Improving Wellbeing at Work with Ashish Kothari and Dr. Samata Vasisht

Today, the lines between our work and personal lives are increasingly blurring. Constant connectivity to work can make it hard to switch off and relax. This can impact our mental health greatly, especially our overall wellbeing. 

Focusing on wellbeing at work has never been more crucial. We need to make sure our workplaces are places where we all feel mentally, emotionally, and physically okay. But with everything constantly changing, how do we really make wellbeing a big part of our work life?

In this article, Ashish Kothari and Dr. Samata Vasisht, Founder of Synergy Holistic, shed light on this vital topic, offering invaluable insights into how we can foster a culture of flourishing and wellbeing at work.

Happiness is Harmony

All too often, we get stuck in the ‘if-then-else’ mindset, thinking that our happiness relies on our external achievements. With this mindset, we’re setting ourselves up for a perpetual chase – always looking for the next success, never finding contentment in the moment. Understanding happiness is the first step towards improving well-being at work. 

Dr. Samata, just like many of us, used to think that happiness equates to the state of being good, doing good, and feeling good. But it is not just about being the best or getting what we want but finding harmony with what is. She emphasizes that happiness is harmony; it’s a blend of surrender, acceptance, contentment, and gratitude, which is vital for improving our well-being at work. 

The Dance of Becoming and Belonging

Life is a delicate balance between becoming and belonging: striving to achieve and grow (becoming) and the need to connect and feel a sense of belonging. However, in our relentless pursuit of success and achievement (belonging), we often overlook the equally vital need for connection and belonging. 

This imbalance can lead us down the path of burnout, an all-too-familiar silent epidemic present in today’s high-stress work environments. This only means that at work, we must not only celebrate our achievements but also cherish our relationships and mental well-being. True well-being at work flourishes when we strike a balance between our ambitions and our innate drive for belonging. It’s a matter of nurturing both aspects: our ambition and our humanity. 

The Layers of Wellbeing

For Dr. Samata, flourishing is well-being in action. She believes that true well-being is an experience, it’s about actively practicing behaviors that foster a state of ease and harmony. Ashish highlights that wellbeing isn’t just about feeling good but involves embracing the wholeness of life, and finding comfort with ourselves, others, and the world.

Wellbeing is multidimensional, encompassing physical, community, social, financial, and occupational aspects. However, Dr. Samata views these as the outcomes or outputs of deeper underlying causes. To truly nurture well-being in these dimensions, she points to several key inputs:

  1. Self-awareness and consciousness. 

Understanding oneself, one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and having a higher level of consciousness about life and its meaning.

  1. Unique inner potential.

Recognizing and nurturing the unique potential within oneself, understanding what makes each distinct and how that contributes to their sense of well-being.

  1. Environment and interactions.

How individuals interact with their surroundings, including their relationships with others, their work environment, and their broader community.

A Holistic Approach to Workplace Wellbeing 

Ashish points out that significant increases in well-being spent across companies, stress, anxiety, and burnout continue to plague geographies, countries, and companies. Most of the time, well-being programs focus on helping individuals with things like meditation apps or diet advice. 

However, these efforts only cover a small part of the bigger picture. In fact, most of the issues related to well-being are actually tied to the work environment, including the team and organizational culture. This is a big reason why many of these well-being programs don’t really work as expected. 

That only means that wellbeing at work shouldn’t be viewed just as an individual concern, but a collective one. Everyone in our organization has a role to play in improving well-being at work. 

Dr. Samata shares a strategy she used at Unilever to cultivate wellbeing holistically: 

  • Energize (focusing on individual wellbeing)
  • Empower (building team resilience); and
  • Enlighten (shifting the entire company culture). 

This strategy led to significant shifts in performance, productivity, engagement, and relationships among leaders. This only shows that effective well-being programs must encompass the entire workplace. Ashish notes that such all-around well-being efforts can really boost a business, like increasing stock value and creativity. In the end, well-being programs are successful when they create a work environment where everyone thrives, bringing big benefits to the business.


To wrap up, for leaders aiming to enhance wellbeing at work, Dr. Samata offers crucial advice: embrace your role as the champion of wellbeing. First, take responsibility and accountability for your own well-being and growth. Then, embed wellbeing as a fundamental, strategic element within your performance management system, making it a key pillar of your overall strategy.

Moreover, psychological safety is crucial, do this by wearing glasses of appreciation. Rather than catching people doing things wrong, catch them doing things right.  

Remember that well-being at work should be more than a mere program; it needs to be woven into the fabric of your organizational culture and leadership approach. According to Ashish, treat well-being programs truly like a value-creation strategy, because it is. This holistic approach is what truly differentiates effective well-being initiatives in any organization.

Dr. Samata Vasisht, transitioning from a seasoned physician to a holistic well-being expert and transformational coach, offers a rare fusion of spiritual wisdom and scientific insight. Her global journey, spanning from the US to the UK, Dubai, and India, has equipped her with diverse experiences and profound knowledge. 

She has left a significant mark on top-tier companies like Unilever, Microsoft, and Shell. Dr. Vasisht stands as an inspiring guide for those seeking to master the challenges of today’s workplace with resilience, purpose, and a profound understanding of well-being.

Learn more about Dr. Samata at her LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast with Dr. Samata and Ashish below.

Access and subscribe to all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.

Visit the REWIRE Program powered up by the HAPPINESS SQUAD Community and experience your shift within your 30-day risk-free trial today. Cultivate your Self-Awareness, Gratitude, Purpose, Community, and personal growth more through the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices. Integrate simple and proven micro-practices grounded in the science of happiness and neuroscience of habit formation in 5 minutes a day.

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With the focus on enhancing joy, health, love and meaning in your life, my transformational approach is interdisciplinary and integrates learnings from spiritual wisdom traditions, philosophy, positive psychology, neuroscience and organizational development.

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