Putting Yourself First with Shama Dhanani

I was delighted to have a conversation recently with Shama Dhanini recently. Shama is a hypno-soul coach who helps people overcome procrastination and self-doubt to move into clarity and confident action. Our conversation was around how we sometimes get pushed lower and lower on our own priority list. Occasionally we prioritize our own to-do lists over ourselves. When this happens, how do we put ourselves first in a way that serves you and those around you?


Shama’s story: Burnout 2017

I like to keep on top of things as it energizes me to some degree - a part of me likes being on the ball, but there is also another part that doesn’t. At the end of last year I found myself chasing my to-do list, trying to prioritize social gatherings and my birthday that was coming soon – forgetting to carve out some relaxation time in the process. Eventually, doing too much at once led me to getting sick, burned out and unable to even make the fun social gatherings. Once I realized what I had been doing to myself, I used hypnosis in order to set up tools and practices that would help me maintain a routine of prioritizing me. When one is in a hypnotized state (homeostasis) or in deep meditation they are calm, which is the perfect space to make rational, healthy decisions. In this space, you are not constantly keeping up with a list. From a more relaxed place, I found that I could make better decisions and actually get more done than what I thought I was doing before. Because my body is relaxed in this state, it ends up working with me, not against me. I ended up reducing stress, getting the same amount of work done and enjoying my life experiences just by changing the way I physically and emotionally approach my work.


Hypnosis is basically a focused meditation where patterns of thinking and feeling can be changed by bypassing the ego and working within the subconscious mind, which influences 95% of the actions that you take in life. Homeostasis is when your body is deeply relaxed – it is the opposite of the ‘fight or flight’ mode of operating. When you’re stuck in fight or flight mode it’s difficult to see beyond your current circumstances and unfortunately it’s easy to get stuck here. A simple conversation or a trip to the grocery store can easily put us in a fight or flight state – showing just how powerful our subconscious can be.


Carlee’s story: The Birthday Disaster of 2017

I wanted to do everything for my birthday last year as I was turning 25! It felt like a big deal. I got upset because nobody was throwing me a birthday party, and from this place I started feeling like nobody loves me. At the time I ended up seeing a Facebook post that basically depicted that, ‘If you want somebody to love you, love yourself in the same way’. So with bravado I thought let me throw myself my own friggin’ birthday party! I had spent two months leading up to my birthday working really hard with helping people, managing a relationship and putting in a lot of effort for friends’ birthdays so when it came to my birthday, I felt entitled to really HAVE a birthday. I was in a place of feeling a sense of scarcity of love and connection. I was basically in a desperate space of fight or flight. When I was confronted by loved ones about what is going on, I came to a realization that I was giving from an empty cup. I'm not much of a fan of the cup analogy as it implies that one should fill their cup only once in a while. Up until this birthday disaster, I was living my life with a massage once in a while and a day off every few weeks. Putting yourself as priority is envisioning your life as a funnel, rather than a cup, where things are constantly coming in and going out so it’s important what you put in. So from now on I have ‘Sloth Sundays’ where it’s compulsory for me to not do any work or activities that I don’t want to do!


Tips to put yourself first from Shama & I:

1.       You have permission to put yourself first because if you don’t nobody else will. It is also your responsibility to put yourself first.

2.       Engage in hypnosis and/or a morning meditation practice to prevent the fight or flight response from taking over you. Doing this in the morning starts the day off in a peaceful way, setting the standard for the day.

3.       Take care of your body. Prioritize ‘me time’ every month. Whether you take a day off for the spa or to have a chill day, take the time to rejuvenate your body.

4.       Reward yourself – treat yourself to something as a way to encourage self-acknowledgment and to keep going.

5.       Be Creative. Fuel your soul with something creative. You don’t have to be an artist to paint or a musician to write songs.


Shama and I have collaborated and come up with a 3 hour workshop on putting yourself first, managing your to-do list so you’re not overwhelmed and getting yourself out of any limiting thoughts and beliefs that keep you stuck. The workshop will include hands on work, a moving meditation and hypnosis. Join this workshop to create new patterns and actually move forward with your dreams and desires. Also experience and differentiate between what you think you want from what you actually want.


Click to join a workshop this February in New York or Philadelphia.