40 under 40 Inspiring Innovators Fab 5 Winner
As a child of immigrants, Shayda Nematollahi grew up struggling with her identity and fitting into the community where she was raised. Those hardships shaped her strong sense of self and how she interacts with the world. Now a therapist, this mom-to-be co-founded Heal ATL Counseling & Wellness in 2018 with the intention to build a holistically minded and integrative practice that focuses on mental health and wellness. She prides herself on playing a role in teaching Atlantans to regain control over their lives with self-care.
Why do you feel it is important for people to create a healthy inner dialogue with themselves?
Shayda Nematollahi: Words can be mentally energizing or enervating. When we focus on creating a healthy inner dialogue, we become friends with ourselves. We interact with ourselves with more self-compassion and kindness. Eventually, that positivity extends outward from our relationship with ourselves to our relationships with others.
What lessons have you learned in your own self-care journey that you hope to instill in your patients?
Shayda Nematollahi: Caring for others in any form can take a toll on physical and mental health. Self-care is imperative. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help others. In my own self-care journey, I learned to create healthy boundaries, give myself grace, time for rest, exercise and recharging in my daily routine.
You’ve recently launched The Mantra Rx® card deck, which features 52 positive affirmation cards. How do you hope people will implement these in their daily lives?
Shayda Nematollahi: Many of us struggle with an unkind internal critic or voice that does not support how we want to feel and think about ourselves. I made these cards to inspire people to love, accept, and lean into who they are with compassion and kindness. When we are able to anchor ourselves in a helpful mantra, we give ourselves the power to choose and affirm the thoughts we want to focus on, creating lasting change in our inner dialogues over time.
How does it feel to serve as a guide and support system for those embarking on their mental health journey through therapy?
Shayda Nematollahi: It is an honor each time a woman invites me to journey with her and to hold loving space for her story and growth. It feels amazing to live in my purpose and to serve others through the gift of human connection. Every day it brings me so much joy to help others learn to lean into fully loving their selves and the life they are creating.