Psychologist, clinical hypnotherapist and mindfulness teacher Simonette Vaja believes that we heal by helping others and when you bring compassion to the table, it too acts as a fundamental healer.
Simonette is one of the founding registered practitioners on SoulAdvisor. She was drawn to sign up to the global purpose-driven collective when she saw its potential.
“I think it’s a wonderful forum and a very accessible resource for so many people, and it will really lift the credibility of the complementary medicine industry,” she said.
Giving is at the core of Simonette’s 30-year career in psychology, hypnotherapy, mindfulness and meditation. She believes what you learn from life you can teach; and what you receive from life you can also give.
Anxiety, Trauma & Purpose
Simonette’s own story is testament to her philosophy. She experienced complex trauma in her childhood, resulting in social anxiety by the time she was in her late teens.
“As an attractive young woman and a model, I had a high profile and drew a lot of attention - but I didn’t have the deep substance of self-worth and that made me anxious,” she recalled.
“So I was very good at putting on a persona, which led to a number of addictions so I didn’t have to feel that anxiety.
“When I was 21, my father died and his partner took her own life, which made me completely re-evaluate everything.
“At that point I chose to study psychology because I needed to understand my own family and I wanted to give back to others. Psychology soon became my anchor,” she explained.
Simonette made a point of practising everything she was studying intellectually, resulting in those practices becoming embedded. This included meditation, which she rapidly absorbed.
Meditation As Medicine
“My studies gave me more insight into why I was so insecure and meditation took the edge off my anxiety. I also studied clinical hypnotherapy – which brought about my visualisation techniques.
“Deep meditation teaches you a lot about yourself. It’s such a strong foundation for being fulfilled because if you haven’t got the capacity for self-awareness, you really can’t learn anything new!”
Simonette’s career has focused on supporting people in distress for a variety of life circumstances, including helping people who have experienced trauma-related distress, either from supporting others or from being victims themselves. Compassionate care and mindfulness practices are integral to all of her work.
She finds teaching meditation as therapeutic for herself as it is for her students.
“When I’m in that relaxed space with them, there’s this beautiful symbiosis and I feel so rewarded being of some support and help to them as they work through their own stuff,” she said.
Giving Brings Global Success
It was ultimately through giving to others that Simonette created the life she envisioned for herself.
“Being of service to others is truly the best thing you can do. The best antidote for depression is helping other people.”
Simonette reflects on this concept in one of her talks on Insight Timer*, saying that “unconditional giving benefits both the receiver and giver because when you are thinking and giving attention to someone else, it switches on the happy hormones in both of you”.
In the past five years, Simonette has become more focused on compassion (and self-compassion) and the benefits on the mind as a healer.
“When you show compassion - when you wish a person well – it means you bypass any anger you had towards them, and this feeling grows over time and rewires your brain.
“Being compassionate frees you. It’s an action and a motivator, like a compass that guides you.”
Simonette says guided meditations focused on compassion can be very helpful.
“You might be visualising a person you have difficulty with but you’re wishing them well – it might not feel genuine at first but somewhere along the line it slips into a truth and that’s freedom.”
A regular contributor to Insight Timer, Simonette says the beautifully presented platform is an equally valuable tool for practitioners and participants, providing access to hundreds of meditations, visualisations and live chats. She was chuffed to find herself sitting alongside celebrity Russell Brand on screen in a recent promotion for one of her live talks.
Her Waterfall Guided Visualisation on Insight Timer is a reminder to get out in nature.
“Spending 20 minutes in nature is beneficial for your mental health and increases your wellbeing and resilience to daily life stresses. This meditation will leave you enlivened and ready for the challenges of your daily life,” she said.
With online resources for people seeking healing and help now being readily available, Simonette highly recommends connecting with a weekly circle online such as her own.
*Insight Timer is the world's largest meditation community of 18 million people, from 120 countries speaking 50 plus languages. It publishes 60,000 free guided meditations and music tracks by 8,000 meditation teachers and musicians from around the world
Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.