fear of failure or fear of rejection.”

It begs the question of how normal it is to feel unhappy, despite objectively having a great life.

“A lot of people who objectively have a great life don’t perceive their life as great, they look for what’s missing and what they need to do to reach the next milestone and achieve more, which puts so much pressure on them that they spend less time enjoying their achievements and more time worrying. It is normal for people to feel unhappy despite having a great life objectively because of people’s perceptions, and they could spend more time in the happy zone.”

That said, she furthers, “happiness” is an emotion, and therefore by nature is transient. “In that sense happiness will come and go, along with other emotions.”

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Though seeking therapy to find that kind of peace and fulfilment is no longer taboo, the approach is still somewhat daunting and unfamiliar to those who have never gone through a process like this. So how can her clients seek peace and fulfilment through treatment?

“Clients attain peace by facing what they have been avoiding, moving through their resistance, processing their suppressed emotions, and accepting things they were judging,” she divulges. “Through therapy, we help clients to accept that pain is inevitable and it is okay to go through it; it builds strength and brings them wisdom. We address the fundamental beliefs and emotions that block them from feeling good about themselves and invite them to accept who they are today so they don’t need external validation to feel good enough. When people can feel good enough now, and still move towards their desired outcomes, the result is a sense of inner peace and fulfilment.”

Samtani shares 5 tips to manage your mental wellness:

  1. Have a clear vision of what you want. Visualise what you do want rather than what you don’t want, and commit to moving towards it.
  2. When it’s time to act, do it within 5 seconds – even if you don’t feel like it! Many people lose their drive because they wait until they feel like doing things. You are not going to “feel” like fulfilling your commitment all the time.  Acknowledge the emotions and do it anyway!
  3. Have the courage to face the uncomfortable parts of life. You will experience all of it; success and failure, acceptance and rejection, gain and loss. The more you can accept that, the more you can be at peace.
  4. Intend to process your emotions instead of controlling them. Feeling emotions is a natural part of life, and it’s much healthier to acknowledge them instead of exploding outward or controlling and suppressing them.
  5. Trust that you have the resources to deal with what life brings to you. 

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In this Story: #wellness