How Panic Attacks Sent Simi Arora on a Crusade to Help Others

aroraSimi Arora remembers waking at 5 a.m. to the feeling of sheer panic coming over her body. Sweating palms, sweaty forehead, and the discomfort of a racing heartbeat that she was all too aware of: Arora, a certified life coach and Pranayama teacher based on Long Island, was suffering her first panic attack.

At the time, she was alone in her small New York City apartment, a 20-something who was 8,000 miles away from her family and friends in India. She’d moved there for her husband, and had just signed her divorce papers — all of which weighed heavy on her mental health.

“It was scary for me because I was absolutely alone,” Arora says. “You don’t have your family here. You don’t have your friends here. It’s just one year of being in the country, and it’s your first winter. And you have never seen that kind of snow before. Everything was adding up.”

The next morning, like an alarm clock that nobody wants, Arora woke to the same panic.  “They started to happen every day at 5 in the morning. When it happened three or four times, I realized this is something serious,” she says.

This was her introduction to panic disorder and the first steps in her journey for growth and self-awareness.

Once Arora saw a doctor, who started her on antidepressants, she began feeling like she wasn’t just trying to survive each day; She was ready to begin discovery.

“I had this turnaround, when I started to ask myself the right questions,” Arora says. “I asked myself, ‘What is the purpose of all this pain I’m going through?'”

I asked myself, ‘What is the purpose of all this pain I’m going through?’

As part of her journey, she began talking to friends about her feelings and trying to understand the root of her subconscious anxiety.

“When I divorced, I felt like I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” Arora says. “There was the emotional conflict of going through a divorce, but there was also guilt and shame emerging because of all the deep-down expectations that Indian girls have to stay in a marriage, even if they’re not happy.”

Even admitting to these feelings was a source of inner conflict for her. “As Indians, we’re not as blunt as Western culture, so we cover things up and don’t share our baggage with others,” Arora says. “But the more I allowed myself to open up, the more I was healing.”

As Indians, we’re not as blunt as Western culture, so we cover things up…But the more I allowed myself to open up, the more I was healing.

She silenced her inner critic — the monkey mind — enough to start talking about her emotional and spiritual journey on videos she’d post to Facebook. And yes, there were some who said she shouldn’t be so open in sharing her feelings, especially on a platform her parents would see. But there were many more viewers who said they wholeheartedly identified with what Arora was saying and felt better knowing that other young, smart, attractive women like her felt the same.

“That’s when I realized I was impacting other people just by sharing these feelings,” Arora says. “I decided I want to do this at a bigger and better level and help people who are on the same journey. That’s when I started becoming a certified life coach.”

I realized I was impacting other people just by sharing these feelings. I decided I want to do this at a bigger and better level.

She also began exploring different forms of spirituality and different ways to care for her mental health, including everything from wellness retreats to working out, and yoga. “I was everywhere,” she says. But an ancient breathing technique performed with yoga movements was what Arora would call her cure.

“Pranayama, which is the breathing aspect of yoga, was a game-changer for me.”

Connecting her breathing to movement was like connecting her mind to her body, improving her self-awareness and mindfulness.

Now, Arora as a life coach consults with entrepreneurs, professionals, organizations, educational institutions, and others who want to understand the mind-body connection better.

On her website SimiArora.com. Arora highlights her unique three-phase method for mind mastery through self discovery — “Detach, De-conditioning, and Design.” Through one-on-one coaching, one- and two-day intensives, online programs, monthly memberships, and soon, an online course called The Conscious Creator Academy, Arora helps people break free of the self-imposed limitations that hold them back.

In addition, Arora advocates for mental health awareness and has been interviewed on both national and regional TV. She regularly shares content on mind-body healing, resilience, self-leadership, and stress removal practices to a highly engaged audience on Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. And she’s also writing a book due for release in September called Becoming the Conscious Creator.

Arora stills gets occasional anxiety and admits even this SEEMA interview dredged up memories of the dark place she once was in. Says Arora, “My God, I’ve come a long way.”

Want to learn more about Simi Arora’s work? Sign up for her mailing list to get updates on the book and online courses.