Real Chat with Shauna Harrison
Shauna is a self-proclaimed nerd, hip-hop head, jock, and yogi. After playing sports throughout her childhood, she segued into the fitness and yoga world just as she started her academic path at Stanford University and hasn’t stopped since. Shortly after finishing her PhD in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, Shauna also secured a sponsorship with Under Armour®, a major brand in sports and fitness, proving that should could excel in both worlds.
PROJECT 375: Is there an athlete you admire most?
Shauna Harrison: Such a hard question. I admire every athlete really. I do have a soft spot in my heart for really bad ass female athletes, though. Kerri Walsh for being a mother of 3 and 3 time Olympic champion (who does that?!!!) And Misty Copeland for being such a graceful beast and a pioneer at the same time.
PROJECT 375: Does exercise play a dual role in your life – therapy and occupation?
Shauna Harrison: Movement plays many roles in my life actually. It’s definitely part occupation and a huge part therapy, but it’s also a hobby, an escape, a moment of relaxation, a reset button, and largely, a teacher.
PROJECT 375: Where would you most like to travel that you haven’t been?
Shauna Harrison: So many places! I never been anywhere in Asia or Africa and I would love to go explore both. I love Latin America and would also like to see the countries I haven’t seen there. Really, just anywhere I haven’t been!
PROJECT 375: When you wake up in the morning do you know what kind of day you will have?
Shauna Harrison: I generally wake up in the mindset that it’s time to crush whatever it is I’m going to do — a workout, a meeting, teaching a class, or even a rest day. Sometimes I can really crush those rest days 😉
PROJECT 375: What is your diagnosis?
Shauna Harrison: Anxiety/panic disorder
PROJECT 375: What is your earliest memory of living with your mental illness? How old were you? If you could go back what would you tell your younger self about your future self?
Shauna Harrison: My first anxiety attack that I remember was my senior year in college. I was 21. I called the ambulance on myself because I thought I was dying. I was scared at the moment it happened, ashamed as the attacks continued to happen and even more worried that I wasn’t going to be able to finish school. There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self (let’s start with: “take a deep breath!”) but really every single thing I dealt with has led me to be who I am today. I had a lot of hard lessons on how to take better care of myself and what I really needed to do mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually to succeed in the way I wanted. It’s a constant learning and adjusting experience, but it’s made me so much more self aware. I wouldn’t want to ruin that for my younger self. Although I think we can all stand to hear “fail more” as a lesson. I was SO scared of failing. Now I seek failure for the sake of growth.