Ask the Health Expert: Shahroo Izadi
Shahroo Izadi is an author, speaker, coach, workshop facilitator and Behavioural Change Specialist in private practice. Her therapeutic approach is influenced by the experience that she gained working in various roles across the frontline addiction treatment field in clinical, community and prison settings. She is dedicated to highlighting what those in long-term recovery from substance misuse can teach the population about motivation, resilience and self-awareness. She openly shares how the same evidence-based tools she used with her clients in active addiction helped her to lose 8 stone in weight and increase her self-esteem and improve her mental health.
Amongst her various roles, Shahroo is a relapse prevention coach and group facilitator at Amy’s Place, a recovery house for women set up by The Amy Winehouse Foundation. She has delivered personal development workshops at The School of Life; providing training and consultancy services to the UK’s leading health and social care organisations and working alongside Westminster MIND, training Wellbeing Coaches. In 2018 she chaired the One in Five panel on mental health at Southbank Centre. She runs sell-out habit-change workshops in London and is regularly asked to speak publicly on behaviour change, mental health, addiction, self-esteem, motivation and general wellbeing.
Her approach has most recently been featured on BBC Radio 1, Red Magazine, Psychologies Magazine, The Telegraph, The Pool, Marie Claire, Sheer Luxe, Grazia, Metro, Good Housekeeping, Evening Standard and Happiful to name just a few. In 2017, Shahroo signed a 2-book international deal with Pan Macmillan. Her first book, The Kindness Method was released in June 2018 and has been translated into 5 languages. As such, her approach now helps people all over the world. Shahroo was named as one of Red Magazine’s ‘Smart Women of 2018’ and selected for Marie Claire’s 2019 verified Power List. Her second book The Last Diet will be published in 2020.
Following meeting at Sweaty Betty Live, Ultimate Library asked Shahroo some questions about the literature that influenced her incredible career, as well as the one piece of advice she would give to those looking to improve their wellbeing.
What does wellness mean to you?
Firstly, treating mental health as physical health. In the same way that I make continual efforts to keep my body feeling strong, I invest daily in my emotional wellbeing and personal development. Having a routine that includes practices that help me feel more calm, mindful and self-aware makes me feel that my wellness is a priority.
What was the one book or piece of literature that changed your attitude towards health and wellness?
I certainly learned an enormous amount about human behaviour from Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts was also a book that sparked a real interest in addiction for me. I recently discovered Dr Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion, which didn’t change my attitude as much as confirm what I very much believe to be true!
If you could only offer one piece of advice to someone trying to better themselves, what would it be?
Prioritise activities that give you joy. Creating any new routine, even if it’s filled with habits you know will positively impact your wellbeing, can be difficult. I strongly believe that it’s easier to do difficult things when we feel positive. Create a list of the activities, habits and people who make you feel energised, resilient and happy, then make a concerted effort to integrate them more frequently into your life. Also, start the day tech-free.
Do you think reading is a form of self-care/good for your own health?
Absolutely, provided you enjoy it! Any activity that involves sitting silently and being engrossed without distraction is great.
What three books would you recommend to anyone on a journey to better themselves?
Brave New Girl by Chloe Brotheridge, The Mind Monster Solution by Hazel Gale and finally The Kindness Method by me!