What is the common denominator of every challenge in your life?
How are money problems, sickness, relationship issues, traumas, career roadblocks, and everything else holding you back from your dream life connected?
In this episode, Dr. Shahana Alibhai answers that question. She is a lead physician at one of British Columbia’s largest youth health centers, and is best known for her “Emotional Literacy for Better Mental Health” TEDx talk. Check it out.
Dr. Shahana’s career is focused on those struggling with their mental health. I love her simple mental health framework, a pyramid with 3 actionable elements we can all implement starting now.
Remember that success does not mean you won’t have problems.
Success means you have better problems!
So press play and let’s chat… because mental health is meant-for-all health!
>> Then join The Happy Engineer Community online and get access to bonus content and coaching in our free group >>
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The Happy Engineer Podcast
WATCH EPISODE 065: THE 3 KEYS TO OPTIMAL MENTAL HEALTH FOR HIGH-ACHIEVING ENGINEERS WITH DR. SHAHANA ALIBHAI
LISTEN TO EPISODE 065: THE 3 KEYS TO OPTIMAL MENTAL HEALTH FOR HIGH-ACHIEVING ENGINEERS INTERVIEW WITH ZACH’S DEBRIEF
Listen on Apple Podcasts // Spotify // Android // iHeartRadio
Previous Episode 064: How to Become WHO You Want to Become in Your Engineering Career with Jeff Perry
THE 3 KEYS TO OPTIMAL MENTAL HEALTH FOR HIGH-ACHIEVING ENGINEERS
This was an amazing conversation with Dr. Shahana!
There’s just a ton of things we could dive deeper at, but there are two that especially stand out.
These two points I’m about to dig deeper into absolutely apply to you as an engineering leader in your career right now. And I can say that with 100% confidence, because I see it in my clients who are some of the smartest, most talented engineering leaders on the planet.
The first is the point around fear in the context of fear holding you back.
You’ve probably heard the quote before, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I know it might sound very cliche.
Well, here’s the truth.
You just heard it from Dr. Shahana that the fear of fear is a barrier to your recovery.
I can see how this correlates with a challenge we do at our coaching program, The Lifestyle Engineering Blueprint.
We call it C4 challenges: Crush Comfort to Create Courage.
One of the challenges is called Silence and Solitude.
The challenge is to block two hours of time where you’re going to get away from every potential distraction. No inputs to your mind at all. No music, no interacting with anyone.
Just silence and solitude for two hours.
You would think!
What we often see in our program is that there’s resistance to creating the space for silence and solitude because in the back of your mind, lurking in the subconscious is this fear of being alone with your thoughts.
The resistance recedes in the fear of discovering what you are actually afraid of.
There’s a fear of being with yourself because then you must face what is actually going on.
And as long as we keep running the race, hustling, and taking care of all the needs and demands of everyone around us, we don’t have to face that fear.
But as soon as you stop and get alone, your fears surface.
I have the deepest respect for my clients, and there are many of them who legitimately avoid creative avoidance around doing this C4 challenge.
I just want to challenge you to do your own mini challenge, silence and solitude. Just 30 minutes.
Crush comfort to create courage.
Fear and purpose are opposite ends of our life.
Living from a place of fear holds you back, keeps you in the comfort zone. It limits you.
It’s where all your limitations are found.
Living with purpose is where courage and confidence and growth is found.
And Dr. Shahana made such a subtle but important point about purpose.
She said, live with purpose, not for purpose.
I just love this distinction. It is so important and it’s one of the most common hangups or complaints that I hear from leaders who want to do this deep coaching work in their life.
And there is something calling from inside you that wants more, but you look around at all of this purpose driven, find-your-why messaging out there.
And it feels trite. It feels cliche. It feels surfacey, or it almost feels like purpose has become the idol that we all must find.
We have to find it and we need to live for purpose in our lives.
And if you don’t have your purpose figured out, then something’s wrong with you.
To me it’s just so disappointing that a powerful concept that can literally change your life overnight is being messaged in a way that’s taking away its power and its impact.
And this distinction brings some clarity to this use. It’s live with purpose, not for purpose.
Purpose is not the end goal.
It’s about having a connection that is authentic and intentional to your unique purpose in such a way that no matter what you’re doing or where you’re at in life, you can show up living with purpose.
Live with purpose, not for purpose.
And if you don’t know what that means for you, if you don’t know what that looks like for you, then there’s work to do.
How can you live with purpose if you don’t understand what yours is.
And because these two ideas live on opposite ends of our emotional spectrum, fear on one side, holding us back, limiting you. And purpose on the other side, giving you courage, giving you confidence. It’s really important that we unpack both of these.
One of them is releasing the breaks, letting go of that fear of fear, calling it out for what it is, recognizing it, stepping into the things that are holding you back and being honest about that.
But the other side is then activating courage and confidence in your life by living with purpose.
And when you do both hit the gas and release the brakes, that’s when we really start to see rapid acceleration of your vision and goals, it is about real tangible results.
It’s about how these emotions lead to different actions that therefore change your results.
And that is why this work is so important.
And if you don’t have clarity on your purpose, reach out and ask for support on that. It’s something that we can definitely help you with. It’s exactly in the heartbeat of the coaching work we do.
I respect you. I appreciate you. I know you’re out there doing the hard work of building your career, balancing your life, and I want you to experience deep and fulfilling happiness.
Keep crushing comfort, create courage, and let’s do this.
ABOUT DR. SHAHANA ALIBHAI
Dr. Shahana Alibhai is a professional speaker, family physician and mental health expert.
She has worked with a multitude of organizations including the University of British Columbia, Scotiabank and Remax to help the audience gain more clarity into their mental health.
As a lead physician at one of British Columbia’s largest youth health centres, much of Dr. Shahana’s career is focused on those struggling with their mental health.
Her insights are highly sought after and she’s been featured in multiple major media including CTV and Global. She is best known for her “Emotional Literacy for Better Mental Health” TEDx talk and as a panelist at International Women’s Day.
Dr. Shahana is a master at blending her personal story of postpartum anxiety and the resulting shame, denial and mental health challenges with her professional background in cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation. Her candour, humour and refreshing honesty will shine light on a topic that is too often stigmatized and inspire authentic dialogue to keep the conversation moving forward.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Dr. Shahana’s Website
- Dr. Shahana on LinkedIn
- Do you want to lead your career with courage and purpose? Book a FREE Career Clarity Call now!
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:
Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.
[00:00:00] Zach White: All right! Welcome back Shahana! So glad you’re with us. Thanks for making time to be a part of The Happy Engineer Podcast and share your experience, your story, and your incredible expertise with us today. It is awesome to have you on the show.
[00:00:15] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: So excited to be here.
Expand to Read Full Transcript
[00:00:15] Zach White: Thanks for having me. Absolutely. I wanna unpack all of your brilliance when it comes to mental health and emotional health and all of this, but we need to back up a moment before I just dive into my questions about all that.
[00:00:31] I’d love it. If you could set the stage for us, beyond just, you know, your MD and being a family, physician and expertise as a doctor, what it is that actually pulled you into this world of mental health and emotional resilience, as a true expert and your passion for this. So can you take us back to the beginning and how this all began for you?
[00:00:52] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: It’s such a good question to start of what is your story? Right? Because I, even the youth that I work with, as you probably know, I’m a family physician. I worked here in British Columbia about an hour away from Vancouver. And the job that I never expected to land in was to work with adolescent adolescent, between the ages of 12 and 24.
[00:01:12] Many of who are higher risk, many of whom have never known what a normal family is. Many of whom have dabbled or more than dabbled in substance use and abuse, and many of whom are having their own mental health. Challenges to say the least. So whenever I see a youth, I ask them the same story, because I think no matter what, no matter what credentials you have behind your name, that is something that you can own.
[00:01:40] Right. And that is something that is completely unique to you. So for me, it might be backing up about 25 years or so when I first kind of entered, you know, the school system and understanding what your framework is in relationship to other people. And I think as many of us do one teacher once told me school is a social meet grinder, and I’ve, that’s always stuck with me because it really is.
[00:02:04] You really have to know how do you belong? What is your context and how do you fit in and how are you gonna survive and thrive? And for me, it became clear very early on that my identity was based on my academic performance. So my identity is based on my academic performance. And my reason I say that is because I think many of your listeners could probably relate to that, I wasn’t the social
[00:02:29] Zach White: butterfly. I can relate to that. You know, Shauna, my entire life, my mom was a teacher, my grandma’s a teacher, my aunts were teachers, you know, academics was everything. I am curious for you. Can you say that, just looking back that that was your identity, or did you feel that you knew that in your mind at that time as a child,
[00:02:50] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: I knew it down to the deepest core of myself at that time.
[00:02:53] And it provided every level of bolster cushion bubble wrap around me. And I was gonna use that to my advantage so much so that, for me it was very transactional. It was that the smarter I was, the better I did on tests. The more that I could help you with your homework. Well then in return, shouldn’t you like me?
[00:03:15] Shouldn’t I be of social significance to you and that transactional nature of my identity, only added fuel to the fire because then you level up you’re the top in your high school, and then you’re topping your university and then you’re in medical school. And now you’re surrounded by people, very similar to engineering who are used to being in the top of their field.
[00:03:36] And then what, then what, because if your identity is only based on one thing, mine was as thin as glass and the minute I entered medical school, it shattered because now I wasn’t the smartest kid in this school. Now what. Right. all of that to say is that it taught me now a very deep lesson and the lesson being that your value systems are somewhat fixed, but your identity is flexible.
[00:04:05] The minute that I had my son, when he was born, suddenly I’m a mom. That is my identity, a mom. Or is it Shahan or is it a doctor? Or like, what is it? The identity that you have today is completely different than you had a year, six months, five years ago. But it’s the value system. And the reason I really hammer home about this is because it relates to why care about emotional intelligence.
[00:04:30] I ask almost every youth, the prototypical question of, do you care about yourself? Do you love yourself? How many do you think actually respond. they have many more expletives when I ask them that question, but the bottom line answer is no. No. Wow. a curse word after curse wordy.
[00:04:49] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: It’s usually I absolutely LOA the, myself. They are passionate about hating themselves.
[00:04:56] Zach White: And they’ll say that out loud to you in response to the question
[00:04:59] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: completely with pride. I shouldn’t say with pride, but with vigor conviction, with figure. Yeah. That is what they know for sure is that they hate themselves.
[00:05:10] I asked one girl. I said, well, no, I’m gonna keep forcing you. Tell me one thing you like about yourself. And she said, my left eyebrow, not my. Put my left and that this is an actual, true story. So we have to start there. We have to start with then why care, why are we having this discussion about improving your mental health, improving your quality of life, improving your emotional re resiliency.
[00:05:32] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: If you don’t have an Iotta forget self love, that’s being used too much. Self acknowledgement, self appreciation. Yeah. Forget self love. And self appreciation comes from looking backwards from looking at how far you’ve come. That’s where it comes from youth can do this, but I bet you, most of your audience will start to feel uncomfortable when I talk about acknowledging themselves because it’s to high performers, acknowledgement equals leniency.
[00:06:05] Zach White: Yes,
[00:06:06] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: because the minute I give myself any sort of accolade, then I’m relaxing at, oh, we’re never allowed to relax in this profession. But it’s the complete opposite of that self acknowledgment, seeing how far you’ve come, how you’ve come through. Different circumstances actually gives you the fuel, gives you the permission to keep
[00:06:24] Zach White: going.
[00:06:25] Yeah. Before you go on in your story and I, I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I really am curious about a distinction you made a moment ago between values and identity. And I feel clear in my own mind of how I see those two, but two thoughts. One is, can you really quickly define what, what makes one, separate from the other and also the comment about values being fixed at what point in our life does that really solidify?
[00:06:55] Is it at a certain age range? We start to see it locked in, you know, based on how you’re you’re raised or you’re an environment, or is there something even in, in a DNA level it’s, you’re born with, you’re kind of a nature nurture conversation. Can you just describe that really quick?
[00:07:10] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: No. Absolutely. That’s a fantastic question.
[00:07:12] And let me just give you a quick story, cause I will really outline this. So I was speaking with the youth, not that long ago, and we were talking a lot of my work ends up being mental health or sexual health in the world of adolescents. So we were dealing with the latter for this patient. And I could say that many of the decisions that she had made, even from the down to the language she was using, the clothes that she was wearing, perhaps I would’ve kind of as a parent, condoned her and said, maybe think carefully about the choices that you’re making, but I’m a physician.
[00:07:41] So my job is to treat her with the ultimate respect, and give her that, that platform where she feels heard and seen. So during this conversation, I’m trying to focus on her, but I see a spider out of the corner of my eye. And one thing you should know about me is that, you know, for most people it might be a little bit, icky or whatnot.
[00:08:00] For me, it’s a complete phobia. Like I really, really can test them. So I’m really trying, she’s telling me some really deep stuff, some really important things I’m concentrating on her, but all I can focus on is this spider spider. And finally she follows my eyes and looks and she’s like, oh, she’s like, I can take care of that.
[00:08:17] So I said, oh perfect. This is great. So I hand her a little tissue paper and she looked at me with the most disdain I’ve ever seen and said, I don’t kill things, hand me a cup. And she got a cup and walked outside and put it outside. So what is that? It was right there. It was a beautiful example of, you know, she’s expressing her identity through so many through her clothes, through her sexuality, through her choice of words.
[00:08:45] Yeah. That’s gonna come and go. That’s gonna come and go. But there was something about her that me and her differed completely. I was prepared to squash that little thing, S smash that thing and she said, I don’t kill things. And she took that and I brought, but the thing is a lot of us don’t pay any attention to this stuff.
[00:09:02] because that moment could have come and gone, but I reminded her, I said, what was it about you that felt such a conviction to say that, and she didn’t even have a good answer for me, but she felt that in herself. Mm-hmm, the second part of your question in terms of, does this come and go? You know, I think it’s a catchy phrase that I’ve come up with to say, you know, your identity is flexible.
[00:09:22] Your value systems are fixed by no means of course, people in their sixties and seventies are still developing. What’s important to them. But I have to say by the age of 25, from a DNA level, from a neuroplasticity level, I think that is kind of when the buck stops. In some ways, we know that the role plasticity, this whole idea that you keep forming new brain formations.
[00:09:45] If you listen to the work of Dr. Andrew Huberman, Stanford, professor, he will actually tell you that no, that is not true. You can improve the connections, but you don’t keep building all these great neurons. And either we don’t want to be doing that either, but it’s you have until 25 where neuroplasticity, this idea of forming new branches, informing new connections is in your brain is really open.
[00:10:08] So I would argue that life experience, that value system, that foundation is set before then.
[00:10:15] Zach White: Okay. So we take this, expression of our identity and it evolves in changes through our lives in ways that might serve the values that we hold or the goals we’re seeking to achieve. That’s really fascinating.
[00:10:30] Now, connect them for us. Then here you are, doing all this amazing work with adolescence. You’re a family physician at what point. In your story, did that really start to become like, wow, I, this is a passion for me to understand this space even deeper.
[00:10:47] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: So one thing you have to realize too, is that in my journey, I had no problems advocating about mental health, talking about mental health, improving other people’s mental health, that this is where the buck stopped.
[00:11:00] The idea was that mental health was a U disease. It would never be a knee disease. It would never be a knee disease because my education. because my privilege, because my let’s be honest, my IQ I’m gonna get really, this is the truth. This is what I thought that I thought I could think myself happy that I could feel myself better, that everything would I’m.
[00:11:25] I’m totally okay with you feeling depressed and anxious, but for me, no, I’m okay. I kinda happen. I got this, I got this and I didn’t get it. I didn’t, everything started to crumble after the birth of my first child. I had three young boys all under the age of seven. Now my littlest one is two, but it was after the birth of my first child.
[00:11:45] Now about seven years ago where I felt my own rock bottom. And when I gave my Ted talk three years ago, I led with that. I led with this idea that, mental health is, is a you not an eye disease. And it was my ego that stood in the way, but I only told half the truth in my Ted talk. Half the truth was the idea that I used the word panic attacks.
[00:12:11] And yes, I did have panic attacks, but let’s be honest, anxiety and depression thankfully have become a lot more used words. They’re much more sexier terms of mental health. Okay. The minute I tell you, schizophrenia, bipolar OCD, suicidality it’s too much. Those are where people’s back, goes up and say, I can handle you being a bit anxious.
[00:12:34] I can handle you being a bit depressed, but all of that stuff, that’s too much. It’s too messy. And they take a big step back from you. Yeah. So the reason that I told half the truth was because the truth was that since the age of four or five, I started developing symptoms that I would later know to be the lesser known counterpart for O C D, where you don’t have the compulsions.
[00:13:00] You just have the thoughts that you don’t wanna have. And I had that for years. I didn’t tell anybody, except my mom, this is 30 awesome odd years ago. Nobody knew what this was. And she just basically said, we better not tell anybody because I don’t want them to medicate you. And I totally agree with that.
[00:13:20] I think that was as a parent, I know it’s the hardest thing, but what happens is that that gets baked into your identity. Doesn’t it? Wow. Because you know that you’re hiding the secret, you know, that something is not quite right. And it wasn’t until sitting in medical school, 25 years later, that a slide flash before me with all the different types of anxiety and very fine print it’s at the subtype of O C D is what’s called pure obsessional, O C D, where you just have these awful intrusive thoughts that bring you to your needs.
[00:13:53] So I ran home and I called my fiance and my now husband. And I said, I’m not crazy. There’s something. And the reason I say that is because I always tell my patients, you’re all unique is a snowflake, but when it comes to mental health, no one wants to be unique. No one wants to sit in front of their doctor saying, oh, you have that.
[00:14:14] Oh gosh, I don’t know what that is. And that’s my job. Now when I have a youth saying I’ve never told anybody, I don’t lean back, I lean forward. Yeah. Because I know what it feels like to have never told anybody.
[00:14:28] Zach White: That’s so fascinating to consider what you said. I think it’s super true. Shahana that we, we love claiming our uniqueness in our areas of strength and our areas of high performance.
[00:14:41] And nobody can do engineering like Zach can, but as soon as we talk about an area like mental health, or pick any. Very taboo, it’s messy. it’s hard to understand nobody want. Yeah, like please tell me, I have the very simple, predictable, easy to cure, easy to solve through.
[00:14:59] Especially you mentioned, you know, my IQ as the solution for a mental health issue. Like I wanna think my way out of this, I can relate to that idea so much. Like I don’t, I don’t ever wanna be unique in that space. Wow. Absolutely not. Okay. Absolutely not. So here you are discovering your uniqueness in a place that’s messy.
[00:15:20] Mm-hmm . And this was in, in medical school, you said? Yes. When you first had that. Aha. And, okay. Wow. And you also mentioned your, first son being born as another key. How far apart were those two moments?
[00:15:32] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: uh, those two moments are about seven years apart, easily. Okay. Right.
[00:15:35] So, okay. And I did what every good medical student does when they realized their own diagnosis. I suppressed it. I said, perfect. Of course I know what it’s. I took care of. It took care of it. I’m good. Squashed it way down deep. Oh, wow. Guess what? Every time I, I had to do psychiatry rounds, you know, you do all the rounds that as a medical student and resident, I remember holding a full two, two patient charts, one with OCD, one with bipolar.
[00:15:58] I gave the OCD one to my friend and said, you take care of that patient. I’ll take care of the bipolar. I couldn’t get close with it because I could see myself in that patient and it was too much. And this is what we talk about avoidance. we do this in our life as well. And I, I speak to the women.
[00:16:15] I know you must have a lot of women listeners out there too, because you know, the postpartum period is such that everything that you’ve suppressed and it’s not just for females, it’s for the dads, too. Everything you’ve pushed way down deep. The postpartum period is fertile. It’s beautiful and it’s fertile.
[00:16:32] And all of that stuff will rear its ugly head because here you have something that’s completely helpless. Mm-hmm, , you’re doing this on complete lack of sleep and let’s be honest. You don’t know what you’re doing whatsoever. So all of this stuff comes up and that’s exactly what it did for me. And the reason I’ve become so passionate about talking about this is because guess how many people or parents have obsessional thoughts about their infant of hurt or harm coming to their infants?
[00:17:01] 99%. It is ex extreme. They’ve been on a study extremely. Oh my goodness. Mm-hmm . but the people who were like me who actually have the diagnosis, can’t let go of the thought they fixate on the thought they live their life in the thought many people will have it come and go. And they’re off with their day 99%.
[00:17:22] But yet nobody talks about this.
[00:17:25] Zach White: Could you put some words to an example of what that thought would be? this is exactly why I hid behind it in my Ted talk. Because even to this day, you can see, I like to dance around it, but when we get close, it’s still, and this is the true, this is the reality about mental health.
[00:17:42] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: This is this IST, real, this IST live. It’s not like having an injury on your finger where every day the wound gets to heal and it gets better and better. It’s not like that. So for all of those of your listeners, listening out there who have struggl. it’s almost like you’re always watching from the behind.
[00:17:59] Is, is it gonna come back? And that’s always been my experience, we don’t once again, talk about that enough is that one of the key features of recovery is fear of fear. Is this coming back? Mm. So when we talk about the obsessional thinking, one of the most common thoughts, like I mentioned was this idea of could harm come to your child and could you be the one causing harm to your child?
[00:18:22] And if you think about for any parent, that is the epitome of what awfulness of what absolute mayhem would be, but it’s your brain. Who’s making you think that over and over and over again. And as we are starting this conversation I had, somebody who was quite well known in London, reach out through me over Instagram.
[00:18:45] Who’s an actress there and said, thank you for sharing this because nobody is talking about this and she’s suffering because you go to the doctor’s appointment, they’ll say, oh no, postpartum depression, no postpartum anxiety, check, check. You’re good. How many doctors are actually gonna ask you the question that needs to be asked?
[00:19:02] Are you having those thoughts? Cuz no woman or no. Father is gonna volunteer that. Yeah. And in my lifetime I have seen women who have ended their own life because of this. So we need to start having this conversation and people who weren’t like me and who never had it prior can still develop it.
[00:19:21] You don’t need to have a prior diagnosis. Like I did. I was just more at risk. It’s called postpartum O C D. So if you know of any women who are suffering, who are struggling, this is something to explore with them because they probably aren’t telling.
[00:19:36] Zach White: Hmm,
[00:19:38] I mean, it’s a scary thing to consider how many people are suffering in silence. And especially to your point, if even in the medical profession, it’s unlikely that they’re going to do the hard, deep work of asking that question. And I’m gonna, if you’re willing, Sean, I’m gonna push you again.
[00:19:55] would you share with. what’s the kind of thought that a, a woman in that situation or yourself in that time would be having what’s that
[00:20:02] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: really like? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So basically I’ve had some women who have said, could I drop my baby from the balcony? Right. women have told me that they’ve hid all of the kitchen knives, because they’re worried about using that.
[00:20:14] Like, it’s, let’s be really clear. postpartum psychosis is very different. I don’t wanna get too clinical postpartum. O C D is the fear of fear. Yeah. It’s the absolute you have, it’s almost like watching a horrible movie in your head, but you can’t get out of that loop. And the reason is, is because they’ve actually shown on functional MRI scans is that that loop can’t be closed.
[00:20:37] It’s actually a physical thing in your brain. Wow. and the reason is most people with postpartum, O C D have an excessive amount of guilt and shame. And they want to do things right. And this comes back to one of my counselors that helped me along the way. She’s like in her office, it was lawyers, engineers, doctors, accountants, all of these high, high functioning, high IQ, high academic, high performing women and men.
[00:21:06] But this minute, the postpartum period hit, everything fell out. So that’s kind of an example. It’s, you know, it’s a hiding the knives. Having someone have to be there when you’re handling the child, all of that. And for me, I continued to work three months after my first was born because I had to, that was my escape.
[00:21:24] I think that’s another thing a lot of fly functioning people do is that they say this is too hard for me. I’m gonna go back to, to where I needed things. A plus B equals C you know, it’s linear, it’s black and white. And, um, it took me a year. It took me a year to actually say, I, I can’t live like this. And.
[00:21:43] I need to do something better, not for me, but for my son and that getting the help is, is the beginning of the journey. It’s not the end of the journey. Right, right, right.
[00:21:53] Zach White: So for you, what was the moment that, what is now your incredible body of work around optimal health and a new model and a new way of thinking, but where was the catalyst point for you of in that year timeframe and things started to shift.
[00:22:08] Tell us a little bit, like what changed, how did you get to the level of health you’re experiencing now and, ultimately come to the awareness of what is so powerful. Tell us about that time. No, for sure.
[00:22:19] in all honesty, the time was where I cognitively thought it would be better off for me not to be there.
[00:22:28] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: Like that actually was a comforting thought. The thought of not being here was a comforting thought. I’ll repeat that and you can see the dichotomy or the discrepancy here, because I deal with suicidality on a day to day to day basis. That’s what I have to do is make that judgment call.
[00:22:45] Are you going home? Are you going to the hospital? Are you like, you know, that’s what I have to do all the time, but yet I couldn’t recognize that at all in myself until the thought became comforting. And then I thought, oh, now we’ve gone past that point. now I need to dig myself out of that.
[00:23:01] So that for me was my rock bottom. And then the telling of the story, I’ll be honest, even my own father doesn’t know all. it’s actually a lot easier to tell strangers than to tell somebody that yeah, because we all fear judgment. That’s what mental health is. I can empathize and be compassionate for your mental health, but the minute that I’m struggling, that is a judgment call on me.
[00:23:26] And that is what we need to break. And that is why I use the term mental health is meant for all health meant for all. Because the minute I would never have a patient come into my office and say, Dr. Alibi, I’m just too good to exercise. My body just looks amazing. I just don’t need to exercise. I build muscle overnight.
[00:23:47] No patient would say I could eat garbage. And I just look amazing. Nobody would say that everybody admits that they need to do a better job of moving more and eating better, but we don’t use that same premise for mental health whatsoever. And the reason we don’t is that it’s baked into our childhood to know very early on that emotions are good or emotions are bad, and that is complete nonsense.
[00:24:14] There’s no such thing as a good or a bad emotions. Emotions leave clues emotions are comfortable or they’re uncomfortable, but you wouldn’t care about something. If it, you didn’t have a value system, if you didn’t value it. Yeah. The best example I can give you is my now seven year old. When he was four, I had to split this box of Smarties or M and Ms or whatever it was between him and his two brothers.
[00:24:39] And of course I wasn’t paying attention. I did a very cursory job of it. One child ended up getting more than the other. Oh no. . And he looked at me, ran towards me and used his little fists of his three year old self and punch, punch, punch, punch, punch my thighs. And I, first of all, my whole demeanor was you are not allowed to feel angry because if you feel angry, that means I’m a bad parent.
[00:25:05] Mm. Yeah. Cause that’s how I was raised. I was never allowed to feel guilty or resentment or shame or anger. Those were taboo. You don’t feel that you feel joy and happiness and contentment and resiliency doesn’t work that. When I looked at him and said, EAN, why are you so angry about this? And then it struck me.
[00:25:26] I said, EAN, you value fairness. Mm-hmm things have to be fair. And he’s seven and he’s the same way we St. And all of our arguments end up going towards that same premise. his younger brother doesn’t care about fairness, he doesn’t gobbled the candy up. He’s happy. Yeah. So emotions leave you clues.
[00:25:44] And those three clues are they leave the sensation, how you feel in your body. They leave a storyline in your head and they leave a signpost as to what you value. And if you can follow your emotions for that, then you become your own emotional investigator.
[00:26:00] Zach White: If someone, so, so you know, the engineering leader, listening to this conversation, maybe there’s a temptation to write themselves out of this.
[00:26:09] I, and I know myself. Eight years ago, hearing this conversation. I would’ve thought, wow, this is really interesting. I feel so bad for people who struggle with this, I’m really glad I don’t have a, any of these kind of problems I’m just being totally honest. I would’ve been Zach eight years ago before I became a coach and got into the work I do now.
[00:26:27] And, you know, if people knew all the inner work I’ve done just to get to this point, like we’ve all got it. But what would you say if someone’s in that place? You know, talk to Zach from eight years ago. I’m not, female, I’m not dealing with postpartum depression. I’m not what, what would the, the sort of case be as to why this conversation really is a meant for all health conversation
[00:26:51] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: and, you know, the ironic part is I, I could talk to Shana from eight years ago because that’s exactly who I was.
[00:26:57] I would listen to the exact of this and go, I feel, feel bad for me, I think, oh, that really suck. Like, like, I feel bad for you. I hope you’re okay. But I’m thriving. I’m going, I’m pushing ahead. But the ironic part about all of this is that you push ahead until what one of my other jobs is that, and this is a horrible part of my job, but I work in breast health and I, every shift I have to break the news of breast cancer to two or three women that I’ve never met before.
[00:27:25] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: Hmm. So this is what I want you guys to realize this, that eight years ago, the Shahana 10 years ago, if it’s not your mental health, it could be your physical health. It could be your relational health. It could be your financial health. It doesn’t have to be that your mental health bottoms out like it did for me, it could be any one of the facets of your life, but guess what?
[00:27:45] The common denominator of all of that is your mental health. Yeah, it is. I had a woman and I’m not saying that this is a normal response whatsoever, but I broke the news for breast cancer. And my usual second statement of that is that, you know what, we’re gonna help you get you through this, but it’s gonna be a tough.
[00:28:04] and she looked at me and she said, Dr. Alibi, it’s gonna be the best ING year of my life.
[00:28:11] and that’s one in thousands of people that I’ve told this to, but that is someone that I, I still remember her because I thought she in looking at her background, if she was, you know, a yoga instructor and a coach, and she had done so much in her work already, you could see how mentally strong she was.
[00:28:29] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: Yeah. So I think that’s the piece that we don’t understand. We keep waiting for our mental health to bottom out. It’s not gonna be that it could be something else, but the common denominator is what is your reaction? What is your expectation? How are you gonna manage this?
[00:28:45] Zach White: You mentioned earlier. Avoidance and pushing it down.
[00:28:50] And I see with my clients all the time, know, when they start to do some of the inner work and suddenly it all comes rushing back out, or to your point manifestations in the body, in disease and chronic pain and these things that are, the price we pay for not doing this work. So take us into, I’m really excited.
[00:29:10] I wanna hear about, you know, how did it come to now, how you help people. It’s like, okay, what do I do help, you know? Yeah. Tell, tell us about optimal health and, and really where do we begin if somebody’s like, okay. I’m, I’m convinced I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna be Zach from eight years ago. I wanna be Zach today.
[00:29:26] Where do we.
[00:29:27] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: Absolutely. So somewhere along my journey, after my son was born probably at 9/10/11 months. it’s interesting. I think passion is not necessarily born out of love, but it can also be born out of dire frustration. Yeah. Right. True. And that’s exactly what happened with me. It was that, how did I get here?
[00:29:46] Here. I thought I could fish on my way out of this. I thought I could yoga my way out of it. Drink enough. Vitamin D and everything will be great. And I was doing all of that and it didn’t help. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a role, but that’s where on the back of a little napkin, I actually scratched out a pyramid and on the bottom of the pyramid were two things.
[00:30:04] It was think better and connect deeply. I’ll go through the pyramid. Then we’ll circle back, think better and connect deeply on the middle of the pyramid is where every single health, you know, magazine and podcast and book focuses their attention on it’s the eat better, move more. And what I call rest smart.
[00:30:23] Rest smart. And on the top is impact and purpose. So let’s just start with the top for one second. I think we live in a society where we feel like your purpose is some sort of a, a box hidden in a jungle, and you’ve got a treasure map and you have to find this purpose. And if you don’t find your purpose, you’re not living with purpose.
[00:30:42] to me, at least in my humble opinion. It’s not like that.
[00:30:45] Zach White: Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I take people on those trips to go find the box in the a Amazon’s the box of why they, this camp. Are you telling me? This is, I’m just right. What? After the treasure map, it’s one of my special programs. Sweet.
[00:31:00] Go off into the Amazon and find our purpose. I’m sorry. I, I shouldn’t make light of that,
[00:31:06] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: but when do we, like when have we stopped living with purpose instead of living for purpose, live with purpose because we live our life like zombies in a day, you have a hundred chances in a day. To make someone’s life.
[00:31:22] you know, this is a kind of an extreme story, but it was a beautiful story that was written of a man that wanted to commit suicide. And he said, when I walked to the bridge, if one person smiles at me, I’m gonna rethink jumping off that bridge. And this is obviously a very severe case of the story, but that the reason I share it and it was cuz it’s held, it’s always held a spot in my heart is because that we have those opportunities to look at the cashier when you’re checking out in the eye, you know, to actually make small talk like thank goodness COVID stuff is getting over, but we’ve forgotten to use our eyes and our voice, like what’s happened to that.
[00:31:58] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: We’ve forgotten to smile. We think that the purpose is this one thing and it’s completely not. So that’s for me the top part. And I think it begets this idea that the whole cycle of life is completely wrong. This idea that you, you work, work, work so hard, you achieve something. Guess what? You’re not really happy because you just wanna achieve something more.
[00:32:20] And then you wanna achieve something more. We’re in a leveling up game in some sort of Teris game that just is never ending instead of where you work hard, you impact somebody else that makes you feel happy. Cuz it’s scientifically proven. It’s called a helpers high. It releases the same endorphins. Sure.
[00:32:41] Going for a long run helpers high. And that makes you wanna work. That’s the cycle of life. Right. And it’s changing the idea from me focused to our focused, and that’s what I teach the youth too. I say, when you’re set and done with this place, cause I work in an at-risk school for kids that have been kicked out of the regular school system.
[00:33:03] So they’re in our school. So you can imagine what’s brought them there. Sure. Totally. many of them, are a couple of years older than when they’re meant to graduate and things like that. But I say, when you’re said and done, what are you gonna do? 99% will give me an answer like this. I wanna be a social worker, a youth worker, a peer support worker.
[00:33:22] So a youth doesn’t have to go through what I did, what I did see. And I look at them and I say, you know what? Compared to youth with privilege, you have a thousand times more resiliency because that’s what your adversity has given you. I, I truly believe it because they’re already going through a lens of self.
[00:33:40] Instead of others. So going back to the bottom, when it comes to think better, remember the second line I told you was connect deeply. You can do all the inner work that you want and train your brain to think better. But if you’re in relationships that are bringing you down, Yes, right. The whole idea that those five people or the sun, we all know that kind of statistic.
[00:34:00] Right? We all know that, but you gotta look at those five people. Are they energy, vampires? Are they taking your blood literally inly from you, then fire them, fire your friendships. You have to take a good look at that. We don’t put enough value. And I see this all the time in my practice. a lot of them are women, women who are in toxic marriages, who are trying to care for their age of parents and are dealing with kids who have their own struggles.
[00:34:26] And they just don’t know where to begin. So you have to examine your relationships. And that is easier said than Don and I, I am the first one to attest to that. Yeah.
[00:34:36] Zach White: I’d love to sit on this for one moment, because I love that you used the phrase energy vampire. You go through in my coaching with engineering leaders, we talk about exactly that, you know, energy management and what are the energy vampires in your life.
[00:34:50] When you go through several categories and toxic relationships being one of them, and almost without exception, the question comes back. Well, what if one of those toxic relationships is my boss or a peer at work, or a good friend of mine that I’ve known since I was six years old or a family member. And I, you know, I’m using air quotes for those who are not watching the YouTube version of this.
[00:35:14] Like I can’t separate from that person. There’s just a kind of closed mind around that. What’s your experience with that? What encouragement might you give somebody if they’re really feeling stuck in those toxic relationships, in how to, sabotage, if you need to or handle that with grace?
[00:35:32] Maybe it’s just simpler than we make it. Yeah. But do you have any
[00:35:35] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: thoughts. No. No, absolutely. I think you need to look at it as a spectrum, right? And you need to look at the spectrum of the severity of toxicity versus the spectrum to your own resiliency. Now, let me give you an example. I had a patient the other day.
[00:35:48] Whose husband of 30 years decided to walk out on her. No explanation gone, that’s it? Right. So she it’s now her brain’s left in this loop of like, oh my word, like, what am I gonna do? And now her kids are actually giving her a bit of a hard time as well. And she’s dealing with that too. so one of the things for her that was getting toxic was a relationship with her daughter where they would just end up hashing out what happened in the marriage.
[00:36:12] And she was constantly getting into that loop and she had to create some boundaries going her resiliency right now after the loss of a spouse of 30 years is extremely low. She doesn’t have that much get up and go that much drive she’s in a depressive phase. Let’s be honest right now. Sure. So the best thing that she could do, she can’t fire her own daughter.
[00:36:32] That’s not gonna work, but she had to create some boundaries saying that we can talk about everything else, but for right now, I need some space in order that we’re not gonna be talking about my marriage and my husband, who also it happens to be your father. We can discuss everyth. So that if you think about those two linear lines of your resiliency and the level of toxicity, then you kind of go, okay, if it’s extremely toxic, if we’re talking about someone that’s severely affecting your mental health, and I understand if it’s your job or your coworker, but if it’s getting up to an 8, 9, 10, maybe you do need to take action.
[00:37:10] Maybe you need to build up your own resiliency and your own courage to say I deserve better. Yeah. But that’s a you problem. It’s not a, their problem. It’s a you problem. So you are the one that’s gonna need to build up that level of. Self awareness to go. Maybe I need to create some action because the worst, the four little, the four letter word that’s gonna hold you back is fine.
[00:37:35] I’m fine. O
[00:37:36] Zach White: O right. I know we don’t wanna stay here the whole time, but there’s so much power in that. and I I’ll just sec, tell me if you disagree with this, but at least what I found is, regardless of your decision on those two spectrums, and I think that’s brilliant. I’ve never thought about it in that way, comparing my resiliency to the level of toxicity.
[00:37:53] But if you do choose to stay in the relationship because your resiliency is high enough, it still is a massive energy drain. If you’re constantly having to manage it. And you’ll use that resiliency on this person. Now, I don’t have it for something else. And. just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should, right?
[00:38:12] absolutely. Absolutely. Because somewhere that bucket has some holes in it, right? Like it is, it is right. So, and you always wanna feel that. I think I’m reading this amazing book right now and it’s called the ups stride of stress. And one of the things that they talk about in this book is understanding that stress can move us into action.
[00:38:32] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: Yeah. Right. We always think that stress is all cortisol and all this awful stuff. And you know, that’s chronic stress, but if you use stress for good to actually promote action, then you’re using stress in the right way, a fascinating study they did with survivors of car accidents. And they showed that the level of cortisol, the higher, the cortisol after the accident, the lower, the rates of PTSD.
[00:38:57] the more of the stress response they had, the more they could feel it at that time, instead of suppressing it. Yeah. The lower they were. Right. That makes sense. Cause it goes back to your idea of when you have emotions, what do you do with them? You suppress them. I’m the number one suppressor.
[00:39:14] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: You deny them, or I’m gonna blame you. It’s your fault. I’m having the emotion suppress or Denyer or blamer.
[00:39:20] Zach White: Wow. We could chase that rabbit, but I’m gonna avoid I’m the beautiful white rabbit. I’m gonna let it leave the screen because I wanna see the other half of this bottom of your pyramid. We talked to connect deeply.
[00:39:31] And I think that’s, especially for engineering leaders, really an important one to remember we’re not alone on this journey, the connections and the depth and the quality of our relationships matters, but think better. as an engineer, the word, like think better. It’s like, gimme a definition. Tell me more about the like, so describe, describe.
[00:39:53] What that actually looks like. I know, obviously this is the body of work that we, we would need months to go through all of it, but. Tell us the basics. What does think better really
[00:40:02] Shahana Alibhai – The Happy Engineer Podcast: mean?
[00:40:03] one of my foundational talks is, is breaking things better down into number one, the science of emotions.
[00:40:09] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: And I know you’re engineering, uh, colleagues can get behind this because once again, I think all of us, like I said earlier on believe emotions are good or bad and that’s completely false. They’re comfortable versus uncomfortable. Yeah. We think that emotions, are always there. So your emotions and your feelings are once again, energy emotions, emotions are energy emotion.
[00:40:31] They come and they go, emotions have a beginning, a middle and an end. They are cyclical, they’re circular. But the problem is most of us just like what you talk about in your tagline, this crushing comfort. We hate discomfort. We hate it. So the minute I feel any uncomfortable emotion, I will suppress it, deny it or blame it.
[00:40:54] So I get stuck in the middle of the emotion. the way to complete the emotional loop is to focus on the sensation and not the story in your head, focus on the sensation and not the story in your head. Just yesterday, the kids were driving me, absolutely bonkers. They were driving me up the wall and I took a second to go, what am I actually feeling?
[00:41:17] I felt like I was sweating. I felt like my heart was racing. I felt like I was short of breath. it was getting so overwhelming for me the way to overcome or break that emotional, cycle, or actually I should say, be better yet to complete the emotional cycle is this idea of focusing on the sensation feel what’s actually going on in your body, but the minute that you per perseverate on the story, which I love to do, that will only add fuel to the emotional circle.
[00:41:46] So yesterday when the kids are driving me up the wall, if I’m focusing on my breath, if I’m focusing on my heart rate, if I’m focusing on the fact that my hands are clammy and I’m getting all uptight and I wearing my shoulders as earrings, cuz they’re up here that I can focus on. But focusing on the fact that I feel self pity and that I don’t wanna do another load of laundry and that I can’t clean up one more.
[00:42:10] Well guess what your brain loves the story, and it will go over and over and over and not move you any further off that loop that you wanna get off. So that is one of the keys to, so all of these things, when it comes to emotions, we need to understand before we start unpacking the meat of self-awareness cuz it’s self-awareness, that really is the pivotal thing that is gonna move the needle of think better.
[00:42:38] And what is self-awareness? You know, I had a 70 year old patient the other day, and I’m talking to them about your inner roommate and she’s like, what, like what are you talking about in her roommate? I said that voice in your head that mm-hmm many of us are past our fifties and we don’t even realize.
[00:42:54] That you have a voice in your head. That’s chattering away. That’s critiquing you. That’s constantly, I call it your glasses. It’s critiquing you. It’s comparing you. that’s what it’s doing constantly. And realizing that every single one of your emotions is based on your expect. Imagine when you go into your closet and you see that closet rod, and you’re hanging your clothes off, the rod moving that rod up or down is your expectation.
[00:43:25] And the hanger is your experiences. So if you’ve had the best cup of coffee, ever, everything is gonna be sub part to that. So we are walking through life with an imaginary expectation line. Yeah. Anything below that is Discontentment right. So you need to manage that rod in your closet. That’s what it comes down to.
[00:43:47] So all of that, to say that that is the prerequisites for understanding think better. And one of the most important things I think we don’t, we don’t talk enough about is that our brain is really, really good at condemning you. It’s really good at putting you down critiquing you. Yes, but just like my toddler, how good are we at being curious?
[00:44:10] How often do we ask ourselves? Well, well, why did I have that emotion instead of how could I have had that emotion? Mm-hmm why did I have it versus how could I have had it? Yes. Powerful two very different things. Right? So we need to start being more curious. I get it easier said than done, but when you realize that your brain is designed to be critical from an evolutionary point of view, when you understand that it takes five positive experiences to negate one negative experience, then you understand why this takes work and the clock re reset at midnight.
[00:44:47] It. Yeah, every hour.
[00:44:51] Zach White: Wow. Wow. Wow. There’s so much here. And I, I love too that the science of emotions is how you phrased this body of work, because it really is, you know, the engineer in me and I know the engineering leader listening. Sometimes it feels very soft, fluffy. Woo, woo. Uh, you know, you mentioned yoga earlier.
[00:45:10] It’s like, I’m not into all that stuff. And, and this isn’t about that. It really is a, a science based thing. We can get to a level of understanding, but there’s also this self-awareness and practice piece. And so I know we’re, we’re proud of time. I wanna spend so much more time with you, Dr. Shauna, cuz this is amazing.
[00:45:29] But if there was just one action or practice that somebody were to take and begin, that would help them start moving forward on this journey. Is there anything that comes to mind for. .
[00:45:40] I think I like to leave listeners with something tangible, something that they can remember. And this is what you can remember.
[00:45:45] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: It’s N two S two super simple two NS, two S’s. That is the recipe of self-awareness the recipe for self-awareness. And I developed this because I needed something in my everyday life to implement. The first end is simply we have to notice we’ve become so detached from how we feel. Like I said the best, the, the four little world that’s gonna hold you back is I’m okay.
[00:46:10] I’m fine. I’m you know. All right. Uh, start to notice how you’re good. Yeah. Start to notice exactly what’s going on in your body. Just like I gave you that example with the kids yesterday. What’s actually, what are you feeling? What are you noticing? A simple example for those people that might have played music is the metronome, right?
[00:46:28] That two time, right? I used to play piano when I was younger. I know, as soon as I pull into my garage and I’ve got these three kids waiting for me at home, it’s going faster and faster and faster because I can anticipate what I’m walking into and already in the car. I’m dreading it. I know it, but if I walk in with dread and like, guess what part of emotion science is that emotions are contagious.
[00:46:54] Emotions are transferable. I just take my resentment and poof it’s onto my kids and they feel it. And guess what? We have a lousy rest of the day. part of it is realizing that when you walk into a funeral or walk into a baseball game, you don’t need to know what’s happening. You feel it, you feel it in court.
[00:47:12] Yeah. So the first end is the noticing. The second end is the naming and this part, a wonderful app. I have no financial relationship to it. It’s called mood meter, mood meter. I believe it was developed through Yale. Yep. Fanta. My, your audience might know it as well. It gives you the vocabulary. I think it’s 99 cent.
[00:47:31] To know how you’re feeling. And this is part of the emotion science emotion is not just a feeling. It’s two, it’s actually three things, but it’s a valence it’s pleasant or unpleasant, and it’s an energy. Most people just focus on the pleasant or unpleasant. But if you think of the X axis as the pleasantness and the why access really as energy, low energy or high energy.
[00:47:56] Yes. That’s the part. So when you ask someone how you’re feeling, it’s not just how I feel as a feeling. It’s how do I feel energetically and how do I feel in a pleasant or not? So pleasant manner. That’s a component, an actual proven relationship of emotions too. So you gotta give it a name. Brene brown did a great experiment where she said she surveyed a bunch of people and said, well, how many emotional adjectives do you have?
[00:48:23] And the average is three mad, sad, or glad we have 3,400 emotions. We gotta do better than that. Right? Yeah. And then this, the, the first S is the story. And this is the one that I, I fall into every single time, because the story that you’ve sold yourself is the story that you’ve told yourself, the story that you told that, right.
[00:48:47] That I love my stories. My stories are great. I am, I’m the woman that, has to cook dinner and go grocery shopping and work. And I do it all. And no, one’s both. I, I love those because the other big misconception is people think that we don’t like. Negative emotions. We love negative emotions.
[00:49:07] We live in those emotions. Yeah. I call it your emotional bed. My emotional bed is filled with self pity and anxiety and fear. I will crawl right into that and be very happy and comfortable, but you have to know when to get up out of that emotional bed. Right. That’s good. And so that’s the story. And then the final asked is, well, how are you gonna shift?
[00:49:29] And this is where positive psychology does us wrong my husband, the other day, he’s had a lot of changes at work and he was so cute. He said, I’m gonna use gratitude and I’m just gonna feel better. And he said, honey, like, are you acknowledging how you’re feeling? Oh, shoot.
[00:49:45] I forgot that. Like, you know, you kinda to feel it like, so that’s the shift part. I want you to ask yourself this question. Does this serve me? And how long for does this serve me in how long. Because yesterday, I wanted to feel bad for myself. I wanted to feel in a state of self pity. So I did. And that’s okay.
[00:50:09] But the minute it doesn’t serve you is the minute you need to shift. And there’s a whole bunch of ways that you can shift. You can shift with your physical body, you leave the environment that’s causing you. Stress. You go outside, you go to the mall, you go to a coffee shop, you physically leave, or there’s many mental health strategies that you can do.
[00:50:30] My favorite one is this idea of my dad always used to say, don’t focus on the black dot on the white handker sheep.
[00:50:40] Zach White: sure. Really good. Well, man, it’d be great to give all the strategies, but probably also nice to leave these engineering leaders with a bit of a, some homework to do and go explore it.
[00:50:51] Sure. How do you. Shift, you know, if you don’t have strategies, then you need to go get those resources and tools and understand yourself. But into S two, I love this. So as a practice to begin, noticing, naming, understand the story that’s being told in your mind and then make a shift. And I’ll just put an exclamation point on this two, these two questions around shift, because I agree.
[00:51:15] And there’s the whole dialogue of toxic positivity. And, and I don’t know that I love how that’s being presented in the world today, but I understand the heart behind it. But the second question I think is really powerful. Maybe to free somebody from this feeling like it’s not okay to stay in a negative place.
[00:51:31] It’s like, yeah, if it’s gonna serve you to be there and you haven’t actually allowed it to move through, just, just give yourself the space. Like how long is it? Five minutes? Is it five hours? I think that’s really powerful. I, I love that. all this said a beautiful.
[00:51:46] Framework in terms of the pyramid and optimal health thinking better connecting deeply building resilience in our emotions. One of the things I believe in wholeheartedly is that, great engineering, great coaching, the work that you do, it all has in common, that questions lead and the answers follow.
[00:52:05] And we even talked earlier about a couple of examples where asking a different question can take you to a better answer. And so for the engineering leader, who’s been tuned into this really powerful conversation. If they want to experience a higher level of emotional health, mental health in their life, what would be the question you would lead them with today?
[00:52:28] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: what would that say about you? What would that say about you?
[00:52:33] That is the question. Because it’s any emotion that you feel. If you can answer that, what is that gonna say about you is gonna help you understand what you value. It’s like the mystery behind the curtain. What is the value behind that emotion?
[00:52:51] Zach White: That’s amazing. What would that say about you? I hope everyone takes some time and explores that I have some serious reflection to do.
[00:53:02] You’ve provided so much value, Dr. Sean, and please tell us, where can we get connected to more of your work to explore, how to apply this and, and get in touch? Where can we find more of you?
[00:53:15] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much. It’s been such a rich conversation, Instagram at the Dr. Shahan on my website, Dr.
[00:53:23] shahana.com and on LinkedIn, Dr. Shana Ali.
[00:53:27] Zach White: Perfect. We’ll make sure all of those links are easily hooked up in the show notes at the happy engineer, podcast.com or right there, wherever you tune in to the podcast, you’ll find the link and I can’t. Thank you enough, Dr. Sean, there’s so much value you’ve created here and some new ways to look at this.
[00:53:46] And I can’t say enough about mental health as bent for all health. You know, this is, you know, engineering, what are we talking about? It matters. So I hope everybody will take action and go connect with you. Can’t speak highly enough about your work and thanks again for making time to be with us. Oh,
[00:54:01] Dr. Shahana Alibhai: my pleasure.
[00:54:02] It’s being great. All the best.