Why this woman entrepreneur wants Indians to work on happiness
Aishwarya Jain did not want to continue higher studies after completing her Bachelor’s in Engineering (BE) just for the sake of having another degree. Taking a sabbatical to explore her interests and options sent Aishwarya on an entrepreneurial streak.
Her first startup, Food Memory, an online aggregator for various food brands in India, was started in 2016, and it went on to raise funds from Delhivery founders Bhavesh Manglani and Sahil Barua.
Inspired by her early experience as an entrepreneur with Food Memory, to learn more about consumer behaviour, and gaining insights into human psychology while pursuing cognitive psychology from Pennsylvania University in the US, led her to startin 2019.
The Ahmedabad-based startup is a platform that aims to help people increase their cognitive fitness through a host of services including yoga, diet management, and therapy, among others.
Learning about how the human brain works and how one can increase and harness the human potential drove Aishwarya towards starting I’m Happiness.
“In school, we are never taught how to go through a bad phase of life or deal with failure. The society looks down on people suffering from depression and other mental health problems,” she says, adding that the country’s happiness index has remained consistently low over the years.
The idea, she says, is to allow people to channel their feelings as they go through the phase and then start working on themselves towards sustainable happiness.
“It is a long journey and therapy alone is not the only long-term and sustainable solution. Therapy may not be effective for some people or financially viable in the long run while yoga or managing food habits works. Everybody has different trigger points and hormonal levels, and they must understand the problem first,” she explains.
Personal awareness, education about their mental and cognitive fitness, and a solution-oriented approach will lead to sustainable happiness.
At I’m Happiness, a person will be approached by a team comprising of mental health experts, neuroscientists, diet, and yoga experts to understand their mental condition and suggest a mix of lifestyle solutions -- from diets to therapy and other wellness practices to incorporate in their routine.
It has also developed a network of professionals from across industries so that people facing stress and other problems on the professional front can seek their guidance for a happier and healthier life.
The hack is to create awareness on brain fitness, says Aishwarya. “The state of awareness is pathetic when everything from our thoughts to hand and leg movement is operated from the brain. Procrastination, depression, and anxiety starts when the brain is not functioning properly,” Aishwarya says.
Aishwarya Jain, Founder of I'm Happiness
The startup operates on both B2C and B2B models, and claims to have reached more than 20,000 people so far. In the latter, it has catered to more than 50 corporate companies like British High Commission and Reliance Industries for employee wellness.
It also works on various intervention programmes and collaborates with organisations like UNESCO, IIM, Ahmedabad, and NGOs.
So far, the platform has run two campaigns -- Log Kya Kahenge that urged people to stop judging people, including oneself, and Serving Happiness that amplified the need to eat healthy for cognitive health. “The idea was to help people get their life on track by making a few tweaks in their daily food routines,” she adds.
Personalities like Rishi Mukherjee, COO of ScoopWhoop; Digvijay Singh, COO of IAN; India’s first Transgender Drag Queen Nitisha Biswas; actor Naveen Kasturia; and real estate mogul Chitrak Shah have been involved in the campaign.
As the coronavirus pandemic brought tough times for many people, dealing with the loss of loved ones and financial challenges, the startup then tied up with hospitals to help people having suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The demand for holistic well-being has been higher than ever before and Aishwarya says there are little to no competitors in the market offering similar services that look at a person’s holistic lifestyle solutions. In India’s mental health space, YourDost and InnerHour are among the leading startups tackling mental and emotional well-being.
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