It’s easy to get distracted by our everyday lives and put focus on our day-to-day errands rather than ourselves. But since we’re human, we all require a little TLC now and then, and we don’t mean putting on a face mask and taking a relaxing bath, but actual self-reflection and ultimately taking real steps towards self-improvement.
With mental health still not openly discussed in our society, taking a step back to analyse our state of wellbeing is not always a priority, which is highly problematic since our complexities build up overtime and become more and more difficult to work through.
Dr. Sumaya Alnasser, a renowned life coach (and Saudi’s first female coach) has experienced this first hand, and has since gained 15 years of experience in helping others through their journeys of self-development. Her mission is to teach others to cultivate a better self-relationship- which is essentially the continuous process of learning about your personal strengths, weaknesses, interests, value and purpose, and being accepting of them.
We sat down with Dr. Alnasser to learn more about mental health in the Arab world, how she became a life coach, and her top tips for self-improvement.
How did you get into Life Coaching?
I was born with congenital hip dislocation, and during my teenage years I was scared of the future. I had a glooming feeling of distrust and a feeling of being lost. I eventually started reading a lot of self-help books. They played the role of parents, because they contained me and gave me sense of calmness. I was on a self-healing journey.
Then, when I was a student at university, I took up lots of courses related to self-development. The majority of Saudi women weren’t interested in the field at the time, so it was a great opportunity for me.
Mental health isn’t a topic often discussed in the Arab world, which begs the question, are people in the region receptive to life-coaching practices?
It’s true that Arabs don’t talk much about emotions and feelings. Also, most tend to live in a state of denial, so mental health is still taboo. This is mostly because the development of societies requires a lot of time— and it’s important we don’t compare ourselves with other societies that have preceded us in terms education and development.
But lately, we can see that self-development and awareness is increasingly talked about in the Arab world. It became trendy, and I hope this habit continues.
How can we stay receptive to self-development?
It’s the role of life coaches to make ideas more flexible and tailor them to the culture of their targeted society. The community also needs to see a great example of a person who succeeds in all areas of life through practicing self-development.
Can you give us some tips to improve our day-to-day lives?
– Practice meditation daily
– Think of the people and things you’re grateful for before sleep.
– Play as much as you work.
– Always surround yourself with successful people.
– Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.