The art of staying happy and fit

Richa Mishra | Updated on November 22, 2019

More often than not, when you are down and out, you are advised to stay “happy”. And that possibly is the worst medication to be prescribed at that point in time.

Being “happy” can be a long-term prescription, says 24-year-old Anshula Verma, as people juggle challenges on the professional and personal front. But where does one find “happiness”? How do you define it? And at what cost does it come?

Verma is said to be India’s youngest Happiness coach, Life coach and Practitioner facilitator. Essentially a Zumba instructor, she explains how the transition came to be.

“During one of my workshops, some of the participants were running late. To kill time, I started a positive affirmation session with those already there. At the end of the session, I found everyone was laughing and smiling. It actually lifted the atmosphere. It also made be realise how a small exercise also worked as an ice-breaker and made participants shed inhibitions.”

As Founder and Creator of “HappyFitYou”, this Mumbai-based entrepreneur now teaches the art of being happy, positive thinking, fit living, work-life management and living a stress-free life.

Verma is also a mentor with NITI Aayog in its GOAL (Going Online As Leaders) mentorship programme that empowers young women from rural and tribal regions in India to become leaders. “My clients range from kids to grandparents,” she says. The GOAL programme is a year-long association covering Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

Inspired by her clients

“My module is based on five main principles — emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and environmental. The job requires a lot of researching as you are dealing with emotions,” she says.

Verma feels motivated by some of her clients. Sharing an experience from the GOAL project, she says, “Out of the five girls that I am mentoring, there is this one girl who comes from a family of seven members with monthly income in the ₹7,000-₹10,000 range. This girl walks 5 km every time we have a call, goes to her college walking for 30 minutes. She aspires to become a teacher. Despite the challenges she is so full of life and zeal.”

Of her other clients, she says, there are some who are going through depression or have suicidal tendencies. “Them, I refer to a practising psychologist or a psychiatrist.”

Typically, the situations clients present are along these lines: “going through (a) bad phase in a relationship”, “don’t know what I will do in my career” or “work no longer excites me.” And a key reason for this is the quick burnout that happens, given the pace of life.

Narrating one such experience, Verma says, “I was taking a session at Sterling College, Mumbai. Afterwards a student walked up to me and said – ‘after ages I have smiled and people have spoken to me’. She said her friends and family had stopped interacting with her because of her poor grades. But during the session, the same friends and classmates spoke to her.

Verma points out that her profession is one where you have to keep learning. There seems to be a willingness to pay now (*see box), she says, going by her corporate clientele and student lists. She has 16 to 35 students, in any given month.

Her start-up has tied up with Tal Ben Sahar, who teaches at Harvard University and launched “Happiness Studies Academy” in India. She is also associated with Cox & Kings – Getaway Goddess Program where workshops are held for 15 days in Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Himachal Pradesh (India).

Clearly a need exists, as India is ranked at 140 of 156 countries surveyed by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network in its latest World Happiness Report (2019).

Published on November 22, 2019

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