By the number of stamps in her passport and the variety of jobs she’s held over the last few years, you’d wonder what exactly Mana Threads ambassador Amanda Mahony does for a living. A long-time yogi and public health volunteer with degrees in public relations and marketing, I was dying to know just how Amanda meshes all of this do-good into a single career.
When she answered my call, Amanda was walking out of her yoga studio, an essential part of her daily wellness practice, and headed home on her bike. Amanda is based out of Wakefield, RI, where she and her boyfriend recently moved so she could pursue M.A. in Clinical Holistic Mental Health Counseling. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Amanda will be able to widen her impact here in the US as she aims to expand her own business and reach a more diverse client base.
“I’ve been looking at this program for years and I’d never been brave enough to apply-- until now. It’s a process...it’s not going to be easy, but I’m trusting in the journey.”
In 2011, Amanda began volunteering with the World Federation of Mental Health. After studying depression and suicide rates among single mothers in poverty in Tanzania, a team from the Global Mental Health Initiatives invited her to accompany them to present their findings at the World Federation of Mental Health Congress. Thus began Amanda’s journey into the world of mental health and igniting a new passion within her. In 2013, she travelled to Buenos Aires to work with the president of the Mental Health Federation using her expertise in PR to interview the delegates of the Congress and push those interviews on YouTube. Stints in South Africa, Tanzania and Egypt have been transformative to her thinking about the relationship between Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and mental health.
“It set my mind on fire.”
Upon returning home, Amanda was ready to apply her new understanding of how we heal and improve our overall wellness to clients on the East Coast. And that has set her on the path to combining Eastern and Western forms of healing. At the same time, she also felt the nudge to make a change in her own professional path.
“You can only be work-life balanced if you like what you do for work. I’m into enjoying the balance of wellness. I’m afraid too many people buy into the unattainable. Instead, I’ve always been trying to find a realistic balance without being an extremist. I try to focus on not obsessing over what I look like or if I eat a non-organic apple.”
Instead of getting bogged down by the “shoulds” of health, Amanda chooses to focus on asking herself, “Is this really going to make me happy?”
And when the answer is 'Yes! I am going to be really happy if I just sit on the couch, drink a glass of wine with my boyfriend and watch a movie' --Amanda embraces it.
“I’m working to loosen the grip on what I think I should be doing. I’m kinder to myself.”
Some day Amanda hopes to open her own practice where people can receive mental health counseling, yoga therapy, and whole body assessments of how food, exercise, sleep and relationships all affect how we feel. Additionally, Amanda aspires to become certified in treating PTSD so that she can work with veterans and victims of other traumas.
But a goal for this summer? “I just want to have flow, a healthy routine where we live our lives in harmony in this new place. I want to be connected with my community, my tribe. I just hope to be united.”
“It’s scary to find your niche, but it’s really worth it.”
Amanda Mahony is a yogi, long-time mental health volunteer, student of holistic mental health counseling, and small business owner. In addition to her weekly classes at Newport Community Yoga, she offers private and group yoga instruction and coaching in the wider Newport, RI area.