Promoting Wellness By Being Connected | Poonam Desai | TEDxSUNYGeneseo

Promoting Wellness By Being Connected | Poonam Desai | TEDxSUNYGeneseo



when you look at my Instagram page you're being presented with my personal story as you scroll through my page you will learn a lot about the person behind these pictures so Who am I I'm dr. Poonam Desai and I'm an emergency medicine physician well may sound cliche I became a doctor because I want to help people I want to have a positive impact on people's lives when I think about it my reasons for becoming a doctor aren't very far off of the reasons behind the content I show on my Instagram with social media I can help make a difference by sharing my personal story to a larger audience I can engage with people all around the world instantaneously there's a lot more to me than the white coat I wear and that is what I aim to share with every caption and post on Instagram I'm not just a doctor I'm a South Asian woman I am Indian I'm a daughter I'm an immigrant family who strongly held on to their culture and traditions I'm a woman in medicine today only a little over a third of practicing physicians are female I'm a woman physician and leadership today only 16 percent of hospital leadership is female I am a dancer there are many things that I can speak about today but what I want to focus on is an idea that I believe encompasses the purpose of my social media and what I share with the world I want to speak about my journey to wellness and happiness first it's important to note that how we feel our mood impacts every aspect of our lives happiness subscribe it's the feeling of positive emotions joy contentment satisfaction research has shown a strong link between happiness and success happier students tend to have higher grades happier employees tend to perform better happier people tend to adapt healthier lifestyles they workout more they tend to eat more fruits and veggies they have better sleep which in turn leads to increased productivity concentration exercise performance maintaining a healthy weight in short our psychological emotional and physical health are all connected I spent a lot of time studying working long hours as an undergrad med school residency fellowship so that I could eventually be a capable physician it wasn't until later that I realized I had spent so much time building my career that I hadn't really spent a lot of time finding a good partner or cultivating a healthy relationship sure there were a few relationships but they never worked out maybe because I wasn't emotionally and mentally available anyways I had completed residency I was almost 30 years old and I was single for the most part I was content when I was single I thought I'll eventually naturally find someone I was a fan of marriage research had long boasted the benefits of married life from better health to happiness and then there were times that I felt sad and alone friends around me were announcing engagements they were getting married they were having babies and here I was constantly being asked who I'm seriously dating constantly being given unsolicited dating advice from my married friends as if I must be doing something wrong and that's who I haven't found someone I'd completed the arduous task of becoming a doctor but all everyone seemed to care about is that I was the one always without a plus-one I started to internalize all this I started thinking am I am I have failure did I do something wrong at that time I had a choice I was going to either feel sad and hopeless or I was gonna feel sad and do something about it so I grabbed my laptop and hesitantly created a profile on a dating site hesitant because I never thought I'd have to look for love and that to online well guess what I had bad dates there are days I came home and I wanted to poke myself in the eye there are days that I went on dates and thought how could this be happening to me to me well eventually on a dating app I met a good man a man that was right for me a man that is now my fiance and I share this story on social media and I share the story today because I don't want anyone to feel the way I felt when I was single and alone I felt like I had failed I felt like I must be doing something wrong there must be something wrong with me that I can't find someone to love or be loved and then I felt embarrassed I had to look for love online the thing is I now understand that what was making me embarrassed and sad was that I had unhealthy expectations of myself expectations that were not making me happy the expectation was that I had to be married by a certain age I had to be in a healthy relationship and I had to find that person naturally what I wish I had done back then was practice self compassion I wish I had shown myself empathy and told myself girl you don't have to be single and sad you can be single and happy it's okay to be single and to be looking for love it is human to crave a romantic connection thus it is okay to look for it and if it doesn't happen naturally it's okay to go online today about 19 percent of engaged couples have met online I did and I'm so happy I did so what I want to tell all the men and women in similar situations be kind to yourself resist those negative feelings and practice self compassion happiness is not only having healthy expectations of ourselves happiness is allowing ourselves to do the things we love there's a common perception that people who pursue a career in medicine have to give up on their other hobbies and passions we spend so much time volunteering or researching studying working there are times we don't have time to do the things that we love it is possible that many people don't to be honest I was almost guilty of giving up on the one thing that made me happy so that I can focus on the task at hand for me that one thing was dance dancing makes me feel alive dancing boost my serotonin and my adrenaline I feel connected to myself when I dance that is why it is the one thing that I didn't give up at any point in my training in fact when I was an undergrad studying for my pre-med courses I founded a dancing with two of my best friends in medical school I continued to dance i choreographed dances I performed at culture shows and I continued to dance throughout med school residency and now by continuing to dance I was taking care of myself I was taking care of my emotions and my feelings when I am happy I did well in exam when I was happy I was able to spend those long dreadful hours studying research has shown that people who continue to enjoy their hobbies tend to have a better mood they feel less sad they feel less stressed if we want to succeed we have to allow ourselves to do the things that make us feel good feeling good feeling stable feeling happy allows us to maintain the tools that we need to succeed I share a lot of content on my social media about dance because I want to remind everyone that you should continue doing the things that you in fact it's necessary something else that impacts our happiness is our health happiness is not only doing things that make us feel good it's doing things that keep us healthy I grew up in a household where working out eating right wasn't really stressed or talked about in my Indian household I was fed tons of ghee roti rice I was constantly told to be healthy I should be about 10 to 15 pounds heavier than my current weight I wasn't until med school that I realized I have no idea how to take care of myself I didn't know what to eat how to work out what I should be doing when I get to the gym I had no idea it is important to take care of ourselves physically not only to prevent serious medical conditions but to have a better quality of life today we all know the risks of lack of physical activity but what we struggle with is getting up and doing something getting up and moving increasing that heart rate working out what we struggle with is finding the motivation it's connecting the line with what we know we should be doing and actually doing it that is one of the key uses to my social media to motivate my followers my friends and my family to work out and I do that by sharing how I motivate myself I ask myself well I regret missing this workout and the answer is undeniably yes and that gets me moving I asked myself how I'm gonna feel after the workout and it's confident accomplished who doesn't want to feel that way and that gets me moving I create a schedule for the week of when I'm gonna workout and just checking that off gets me moving I sign up for fun workout classes i schedule workouts with friends I find the motivation because I know if I want to take care of my patients take care my family I have to first take care of myself how can we do well on all the things we want to do well if our bodies are not well this is a initiative of mind that extends beyond beyond social media I partnered with many fitness enthusiasts in medicine so that we can help motivate people we understand that sometimes it's the lack of motivation that gets people from caring about their bodies and so the goal was your doctors are practicing what we preach and so should you something else that I talk about on social media is not only motivating my followers to be physically healthy but it's motivating them to make better choices for themselves trust me I'm South Asian I know expectations and I know when you don't meet those expectations how that can make you feel sad they can it can make you feel alienated I found myself and many of the following situations saying yes I'm D I will be a doctor or a lawyer yes uncle I know I'm getting old and I should get married yes auntie I know that my fertility won't last forever I should have babies I found myself in many of those situations how many of us have faced those family friends those friends those peers asking us questions like what university will you go to what career are you gonna choose when will you get married these questions create expectations we feel pressured to do things a certain way there are many times I feel conflicted I felt conflicted in what was right for me versus what others thought was right for me these expectations block us from connecting with ourselves from being able to understand what is it that we need without being told what we need what is it that is right for us without being told what is right for us I later realized that I was also part of the problem I never said hey your comments your questions are hurtful I almost let their expectations guide decisions I was making for my life what I said in there what I should have said and never did was this is my life I will choose what I think is right for me I will marry the person who I think is right for me I will choose a career path that feels good for me as I started talking about this on social media I realize there are so many men and women out there who felt the pressure of doing things a certain way they felt like if they didn't do X Y or Z that they'd be failing their parents or failing society and this pressure these expectations made people feel sad it makes us feel like we are failing what I want to tell all these men and women out there that you are exactly where you need to be you are doing exactly what you need to do it's your life your choice don't let anyone guide you in a direction you are not ready to go in I found much more happiness in my life when I started to tell myself what others think and say is not my concern my only priority is to make sure I am doing what is right for me my only concern really should be my own happiness so what is happiness is happiness graduating finding the love of your life X amount of money are we all waiting to be happy that when this happens I'm gonna be happy when this happens I'm gonna be happier as a South Asian woman I was raised in a culture where I believed happiness was doing everything and doing it all well I was not only supposed to do well in school and dance in social situations at chores I was supposed to do all of that and do it all well no no no I don't have to do it all and I definitely don't have to be well at doing all of it all I have to be doing is what I'm doing right now and be happy with it I have to be present and connected with today not worrying about what happened yesterday and not obsessing over what's going to happen tomorrow I just have to be connected right now to today a lot of people look at social media and they compare themselves they wonder why don't I have that picture-perfect life no part of my life is picture-perfect what I aim to do is create a mindset that will help me achieve happiness wellness is not just about taking care of your body it's not just about meditating it's not just about yoga it's not just about eating well wellness is a state of mind that allows us to delicately balance all the important aspects of our lives so today I urge all of you to ask yourselves are you creating a mindset that will help you achieve happiness because every aspect of our lives is connected to how we feel thank you [Applause]

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