Dr. Foojan Zeine: Building Resilience Through Prosocial Acts | Bouncing Back #50

In this episode, host Joahanna Wickramaratne is joined by Dr. Foojan Zeine who is an internationally renowned psychotherapist, author, and speaker

The episode explores how consciously incorporating prosocial behaviors into one’s life through the suggested methods and mindsets can significantly boost personal resilience. Dr. Foojan Zeine recommends various practices to cultivate prosocial habits, including self-awareness, accountability, supporting causes aligned with personal values, and nurturing relationships.

Meet Dr. Foojan Zeine

Dr. Foojan Zeine is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and psychotherapist. She holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She is the originator of Awareness Integration Theory (AIT), a comprehensive approach focused on reducing depression and anxiety while improving self-esteem and self-confidence. Dr. Foojan founded the International Awareness Integration Institute, offering training and certification in AIT for psychotherapists, coaches, and teachers. She teaches AIT as a lecturer/professor at California State University Long Beach and Université Paris Cité.

Dr. Foojan Zeine is the author of six books and co-author of others. She has published peer-reviewed journals and also hosts the Inner Voice—A Heartfelt Chat with Dr. Foojan Podcast and television shows on Togetherness Media and Tapesh TV. Moreover, she is a sought-after guest speaker at esteemed universities, including Harvard, MIT, UCLA, USC, UC Santa Barbara, Chicago University, and Cal State Long Beach.

About the episode

In this podcast episode, Dr. Foojan Zeine focuses on developing prosocial behaviors to enhance resilience. She highlights the significance of cultivating kindness and offers practical examples of prosocial actions such as volunteering, expressing gratitude toward others, and performing small random acts of kindness for strangers.

Dr. Foojan acknowledges that there may be challenges to practicing prosocial behaviors, including innate selfish desires. She suggests negotiating between different parts of oneself to align with one’s values before acting externally.

She says that self-care and developing kindness toward yourself should be a top priority. Take the time to care for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Engage in daily introspection and mindfulness practices to reflect on your core values and intentions and how you want to align your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with those values.

You can also anonymously perform small acts of service, seeking opportunities to be kind without expecting recognition or reward. Simple gestures like holding doors for others or picking up litter can positively impact the world around you. Additionally, volunteer your time and skills for meaningful causes that align with your interests and values, such as supporting programs for the elderly, children, or individuals affected by illness or trauma.

Dr. Foojan encourages people to connect with their community and build trusting relationships. She recommends sharing challenges and providing support to others during difficult times. The collective support and bonding within a community can foster resilience and a sense of belonging.

Here are some additional tips from her: 

  • Regularly monitor your thoughts, emotions, and actions: Stay accountable by monitoring your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Be mindful of instances where your behavior may be inconsistent with your intentions. 
  • View challenges as opportunities for growth: Instead of perceiving challenges as victimization, reframe them as opportunities for growth and learning. Approach problems proactively and seek solutions rather than adopting a passive or helpless mindset.
  • Collaborate with others: Whenever possible, work collaboratively with others rather than trying to tackle challenges alone. A collective effort often yields better results and enhances individual strength and resilience.
  • Maintain an attitude of gratitude, purpose, and hope: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, finding appreciation for the positive aspects of life even during difficult times. Maintain a sense of purpose and focus on the contributions you can make to the world, rather than dwelling on negatives.

In conclusion

According to Dr. Foojan Zeine, cultivating prosocial behaviors is an effective way to build resilience on an individual and societal level. Prioritizing self-care, strong relationships, and acts of service enables one to tap into one’s inherent capacity for resilience. Intentionally practicing mindfulness, gratitude, responsibility, and collaboration can help overcome difficulties in a proactive manner. 

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