Dr. Sundas Pasha Fick
Behavioral Medicine Psychologist
Mediaplanet interviewed Dr. Sundas Pasha who is passionate about Mental Health and living a healthy and happy life. She brings awareness to daily affirmations to strengthen the brain, and have mental health be talked more about.
Have you ever struggled with your own mental health?
I’ve struggled with anxiety on and off, and it is still something that I try to pay attention to so that I can notice what things bring it on for me. I think through most of my undergraduate and graduate studies my struggle with anxiety came on due to the academic pressure, my own personal expectations, and feeling overwhelmed. I think the common mentality is to push through and “fake it till you make it”, but that is what made my anxiety more prominent.
How do you manage mental health struggles?
It’s always through trial and error in finding what coping strategies are healthy and work for me in my current season of life. This is also what I help others find and establish for themselves. For me, checking in with myself is key, so that I know where my headspace is at. I encourage people to do this at least weekly as a self-reflective practice. Other things that are helpful are guided meditations, getting some form of fresh air daily, and writing down any thoughts that are causing any stress or anxiety in the day.
How can you tell if someone has been suffering from mental health?
There are a lot of signs and symptoms that people can present with that can indicate mental health struggles, but a thorough clinical examination and assessment are always needed to make sure. Broadly speaking, if someone is more isolated than normal, have lost interest in activities they once enjoyed, withdrawing from close family and friends, and not appearing like their normal selves – those can be a few signs that a person is struggling with their mental health.
How do affirmations play into having a positive mindset?
Affirmations are incredibly powerful because they serve as reinforcement tools to help the brain reiterate positive messages to yourself. When you repeat something to yourself, over time those neural connections in the brain get stronger. Just like how playing a sport or instrument gets easier over time due to the muscle memory, the brain works the same way with whatever messages you are giving it. Affirmations are a great way to validate yourself and build self-confidence at any time.
What is something you wish you knew, that you know now about mental health?
The amount of people who silently are struggling – who absolutely do not need to. I wish mental health was more commonly talked about when I was growing up, or more normalized in social and school settings. I am happy that these days the stigma is being reduced and people are more vocal and honest about mental health, however, it is still a topic that needs attention and the power of people who are willing to speak up and help make change.
If someone is struggling with mental health what do you recommend they do?
Look around (the internet is great for this) for a therapist near you that you can start seeing or check if your healthcare provider offers therapy resources. Therapy is a great way to work on mental health struggles, get proper treatment, and be able to have a safe space where you can talk with someone. If you are experiencing a crisis, make sure you are aware of your local hospitals and don’t hesitate to call a mental health hotline if needed.