How To Practice Selfless Selfishness, According To Doctor Habib Sadeghi

4 min read

“You can’t give love and positivity to anyone until you’re overflowing with it yourself” — Doctor Habib Sadeghi

Putting yourself first is the only way to navigate through uneasy times, according to the founder of Be Hive of Healing, Doctor Habib Sadeghi. The LA-based doctor to the stars advocates the art of selfless selfishness; a regular practice designed to fulfill your emotional and physical needs by taking time for yourself. An essential exercise during times of heightened stress, anxiety and depression, Dr. Sadeghi believes that selfless selfishness is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give to those you love, including yourself. Here, the celebrity doctor talks us through the steps and details how you can adopt the practice in your own routine.

Words by Doctor Habib Sadeghi

Living With Purpose
More and more, people are either anxious, unmotivated or depressed. Research shows that in order for people to be happy, they must feel that they’re contributing to life in a way that’s greater than themselves. This is why a life of idle amusement can only last so long before disillusionment sets in. It’s the reason why golf and vacation cruises eventually lose their appeal for retirees who go back to working small jobs or volunteering.

Similarly, a longevity study from National Geographic found people who have a clear sense of purpose an articulate it live on average seven years longer than those who don’t. Work gives us drive, a reason to get up in the morning, and a way of contributing to the world. It fulfills every person’s basic requirement to be needed in some way. Depression is more common among the unemployed at any given time, so it’s not surprising that more people would experience these feelings when they become idle, and have lost that sense of independence and purpose. 

Mitigating The Madness
The chronic stress that comes from family drama, unemployment and the many consequences that have followed the recent pandemic is a real health concern, particularly because chronic stress suppresses immune function and makes us more susceptible to everything from colds to cancer. Therefore, it’s essential that we learn how to mitigate this stress through what I call selfless selfishness: putting aside time specifically for yourself to fulfill your emotional needs.

How can being selfish be a selfless act? It’s because you can’t give love and positivity to anyone until you’re overflowing with it yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have, and you can only make the people around you feel as good as you’re feeling in any moment. So when you’ve taken time to reinforce your sense of purpose and joy, you carry that positive energy into all your relationships and become a better wife, mother, daughter, volunteer, co-worker, boss, or whatever roles you fill in life. This is why taking time for yourself is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give to those you love. 

Read: Want to be more creative at work? Add this five-minute practice to your routine

Putting It Into Practice
Consider reserving half an hour for yourself every day and using it to do anything that you love and where you won’t be disturbed. Maybe you’d enjoy an at-home yoga routine followed by a warm bath with some of your favourite music. You can also consider going for a walk or a bike ride to a favourite location near your home. Nature has a powerful calming effect – so if you can stroll along the beach, do.

Try to offer time to the practice at least twice a week, ideally on the same days and time so that it becomes part of your routine. Get into a dance or yoga class, join a book club, take piano or singing lessons, take a creative writing workshop, or start working out. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s something you enjoy where the focus is solely on you outside of your role as a wife, colleague, mother, or something else. This is why I don’t necessarily advocate volunteering for selfless selfishness because as noble as it is, women give constantly to others, and this time is all about giving back to yourself so you can be more generous with your love later on.

Health All Around
When it comes to health, the mind and body are inextricably linked. Our state of mind and emotions have an immediate and profound biochemical effect on our bodies moment to moment. This is why I actually prescribe selfless selfishness to all of my patients with chronic disease. When the mind is at peace and the heart full of joy, the body can respond to treatment in new ways. By practicing selfless selfishness in your own life, you’ll be creating a healthier life altogether because not only will you be healthier, your relationships will be too. 

About the writer…
Doctor Habib Sadeghi specialises in spiritual psychology, is the co-founder of non-profit Love Button Global Movement, a published author and contributor to Goop and The Huffington Post. Visit and sign up to Dr. Sadeghi’smonthly newsletter or find his annual health and well-beingjournal, MegaZEN.

Main Image: Molly Goddard at Matches Fashion