As the founder of Positive Prescription, Dr. Samantha Boardman prescribes a timely shift in our approach to mental health and wellness.
“I think of wellbeing as a verb,” explains Dr. Samantha Boardman, clinical instructor in psychiatry, an assistant attending psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, the founder of Positive Prescription and a familiar face on the Art Basel social circuit. “In the same way that we’re always growing and changing, our wellbeing routines must adapt as well,” she adds. “Flexibility is the secret sauce of wellbeing.”
Given the current climate, Boardman’s positive approach to mental health is needed now more than ever. Her upcoming book, Everyday Strong, focuses on boosting vitality in everyday life. This more mindful technique has been an evolution.
“As strange as this sounds to say, during training to become a psychiatrist, I rarely focused on wellbeing. I was primarily focused on illness, not health,” she shares. Boardman says that a decade ago, a patient with depression made her question her approach. “I had been seeing her for several weeks when she abruptly terminated treatment.” When the patient explained that the negative focus of their sessions was the issue, Boardman decided to go back to school to get a master’s degree in applied positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. “It transformed how I think about wellbeing in my patients and myself.”
Today, Boardman practices positive psychiatry. “I am committed to helping patients find strength within stress and wellness within illness. I am deeply interested in vitality—that sense of feeling alive and well on an everyday basis. Eating well, getting enough sleep, physical movement and spending time in nature contribute to vitality, along with positive experiences like meaningfully connecting with others, learning new things and doing something for someone else,” she says. “These days, I literally prescribe activities like taking a walk in the park, volunteering and eating a Mediterranean diet. And I practice what I preach.”