Women Who Disrupt
How Author Avni Parekh Rewires Neural Pathways Through Her Book & Brand, Be The Bigger Person
Crediting the concept of her brand Be The Bigger Person to an epiphany she had in 2014, Avni Parekh has brought to life a message that not only adorns the physical body but also delves deep within the depths of the subconscious mind. The ambitious Indian author and entrepreneur has spent several years teaching the importance of being the bigger person and most recently appeared on Bravo’s hit docuseries Family Karma, introducing millions of viewers, including the thousands that already know Parekh’s name, to her self-help book, Be The Bigger Person: Scenarios & Solutions to Better Yourself.
Wanting to make sure others felt heard even when they couldn’t vent their burdens or anger to a trusted confidant, Parekh decided to create a guidebook that could “act as a friend in the pocket.” Guiding readers to “Triumph over 150 real-life situations with grace,” as displayed on her book’s front cover, the Miami-based author helps others navigate through feelings of anger, depression, resentment, self-doubt, or turmoil, so their pent-up frustrations don’t get the best of them.
“Every experience we have, negative or positive, can leave a lasting effect on our psyche. Sometimes, an experience or a series of events in a person’s life can negatively impact their outlook on life and can inhibit their good judgment, causing them to react in a way they normally wouldn’t if they were in a positive state of mind.”
Moreover, Parekh’s 2018 debut book, Be The Bigger Person: Scenarios & Solutions to Better Yourself is unlike any other on the market. Divided into 10 chapters, her resourceful book presents readers with a plethora of everyday experiences — from dealing with family issues, friendship dilemmas, romantic relationships, home maintenance, workplace as well as academic concerns, conflicts while driving or flying, tragedies, and disagreements in public places — then offers a simple solution to help them overcome the situation they are dealing with. The mindful author mentions that while the book is geared toward Generations Y & Z, it is also a resource for their families.
Highly rated on Amazon, Parekh reveals the tips and solutions shared with readers have a proven effect to improve their mood and self-image, reduce their stress, and help them lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Cheekily, she divulges there’s so much more in the works than just the book. “I’m bringing the message where it meets the eyes, ears, and mind.”
In fact, earlier this year, Parekh launched Be The Bigger Person athleisurewear — a unisex clothing line that features gender-neutral, mix-and-match styles with messaging based on key themes from her self-help book. Parekh told me she had been working nonstop behind the scenes to expand her T-shirt line and morph it into something bigger and better. This led her to athleisure clothing. She says apparel with positive messages and affirmations can uplift people’s moods and inspire them to work toward their goals, noting that it’s more than a fashion trend; “it’s a tool for personal growth and inspiration.”
For instance, an outfit with the message “don’t give in,” the name of her upcoming self-development workbook which she confides is due to release very soon, can serve as a reminder to persevere despite challenges. Similarly, attire with uplifting slogans can cultivate self-confidence and promote positive self-talk. These messages aim to remind wearers that they have the power to overcome any obstacle, which can be especially beneficial during periods of self-doubt.
At its core, Parekh says her mindful business is all about promoting mental health and well-being. “My brand — Be The Bigger Person — focuses on reinforcing one powerful positive affirmation, and a life principle that I do my very best to live by,” Parekh tells me. She delves further by explaining that; “Positive affirmations are powerful tools for rewiring the brain. Scientific research has demonstrated that repeating positive affirmations can change neural pathways in the brain, leading to decreased stress levels, improved emotional regulation, and increased resilience.”
Parekh shares how affirmations are simple statements that are designed to counteract negative self-talk by replacing it with positive, empowering messages. These statements can be repeated silently, out loud, or written down. Examples of affirmations include “I am resilient,” “I am authentic,” and “I am the bigger person,” — all of which are T-shirts available on Parekh’s athleisurewear website, BTBPshop.com.
She explains that when we repeat positive affirmations, we are sending a signal to our brains that we believe in ourselves and our abilities. This can help to balance, and eventually replace, negative self-talk, behaviors, and beliefs, which can be deeply ingrained in our subconscious minds. Like, the belief of needing to retaliate, or the behavioral pattern of acting out violently if someone pushes your buttons or insults you.
In order to understand how positive affirmations help to rewire the brain, it is important to understand how the brain works. “Our brains are made up of neurons, or nerve cells, which communicate with each other via electrical and chemical signals,” she describes. “These neurons are connected by synapses, which allow the signals to be transmitted from one cell to another. When we engage in a particular behavior or thought pattern repeatedly, the synapses between the relevant neurons become stronger and more efficient.” This, in turn, makes it easier for the brain to engage in that behavior or thought pattern in the future. She informs me this process is known as neuroplasticity and also shares that she wanted to be a forensic pathologist for much of her youth which is why she has such an interest in understanding the human body, particularly the mind-body-soul connection.
A true educator with a meticulous way of explaining the process, Parekh dives into how positive affirmations can help to rewire the brain by activating neuroplasticity. “When we repeat positive affirmations or messages over and over, this strengthens the synapses between certain neurons, making it easier for the brain to create new neural pathways that now engage in different behavioral patterns that have the ability to contribute to a person’s well-being over time.” That’s the primary reason why Parekh’s Be The Bigger Person brand branches out into different industries like publishing, fashion, and soon-to-be broadcasting with a podcast under the same name — to activate neuroplasticity within the brain.
Additionally, Parekh explains how positive affirmations are linked to decreased levels of stress and can improve emotional regulation. Elaborating on the topic, she says: “When we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can have negative effects on both our physical and mental health.” She states research shows that repeating positive affirmations can reduce cortisol levels, leading to decreased stress and better emotional regulation. With all that knowledge in mind, she points out that the more we improve our ability to regulate our emotions, the stronger our minds become. Parekh also lets me in on a “little secret,” she says this is how you build self-control.
Parekh thoughtfully shares that clothing with positive messages can also promote a sense of community and inclusivity. “A group of people wearing garments that firmly depict the slogan, ‘be the bigger person,’ can inspire those around them to join a common goal or cause.” These messages, she discloses, foster a sense of belonging and support that can be especially beneficial for individuals who may feel alone or disconnected. “There’s a sense of unity and camaraderie between like-minded individuals who believe in the same principle. Not only that, the affirmation serves as a strong reminder to others to keep their composure while not giving into the negative emotions or rage they may be feeling at that time.”
The inquisitive and scholarly author knows that being the bigger person is easier said than done. But she says, practice makes perfect, so it’s like anything in life that you seek to master — you must have self-discipline and continually work at it every day. Parekh confesses that’s why she’s bringing the message to the forefront with her dynamic brand, Be The Bigger Person; for it to serve as a continual reminder for others to prioritize their mental health, and encourage them that they have the power to control their emotions and rise above adversity.
Overall, positive messages like “be the bigger person” are powerful tools for rewiring the brain. With practice and consistency, these affirmations can transform our brains and our lives Parekh suggests. “Folks who don’t like to read may enjoy indulging in fashion instead of books. Or, they may crave audible stimulation, and prefer content they can listen to.” Regardless of the medium, Parekh says she’ll reach people where they feel most comfortable and have a higher likelihood of absorbing and internalizing a principle the enlightened writer has practiced the majority of her lifetime, which she is sharing with the world through her well-intended brand Be The Bigger Person.