Why This Practising Psychologist Reminds Herself to Breathe

Meet Sadia Saeed who shares the benefits of noticing your breath to ground yourself in reality.

Waking up well before you start work means you can set an easy pace for the beginning of the day. Sit around, prepare and eat breakfast slowly, just as Sadia Saeed advocates.
Waking up well before you start work means you can set an easy pace for the beginning of the day. Sit around, prepare and eat breakfast slowly, just as Sadia Saeed advocates.

As a practicing psychologist for the past 18 years, Sadia Saeed’s work involves facilitating one-to-one therapy and sharing the concepts and practices of mindfulness, presence and meditation with groups of people in retreats and through courses.

Saeed is the founder and chief psychologist of Inner Space, a counselling and psychotherapy centre. She is also the founder of Mindful Spring, a platform for enhancing personal and organisational well-being by enlisting the concepts and practices of mindfulness, meditation and Indian philosophy. Excerpts from an interview with Thrive Global India:

Thrive Global India: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Sadia Saeed: I wake up at least two hours before I start work. So I am in no hurry. I sit around, prepare and eat breakfast slowly. This sets an easy pace for the day. When I start working two hours later, the easiness of the morning helps in being active and alert while working.

 TGI: How do you unplug and recharge?

SS: I take out time to be silent and do nothing. I do believe that a lot of inner agitation and stress comes due to constant noise and stimulation from television, phone, social media and so on.

TGI: What’s your favourite well-being tip?

SS: Come back to your breath. This is my reminder to myself all the time. I come back to noticing my breath, in the most difficult of moments, in the most exciting of moments and whenever I remember to do it. This is a practice that helps me realise time and time again that the story in my head is not the reality, but the fleeting present moment is.

TGI: Tell us about your relationship with your phone

SS: I could do with even less of the phone in my life. For now I do a few things. All my notifications are always on mute. My phone is on silent almost all the time except when I am expecting a scheduled call. I encourage people to text me and I can get back when I am free or we can decide a time to talk. This really helps with the phone being less intrusive. I also don’t log into any social media accounts through my phone so that keeps me notification free and most importantly distraction free.

TGI: How do you deal with negativity on social media?

SS: By accessing as little of it as I can possibly do with. Also I don’t see a point in following the same people across the many different social media accounts so I have operative accounts only on a few social media platforms.

TGI: What would you do on an ideal day?

SS: Have healthy light meals. Go for a swim or do yoga. Meditate. Rest. If I am working then work on one creative idea with focus for a few hours. Spend the evening with a loved one. Have an early dinner. Go to bed early.

TGI: When was the last time you felt burned out?

SS: I have never felt completely burnt out or uninspired to continue with work at any point of time. However, I do sometimes get a bit stressed when I have too many things on my ‘to do’ list and they all seem to compete for priority. In such situations, I remind myself to let go of some things and that the world won’t come to an end if I don’t finish all my tasks.

TGI: How do you incorporate well-being into your daily life?

SS: I’d rather focus on a small list of things to ensure that:

  • I remind myself to stay present throughout the day, as often as it occurs to me.
  • I take time out from work and go on non-hectic vacations or retreats.
  • I do some form of exercise some days a week and alternate this with yoga at home on other days.
  • I have fun regularly. I hang out with friends, catch a movie, just do things I enjoy.
  • I sleep well, seven to eight hours a night. I try not to work at night at all. I have a sign off hour after which I meet people, or stay in silence, or watch a movie or an episode of a series I have been following.
  • I meditate regularly.
  • I try not to up my standard of living too much.
  • I don’t own a TV for the last seven years, which has been a great decision. I watch some series online a few times a week.
  • I remind myself to be grateful for having a bed, food on my plate, loving people and to not take things for granted.

TGI: How do these habits help? 

SS: These habits keep me happy and feeling well. I find life quite enjoyable. I feel creative and am often enthusiastic about implementing my ideas. Operating from a feeling of wellness, it becomes easier to hold space for my clients when they are down and in a difficult situation. Also it becomes easier to overlook minor issues at work and focus on what is important.

More on Thrive Global India:

When Breakfast Became a Meditation Practice

Weightlifting Less Than an Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity

How To Cash-in on the ATM of Happiness

How To Use Your Mind in the Battle With Stress

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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