Development of Rural Women in Vidarbha Region, Maharashtra

Credits- The guardian

The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra primarily consists of four major cities. Nagpur being the largest has a huge rural population which is deprived of stable sources of income and is riddled with social problems including alcoholism. The primary contributor to the alcoholism problem is the male population. Inadvertently, the women of the household have to take up the responsibility of earning the bread. In regions lacking educational infrastructure, women have to not only overcome sexism, misogyny and toxic masculinity to earn, but they also have to battle the unavailability of jobs and the unwillingness of employers to employ women just to keep the food on the table. Out of the 48 lakh unemployed people in Maharashtra, the Vidarbha region contributes 6 lakh of them. Although an older report, according to the 2013-14 Report on District Level Estimates for the state of Maharashtra, Nagpur reported 27% unemployment in urban areas and a staggering 55.3% in rural areas. As mentioned earlier, this was a relatively old statistic. However, going through the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t done any good in the rural employment sector.

Taking the dire unemployment situation into consideration as well as considering the rising issue of alcoholism amongst the general male population in the region, it has also given rise to domestic violence, marital rape and sexual assault under influence. The Covid-19 pandemic and the Lockdown made this situation a lot worse as unemployment was peaking and the availability of alcoholic beverages was very low. Upon gathering statistics from an NGO called Aroha working for the development of rural women, it was found that domestic violence cases simply multiplied by 2.3 times during the first lockdown (March – July 2020). This is an extremely dire situation and it is continually worsening with the increase in economic disparity and water shortages reaching an all-time high. This is the time when the need to empower women to gain financial stability and independence is the most. The NGO Aroha has taken this as their mission and has been working towards training women in making handicraft items and selling them on an international market through powerful marketing and product development via their brand Rangers.

Rangers is a traditional eco-friendly, high-quality handicrafts store based in Nagpur which sells purses, handbags, lamp shades etc which are made by women from rural areas and all the profit is evenly divided between all women involved, contributing to their financial independence.

Aroha starts by enrolling women who are in dire need of financial assistance. They start by providing them with training in handcrafting, Warli art, stitching, embroidery and block printing. Then, once the women graduate with enough skills, they’re hired by Rangaresha which provides them with employment, stable income as well as incentives for them to work. Aroha is financially supported by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. Since 2004, Aroha steadfastly remained focused on the promotion of livelihoods, capacity-building initiatives and extending training support as well as surfacing as a resource agency for all of the above for the benefit of other allied agencies. With time self-help group formation activities were also undertaken. In the past 17 years, Aroha has helped 1739 women overcome poverty and has made them

capable of standing up for themselves and fighting back against years of oppression. Although the actual statistical data about profits and actual gross income from handicrafts remains unknown and the organisation didn’t provide that information, it is undeniable that the organisation and their vision had been successful in their initiative and continue to empower women to date.

Marital Rape

This report is an excerpt of an interview project that i completed for one of my practical classes. I had to interview people working in NGO working for marital rapes analyze the interview.In this project i’ve interviewed Dr. Chitra Awasthi, the founder of RIT foundation that in collaboration with many NGOs to promote gender equality in India.

NATURE OF REPORT

In order to gain insight on the prevalence of marital rape in India and to promote gender and social equality in the country, the students of Mass communication and journalism were instructed to interview an NFPO (RIT Foundation) within the field of awareness through Media

There were no stipulations about the medium used or the questions to be asked. Students were permitted to select their own respondent owing to their comfort as well as good knowledge of the field. The report is directed to citizens of the country and people across nations. The report aims to start a conversation on this topic, to give women under martial rape the courage to raise their voice and to pressurize the law-makers to criminalize such acts.

MARITAL RAPE

The act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the consent of the partner is known as marital rape. Whether the perpetrator is a stranger or a spouse, it is one of the most horrific acts a man can conduct against a woman. Though marital rape is the most common and repugnant form of masochism in Indian society, it is hidden behind the iron curtain of marriage.  83% of married women i.e. nearly one in every 3 women have been subjected to physical, sexual and emotional violence from their spouse. Almost 31% of married women between the ages 15 and 49 have suffered from sexual abuse cite their current husband as the perpetrator. 

Any undesired sexual actions by a spouse or ex-spouse conducted without consent and/or against a person’s will, achieved by force, threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent, are classified as marital rape. Intercourse, anal or oral sex, forced sexual conduct with other people, and other sexual practices that the victim finds degrading, humiliating, painful, or unwelcome are examples of these sexual actions.

Rape is a crime that occurs when a woman refuses to provide her consent. It’s crucial to remember that lack of consent doesn’t always have to take the form of the word ‘no.’ It’s reasonable to assume given the circumstances. If a woman consents to sexual intercourse within a marriage because of the threat of harm to her children or herself, the woman loses her right to stay in the house or get maintenance, it is not valid consent. It is still rape.

THE CURRENT SITUATION AND STATISTICS

140 of the world’s 195 countries have already made marital rape a criminal offence. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, and Russia are among the countries on the list.

However, 55 countries, including India, China, and Singapore, are countries where it is still OK to rape your wife.

The concept of marital rape has not been recognized until today. We’ve been lobbying for a law to make it a crime, but first we need to gather statistics on rape in marriage.

 And according to the latest National Health and Family Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16, 5.4% women have experienced marital rape, under this category. But while the data on marital rape in India exists, marital rape as a crime “does not exist”.

And yet 5.4% of married Indian women say they have experienced marital rape. 4.4% of them say they have experienced marital rape in just the last 12 months before this survey. The figure recorded by NFHS-3 for 2005-6 was 9.5%.

But while the data on marital rape in India exists, marital rape as a crime “does not exist”.

The data also includes entries for “forced her to perform any sexual actions that she did not want to” and “forced her to perform any sexual acts that she did not want to with threats or in any other way.”  Overall, 2.5% and 3.6% of married Indian women answered affirmatively to these categories as well. That brings the number of married women who have been subjected to what would be called rape or sexual violence if the perpetrator had not been their husband to 11.5 percent.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India’ 2019 report, about 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence.

Marital rape exists in the data, but not in law

Despite the historical misconception that rape by one’s partner is a minor occurrence that causes little damage, research shows that marital rape has serious and long-term implications for women. Injuries to private organs, lacerations, discomfort, bruising, torn muscles, tiredness, and vomiting are some of the physical repercussions of marital rape. In addition to broken bones, black eyes, bloody noses, and knife wounds, women who have been assaulted and raped by their husbands may experience other physical consequences such as broken bones, black eyes, bloody noses, and knife wounds as a result of the sexual violence. Miscarriages, stillbirths, bladder infections, infertility, and the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases like HIV are all gynecological repercussions of marital rape.

Women who have been raped by their partners are likely to experience significant psychological repercussions. Anxiety, shock, acute dread, despair, suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the short-term symptoms of marital rape. Disordered eating, sleep issues, depression, difficulties forming trusting relationships, and increased negative thoughts about themselves are all common long-term impacts. The psychological consequences are likely to linger for a long time. For years after the abuse, some marital rape survivors describe flashbacks, sexual dysfunction, and emotional pain.

OTHER COUNTRIES’ LEGAL STATUS

In the United States, experts estimate that 10% to 14% of married women are raped throughout their marriage. Researchers discovered that marital rape accounted for almost 25% of all rapes when they looked at the frequency of different types of rape. Given the popularity of marital rape, social scientists, practitioners, the criminal justice system, and society as a whole have paid little attention to the issue. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that society began to recognize the possibility of rape in marriage. Until recently, the usual rule was that a husband could not be convicted of raping his wife because he has an implicit right to sexual intercourse with his wife under the marital contract.

Resistance restrictions are still in place in the majority of American states. There are no exemptions for husbands from rape prosecution in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. There are still certain exemptions for husbands from rape prosecution in thirty-three states. In several of these thirty-three states, a husband is excused from prosecution when his wife is most vulnerable (e.g., she is mentally or physically disabled, unconscious, asleep, etc.) and legally unable to consent. The majority of States have certain spousal exemptions, indicating that rape in marriage is still considered a lesser offence than other types of rape.

When we look at the laws of various countries, we can find that most of them punish rape both within and outside of marriage.

In Australia, for example, if a person has achieved the age of 16, he or she can petition to a judge or magistrate for an order permitting them to marry.

By 1991, however, the marital rape exception had been repealed in every state in Australia.

In New Zealand, a person under the age of 20 but over the age of 16 can only marry with the approval of their parents. For women, the age of sexual consent is similarly 16 years. The New Zealand Crimes Act of 1961 makes no provision for marital rape. In 1985, the marital rape exemption was repealed.  In the United Kingdom, a marriage between two people under the age of 16 is void.  In 1991, the marital rape exemption was completely repealed.

A marriage between two people under the age of 16 is void in the United Kingdom. In 1991, the marital rape exemption was completely repealed. In Egypt, the age of majority is 21 years old for all legal reasons except marriage. The legal age for consent is 18, and intercourse with a female under the age of 18 is considered rape under the penal code.

Various states in the United States have different laws. In the United States, the marital rape exception has been repealed in 50 states. In Indonesia, the age of majority, as well as the age at which girls and boys can marry, is 16 for girls and 19 for boys. A girl’s legal age for giving valid consent to a sexual act is also established at 16 years. Any marriage that occurs before the age of majority is null and invalid.

LEGAL POSITION IN INDIA

In India, marital rape is legal but not de facto. While in other nations, the legislative has either criminalized marital rape or the judiciary has actively participated in recognizing it as a crime, the judiciary in India appears to be working at cross-purposes. The Supreme Court ruled in Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty that rape is a crime against basic human rights and a breach of the victim’s most prized fundamental right, the right to life, which is contained in Article 21 of the Constitution. However, it contradicts this declaration by failing to recognize marital rape. Though there have been some advancements in Indian domestic violence legislation, they have mostly been limited to physical rather than sexual abuse.

This established the notion that a woman does not have the right to refuse sex with her spouse once they are married. This gives husbands sexual access to their spouses, which is in clear violation of human rights principles and gives husbands permission to rape their women. The rape legislation only applies to two types of married women: those under the age of 15 and those who are separated from their spouses. While rape of a girl under the age of 12 may result in a sentence of ten years or more in jail, rape of a girl under the age of 15 results in a lower punishment if the rapist is married to the victim. When Section 376-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, was added in 1983, it made some headway toward criminalizing domestic abuse against the wife.

The Law Commission’s proposed definition of sexual assault, which is wide, complete, and acceptable, could be used in place of the existing term of rape in Section 375 IPC, according to the report. The Task Force, like the Law Commission, stopped short of suggesting that marital rape be included in the new definition. Currently, India’s legal framework is severely inadequate in terms of safeguarding women’s bodily integrity and sexual autonomy.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

The RIT Foundation is a non-profit organizationcreated in 2009 by Dr. Chitra Awasthi, an educationist, writer, and philanthropist. The RIT Foundation is collaborating with a number of non-governmental organizations in India to promote social and gender equality.

In 2015, they filed a petition – RIT Foundation v. Union of India writ petition c no. 284 of 2015 seeking to criminalize marital rape. It will be coming up before the Delhi High Court for final hearing early next year.

“The first step to breaking the silence is having the tool to validate,” Chitra Awasthi says. The last refuge of male dominance is the control of women’s sexuality and bodies. It will take time to smash it. However, as a society, we must begin a dialogue and put pressure on lawmakers to act.”

Respondent’s Background

Dr. Chitra Awasthi is the president and founder of RIT Foundation. She has been working as an educationist with children and young adults for the past 36 years now. She is well-known in academics for her psychological insights and comprehensive understanding of holistic living solutions. With a postgraduate degree, a university topper, in sociology from Kanpur University, she has authored a wide range of books on sociology and allied subjects. Her major interest, however, has always been in religion and spiritualism. She has translated, edited, and produced secret treasures from English, Sanskrit, and Hindi, and she is an eager student of spiritual literature in the Indian tradition. Rit International is her first foray into the corporate world. She does, however, wish to help share the same knowledge to children who are less privileged, so that they can benefit from high-quality education and knowledge.

How The Lamestream Media Perceives Gaming

Credits – goomba stomp

On 17th October, 2021,the Times of India published an article under ‘Talk It Out’
A segment called ‘Gaming addiction can take a toll on your wallet and relationships’.

The segment published that day had three questions in which only one was concerned with the issue of spending money while gaming; the question was: “My husband is totally addicted to gaming and is betting and losing money….What can I do to help this situation and get him to De-addict”.

In that question, there is a major error, substituting gaming for gambling would correct this mistake. The response by the expert counselor doubled down on the argument of gaming saying it was “addictive and difficult to disentangle from.” While I do think the issue of gambling is serious, miswording it does major damage to the already adverse image of gaming as in computer gaming or mobile gaming. In the article, the rest of the two questions were completely unrelated to the headline and the headline was misworded just for the sake of attention-grabbing.

On 4th October, The Hindu published a piece called ‘Gaming disorder increases during pandemic’. The article starts by mentioning a 15-year-old buying a smartphone during the pandemic and now playing games for eight hours a day and then dives into the problem of gambling and banning of gambling and fantasy apps like Poker which have financial stakes.

The article is another great example of goodwill but misjudgment. You should not write about something as serious as gambling addiction and mix it with the whole of gaming (which includes a wide array of forms). Playing a game like Age of Empires (a real-time strategy game) when you are 15 will not lead you to become a gambling addict at 21. Gaming is not just one thing or a single game. The advent of gaming as a form of pop culture in India is met with naive writing on a subject like this. There are downsides to gaming for the youth, excess of anything is harmful but misrepresenting a particular thing will lead to its disregard and indifference, which is what the conservative media wants to happen apparently.

Sources

The Time of India Article: Gaming addiction can take a toll on your wallet and relationships

The Hindu Article: Gaming disorder increases during pandemic

INFIDELITY

Credits – Behance

INTRODUCTION

Infidelity can be better defined as any act that violates an open or explicit agreement

between two people, thereby damaging the relationship. It usually means having an

emotional or intimate relationship other than your partner.

Deception is one of the most devastating and destructive things that can happen in a

person’s life. It can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, depression, increased risky

behaviours and cause real physical pain.

All infidelity violates the supposed or implied marital union, whether that be emotionally or

physically.

Relationships in which more than two people are involved are known as Polyamory

relationships. In non-monogamous behavioural relationships, partners can practice flipping

or polyamory (having multiple romantic relationships at the same time). These programs

promote honest communication and consent between all members and is not an example of

infidelity.

Now, how does Infidelity affect society?

Disloyalty to a person is like a storm. When it floods you, you and everyone else are thrown into many different places. When parents are in trouble so are their children. When a house burns down, children and adults are left homeless. The same can be said of infidelity. Confusion, fear, uncertainty, anger, tears, withdrawal, suspicion, frustration, fighting affects everyone in the family and especially children who are naturally more sensitive and rely on their parents for emotional and physical stability and security.

For young adults, infidelity can wreak havoc on trust, and infidelity can have devastating effects on a person’s mental and physical health. The condition is associated with depression, anxiety and unhealthy coping strategies such as poor diet and substance abuse. Some mental health professionals believe that there may be a similarity to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Types of Infidelity

• Physical Infidelity: Physical or sexual contact outside of relationships. There may or may not be an emotional attachment between partners.

• Emotional Infidelity: Emotional attachment or intimacy with another person. Emotional affairs can do as much damage, if not more, to a relationship as a physical affair.

• Cyber Infidelity:

social media has made it easier for people to engage in online

messages, chats, forums, or groups with sexual content. Cyber infidelity also

includes viewing erotic stimuli, such as porn.

• Object Infidelity:

Excessive love or interest outside of relationships can lead to

what is known as materialism. This is a situation where one partner is too focused on

something like their job or their phone, causing disruption in the relationship.

Credits – neil webb

Data And Facts

Statistics report that anywhere from 40-60 percent of adults in committed relationships commit acts of infidelity and despite popular opinion, there is no significant difference in these percentages between men and women. Not only has dishonesty in the workplace become increasingly common but it has also become easier to deal with dishonesty on the Internet and social networking sites.

Taoism- finding your own “way”

Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy. This philosophy was supposedly written by Lao Tzu during 500 B.C.E. We don’t know if Lao Tzu existed. We have no living proof of his presence. Taoism is a philosophy that is based on non-doing. Not getting in your way. Respecting the natural flow of this universe. For example, if the force of the river is on the right side then you’d be a fool to swim towards the left side. Taoism is about going with the force of life or with the TAO. Tao is not a god but it’s us all, every living being is a part of the tao.

One of the key things about Taoism is yin & yang. It talks about the balancing force of this universe. Action and non-action, dark and light, hot and cold. Every example has meaning because their opposites exist. There is no action without non-action or no light without dark. This teaches us to accept all things for what they are. Taoism finds power in the natural truths of life. It promotes harmony. When we accept the natural form of this universe, we become one and attain harmony. The tao can’t be explained or held. It can only be felt by letting go.

“Look, but you can’t see it.

Listen, but you can’t hear it.

Reach out, but you can’t touch it.

Invisible,inaudible,intangible.

Elusive.

The one, the tao”.

• Lao Tzu.

What does getting in your way mean? We often second guess our instincts and in some situations that is necessary. Taoism is all about making things simpler rather than complex. Living in the now, acknowledging everything but still detached from it. Creating your own “way”. Inculcating meditation in your life is one way to do it. I can’t stress how much meditation helps in finding yourself. Taoist meditation is a little different from the normal one. It’s more about communicating with your own body.

Like stoicism, Taoism believes in a modest approach to life. If I were to give a personal example, my mind automatically dived toward the future and I wouldn’t even know that it did. It was an automatic reaction that kept happening. But since I’ve come across Taoism, this situation has gotten much better. It has made me more accepting of my habits and given me a “way” to deal with them. You can’t change everything about who you are, you can accept it and get better at dealing with it. Taoism helped me do that. The teachings of Lao Tzu make you go into a state of Nirvana. That state can’t be explained because it is something beyond words. The tao cannot be held or explained. It can only be felt.

What is Tao? It is just this. It cannot be rendered into speech. If you insist on an explanation, This means exactly this.

• Yuan mei

Importance of seeking a spiritual experience.

I went into the Osho centre expecting a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on life. I had reached my saturation point and was seeking something meaningful. I learned a meditation technique there which changed my life forever. So the process, is that you have to lay down and breathe slower than you usually do. After doing that, you focus on your left leg and try to breathe through it. You move your attention towards the right leg and do the same. That’ll make your legs very light and peaceful. After doing this, you move all your attention to your navel centre which is the centre of your body and breath through it. If you do this correctly then that’ll give you immense harmony and peace. It feels as if all the negative vibrations are leaving your body. After this, you move your focus to your heart and breathe through it. And then from the face. In the end, you try to feel your whole body and try to breathe through your whole body. After this, you reflect on your meditation and take 3 deep breaths.

I’ve been practising this meditation for the last 2 months and it has made me comfortable with myself. I am now more accepting than ever, more confident than ever. It gave me a roadmap to working towards myself. Meditation makes you interact with yourself. When you do that consistently, you become more sure of who you are and what you want in life. I feel if you have clarity in life, everything automatically falls into place. Meditation definitely helped me do that.

I also met people from different walks of life in the centre. Middle-aged people, old people and young people doing completely different things. But doing things at their own pace and getting better at dealing with it every day. I came across a man whose name is Aditya. He is a middle-aged man in his 30s. He is not married and lives alone. In India, more often than not you expect a man in his 30s to be married cause that’s what society dictates. But he was completely free and detached from the social bounds we have. He was an artist working as a freelancer for the last 10 years. His energy was just different from the normal crowd. It was so refreshing to meet someone like that.

I always wanted to inculcate meditation in my life but I never had the discipline to do it until I started going to this centre. Meditation is so helpful for any human being because it makes you more conscious about yourself and when you are self-aware, you tend to make better decisions that affect you and you are aware of your flaws and you respect them. You find a way to deal with your vulnerabilities. I’d encourage my fellow members to go and seek out a spiritual experience free from the bounds of bureaucracy. This experience was personally so therapeutic for me and encouraged me to think in different ways and change my brain pattern towards life. It made me conquer my fear. And the only way to conquer fear is to accept it. I’d leave it at that.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder that involves intense fear of social settings. Everyday interactions can cause a significant amount of anxiety, and self-consciousness, due to the constant fear of being scrutinized and judged negatively by people. According to ICD-10 guidelines, the main diagnostic criteria of social phobia are fear of being the center of attention or behaving in a way that will be embarrassing or humiliating. 

People experience anxiety in several social situations, from meaningful encounters to everyday trivial ones. They can experience overwhelming anxiety or fear in social situations, such as meeting new people, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, talking to a cashier in a store, answering the phone and making new friends. Even everyday things like eating or drinking in front of others or using a public restroom may cause anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is referred to an illness of lost opportunities where “individuals make major life choices to accommodate their illness”.

Social anxiety disorder is known to appear at an early age in most cases. 50% of people with this disorder develop it by the age of 11, and 80% develop it by age 20. This early age of onset may lead to people with social anxiety disorder being particularly vulnerable to depressive illnesses, substance use, and other psychological conflicts. Generally, social anxiety begins at a specific point in an individual’s life, which develops over time as the person struggles to recover. Eventually, mild social awkwardness can develop into symptoms of social anxiety or phobia. 

Social anxiety isn’t the same as just “shyness”. Shyness is short-term and doesn’t impact daily life majorly or lead to excessive social avoidance. Whereas social anxiety is persistent, interferes with everyday life, and disrupts one’s ability to attend school, work, and develop close relationships. This disorder could lead to the following:

Low self-esteem

Trouble being assertive

Negative self-talk

Hypersensitivity to criticism

Poor social skills

Isolation and difficulty in social relationships

Low academic and employment achievement

Causes:

Research into the causes of social anxiety and social phobia is wide-ranging with encompassing multiple perspectives. Scientists haven’t yet figured out the exact cause. Studies suggest that genetics can play a part in combination with environmental factors. 

Genetics: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. Studies suggest that parents of people with social anxiety disorder tend to be more socially isolated themselves, and shyness in adoptive parents is associated with shyness in adopted children. Growing up with overprotective and hypercritical parents has also been associated with social anxiety disorder. Adolescents who found having an insecure (anxious-ambivalent) attachment with their mother as infants were twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders by late adolescence, including social phobia 

Brain structure: A structure in the brain called the amygdala could play a role in controlling the fear response. People who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing more anxiety in social settings.

Social Environment and Experiences: A social anxiety disorder may be a learned behaviour. Half of the people diagnosed had the anxiety worsened due to a specific traumatic, unpleasant or embarrassing social situation. Direct experiences, observing or hearing about the socially negative experiences of others, or verbal warnings of social problems and dangers, may also make the development of a social anxiety disorder more likely. Longer-term effects of not fitting in or being bullied, rejected, or ignored are also causes. 

Signs and Symptoms:

Physical Symptoms

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Blushing
  • Blurred Vision
  • Shaking
  • Dry Mouth
  • Trembling Voice
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle Tension
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Dizziness
  • Chest tightness

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Avoiding what makes you anxious 
  • Fidgeting or other nervous actions
  • Isolating yourself and limiting actions related to the social situation
  • Leaving or escaping from a feared social or performance situation

Emotional Symptoms

  • Fear of rejection, humiliation
  • Worrying about being left out or being unable to overcome anxiety
  • Feeling defeated as if there is something “wrong” with you
  • Feeling exposed or vulnerable around others

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Racing thoughts
  • Worrying about what people will think
  • Believing everyone is looking at you or judging you 
  • Thinking it is not worth the discomfort of trying to socialize 
  • Assuming the worst about a situation or interaction
  • Analyzing social interactions after it’s over
  • Negative evaluations of yourself

Diagnosis:

Clinicians use a predetermined set of criteria to diagnose SAD, also known as the DSM-5. The following is an overview, which also corresponds to its presentation and help with the understanding of social anxiety disorder. 

Fear or anxiety is evident in social situations, where possible scrutiny may be experienced.

Aversion to situations in order to avoid getting embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected.

If the person is able to endure it, it is often done with intense fear or anxiety

Anxiety experienced by an individual that is not proportional to the situation

If the fear or anxiety has lasted for 6 months or longer.

When an individual experiences anxiety or distress that affects their daily living 

Anxiety or fear that is not associated with a medical condition, medication or substance abuse

Treatment:

Treatments depend on the severity of your emotional and physical symptoms and how well you function daily. The length of treatment also varies. Some people may respond well to initial treatment and not require anything further, while others may require some form of support throughout their lives.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: CBT is the first-line psychotherapeutic treatment for this disorder. It is a type of psychotherapy useful for treating social anxiety disorder. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help you feel less anxious and fearful. It can also help you learn and practice social skills. CBT delivered in a group format can be especially helpful. 

Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy involve a therapist helping you to understand underlying issues from childhood that may have contributed to your social anxiety. It is most useful for people who have deeper unresolved conflicts contributing to their anxiety. Psychoanalysis may also be useful in some instances to explore potential resistance to change.

Support Groups: Many people with social anxiety also find support groups helpful. In a group of people who all have a social anxiety disorder, you can receive unbiased, honest feedback about how others in the group see you. This way, you can learn that your thoughts about judgment and rejection are distorted. You can also learn how others with social anxiety disorder approach and overcome the fear of social situations.

Medication: There are three types of medications used to help treat social anxiety disorder – 

Anti-anxiety medications

Antidepressants

Beta-blockers

Social media outage: A glitch turned fatal

The dependency of societies on technology is undebatable. Social media has emerged as a saviour amidst the pandemic which made it very challenging to stay connected in terms of our personal and professional life. However, the recent social media outages have revealed a scary fact: we cannot afford them. They cause damages to as many sectors of society as technology benefits.

Effects on economy

Facebook, home to one of the largest social media networks across the globe, upon recently facing a major outage and disruption in its services like WhatsApp and Instagram, took entrepreneurs by shock as their sales dipped dramatically and they scrambled to cater to the increasingly impatient customers. From beauty and clothing to food delivery, many industries were simultaneously affected. The services were completely stalled for hours which created a lot of stress and panic.

Facebook itself suffered revenue losses of billions and the world economy had to pay the price. The small-scale advertisers, influencers, and content creators were forced into helplessness as their only methods of interacting with the audience and making ends meet suffered a blow. Such financial dependence on social media continues to prove itself a major cause of concern.

Effects on education

Social media has been a boon for the education sector, providing students and educators around the world with ample opportunities to enhance knowledge sharing, despite the uncertainties of a global pandemic. But the outages on educational platforms have proved to be costly. Zoom, for example, suffered major glitches which were very inconvenient and caused communication problems between students and educators, which, in turn, is detrimental for their academic growth.

Moreover, educators also feel the pressure to rush through the materials since these technical issues take much time to be fixed. Many other platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube, which are also used by educators to keep the students updated, upon facing such issues, create a lot of panic and confusion.

Effects on mental health

Social media is constantly used by many as a way of entertainment and recreation. It allows us to relieve stress and cope with day-to-day life. But many people also use it as a form of escapism and eventually become addicted. Outages expose them to periods where they experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. When their mental health and happiness are dependent upon an external source such as social media in the form of validation received through likes and comments, feelings of anxiety, stress and emptiness creep in when those services are stalled for hours.

Not only are they unable to connect with others to reduce loneliness but they also get stuck with their negative thoughts which have a very poor effect on their overall well-being. Research shows that social media is one of the leading causes of depression as it is designed in such a way that people automatically fall into the trap of comparison and information overload.

Is there a way out?

While social media outages are abrupt and often uncontrollable, as individuals, we can educate others and take steps towards reducing our dependence on it in some ways-

  • Limiting screen time – Instead of scrolling endlessly for hours, social media can be used mindfully by delegating certain hours of the day to it while engaging in other activities and hobbies during the day. This would ensure that our well-being is not compromised and we can successfully achieve our goals.
  • Spending time with others – Be it a family member, friend or even a pet, we must make sure that we have some company so that we do not slip into loneliness or other destructive habits which can worsen social media addiction. Participating in volunteering work or joining local communities that align with our interests is also a great way to be more active physically and mentally.
  • Social media detox – Refraining from using technology and social media for a fixed amount of time is also a good method to overcome social media dependency. Taking help from family members and friends, identifying triggers which guide the over-consumption and making a planner to track its effects on daily mood are some helpful ways that can make this process easier.
  • Choosing alternatives – In the case of finance, we must make sure that social media is never the only source of making ends meet. We must always be prepared and have enough skills to tackle the challenges of a physical workspace in case our social media business comes to a halt. Multiple courses can be easily found, online or offline, which can aid us in the process.

Social media outages serve as a reminder that although it is a great source of education, entertainment and much more, it has an unpredictable aspect to it which can prove to be damaging if we do not gain control over our online consumption. Hence, we must learn to strike a balance between our online and offline worlds.

“Like all technology, social media is neutral but is best put to work in the service of building a better world.”

Simon Mainwaring

MENTAL HEALTH/WELLNESS

Psychological well-being is a significant concern worldwide and India isn’t a long way behind in sharing this. In the event that we assess improvements in the field of emotional wellness, the speed seems, by all accounts, to be slow. Dr. Brock Chisholm, the principal Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), in 1954, had perceptively proclaimed that “without psychological well-being there can be no obvious actual wellbeing.” More than 60 years after the fact, the situation has not changed generously. About 14% of the worldwide weight of infection is credited to neuropsychiatric problems. The weight of mental issues is probably going to have been thought little of in view of insufficient enthusiasm for the between play between psychological maladjustment and other wellbeing problems. There stay significant issues of need setting dependent on the weight of medical issues and of addressing disparities according to determinants and answers for medical issues.

Progress in emotional wellness administration conveyance has been delayed in generally low-and centre pay nations. Boundaries incorporate the current general wellbeing needs and its impact on subsidizing; difficulties to conveyance of emotional wellness care in essential consideration settings; the low quantities of those prepared in psychological well-being care; and the absence of psychological well-being viewpoint in general wellbeing initiative. There have been various calls for conjuring political will, for upgrading support and for arousing local area cooperation; all with meagre improvement in results.

Along these lines, it turns out to be currently fortunate to investigate the worldview of psychological well-being mindfulness as a method for fighting shame, upgrading counteraction, guaranteeing early acknowledgment, and furthermore animating straightforward and down to earth mediations inside the local area. Today there are open doors as far as developing affirmation of mental problems as key focuses of worldwide wellbeing activity, just as of utilizing new innovations especially web, enormous information and phones in intensifying straightforward field intercessions discovered effective in essential consideration and different echelons.

MENTAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH AWARENESS

Psychological wellness mindfulness crusades have yielded positive results. A portion of the procedures embraced to target mindfulness and address shame around psychological instability incorporate interest by relatives, sharpening to treatment and social consideration. Absence of information about the psychological sicknesses represents a test to the emotional well-being care conveyance framework. Examination plays featured the part of local area based frameworks in low-pay nations and has additionally yielded positive outcomes in making mindfulness, in this manner affecting support.

Mindfulness and wellbeing education are two of a kind. Shame and separation are unfortunate results of obliviousness and deception. There are a couple of studies which have estimated emotional well-being education in the Indian setting. One investigation observed emotional wellness proficiency among youths to be extremely low, for example sadness was distinguished by 29.04%

and schizophrenia/psychosis was perceived simply by 1.31%. Shame was noted to be available in help-chasing.

These discoveries support the need to expand attention to psychological well-being. Psychological wellness education is a connected idea which is progressively seen as a significant proportion of the mindfulness and information on emotional well-being messes. Wellbeing proficiency has been portrayed as “capacity to get to, comprehend, and utilize the data to advance and keep up with great wellbeing.” Mental wellbeing education includes acknowledgment, causes, self improvement, assistance of expert intercession, and exploring the data parkway. Mentalities which thwart acknowledgment and proper assistance looking for can be checked by data which is as of now promptly accessible in the public space. There are a lot of instances of mindfulness decidedly affecting emotional wellness results like the Norwegian lobby to lessen the span of untreated psychosis.

THE INDIAN SCENARIO

The WHO has characterized maintainable advancement objectives and explained the effect of psychological instabilities and self-destruction on them. The self destruction rate in India in 2015 at 15.7/100,000 is higher than the local normal of 12.9 and the worldwide normal of 10.6. Self-destruction is the main source of death among those matured 15–29 in India. There stays a huge unaddressed need inside the populace.

The treatment hole, as estimated by the total contrast between the commonness of psychological instabilities and the treated extent, has been observed to be 76%–85% in less-created nations. One of the significant reasons credited to a wide treatment hole is the issue of insufficient assets. In India, deficiency exists in framework just as in HR. Regardless of enhancements in different wellbeing markers, India contributes lopsidedly to the worldwide weight of infection. Our wellbeing pointers contrast negatively and other center pay nations and India’s local neighbors. A huge extent of the populace winds up ruined on account of high cash based medical care consumptions and endures the unfavorable side-effects of the low quality of care. Undertaking moving to no expert local area wellbeing laborers has been suggested as a powerful methodology for conveyance of solid medicines in low-asset settings. Given the critical lack in quantities of specialists, clinicians, mental medical attendants, and social laborers; piggy-sponsorship on essential consideration frameworks and utilizing inventive competitive edges are future approaches.

Why & How To Stop Overthinking?

Worry is something that each and every person does but what happens when someone worries to much due to a trivial matter and why does that happen? Well, you tend to worry too much when you are over thinking or in simpler terms just thinking too much about a silly matter.

For example, if you are an overthinker, your friend not picking up your call could give rise to theories as vast as the seas and your mind may trigger you to remember any conflicts between the two of you in the past. An immediate action of an overthinker could be calling up multiple times and then texting the person asking if he/she is okay.

This seems too complicated, right? You worry too much about something that might not even be an issue. Overthinking destructs your sleep pattern making you toss and turn at night until it is already early hours in the morning when sleeping in isn’t an option you can choose. This leads to bad mood and low energy which dampens the entire day. And what is even worse is when you meet the person or face the situation you were overthinking about and understand that you lost a good sleep and a happy day because of absolutely nothing!

Why should you stop overthinking?

Overthinking increases the pain felt by the individual due to the stimuli (situation or person). Pondering over the issue makes you feel helpless and destructs your emotional stability making your hurt again and again. It is a poison that can traumatize you.

It does not help the individual to identify solutions for the issue rather it blocks out all the possible solutions and instead one is made to feel incapable.

The positivity within the person is replaced by negative energy due to anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow etc felt due to overthinking.

Overthinking successfully hides the goodness in the situation and highlights all the problems and conflicts due to the stimuli.

It successfully nurtures the insecurities and makes the person accustomed to the feeling of worthlessness.

It fills the person with thoughts about how the individual is not under control of the situation and this feeling stops the person from being prepared for the situation.

How to stop overthinking?

A distraction by doing something you enjoy is the most simple yet best way to stop overthinking. Grab some paint brushes and paint or get to cooking something tasty. Put on a music and vibe or water your plants. Talk to your friends or read a book. Do anything that can make you feel at ease.

Turn to yoga and practice meditation. This can help you be calm and keep your mind peaceful at stressful situation. A few yoga poses helps release certain hormones which triggers your mind to be cool.

Just think about your future as you envision and imagine how trivial this matter would be then. Laugh a bit on how your future self would find your current actions silly.

Take a book and write somethings you did the past week and try to find your happy moments. Reimagine the moments and rejoice in them.

Stop thinking about the problem and instead start channeling your thoughts to find the solutions for the issue.

Confront the issue! Don’t sit back and think about it. If you feel something is wrong, go to the person and apologize or else get the situation to be better.

Now, you might think that you are an overthinker after realizing that you have been in a similar situation but what you need to know is that everyone overthinks at some point of time and that is completely different from someone who cannot stop their thoughts. So overthinking should be stopped because it is self destructing but on the other hand, it is not too fatal and can be stopped with determination.

The Power of Social Media

Social Media plays an important role in the lives of each and everyone  of us . The role and power which the social media possess is immense and cannot be undermined . Just one tweet can change the world . Example : It took Cristiano Ronaldo just thirty seconds to cause a massive damage of crores of amount to the Coca Cola company . Another Example : When one of the greats Naomi Osaka said that she did not wanted to face the press after the game it brought into picture the concern of mental health that the athletes face regularly .

The Profession of Perfectionism

As beautiful but unachievable as the word “Perfection” sounds, the meaning behind the word “perfection-ism” is quite the opposite. Perfectionism starts because of low self-esteem and leads to even lower self-esteem. As I am writing this article, perfectionism is trying to trap me and halt my productiveness, it’s telling me that I shouldn’t write this article if I can’t write it with uttermost perfection in this world. Perfectionism is like unconditional love, we spend our whole lives chasing it, while the ‘intellectuals’ of this world try to figure out if it even exists or not.

Have you seen those paper balls lying around an author’s desk in movies or in real life? Well, they would define perfectionism better than some mere words. But here is the real definition. Perfectionism is often defined as the need to be or appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection.

It is not a mental disorder, however, it can be considered as a mental condition. To get a better insight on this, we need to know about the 3 ‘P’s- Perfectionism, proficiency and procrastination. Basically, perfectionism can lead to either proficiency OR procrastination. In simple words, proficiency is- expertise or improvement and procrastination is- what you have done your whole 11th grade. And sadly, perfectionism has a better chance of putting you into that loop of procrastination than increasing your proficiency.

“Perfectionism in itself is imperfection”

What makes you a perfectionist? -Unrealistic Expectations. Unrealistic can be parental or through your peers. But how can you identify that you, in fact, are one? Let’s take a walk on this.

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The loop of perfectionism
  1. You focus on the results more than the process- If you are not a big fan of making your journey at beautiful as your destiny, you might fit into this category.
  2. You are always afraid of not being enough- Constantly having a feeling that you can never be a 100% in your life can get you into the feedback loop from hell which can effect your self esteem to extents.
  3. You are too afraid of failure- Again, perfectionists get that fear of failure inside their head even before getting started with the assigned task.
  4. All or nothing- You have a thought process that you shouldn’t do that work at all if you can execute it with ultimate perfection which leads to procrastination.
  5. You can’t even take constructive criticism- You see criticism regarding your performance as a degradation to your personality and not as a stepping stone towards improvement.
  1. Start your day with a fresh mind- Morning meditation can help you in diving deep into your conscience and getting to know it. It also gives a productive start to your day.
  2. Follow the loop of productiveness- According to this, one completed task gives us the motivation to start with another task on our list. You need to follow this and alarm yourself if you feel that your chain is breaking.
  3. Stop overthinking- Whenever you feel like you are blaming yourself a little too much for something, think about something which is going to destress you. For me, it is dogs and music, likewise, you will have to do some self analysis to find your contentment.
  4. Don’t push yourself for every small mistake you commit.
  5. Go to therapy- No, I don’t mean listen to Taylor swift songs duh! I am insisting on really going to therapy for this.
  6. Take out time for yourself- Everyone has that one thing they’d do if nobody would be there to judge them. JUST DO THAT THING, without the pressure of being perfect at it.
  7. Remember that you don’t have to be productive all the time- In my case, I used to procrastinate the whole day and feel guilty about it at the end of the day and procrastinate even further. SO PLEASE START NOW if you haven’t already.

Just remember that you aren’t the only one who finds themselves stuck in this loop everyday. You just need to be reminded that you can’t get out of any loop until you change your direction.

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Mental fortitude

How do deal with tragedy? How to deal with mean and rude people?

The term stoics means, learning to endure all the pains without expressing the feelings, in order to live peacefully in society. We all get a glimpse of motivation when we want to change or it’s the new year beginning to ahead with resolutions fired up and making promises to ourselves.

When you are about to start something new or change, you tell yourself that, you are going to lose weight, maintain fitness, eating all healthy foods, spend less time on social media platforms. There is resistance in many forms, one such dangerous resistance is internal resistance.  That whispers in your ear like, go buy pizza, brownie who needs these all boring healthy meals every night? So, this voice of resistance will always be the constant pain in the ass. There has to something deeper driving within you to answer all the Why you are doing? Ask yourself that how much pain you will bear it?

The two powerful tools are pain and pleasure. you must be willing to do things you have never done before. Make your pain strengthen, when you are about to give up on your work. It makes you wiser. Most of the people are in an unconscious state of chaos. Consequently, people allow all the external forces to control and own their minds and emotions according to it. Then you are not the master of your life. The quotes and opinions of others don’t define who you are and not to worry about it, but your actions decide who you are. To get control of your world, you need to adapt to self-discipline.

Creating a superwoman version of yourself may sound weird but it’s a great way to start getting momentum. At every stage in your life. – from training to work, it is your patience, mental fortitude, and perseverance that make your degrees of the fulfillment of your success greater than any components you can find.
The mental state is something, how we respond to extreme situations? Can you collectively hold your lifestyle while mourning the death of a family member?
Those intense situations test our perseverance and courage. The mental state is like a muscle. It aspires to grow, and be ready to grow. Mental stability is how you stick to the each-day practice. Protect your self-esteem, prepared for anything, the right habits of thinking and attitude for tomorrow will come through training.

Tons of research findings have proven that emotional quotient(EQ) is more important than intelligent quotient(IQ). To develop emotional competency you need to develop a strong mind that does not waver in the face of adversity. Embark your success by knowing your strength and weakness, in the process of polishing all your strength and turns your weakness into wins.

Self-compassion is most needed to understand all your emotions on a deeper level. Understand all your emotional triggers. Emotionally it triggers specific behavior. when you know which situation or circumstances triggers which emotional reactions, you will instantly gain the ability to control.  Be fast to forgive things, when you forgive you will move to closer to the lessons you gained.

PERSPECTIVES OF LIFE

Have you ever looked at someone and wondered what is going on in their mind or what they might be going through? To understand that, we need to know about perspectives. Sometimes people who know us like our best friends say that we looked rude or timid when they first met us, but as they got to know us, they started to like us. That is the impression we make on the people who don’t know us.

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

When we walk on the streets, there are many people who cross us and we have no idea what they might be thinking or where they are headed. But we have no need to know about it. But if that person is standing in front of us, their mood depends greatly on what they are going through and we need to choose our words carefully.

Most of the time when we have a conversation with someone, it is very difficult to understand how they will take in our opinion. Many arguments happen because we haven’t had a chance to explain what we really mean because the other person just listened to what we said first and just fired off from there. We are like that too, if someone tries to hurt us through words that is when we get so worked up and swear that we wouldn’t talk to them again, that they don’t matter to us anymore. Have we ever stopped for a moment and thought about why they said that, and were they in their calm state of mind or whether they really meant it or not.

There is a saying, that a bruise will heal but the hurt made through words would not be forgotten. The words we throw around carelessly has so much impact on how we portray ourselves. At some point of time, that becomes our identity. No matter how much of a softie you are, no matter how much sensitive you are, the way you communicate with people affects how people look at you.

A person who doesn’t speak or express their feelings much can be seen as a cold person, when in reality they are indeed like that and they are indeed a very nice person.

That is another thing, being judged on how we look is unfair. Who thought Stephen Hawking would have been a genius if he hadn’t shown his potential? That is what happened in Minnesota, USA, where black people were for no reason by the white police officers, just because they were black. Gender discrimination is another topic, on the same page of matter.

Communication is key, and we need to make sure we try our level best to convey what we really mean without any filters that doesn’t hurt the other party. From here on, try to think of what you are going to say at least twice or thrice.

Just try to find if whatever you are going to say, leads to a meaningful conversation, if it is really necessary, and if it is hurtful to others. If the answer to either one is no, then please stay quiet. Your day will be much better.

Photo by Robin Schreiner on Pexels.com

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental illnesses should not be thought of any differently from physical illnesses. In fact, I believe the two are inseparable. Because the whole body is connected and interwoven, the two cannot be separated. The brain is an organ just like everything else in the body and can be hurt like everything else. When the brain is ill, it is not isolated in just the brain, but instead affects the whole body and the overall wellness.

The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps people from getting the help they need to get better and causes them to hide their pain.  

Mental health is important. It impacts how we feel, think, and behave each day. Our mental health also contributes to our decision making, problem solving, how we deal with stress, and how we can relate to others in our lives. That’s why, we have to always care about our own mental health.

Current research clearly identifies the importance of mental health to learning, as well as to students‘ social and emotional development. Students who experience positive mental health are resilient and better able to learn, achieve success, and build healthy relationships.

An emotionally fit person will always feel vibrant and truly alive and will easily manage emotionally difficult situations.

Mental illness does not mean that you’re going crazy, and one should not be ashamed of it. Our society needs to change its perception of mental illness or disorder. Mental illness is the instability of one’s health, which includes changes in emotion, abnormal thinking and behaviour

Receiving help is the most important thing anyone can do for themselves. But unfortunately, the stigma keeps people from getting help.  Mental illness should not be something to be ashamed about or thought of differently. When mental illness is treated equally to other illnesses, more people will have the courage to get help and better their lives.

We need to understand that being both physically and emotionally fit is the key to success in all aspects of life. Children should be educated about the importance of mental health, which would help them in breaking the stereotypes around mental health which today’s society has created.

World Laughter Day!

A day without laughter is a day wasted…!!!

Charlie Chaplin

We all know that laughter is one of the best therapy to heal a person. There are many laughter clubs and stand-up comedians who are trying to make people laugh through various antics and therapies. Today is the day to celebrate this best therapy; WORLD LAUGHTER DAY!

Let’s understand how this day came into existence,

It was established in the year of 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria in Mumbai, India. Dr. Kataria was the founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. He was very much impressed with the Facial Feedback hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests the connection of someone’s facial expression to their emotions. This was the basis of the foundation of World Laughter Day by Dr. Kataria and his main aim was to promote health and positivity through laughter.

Every Year, World Laughter Day is celebrated on first Sunday of May. It is marked on 2 May this year. In the middle of the pandemic this day is acting as a ray of hope and brings out a little positivity amidst all these crises. Laughter day is celebrated for the positive manifestation of World peace and to promote global brotherhood and friendship. On this day people come together for some moments of time and laugh their hearts out. It was first celebrated in Mumbai in 2008.

We all know how beneficial laughter is to us. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits:

  • ABS through laughter?: Yes, you read that right. Studies have shown that laughter works just like those ab-workouts. So this means you can also have toned abs without having to do those crunches or HIIT Ab workouts. Thank God!
  • Improves Cardiac Health: If a person is unable to do a cardio workout, he can just laugh because laughter is considered as one of the best Cardio workouts one can do. When a person laughs, there is an increase in the pumping of heart which gradually improves the cardiac health of the person. It is like those sale which says Buy 1, Get 1 free! Laughter not only gives you better physical health but also enables you to have a mental peace providing a good mental health.
  • Reduces Stress: One of the main problem experienced by today’s generation is the stress. Every other person is stressed in one way or the other. When a person laughs the anxiety and stress hormones are cut off hence enabling the person to feel better. It is thus used by many doctors as a therapy against several mental disorders.
  • Releases Endorphins: Endorphins are the natural pain killers produced by our body. When a person laughs, it enables our pituitary gland to release endorphins which gradually allows a person to feel better and more pleasant overall.
  • Lowers Blood pleasure: Laughter impacts our blood pressure levels lowering the risks of stroke or a heart attack.

If we can simply have so many benefits just be laughing then why not let’s just laugh for sometime. Kindly spare 5 minutes of your time to see the following video:

Video By: Rituals Cosmetics Global

As you can see how a simple laughter can bring a smile on so many faces. You can watch some comedy shows, movies or even some stand-up comedies on this laughter day. Let us promise to celebrate every day as a laughter day. Keep laughing your hearts out! Stay Happy, Stay Healthy.

The Modern Age Of Activism

With the advancement of technology and the passage of time, the field of “Social Media” and its influence has expanded and flourished. What began as a place for people to express themselves, share their experiences, and meet new people from all over the world has evolved into an increasingly important forum for addressing socially and politically relevant issues that affect the lives of people all over the world. The claws of social media are so powerful that it is now thought that, because of its inherent strength, it has helped bring the world closer to us, right at our fingertips. Contrary to common opinion, and in light of current events, we must increasingly doubt the influence of social media.

The growth of social media has been measured not only in terms of the number of users worldwide, but also in terms of the number of channels and features available. It has also become a forum through which millions of people can access and obtain information about social and political issues and movements as a result of its development. As a result, the form of contemporary political movements and demonstrations has been formed. The #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements are archetypal examples of how modern-day protests are organized on social media, demonstrating the amount of political participation and interest that can be generated on the platform. Given that thousands of people post their social and political views every day, such a knowledge overload creates a great deal of uncertainty, which in turn influences the perceptions of millions of people who read these posts. Hence, a query arises, ‘Can you blindly accept any news that is shared on social media? ‘Because what we think of as facts or news could just be a piece of someone else’s opinion on a given topic.’

The terms “momentarily” and “fad” can be used interchangeably to describe modern-day social media movements. While it is simple to raise awareness about a significant social issue, both of these movements follow the ‘bell curve.’ When the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) campaign erupted on social media, for example, it caused an instant uproar and drew everyone’s attention. People were not only vocal about their views on racism, but they were also supportive of the campaign. But, after #BlackoutTuesday, what happened? People resumed posting memes and other standard material. Within a few days, the movement that had gotten so much coverage overnight had faded from users’ feeds. When Black Lives Matter became popular, people began using it as a motif for photoshoots, makeup inspiration, and creating ‘Tiktoks.’ The movement’s objective was totally changed, and it was relegated to being a “feature of the month.” When these factors are considered, the feasibility and viability of using social media to raise political and social problems is called into question. Although it empowers millions of citizens and highlights sensitive issues, we now see that it often disempowers people and reduces the sensitivity of the issues it represents.

When it comes to demographics, ‘Millennials’ and ‘Generation-Z’ are the most active users of social media. It has become a hotspot for them to express themselves without filters. The only issue with this culture’s promotion is that it has started to incite a lot of hatred among people. Previously, we had incidents where social media saved the lives of people who needed saving, and now we have incidents where it takes the lives of people due to the amount of hatred it can generate in a split second. While there is no mention of a second chance on social media, there are plenty of unsolicited opinions. Let’s take the case of someone who hasn’t been exposed to bigotry and has an uninformed view about it. On a social media website, the person posts something about his personal opinion. After receiving criticism from others, the same person chooses to reflect and reconsider his position. The individual recognizes their lack of sensitivity and re-posts. People on social media will call it hypocrisy outright, and there would be no space for a normalized response to a shift of perception that may occur as a result of new facts and realizations. This same scenario plays out on different social media sites on a daily basis, and it can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health.

While social media has many advantages, such as bringing the world closer together in multiple ways, we cannot overlook the differences it has generated among communities and people. The term “socializing” has taken on a new meaning in today’s world, and the days of people meeting up and interacting are long gone. Social media has rapidly transformed activism into ‘slacktivism,’ and this fact makes us doubt its viability as a forum for discussing social or political movements, because, while we may think we are making a difference, we are ultimately supporting the ‘clickbait’ mentality, in which anything is viewed as a passing fad.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health is a much talked about topic these days. Earlier people barely talked of it let alone address it as a genuine problem. But this is changing. People are becoming more and more vocal about their mental health issues and sharing their stories over the internet with the hope that it might help someone. 

What is mental health?

Mental health is a total of our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act.

How we handle stress, relate to others and make choices also depends on our mental health.
But with growing restlessness and fast-moving life, we have neglected our mental health. Neglecting our mental health gives rise to many mental problems. It reflects in your mood, behaviour and thinking. 

Not just restlessness and life but there are other factors also that contribute to mental health problems. Including:

  • Biological factors like genes and or brain chemistry 
  • Life experiences like trauma and stress
  • Family history of mental health problems. 

A person with good mental health will be able to realise their full potential, cope with stresses in life, work productively and make meaningful contribution to the community as whole.

Early signs of mental health problems

Some you might know may be suffering from mental health issues without you being completely unaware about it. Notice the following symptoms and reach out to them if you think they need help. 

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Having low or no energy
  • Pulling away from people and social activities 
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Yelling or fighting 
  • Severe mood swings 
  • Having unexplained aches and pains 

There are other symptoms as well but these are the most common ones. It is very crucial to identify these signs and help the one in need or get professional help before the situation gets worse. People who are suffering from mental health problems may also try to harm themselves. Before the situation gets to this, it is advisable to seek help from a professional. 

Mental health awareness

The pandemic had a big toll on everyone’s mental health. Apart from the people who died because of the coronavirus, there were hundreds of people who died because of mental health issues. It was also reported that the number of suicides increased during the lockdown. 

But our society has since very long considered mental health a myth and has continuously ignored the problem. And the main reason behind this ignorance is the lack of awareness. 

More than half of the people still consider depression as being just sad or crying. They are unaware of the fact that a person may look happy on the outside but may be suffering alone on the inside. They still don’t know that depression and anxiety are so much more than just being sad. 

This is where awareness comes in. People and celebrities have openly started talking about their struggles with mental health. This has encouraged many people to come forward and talk about their stories. Many helplines have also been set up for people who need to talk to someone or a professional. 

You can talk to someone you trust or a loved one. But if you feel like the situation is much worse which can’t be solved by talking out, seek professional help. 

It’s not always the person suffering from a mental health problem who has to reach out to help. If you know someone who might be suffering you can also reach out first. Check up on your loved ones once in a while because it might make a lot of difference. 

In the end, awareness is important but it is useless if not brought into action and implemented properly. 

Take It Day By Day

We Generate Fears While We Sit. We Overcome Them By Action.

Dr. Henry Link

We are asked all our lives, by our peers, our teachers, loved ones and visitors, ‘How old are you?’ in schools, functions, gatherings and on the streets. We mumble our answer in a monotonous tone until we pass school or college. After this, we feel as if we are on our own. We start to dread this question. Why?

Because the question takes quite a different turn as we grow up. Often joining hands with another following question ‘Well, what have you done in your life until now?’ 

Leaves us speechless sometimes, doesn’t it? 

How We Compare And Why We Compare

We see our peers doing extraordinary things in their lives. Going around the world, taking various responsibilities, beginning their careers, and making the most out of their time. We judge our accomplishments with their’s and underestimate ourselves. 

The Only Limit To Our Realization Of Tomorrow Will Be Our Doubts Of Today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The dream of early success is so over-glorified, in the media, in society and well, on our dreams itself. The vision of getting a well-paid job in our 20s and settling down in a middle-class luxury life is a common desire. But is this what life is all about?

What about the skills we have acquired throughout our lives? Our experiences? Our creations? Most of all, What good have we done for society? 

What is Life All About?

Life is not just about mere existence. The capitalist world makes us aspire for a luxurious life but speaks nothing on the moral deeds we should do and how learning is a constant process in life, not merely something we finish in schools and institutions.

Learning has no age limit. We are never too old to learn something new and do our part. Several icons of the modern world whom we admire have paid their share of creations well after their thirties and more. 

What You Lack In Talent Can Be Made Up With Desire, Hustle And Giving 110% All The Time.

Don Zimmer

For instance, comedian Steve Carell; who is known blockbuster hit such as “The Big Short” staring as Micheal Scott in The Office, didn’t land his hit role as Michael Scott until 42 years of age. 

Other famous cases of late successes are Ricky Gervais(creator of The Office); Arianna Huffington (Founder of HuffPost) and even J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved Harry Potter books, started writing the first book of the world-famous franchise well into her thirties. All of their life events towards success continue to inspire us in addition to their inventions staying immortal.  

This doesn’t mean we should hold our lives in pause mode and hope for the best, that life will figure itself out as we age. A person must have a moral aim in their life. We must aspire to create, innovate and inspire ourselves at every point since the start. It depends on the quality, not quantity. 

Swami Vivekananda did great things in his short lifetime. One doesn’t have to be him to attain noble things; One should take the great monk’s values and aspire to do charitable deeds in their lives for the society and themselves. 

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda’s popular quote often serves as a great inspiration when we feel at our lowest:- 

Arise, awake and do not stop until the goal is reached.

Swami Vivekananda

A person doesn’t simply become great in a day at something. It takes a deal of consistent effort to be exemplary at something. After all, practice makes perfect. We must fail at times to learn from mistakes and rise strong. Failures are the pillars of success. Famous talk show host Oprah was fired from her job as an anchor, but she took failure as an experience. Now she is one of the most popular figures in today’s world and the cherry on top, a billionaire. 

Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.

Oprah Winfrey

Our aspirations in life might not come easy, be done in a short while, and might often make us discouraged and have us abhor life itself. Don’t care about what others are doing in their lives, go at your pace. During these moments in time, we must remember, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. If there’s a true passion for the right cause, a rational purpose, then no one can stop you from achieving your ambition. Remember as you age, you are not getting ‘old’, you are getting better. 

Digital Detox

It all started a few months back, spending time on my phone was making me feel sick to my stomach. The strive to remain connected was making me feel annoyed, distracted and detached than ever.

Ever since data charges got cheaper and cheaper, using social media platforms one after the other became a part of our day. A routine to be exact.

It started off with taking over our lives when we felt bored at first, time does fly when you’re having fun. The transition to a time when we grew bored of it often. We’re certainly overdoing it.

However it never felt like an addiction to me, but on contemplation it became rather obvious that the struggle was inflicted by the content I consumed. The connectivity was paying a one hefty fee.

As faith would have it, one day it finally hit me. A solution to my problem lies in plain sight. Simple but genius. ‘Why do I have to do it, if it’s not healthy for me?’

A grave moment of epiphany.

The pandemic has fuelled people to spend long hours on their phones. The amount of content consumption should be a reason for concern.

We fancy all that our brothers from the West preach. We try to dress like them, eat like them and when they went onto to discovering social media platforms, we accepted it wholeheartedly.

Now as more and more such brothers preach the need for digital detoxes, this can’t be more true. They more or less do have an elder sibling effect on us.

The solution was ever apparent, for the taking to the ones that seek. We’re all stressed, tensed and severely pumped up than ever before. We all do find it hard to manage time too, and our attention span is just a little more than that of a goldfish.

Above all, the lack of sleep has also been found to have it’s toll on a few. The trends seemed to have circulated a few years back, around the time when the data charges were dragged to the ground.

The very essence of us passing time, being the very reason behind the matter of concern. They say, “the best days are the ones that doesn’t make you check your phone,” so why not do it? Make it a reality.

Social media has helped us out immensely, letting us to be connected to our loved ones around the world. Helping relationships to sustain itself over geographical and time barriers.

However we fell short to draw the boundaries. Boundaries are necessary. Knowing where to draw the line can absolutely do wonders.

The idea of a digital detox seemed a bit paradoxical to me at first. Cutting out the use of any device that is electric, seems far too barbaric, now. Our lives are so entangled that getting rid of it is not an option. However, Striking a balance seems apter by leaps and bounds.

I believe radical changes can cause more bane than boon. Whereas baby steps can take you places. Rather than completely throwing it out the window, imposing restrictions can be the first step.

Reducing the screen time to a smaller periods and then slowly stepping up a notch every now and then.

If it gets better and better, do more of it. After all life’s more about doing things that sets One’s soul on fire right.

Why should one bicker from doing more of what makes you feel better.

I believe in preaching what I believe in, A couple of months down the line, following the following has made me feel so much better lately. I’m connected but disconnected. Life got so much better.

Live and let live, right?

Binge watching and Mankind

We humans are the masters of our domain. At times, us, the masters go berserk by certain pursuits. We do go overboard with things, from petty tasks to pursuits complex.

I believe the quote, “Nothing to extremes, everything in moderations”, from the remarkable book ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’, by writer Robin Sharma is something we all should adhere to. In all aspects of life.

We humans are masters of passing time.
It doesn’t matter where we’re, or what we have, we’ll inevitably find ways to destress or to chill.

We’re the lords who have mastered the art of passing time. Everyone’s a Picasso or your own ‘unique being’ for this matter.

But when the phenomenon of ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) kicks in, beings scramble to ‘fit in’. To find a firm ground to socialise with fellow beings. Gradually paving the way for losing bits and pieces of oneself.

The recent trends of passing timeBinge watching has proven the point well.

It has united the world, that was once divided. Surveys have shown that almost all the generations; especially ‘generation z’ and ‘millennials’, have been ‘swept off their feet’ by a plethora of content to stream and chill.

For the ones that were living under a rock, the ones unaware, binge-watching refers watching far too many episodes of a tv series at one go. It’s funny I guess tv series’ are a thing of the past now. Web series’ being the new black.

Netflix was the catalyst for such a mammoth change in the lives of many. By releasing the entire season of a series to watch all at once. Doing away with the process of having to wait out a new episode every week.

This fast paced life has made such anticipation seem surreal or nerve wrecking to be aptly put. Killing the beauty of waiting.

I guess sometimes you do have to give it time. If not, you lose sight of the whatever’s beautiful in this world in the process.

A true testament that change is part of nature’s way. Embrace the change and go with the flow, or get drowned in the process.

The struggle was real earlier. A few years back, privileged were the ones that had umpteen storage facilities and a high speed internet connection. But the transmission of life into digital has made the struggles fade.

The struggle now is settling on what to watch and finish it before any spoilers. With traditional cable tvs’, cinemas and movies taking the hit in the process. Transforming the entertainment world by a few hundred steps stcsdym a time. The changes are abysmal.

The ‘work from home’ culture just fuelling the way for major streaming platforms to sow millions in this times of crisis. With too much time in hand, people going frenzy to fit in something or the other into their lives to pass time.

Like I mentioned earlier, not adhering to moderations has its own antagonising effects. The binge watching culture has made several beings vulnerable to numerous health conditions.

Having a toll on the body and the mind. Two spectrums of well-being, taking severe hits by the 4G and 5G spectrums, causing many a imbalances in the lives of mankind, as a whole.

Experts have commented that the new culture of bingeing has adverse impacts on health, as the excessive indulgence has thrown the dopamine levels of the body off the charts.

Dopamine being a chemical produced naturally in the body, is a neurotransmitter, which regulates many a actions of our bodies.

The health problems involving both physical and mental. Ranging from severe medical conditions like insomnia, chronic boredom, apathy to depression. The physical effects ranging from cardiovascular diseases, thrombosis and other vision related diseases.


The excessive snacking whilst bingeing also affecting the tummy areas too. Transforming generously the packs into a vast ‘single pack’ in the process.

All this rambling might make me sound like a boomer trying to bully the younger generations. But in all honesty, if you don’t care to stop and analyse what’s happening, then whole of life will slip away before you take notice.

Periodic reality checks should be squeezed into the equation of life. For a better and beautiful tomorrow.

For “Tomorrow has no reality, since every day is experienced as today”, excessive indulgence today might fade out all our realities amidst a global pandemic.

The Psychological Connection to Hobbies

Most of us have had a childhood interest or a hobby which was our favourite pastime. With not much to do all day, we would spend our time engaging in different unique and creative activities. Not only saving us from boredom, these hobbies have provided us with lot of benefits and shaped us into becoming what we are today.

Almost everyone had a favourite pastime activity which would keep us busy in our childhood. Starting from painting, doodling to collecting stamps, pebbles, train tickets and what not. When asked about their hobbies many people were found to narrate happy tales of their childhood. In today’s busy world where it is difficult to even take a day off from work, we tend to lose touch with our creative sides. Thinking about our childhood days makes us realise how long it had been since these hobbies were a part of our lives. Sports, music, crafts have all been pushed aside in adulthood by our busy schedules and responsibilities. In the midst of all these we have not realised how important these had been in shaping us and how amazing it would be to revisit these days by going back to those hobbies.

As children we had many different ways to spend our times. Some of us were into painting and crafts, some were into musical instruments, while some had the interesting habit of collecting stuffs. All these hobbies seem simple but studies show that there is a lot more to it.

There’s a lot of factual information about the importance of art in a child’s development. Researches show that individuals who have been into art and crafts in their childhood are found to be more expressive and have better communication skills. Experimenting with art makes children open to broader ideas and help them handle unexpected situations with ease.

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Collecting is believed to be a psychological impulse. Collection is a historical practice and it ranges from stamps, books, tickets, coins to leaves and pebbles. People maintain the habit of collecting due to various reasons. Some collect due to an interest in the things that the collections represent, while others view collection as a pleasurable form of owning something. The different aspects attached with it makes the psychology behind it so interesting. It has been known that individuals who had the habit of collecting grow up to be careerist individuals in future. As the saying goes “An individual’s childhood is reflection of their life”. Collectors are also known to make better social connections and more friendships.

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Individuals engaging with music from a very young age tend to enjoy musical instruments. Engaging with music makes us happy and lifts our spirits. Studies show that music improve our brain functions and it keeps the brain active. It has also been known that music helps in retaining information and develops memory. Children who have had such hobbies grow up to be smart individuals.

Google had encouraged its employees to devote 20 percent of their time to side projects of their interest. It was a very innovative decision on the part of the company and it yielded amazing results. It has been known that following this, employees have performed more productively in their work and have achieved more. There are innumerable ways in which hobbies help in one’s overall growth and development. Most of us have lost touch with these but we can surely try and revive those habits. In fact, discovering childhood hobbies can make our lives better and make us happier. It feels amazing to revive those countless memories we have with an instrument or a habit. This will also help us become more productive in our work. Investing one’s time in areas of interest alongside their career can yield incredible results and, in the process, will make us better individuals with a more holistic outlook towards life.

Personality Theories

According to the American Psychological Association,Personality refers to an individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.

So this blog will introduce the readers to some important theories used to describe personality.Let’s get started!

1) FREUD PSYCHOANALYTICAL PERSPECTIVE:

 According to Sigmund Freud Father of Psychoanalysis, an adult personality generally has three determinants: Id, Ego and Super Ego.The outcome of the combination of all the three determinants shapes an adult personality. Freud believed than an individual’s personality has three parts and thus is often called as tripartite personality.

  • Id:Irrational demands and urge.
  • Ego:Helps in fulfillment of Id after taking into consideration the reality.
  • Superego:Moral constraints of the individual.

Defense mechanisms play an important role in pushing unrealistic thoughts out of awareness. Stressful thoughts which are threatening to an individual’s survival should be pushed into unconscious mind to reduce anxiety through them.

2)ERIK ERIKSON:PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY:-

Erikson believes there are 8 stages in a person’s life and to enter into the next stage,a virtue has to be learnt from the previous stage and this leads to personality development.He focuses on different identity crisis in a person’s lifespan.As in

STAGE 1:Trust v/s Mistrust;Virtue:Hope

STAGE 2:Autonomy v/s Doubt;Virtue:Will

STAGE 3:Initiative v/s Guilt;Virtue:Sense of Purpose.

STAGE 4:Industriousness v/s Inferiorty;Virtue:Competence

STAGE 5:Identity cohesion v/s Role confusion;Virtue:Fidelity

STAGE 6:Intimacy v/s Isolation;Virtue:Love

STAGE 7:Generativity v/s Stagnation;Virtue:Care

STAGE 8:Ego Integrity v/s Despair;Virtue:Wisdom

3)CARL JUNG:INTOVERSION V/S EXTRAVERSION

Carl Jung established a theory, which saw universal types in human personality. The types categorized by Carl Jung are present in all of us. But, certain types are predominant over the normal mode of organizing our experience.Carl Jung also developed a theory of personality. His theory is one of the type theories of personality, as it involved typology of introversion and extraversion.There are 4 functions :Sensing,intuiting,thinking and feeling.

4)JULIAN ROTTER-LOCUS OF CONTROL

“Locus of Control.” For many people, their only exposure to the ideas of Julian B. Rotter is his concept of generalized expectancies for control of reinforcement, more commonly known as locus of control. Locus of control refers to people’s very general, cross-situational beliefs about what determines whether or not they get reinforced in life. People can be classified along a continuum from very internal to very external.
People with a strong internal locus of control believe that the responsibility for whether or not they get reinforced ultimately lies with themselves. Internals believe that success or failure is due to their own efforts. In contrast, externals believe that the reinforcers in life are controlled by luck, chance, or powerful others. Therefore, they see little impact of their own efforts on the amount of reinforcement they receive.

Thus we come to the end of the blog.This blog is aimed at introducing the readers to the world of personality analysis.However one must remember that human beings are complex and not one theory explains all the human behavior.The readers are requested to read more articles about the same and fill themselves with knowledge.

Give a like,if you all felt this article was informative and interesting.

Thankyou!

Facing the Future: Lessons to be Learnt From the Pandemic

“The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society … For us, this is a crisis and is also a big test.”

With the whole Coronavirus pandemic engulfing the whole world in its clutches, there’s a thing or two humanity had to learn the hard way. Firstly, all strings are attached. If your neighbour’s house is on fire, then it is not the time to judge his doings, his karma, even shielding your own house isn’t advisable. Run for him, save his house put off the fire first. Secondly, invisible thing mess us up better, whether it is your so called almighty or a deadly virus. Third, public are the second priority for any government, obviously, first is their party. Lastly, home isn’t sweet home but a jail if you live locked in it for months. It eats you, it’s door is like mouth and you’ve walked into it yourself, and can’t find an escape route.

We, as people, have started craving human connection. What happened to conversations? We are all stuck in this same catastrophe, feeling like there’s nothing left to say. We focus on the weather, pretend its something new. There’s an elephant in the room that keeps us standing six feet apart. We all miss human touch. We now feel like an empty shell, once fuelled by love, now left to rot. It’s hard to speak these days. Respirators and cloth masks return our warm breath and words against our lips and cheeks. Many of us haven’t seen a smile in weeks. Even if our mouths weren’t covered, I’m not sure I would see a smile in these conditions. These are dark times. There’s a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so afraid we’ll all forget these lessons, as we open back up, and cause greater destruction. It’s really sad that coronavirus is creating a point of shared experience between the chronically ill and disabled and generally healthy people all forced to stay at home. And while it will be handy going forward to explain to people who think me being home on disability must be nice, I can now say “remember coronavirus?” But at the same time, people have died and are dying just so ablest get a taste of what disability living is like.

The pandemic has also taught us a few valuable lessons that can’t be ignored in the future.

• Foundational research may be expensive, but it is necessary.
• No country can deal with a crisis like this on its own.
• A strictly for profit health care system is not prepared to deal with a pandemic in any way, shape or form.
• Instead of equating wealth to success, as we have done until today, we will need to start equating positive contribution to society with success.

We can see some signs of such a motion during the pandemic in the praise that health-care workers receive for their efforts to help the often-unmanageable amount of coronavirus cases. However, we need to further internalize this redefinition of success, as our social connections, life engagements, work and social values all stem from it: There is nothing successful in being individually successful and wealthy at the expense of others. Success lies in creating a positively-connected society, where its members take responsibility and care for each other, contribute to each other’s well-being, and promote to each other the need for centering everyone’s focus on benefiting others instead of benefiting our individual selves.

The world is learning about the need to be more considerate of everyone, as we all depend on each other. However, I think that an extra “push” on our behalf to further implant this understanding will serve to better balance us with the tighter interdependence and interconnectedness that the coronavirus era has revealed to us.

Whatever silver lining we can find in this crisis will, however, always be tainted by travesties we had to endure, because we had the knowledge and tools to do a lot better and save more lives.

Screenshot_20200731-114044_Chrome

A key way to fight a pandemic is with positive chaos, to sew kindness and love into the fabric of society at every opportunity possible.

The Importance of Solitude

Human beings are social creatures who seek to be in community. Relationality is an important aspect of our selves as we tend to develop our perceptions of ourselves through others. However, that is not the only thing necessary for us to have a healthy conception of who we are and what matters to us. We currently live in a world where constant interaction is privileged over taking time alone. We are always called to act, to do things quickly, to be efficient, and to be productive. Add to this equation the phenomenon of social media where we are continuously being exposed to the lifestyles and opinions of others, it is certain that we are more socially connected than ever. Yet, we find that all this boom in productivity and immersion in socializing has not really helped us better our relationship and communication skills. Rather, it seems to have done the opposite with more people finding it more difficult to maintain any relationship and social media considered one of the loneliest spaces to be in. It is in this context that we have to regain the concept of solitude, of healthy retirement from constant socializing, and of learning to understand oneself.

cheerful young woman with red leaf enjoying life and weather while reading book in autumn park
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

People often tend to confuse solitude and loneliness, and that is a mistake we should not make. To put it simply, we can say that loneliness has a negative connotation and is to indicate a situation where one longs for company but is unable to find it. Solitude, on the other hand, is contentment in a state of being alone where one is not seeking for the presence of another but the presence of oneself. Taking time for oneself comes easily for some, particularly for character types like introverts who thrive in their own spaces and are able to channel their energies well without external interventions. It might be harder for others who are social butterflies and they might not even consider it necessary. However, it is important to realize that solitude is more of a discipline that has to be developed rather than an inclination, because it does have tangible effects. It is more than just liking to be alone which would differ from one person to the other, but the requirement of time and space for quietness and rest.

Solitude is necessary for us to confront and process our own emotions as well as opinions and prejudices. It is easy for us to constantly move from one topic to another superficially, and thus be unaware of what we ourselves might be unconsciously endorsing or defending. It also limits us from completely placing our worth on something as fickle as the opinion of others or their treatment of us. It is vital that we spend time effectively switched off from the rest of the world so that we can choose how to spend our energies as well. Otherwise, we will burn out and be unable to contribute well to those around or be a good friend to someone who needs us. Solitude, since it allows us to acquaint with our own selves better, helps us in the way we are able to relate to others. Unless we know ourselves alone and who find ourselves to be, we will be less capable of meaningfully bonding with another. Thus, solitude has a dialectical relationship with community. It allows for introspection and thereby, better engagement with those around us, letting us see them in newer and deeper ways.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by voices telling us to do and to be a million different things, the practice of embracing solitude is essential now more than ever. We have to find time to log off, to read, to sit in quietness, to think, or just be. This is an effective measure against being pressured into being what everyone else would want us to be and to realize who we are, where our interests lie, and what we care about, so that we can be more intentional and empathetic in our approach towards society and individuals.

Addressing Mental Health

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Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It is all about how people think, feel, and behave. Trying to tell the difference between expected behavior and signs of mental illness isn’t always easy, there is not a simple standard test to diagnose someone with a mental health issue. Having a gene with links to a mental health disorder, such as depression or schizophrenia, does not guarantee that a condition will develop. Likewise, people without related genes or a family history of mental illness can still have mental health issues.

Mental health conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety may develop due to underlying, life-changing physical health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain. Each issue related to mental health has different symptoms but the common signs of disturbed mental health in adults and teenagers can be excessive worrying or fear, confused thought or problems concentrating and learning, extreme mood changes, avoiding friends and social activities, strong feelings of irritability and anger, difficulty in relating to people, change in sleep schedules or feeling tired all the time, change in eating habits, delusions or hallucinations, overuse of alcohol or drugs, suicidal tendencies, inability to carry out daily activities, and changes in personality.

Photo by Zachary DeBottis on Pexels.com

Everyone has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter their age, sex, income, or ethnicity. Young children can develop mental health conditions but their behavior and symptoms are mostly ignored. The most important thing is not to be afraid of reaching out to someone for help, acceptance is the first and most important step towards your mental health. Talk to people you trust.

Acknowledging the warning signs can help, getting an accurate diagnosis helps and for that seeking professional help is a good plan, to begin with. After a proper diagnosis, a psychiatrist can help develop a treatment plan which could be medication or therapy. Getting a proper diagnosis is just a first step, working on your goals is very important. Treatment varies from diagnosis and by the person, there is no fixed treatment of the same diagnosis, for some medication can help while for some counseling or therapy or social support can work.

Trigger Warnings

Trigger Warnings (TW) are labels that we are well-acquainted with today. The term comes from the vocabulary of therapy especially for PTSD, where an individual who has undergone trauma is ‘triggered’ by something that they come across, creating a negative emotional response. It has been extrapolated into mainstream discourse as a measure to help in such situations. ‘Trigger warning’ is meant to be used before content that some may find distressing or triggering owing to their past traumas or experiences. It appears widely on social media platforms, spaces of activism, and even in classrooms to alert students about potentially distressing images or texts that may come up in class. These can include images such as those of violence or mutilation, discussions or descriptions of instances relating to racism, sexism, misogyny, discrimination, rape, murder, etc. , or any topic that is connected to traumas. Trigger warnings acknowledge the existence of trauma and give them legitimacy, allowing individuals to mentally prepare themselves should the content be triggering.

close up photo of caution signage
Photo by Viajero on Pexels.com

However, a careful understanding of the dynamics of trigger warnings is worth looking into in the current scenario since the term is a pointer towards a much larger framework of engagement. Particularly when cancel culture is in vogue and anyone who speaks against anything that is not agreed upon by those who control that space is “cancelled”, labeling what others say as ‘triggering’ can be used as a weapon to attack anyone who might disagree. It is important to note that this is not about legitimate concerns and harm inflicted, but about those who use such labels as a defense to escape accountability or use activism as a facade for their own ends. While there are always individuals whose experiences have made their apprehension of such content extremely difficult, there seems to be an increasing proclivity towards considering being triggered as providing legitimacy, especially if one’s voice is to be heard. A Harvard researcher opines that it only encourages people to see trauma as central to their identity. However, that is not healthy for them. There can come a point when any opinion that might be against or even deviant from the popular discourse among a certain group be considered “triggering”. It can be used to permit behaviors that focus on destroying rather than constructively criticizing. Mindful responses are given away in favor of immediate reactions, creating echo chambers where no one who might disagree is allowed to enter. This only leads to the deterioration of any movement or cause, since it effectively cuts off all engagement with another.

It is also important to understand that while we may be able to move away by seeing the label TW, there is someone, and often a group of people, for whom what we move away from seeing is their everyday lived reality. It is our privilege, to an extent, that lets us walk away. While we should not discount our mental states, we should not promote avoidance as a coping mechanism. Adoption of trigger warnings itself has been questioned by academicians who opine that it only leads to lower levels of resistance and consequently, a decreasing capacity to engage or bring change. It is interesting that therapy for those who have experienced trauma does not go the way of avoiding all triggers, but gradually increasing exposure to them under the guidance of an expert. Only then can we say that the person is on the road to healing. This is a difficult process but considered necessary. Otherwise, the patient will be a victim of the experience all through their lives. And a growing of body of research suggests that trigger warnings do not really help a person who faces such struggles. In fact, it might even have the opposite effect by making him weaker and more sensitive to anything that could potentially cause distress. Seeing TW itself can instinctively cause a negative reaction. This will also render him incapable of adequate response when he might be faced with such a situation in real life without any warning. Avoidance does not help with learning nor with the skills to properly respond. Being fragile in such respects is not something to be aspired to, but something to be dealt with gently for those who are struggling, and to be overcome with support and care.

So, while trigger warnings are useful, the manner in which we think about them might need to change. They should not be an excuse to leave every single time, but more of a “proceed with caution” sign. They should exist as a marker that reminds us of the need for change, and an opportunity to be mindful of how we engage with the content that is presented to us. We might not be able to deal well with all content overnight, but gradually we will be able to not leave the space but stay and meaningfully act in spite of our discomfort, and to provide encouragement to those facing similar struggles. It will also allow us to be better allies to those the mention of whose experiences we find triggering. Our mental health is important, but strength can be built over time with exposure, and we should consider if we are to privilege how something makes us feel over how that something is a lived reality that is affecting lives on the ground, and what we can do about it.

Men sorrows

When we talk about the concept of “Gender Inequality” – It clearly states that sometimes men and women are not considered as equal. These inequalities has been passed on from ages and is still very much prevalent. According to the norms of society, There is a vast dissimilarity of how the men or women shall be treated. Either of the Gender gets harassed in one way or the other. Many people certainly don’t understand the definition well and they probably get the idea of Gender Inequality wrong i.e., only the harassments towards women are unjust. This is true that the women face a lot of discriminations on a daily basis across the country. They get abused in their homes then gets insulted in their workplace. This is way too shameful and is a criminal offence in the eyes of Law. Several regulations has been created to ensure the protection of females. But can we say such similar kinds of principles has been made for the Male communities as well? We don’t get to hear a lot about the pressure that has been burdened on Men from the very childhood. They also go through a lot of trauma, they too feel low or disgraced often. Why do men have to maintain an image of being “strong”? Why are they overloaded with so much of responsibilities and is meant to fulfil all of it silently. Why don’t they cry and vent out their sorrows.? Men tend to bottle up their emotions right from their adolescence and that is considered as a “Manly” trait. Society has decided that a Man shall remain silent and aren’t allowed to cry. A boy when gets hurt while playing, the mother hushed him up and said that injuries are obvious for the boys. Such is not the case with her attitude towards the Girl child , they can express their thoughts easily with their mothers. The struggle of a man while growing up remains unnoticed for generations and they won’t get to admit anything to their family. They just have to serve the family according to their whims and fancies. Women are expected to be emotional beings while a Man has to be the “Guardian of the Family”. They have to be successful in life and hence to work day and night for providing a better life to their parents, also to their wife or children. We rarely talk about the sacrifices our father makes for our livelihood. Maybe the “MAN” in our homes never expects recognition, he just goes on working selflessly. A child grows up in such a way that he keeps demanding everything from the father. If a Man cries it is considered to be “Womanly”. A man might not tell you but secretly he needs praises and guidance for his excellent work. Why does a man gets up every time to let a woman or a child sit in seat of a bus even if he is completely exhausted? What about our gratitude towards the Father or his never ending “fatherly love”?

‘Men only likes to count his troubles, he doesn’t calculate his happiness.’ – Fyodor Dostoevsky. In India the suicide ratio of a Man is much higher than that of a Woman, amongst all age groups. Why do the men have to take such a drastic step like suicide? As of 2015, almost two thirds of worldwide suicides (representing about 1.5 per cent of all deaths) are committed by men. This statistics clearly revels that man battles with a lot of depressions more likely, and talking about mental health this is much evident that the Male member in our family seeks support and guidance too. This is a serious issue, Just don’t ignore their problems, this will in turn make them more arrogant. This is the sole reason why the Men become more violent and frustrated, because their voice remains unheard most of the times. They feel hurt and betrayed because they have seen female counterparts receives much more care and concern, even for negligible reasons. Everyone is not greedy or needy, some can be a “Gentleman” too. It is wrongful to shame the whole Men community this way. What about the domestic violence that is happening to Men? Don’t we come across such cases almost everyday? When a man gets tortured or beaten in his own home, does he receives the same remedy a woman receives? Do Courts pay attention in hearing his part as well? Society plays a huge role indeed. There are a lot of cases in which the Husband’s family has been tormented repetitively by the wife and still he was unable to do anything about it? Many a times, there have been false accusations made against a man for any selfish purpose, or just to defame him. Even before the judgement, the man receives criticism and death threats all over the social media. He already becomes a culprit for the society, though nothing has been proved. This demolishes his entire carrier or forces him take away his own life.

Should PTSD get more attention from the healthcare department?

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a traumatic disorder that occurs in people who have experienced something horrifying in life or witnessed one. The reasons can be a road accident, natural calamity, personal assault, or death or disappearance of loved ones.

These days PTSD is affecting many lives. Other than emotional distress, it brings many other health problems like anxiety, depression, mood swings, etc. It affects a person’s day to activities and may stop them from participating in it that they enjoyed once. The stress can sometimes hamper a person so much that they slowly start distancing themselves from their loved ones. It may eventually begin amassing suicidal thoughts. Hence, it is necessary to support people affected by PTSD.

One needs to be extra cautious with these people as sometimes symptoms of PTSD start showing within a few weeks of the tragic incident while at times it may take years too. Initially, it is very difficult to find the reason behind its cause, therefore it is always recommended to see a specialist in case one experiences any signs

Why PTSD must receive more attention in Healthcare?

In our society, mental issues are neglected most of the time. Most of the families do not bring the matter into the limelight as they consider it some kind of taboo or equate them to being possessed by evil spirits.

The National Mental Health(NMH) survey states that nearly 150 million people in our country need Mental Health care, but hardly 50% receive the treatment. We rush to hospitals even at the slightest bit of uneasiness, whether it is abdominal pain or severe sickness. But when it comes to mental health, why nobody talks about it? Why nobody is rushed to the doctor in this situation the same way? We limp!

It is high time that we let go of our conservative mindset and discuss mental health issues under broad daylight. To bring mental health issues under attention, this should not be neglected:

-Survivors should discuss their stories so that others learn from it

-Doctors should share their clinical knowledge and aware people about these issues

-Society must change the negative mind and take health care seriously

 

Friendship And Physical Distancing

Introverts or extrovert, social interaction is a need for everyone. No one is liking the fact that physical distancing isn’t taking place on their terms.

Self Isolation, physical distancing and ‘Real Friends’

To give you a breakup: Some of my friends aren’t taking self-isolation very well. Some don’t seem to be minding it at all. And then there are those who, on the surface, seem to be taking it well, but in reality are carrying the heavy load of being ‘the strong friend’.

In April, a tweet by the handle @/tiamowry got viral, it read “During this pandemic, you’ll really see who your friends are. Who’s really checking up on you? Making sure you’re okay? Remember that when all this is over?”. It was deleted after the backlash, but the sheer number of likes, retweets and all the ‘yes omg, you’re right’ comments it received made it clear that a lot of us follow the same mentality that the tweet reflected. The mentality, in plain words, is being self-absorbed. Sure, all of us want to receive love and feel loved. We want constant reassurance from our friends and family that care about us.

However, to go ahead and suggest that a friend who is not constantly checking up on you isn’t a ‘real’ friend is parochial. This mentality implies that the pandemic is only affecting you and your mental health. It fails to acknowledge that it is also affecting everyone else, which includes your ‘real’ friends.

The last thing you should do is measure the strength of your friendships based on how often a friend is checking up on you as if they don’t have other things that could be worrying them or occupying their time during a pandemic.

Personally, I’ve been checking in on my friends, talking to them as much as I can. Doing as much listening as sharing. In no way am I doing this expecting everyone else to do the same for me. While saying this, it is also important that I mention the context- I’m in an extremely privileged position than most in this whole situation. For one, I have a roof over my head, three hot meals and not any financial burden to keep me worried about. I am someone who can be described as an ‘overly productive’ person during the pandemic. While on most day I like to be buried in work, but there are also days when everything starts to take a toll on me, on those days, sometimes I’m busy pretending to be strong for people even though I can hardly seem do anything for my own mental health. The other times I prioritise myself, something I learned the hard way.

Who SHOULD YOU CHECK UP ON?

There is no fixed answer to this question. It could be people with emotional/mental disorders, your current friends, old friends, new friends, family or even distant relatives. It is okay to do this as long as it doesn’t cost you your own peace of mind. You can not help anyone if you yourself are struggling. If you are over extending yourself it is okay to not check in with people you regularly check in with. You can keep yourself first without dissolving in guilt.

UNLEARNING

Like I mentioned before, I personally don’t take offence to whether or not a friend drops me a text or randomly video calls me. The pandemic isn’t just about me nor is it just about them. It is something that we are all collectively experiencing combined with our own personal struggles.

Take a quick moment to practice a more open and accommodating mindset.

ADHD: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD - Unique Mindcare

An ADHD patient behaves a certain way because they feel like they lack people’s attention, right? Wrong. Actually, People who have ADHD are impulsive and/or unable to pay their full attention to anything. The mental disorder is very common in children and even after therapy and medication, it can still persist in childhood. With increased awareness now, it is easier to detect but earlier, it wasn’t so as so many people discovered their condition in late adulthood, only after getting tested. Detection becomes crucial as it is the first step that an ADHD patient could take towards learning to deal with it as it is not completely curable.

There are three types of ADHD – inattentive, hyperactive and a combination of the two. If a person has the inattentive type of ADHD, they might show symptoms like inability to be attentive during a conversation or lecture and get distracted easily, forgetfulness and losing their things often. These people are also unable to stick to a routine and meet deadlines because they lack organizational skills. If they remain unaware of their state, they might start feeling that they are just inferior to their peer and become depressed. People who have the impulsive type of ADHD get agitated quickly, so much that they become impatient when they have to wait for their turn and they interrupt a conversation often in order to get their point across. 

Imagine having a constant urge to move that you are unable to sit quietly in one place. People who have ADHD are so hyperactive, they often get up from their seat and start to move around in the middle of a lecture. Their energy is evident from the way they can talk nonstop. They also try to multitask or switch from a task to another without completing the first one and switch to something else later. All of these episodes of lack of attentiveness and impulsivity can lead to distress in both personal and professional lives. People surrounding the ADHD patients may try to help them without knowing that they have ADHD, but their advice can make the patient feel even more helpless as an ADHD brain is very different from neurotypical or normal brain. After detection. however, a patient can find their own strengths and ways in which they can deal with their weaknesses.

There are also good sides of ADHD. It brings out some very special personality traits like generosity, fairness, compassion and persistence. Individuals with ADHD tend to be more humorous with exceptional conversational skills. They can also have the ability to hyperfocus which could serve as a great advantage in almost all professional fields. With so many years making trials and errors in just getting on with life, their level of resilience becomes very high. They would also make great entrepreneurs, owing to their spontaneity, risk-taking behaviour and ingenuity. Present a problem to them and they would come up with the most creative, out-of-the-box solutions to them because like Jessica McCabe said, in her Ted Talk, “We not only think outside the box; we’re often not even aware that there is a box.”

Check out Jessica McCabe’s Tedx Talk.

Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Graduating School

It’s again the time to apply for colleges while you’re just out of school. This stage in life always involves uncertainty and stress, and in addition COVID-19 has made it even more challenging for students. Here are some things I wish I knew before I got out of school-

It’s okay to not have everything figured out just yet

I’m sure you have heard all types of questions about your future- ranging from which college would you like to get into to what do you want to major in, from what type of career do you want after college to what’s your plan-B. If you know the answer to such questions then, congratulations you’re the lucky one. But It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to these right now. Most people don’t have their entire life figured out at age of 17/18. You’ll get there eventually. Try exploring one question at a time instead of stressing about all of these at once. Small steps, remember?

Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone

This is probably one of the biggest things I had to learn after getting out of school. It’s so important that you learn to step out of your comfort zone while you’re in school. School offers you a very sheltered environment, but college doesn’t. You’ll have to make ways to achieve things you want and even go and extra mile for them. Inculcating this habit will benefit you in the long run. You surely don’t want to miss out on opportunities in college simply because you were afraid to take a risk.

You and your friends might grow apart

I was fortunate enough to experience my school friendships grow even stronger after leaving school. But this wan’t the case with most of the friend groups in my school batch. It is something that happens when you all jet off to different cities, when you meet new people who you connect with better or when you see that people who you were close to in school aren’t making as much effort to communicate as you are, which happens a lot. It’s highly unlikely for your entire friend group to end up in the same university or college after graduation or for them to make the same efforts they were making when you all were meeting each day. Either way, don’t be discouraged if you realise you’re not as close as you were in school.

ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s your pride or your fear holding you back, try and get over it. You don’t have to force yourself to struggle when you can ask the ones you trust for help. Whether it’s related to academics or your personal struggle adjusting to a new environment, reach out for help. Looking back you will wish you had asked for help when you had the chance to. This will make your life a lot more easier.

PRIORITIzE your health, physical and mental

Learn to prioritize your health and pay attention to what your body needs from you. Pulling all nighters day after day after day will destroy you and your focus. And No, you can’t survive the whole day at college on a diet of lays and coke forever. Don’t skip your meals. Your health is very important.

You don’t have to be the same person you were in high school

College is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. It’s the perfect time to unlearn concepts and opinions that you no longer agree with. It’s the perfect time to to better yourself educating yourself with issues that are revenant around you. University offers you an environment suitable to reinvent yourself, it offers you the space to give educated opinions and to find like minded people who you willingly want to interact with online school where you had to interact with your classmates only. If you were the brainiac that always had a secret passion for art, then join your college’s art club. If in school you were into sports but always appreciated and enjoyed debating, then join the debate club while participate in the sports activities of your choice. You don’t have to stay the same and that’s the beauty of it.

How Can You Avoid Getting Sucked Into Toxic Behaviour Online

A lot of us, without even realising, engage in toxic and unhealthy behaviours online. I’ll shares some tips that I follow for avoiding getting sucked into such behaviours.

RECOGNISING TOXIC BEHAVIOUR ONLINE

People today are always on some form of social media all the time, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, the list is never ending. Though using social media has its own benefits, I feel as though a lot of people get trapped in unhealthy behaviour patterns online without even knowing, as it isn’t something we talk about often.

step 1: Unfollow the ones you compare yourself to

It is a drastic step, but I really do believe that this helps you to stop comparing yourself to others online. If you compare yourself to people online and if you’ve been doing for a while, then it will be natural for you to compare yourself to the ones that you deem perfect. The best way to stop doing this, is to unfollow such accounts and fill your feed with accounts that are raw and make you feel good and real about yourself. After you have completed this step, you will begin to feel positive about yourself when you scroll your feed.

step 2: Make yourself Realise that it’s just one photo not their whole life

When you post a picture on any social media platform, do you tend to post when you’re having a bad day, or do you post it when you know you look your best? It’s more likely that you post a picture when you feel good about yourself, when you’re enjoying yourself, when you’re having fun and you then post the highlight of your day. When we look a someone’s picture, we automatically assume that you know everything about their lives, and that everything in their life is as perfect at their post. When you realise that every single person tends to post only the bits of the day that they love or enjoy, the sooner you’ll be able to ditch the unhealthy pattern and it will instantly make you feel good and much happierWhen you realise that every single person tends to post only those bits of their day that they love or enjoy, the sooner you’ll be able to ditch this unhealthy pattern and it will instantly make you feel good and much happier about where you are in life.

step 3: Set aside time to scroll

But I seem to have even 5 free minutes to myself I will pick up my phone and scrolled through my social media feed as if it is my daily newspaper. But this is something that I am working on and that something that you should aim to change too. The more you endlessly scroll through your social media feed, be it any platform, the more you will be out of touch with reality. That is why it is important to set aside some time for scrolling. In a long run this would allow you to focus throughout the day on things that you actually need to do as you know whenThat is why it is important to set aside some time for scrolling. In a long run this would allow you to focus throughout the day on things that you actually need to do as you know when you have allotted time to scroll.

Social Media can be a positive and an empowering place, but when/if it starts to have a negative impact on your mental health then something needs to change. Start making these small CHANGES today – you can do it

Taking Care Of Your Mental Health In The Times Of COVID-19

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Hey, It’s normal to feel stressed, nervous, anxious, drained or worried right now.

COVID-19 has most likely changed every aspect of your life- your family dynamics, your eqaution with your friends, your social life, your schooling, your career, your interests, your habits and even you. As you deal with uncertainity and all the emotions that tag along, it’s crucial that along with your physical health, you take care of your mental health as well. Here are some things that I religiously follow and have worked for me. I hope they work for you as well!

You deserve patience, so be patient with yourself

  • Allow others to help you when you’re struggling. Don’t be shy to ask for help from those you trust and the ones who care about you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength, strength in acknowledging that you need help and that you’re willing to work towards a better self.
  • Remind yourself that “It will pass”. Like any other moment, any other journey, any other hurdle in life, this too shall pass, for better. We can’t control what’s happening around us, and with the lack of control and constant bugging of how uncertain the times are, it’s important to remind ourselves we are doing what we can and that’s enough for today.
  • Self-reflect and see what you feel is important to you right now.

Reach out

  • Call your close friends and share your feelings with each other. As simple as it sounds, it is therapeutic, and will leave you in a better state than before. This will help lift off the weight from your chest.
  • Arrange a video call with friends, seeing their faces is as close to physical proximity as you can get right now.
  • Text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time, rekindle with them. Maybe reminiscence the times you spent together, memorable moments that you shared, tell them something that remind you of them, go where the conversation takes you.

Take care of your body

  • Since there is very less to no physical activity. Make an active effort to do any form of exercise that you like: walking, jogging, skipping rope, dancing, Zumba, weights, yoga.
  • Get your quota of fresh air during the day. Inhale as much oxygen as you can.
  • Stick to a sleeping routine. In times that are so uncertain and unstable, having a routine can make you feel in control and calm about your surroundings. If you’re having trouble with sleeping, check my article- What should you do if you’re struggling to sleep in quarantine?
  • Practice deep breathing. Try 4-7-8 breathing if you feel anxious or stressed.

Eat your meals

  • Since most of us have erratic sleep schedules it’s no secret that we’re skipping out on meals. Try and eat three small meals each day.
  • Don’t starve yourself. It’s normal to not want to have full meals sometimes. Choose a trusted snack and rely on it whenever you feel hungry but not enough to have a meal.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink 4-6 cups of water daily to avoid dehydration. Warning signs of dehydration can include dizziness, weakness, low blood pressure, or urine that’s dark in color. (source: Harvard Medical School)

Why it’s okay to not be productive right now

Pandemic or not, your self worth is not proportional to your productivity

Like me, if social media has become your only out to boredom, you may have noticed conversations about the notions of ‘productivity’ rocketing. Whether it is your twitter mate updating you with their daily baking sessions or an Instagram friend showing off the pages and pages of work that they finished, or your family groups bombarding you with motivational posts about how to spend your free time, if you have any. There’s so much pressure right now to make the most of this ‘free’ time. It’s exhausting to even try to keep up. The rhetoric around productivity is so romanticised, glamorised and even glorified. However, every time I come across a reminder to be productive, I find myself thinking whether is it really a practical thing or can being productive everyday be a damaging to oneself?

As a university student doing her under graduation, the increase of workload, since the onset of Coronavirus in India, hasn’t gone unnoticed- being given a task after task, a deadline after deadline took a toll on all students. At the start of lockdown, I had internals, I was constantly pulling all nighters revising for the tests, completing assignments and keeping up with the daily workload of the online lessons. In this sense, it felt like nothing even while being locked up in our homes. There was always something that had to be submitted, something that needed to be revised or something that I needed to start working on. I was trying, as was everyone, but oftentimes, it felt like all the efforts amounted to nothing in the end. The workload didn’t end with the end of the semester, having to take-up internships in the middle of a pandemic caused immeasurable pressure and paranoia. My work plans are disrupted by distractions, I find myself unknowingly overextending and the balance between work & free time has become invisible. Not to mention the stress is unavoidable, and I constantly find myself waking up wishing for the day to end.

Is there anything that can be done?

Last year, if someone told us that we would be trapped inside our homes in a state of quarantine due to a deadly pandemic, we would have laughed it off. So, at the time our worst and unimaginable fears are coming true, being plunged into uncertainty does not mean that we have to function effectively alongside it. And therefore, being productive is no longer as important as it was before.

It is of utmost importance to acknowledge that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to use this situation to hone their skills, try new hobbies, explore new passions or build something unforgettable. In the midst of rapid unemployment, losing your loved ones, anxiety caused by separation from friends and family, isolation and loneliness, bad mental health is inevitable- and that’s okay. It’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay needing to take time off. It’s okay to listen to your body. Don’t be mad at yourself for not being able to deal with the situation as efficiently as your friend or your parent or your Instagram mutual. Getting out of the bed at a reasonable time is a task enough. Not putting off taking care of yourself and your needs is a task enough. Keeping up with your friends and checking up on them is a task enough. Spending time with your family is a task enough. Doing these tasks is no where near the perfect productive day I imagined – and it won’t be for a long while. I was meant to be getting excited about interning opportunities and travelling more and capturing more. Now when everything has gone south, the task of prioritising yourself is a rebellious act.

How can we change this mindset?

If you’re anything like me, university and work mean that I can not entirely ignore all my responsibilities in favour of self-care. Prioritising what you have to do is a good start to make sure you can do what needs to be done. Practice different methods or working. For me, sitting at my desk for more than 7 hours, staring at the laptop screen is quite overwhelming, mentally exhausting and doesn’t leave me feeling fulfilled. Taking breaks to perhaps watch an episode from a show that I’m currently hooked to or to mindlessly scroll on twitter ensures that I feel the balance.

This unsettling environment can be taxing. Forgive yourself for making mistakes.

3 Things To Do When A Friend Opens Up About Their Mental Health Struggles

All of us want to be there for our friends when they need us. We want to help them and provide the support in the best way we know. Nonetheless, when a friend tells us about their current struggle with their mental health, it can be challenging to decide what to do or what to say. It is valid to be worried about not making the situation worse or upsetting them by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Here are 3 things that will help you support your friend in a way that’s healthy for the both of you.

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.

1. Listen to them

We are constantly hearing people talk which may lead us to think that listening is easy. However, the goal is to listen and not just hear, to be a good listener, you must be able to put all your thoughts and judgements to one side. Try not to interrupt them while they are taking or rush them into talking. It’s most ideal to have the conversation with them when you do not have something to do soon since this can add to the pressure which could make you want to rush the conversation and make them feel unheard or worse, abandoned. You should also try to stay calm, process the information as and when you receive it.

2. Ask them what they would like from you

Sometimes people just want to be seen, be heard, or just want to get something off their chest. Other times they simply want advice or maybe reassurance. Asking them what they would like from you will help you to support them in the better way and it will ensure they do not leave feeling unsatisfied or unheard. Try to be as honest, patient and kind as possible when responding to your them. In dealing with such situations, you can be most helpful by asking yourself these three questions: ‘What’s best for my friend?’. ‘What would I want the most from my friend if I was in this situation?’ and ‘How would I want to be treated had I been in the same situation?’

3. Check up on them

If you feel mentally stable enough and are able to, keep asking your friend how they are and how they feel, take the time out to candidly listen to what they have to say, keep repeating this cycle. Mental health problems don’t vanish after one conversation. These problems can also be incredibly isolating. Regualrly checking up on your friend is one step closer to making them feel a little less alone, visible and will also serve as a reminder that you care about them.

It is okay if you can’t always be there for the people you love and care about. We all have our own challenges and struggles. If you do not feel up to it, you should signpost them to others who they can talk to like some other close friend, a trusted family member or a mental health organisation that can professionally help.

What should you do if you’re struggling to sleep in quarantine?

For many of us, quarantine has disrupted our daily routines which have in turn affected our sleep patterns. Sleep is essential for the well being of our mental health, so if like me, you’re too struggling to sleep during this challenging time, I’ve picked out three things that have personally helped me to relax and fall asleep.

Avoid checking the news before sleeping

I’ve noticed that if I watch or read the news before I go to sleep, it leaves me with anxiety, feelings of uncertainty, and even stress which then keeps me awake thinking about what’s to come next. Getting your news updates in the morning is so much easier for me as it gives me the whole day to process what’s happening in the world around me instead of trying to process all the heavy information at night.

Create a routine for yourself

For a person who has not believed in maintaining strict routines, I discovered that creating a routine for yourself can help you by providing a structure and offer feelings of normality, which for me now has taken away a lot of the stress. In the time that is so uncertain and unstable, having a routine can make you feel in control and calm about your surroundings. Try and stick to the same sleep schedule at night so that you can follow your daily routine without any trouble.

have a relaxing bath before sleeping

Taking time out of your schedule to have a relaxing bath or shower can help you fall asleep faster and also improves the overall quality of sleep. The cooling down of your body helps build a strong urge to sleep which can send you into a deeper sleep. This is something that has undoubtedly helped with my sleep struggles over the past month.

acknowledge and accept the change

At this time it is very difficult to not feel anxious about what the future holds and what’s to come. It’s human to feel worried about yourself and the ones you love and care about and it is also normal for there to be a change in the sleeping and eating patterns to feel more comfortable. But if you feel like you’re losing control of things around you, take a deep breath in and remember that this will not last forever.

Lets Defeat Insta-Anxiety

The new common question that pops up in everyone’s mind is- How do we move past our anxieties and insecurities so we can grow our personally on social media?

1. Unfollow your celebrities

This can be hard, and it can even take a long time, especially if, like me, you follow hundreds of celebrities alone. It can be hard to break from the habit of constantly checking what your favourite celeb is doing or wearing but for the sake of your mental health you need to make this move.

You can easily find any ground breaking news of your favourite in the on sites like BuzzFeed or Cosmopolitan. 

2. Follow real and actual people

Instead of page 3 celebrities, follow more people who are like you, real people. If you are a writer, follow more writers. If you are a local blogger owner, follow other local bloggers. If you are an illustrator, follow more illustrators. If you just appreciate any form of art, be it singing, dancing, spoken poetry, follow more such artists. You’ll come to realise that everyone has flaws, no one is really perfect. On the upside, you’ll be lifting other talented people up, and they will be lifting you up. All will grow together. 

3. Do your own photoshoot

Take your phone and a tripod if you have one, and just walk around your house. Wander around and see what catches your eye, maybe it’s a well-lit corner in your house that you never noticed before or a tiny window with a sky view. Snap a picture or ten, then move onto the next thing. 

Look for the beauty in yourself and the world around you. Be raw, you don’t always have to filter your photos, you are beautiful as you are. Be as much or as less artistic you want to be while taking pictures. The more photos you take, the better you’ll get at it, don’t give up.

4. Try scheduling your posts

For me, scheduling Instagram posts saves me from a lot of fear. It’s less scary when you aren’t actively thinking about posting something. 

With Facebook’s Creator Studio, you can easily schedule your Instagram posts. For this all you need is a Facebook page and an Instagram page that are connected to each other, that’s it, it is that easy!

No more third-party scheduling apps that don’t even automatically post the images. Now, you can plan everything out in advance, schedule it for whenever you want, sit back and (try to) relax.

How Social Media Affects Your Self Awareness

I recently acquainted myself with a new term called ‘Smiling Depression’. This term is unusually used for people who appear happy on the outside but are in actual fact not happy. Because of social media, this condition has become more prevalent in social media users. 

We all know of Maslow’s hierarchy of our basic needs- self actualisation is one of the needs we have as an individual and we are constantly making efforts to craft this image that is better than the current one. We try so much that this becomes almost obsessive. As humans, we are set up with the basic instincts of self-improvement and we always somehow seem to know how to identify someone who we feel is ahead of us. This creates the an endless loop of ‘smiling depression’. 

Social media is an easy and dreamy out to reality. To create the image of a person who simply wakes up fresh and rejuvenated face, has time for make-up and heads out stylish without even trying to be, but how many of us can testify it as that easy? Very few if any. We all need to realise that regardless of the amount of time we spend creating these social identities online, we are only simple humans. Others are just better at creating and embracing these images and facades on social media.

So next time you are scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed, realise these points before you slip into ‘smiling depression’:

  1. You need a time-out from social media, maybe even for the rest of the day. People are not who they are online, their image on social media is highly curated and does not always represent reality. 
  2. Confront the negative thoughts and ask yourself  ‘Where are they coming from?’. Remind yourself we all wear a mask online, no one is as happy as they appear to be on social media. Everyone has problems, even celebrities. 
  3. If social media is your boredom killer where you scroll endlessly the whole day, logout and grab a book or download gaming app or do something that you like and you’re good at. Be more productive in real life and less online.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

If one is already suffering from a problem with drug abuse and a mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder or panic, it is considered a co-occurring illness or dual diagnosis.

Both the mental health problem and alcohol or drug addiction have their own different signs and symptoms in co-occurring disorders that may interfere with your ability to function at work or school, ensure a sustainable home life, handle the problems of life, and relate to others. The co-occurring disorders also directly impact each other, to make the experience more complicated. The problem of substance abuse usually gets even worse when the mental health issue remains undetected. So when there is a rise in alcohol or substance misuse, mental health issues increase significantly too. You’re not the only one however. Co-occurring issues around drug abuse and mental health are more widespread than many people know. Reports published in the American Medical Association Journal state: About 50% of persons with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one severe mental illness. 29 per cent of the people diagnosed as mentally unstable use either alcohol or drugs.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues - HelpGuide.org

Although problems with addiction and mental health issues do not get better when overlooked in reality, they are likely to get much worse. It’s important to understand you don’t have to feel this way. You can do things to overcome your demons, repair your relationships, and get on the path to recovery. You will conquer a co-occurring illness with the right resources, self-help and care, regain your sense of self and get your life back on track.

Substance abuse and mental disorders such as depression and anxiousness are strongly connected, and while some substance abuse may cause prolonged psychotic reactions one does not cause the other directly. Nonetheless: The side effects of mental health problems are often self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. People often exploit alcohol or drugs to ease the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental disorder, cope with difficult emotions or change their mood temporarily. Unfortunately, the abuse of drugs causes side effects and also worsens the symptoms they originally tended to mitigate in the long run.

Alcohol and substance misuse can raise the risk of psychiatric illness underlying it. Mental illnesses are caused by a complex interplay between biology, the climate and other influences beyond. If you are at threat for a psychological illness, you may be pushed over the edge by alcohol abuse or illegal or prescription medications. For example, there is some indication that some drug abusers have an elevated risk of psychosis while those who misuse prescription painkillers are at higher risk of depression.

Drug and alcohol abuse can aggravate the symptoms of a mental health issue. Substance abuse can significantly increase mental illness symptoms, or even cause new symptoms. An integrated approach, in which both the issue of drug abuse and mental illness are addressed together, is the best cure for co-occurring disorder. Whether your mental health and substance abuse issue first came, lengthy-term recovery relies on getting treatment from the same treatment provider or team for both disorders. Focusing on specific question you have:

Your psychological health problem may be treated with medication, individual or group counselling, changes in lifestyle and peer support. Treatment for your substance abuse may include detoxification, withdrawal symptoms management, behaviour interventions and group support to help maintain your sobriety. The best way of supporting others is by knowing what you can and can’t. You can’t compel someone to stay sober, nor can you convince someone to take their medication, or schedule arrangements. What you can do is make smart decisions for yourself, encourage help from your loved one and offer support while trying to make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process.

13 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN AT THE AGE OF 13

  1. You don’t need to be peer pressured to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.
  2. Being trendy doesn’t count for much and instead, it is  feeling confident in whatever you wore that mattered.
  3. How important it is to stand up for people you love.
  4. To do what scares you. If you think you wrote a great story, stand up and read it in class! You’ll never know unless you try it.
  5. Don’t ghost. Remember that friend you’ve drifted apart from? Don’t blow her off, instead ask her what’s going on with you two from her perspective. Confrontation is what will get you through Senior School.
  6. Saving Journals. Just look back on how you saw the world at 12, and I bet you’ll have a day full of laughter.
  7. Significant others will always come in time. Right now it might seem like everyone you know is having the time of their lives with their best friend and that your life would improve if a best friend was by your side. But take it from me- Concentrate on good friendships first, if a closer relationship comes out of it, great and even if it doesn’t, then connections that will last won’t make you regret anything.
  8. You’re going to change so much, you might as well accept it now. You might be thinking that who you are now is who you will always be. But the world is ever changing and you’re going to grow for better. So, go with it!
  9. You don’t have to always fit in. Let individuality take the wheel.
  10. Don’t tolerate white lies and don’t tell white lies. The more you get caught up in lies and made-up stories, the more difficult it will be to survive in school. 
  11. Go (slightly) nuts! This is your opportunity in life to be slightly stupid, to be the life of the party. Because it turns out being slightly nuts in board classes isn’t as socially acceptable.
  12. For the love of everything, please stop making a puff. You’ll realise this when you look back at your pictures and cry for 5 days straight. Also hair straight down or pulled back is a hundred times better.
  13. You create the definition of happiness. Not your fake friends. Not your classmates and not even the society.

How Social Media Usage is affecting Teenagers

Many parents are concerned about how developmental cultural background could affect infants. We know that our elementary school students are gathering new social and cognitive skills at a stunning pace, and we don’t want hours spent glued to an iPad to hamper that. But puberty is an equally critical time of rapid growth, and very few of us are paying attention to how our teenagers’ use of technology—much more concentrated and intimate than a 3-year-old playing with dad’s iPhone—is influencing them. In reality, experts worry that the social media and text messages that have become so central to teenage life are fostering anxiety and reducing self-esteem.

The Negative Effects of Social Media on Teenagers, Youth or ...

Young people say there might be fair grounds to concern. A report commissioned by the Royal Public Health Society asked UK ages 14-24 whether social media sites have an impact on people’s health and well-being. Results of the study showed that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all resulted in heightened feelings of depression, anxiety, negative picture of the body and isolation.

Indirect Communication:

Teens are specialists of staying engaged in the hours after school until long past bedtime. When they’re not doing their homework and when they are, they’re either online and on their mobile, messaging, tweeting, trolling, browsing, you name it.

Of course, before everybody had an Instagram account teens still kept busy, but they’re more likely to do their talking on the phone or in person while they were chilling out at the supermarket. It may have sounds like lots of aimless hanging around, but what they were doing was interacting, engaging with talents, and thriving and failing in lots of tiny real-time experiences that children are missing out on today. For one thing, while looking at a screen, modern teens learn to do the majority of their communication, not another person.

Reducing the Risks:

Talking implicitly, it definitely poses a barrier to effective contact but that’s not all. Understanding how to make friends is a significant part of growing up, as well as a certain amount of risk-taking is needed for friendship. That’s true in making a new friend, but it’s also true in keeping friends. If there are things that need to be answered — big or small — it takes the confidence to be truthful about your thoughts, and then hear what the other person has to say. Trying to learn to traverse these bridges efficiently is part of what makes friendship fun and exciting, and also scary.

But when friendship is done online and through text, children do so in a context that is robbed of many of the most personal – and sometimes terrifying aspects of communication. It’s extremely easy when you’re texting to keep your guard up, so there’s less at stake. You don’t hear or see the effect your words have on someone else. Because the conversation doesn’t take place in real time, each party can take more time to consider an answer. No wonder kids say it’s “too intense” to call someone on the phone — it requires more direct communication, and if you’re not used to it, it may be scary.

Conclusion:

The first thing parents can do to reduce the dangers of technology is first to limit their own use. It is up to the parents to set a clear example of what appears to be safe computer use. Some of us check our phones or emails too often, either out of genuine curiosity or out of a nervous habit. Kids would be able to see our faces, not to see our heads bent over a phone. Establish technology-free zones in the house and technology-free hours when nobody, including mom and dad, is using the devices. Get up a half hour earlier in the morning than your parents, and then check your messages. Pay them full attention before they are out of the house.

Heads- I Stay, Tails- I go

Advice for making taxing decisions about friendships, and not by tossing a coin on google.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, have been in friendship limbo- a weird patch of uncertainty where we don’t know whether to stay in or leave a friendship. There are several catalysts that can lead us to limbo land, and the tricky part is that the only way to get out of it is to make an ultimate decision. Like Marilla Cuthbert choosing whether to keep Anne or not, you may feel torn about the outcomes of two completely contrasting options. Unlike Marilla’s initial quick judgement, I definitely recommend taking just enough time decide what you want to do. 

If you’re unsure about your text move, don’t stress about it. Take the time you need. Are friendship breakups terrible? yes, but so are unhealthy and toxic friendships. Whether your friendship limbo is a result of the ever changing dynamics, circumstances or conflicts, it is worth gaining some perspective on the friendship and checking in with yourself by asking questions like these: 

  1. Does this friendship bring joy to me? 
  2. Does this person make my life better by being in it? 
  3. Is this person treating me with love and respect?

For now, with these three questions in mind, let’s get going.

Should I stay if the circumstances are bad?

Sometimes, the choice to end or continue a friendship only comes down to the current circumstances. Maybe your friend is moving to a different city. Maybe you’re both in the same city but are attending different schools or colleges. Either way, most friendships begin only because the circumstances were favourable. You were both in the same class, shared the same interests, watched the same movie & shows or maybe you were neighbours since childhood. But, circumstances change, it’s life as we know it.

To help you bring clarity to the situation, you can start by referring to the questions above. If this is friendship makes you feel valued and loved, you have your answer. However, there are more things to think about as well, like how much energy and time you’re willing to spend on maintaining a long-distance friendship. Long-distance friendships are no doubt tough, but can also be insanely rewarding. 

Make an effort to call and text them at least once a week. Be understanding during the weeks where you don’t talk to each other. From time zone differences to hectic schedules, remind yourself that you won’t be able to be in contact with each other every day. This can at times seem like a lot, if you’re not cool with putting this much effort into maintaining your friendship, then that is completely alright. Similarly, if the friend hasn’t been particularly a positive person in your life, think about the new circumstances as a sign to let go of the friendship. 

We’re growing apart, but should I stay?

When you realize that things just aren’t the same. There, again, can be several catalysts behind this realization: the negative comments that they passed and later laughed them off but you can’t stop thinking about, an unsatisfying meetup or stumbling upon something they said before that now deeply hurts you. The important part here is that you can’t get this new information out of your head, you can’t undercut the blatant incompatibility and are now left to decide which move to make next. Do you give the friendship a shot and try to save it, or do you let it slip away? How do you know that this isn’t just a phase? 

Growing apart is distressing, perplexing and often destabilizing, which can often cause resentment and anger. However, feelings like these are negative, we want to avoid holding onto them and instead, advocate open and honest conversations with the friend. If, after referring to the above questions, you conclude that your friendship with your friend is worth recovering and working upon, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Growth is usually a good thing, people changing usually means they’re growing into the person they want, like or are supposed to be.
  • This could just be a phase. Often in long friendships, there are periods you don’t talk for days and days, even weeks, because your personalities were, point-blank, totally incompatible and contrasting. But only temporarily. 
  • Before you make the decision to cut off a close friend, consider openly communicating with them. Call them and say, “Hey, I feel like we’re not on the same page right now. This friendship matters a lot to me and I want to maintain it, even if that means it’s going to be different.”

When I think about changing relationships, I think about this quote that I found on tumblr- “People change and forget to tell each other.” Just like you’re not trying to hurt anyone when you change, no one else is intentionally trying to hurt you when they change. We have to let the people we love and care about do what’s best for them, and sometimes, that means letting them do their own thing while we do ours!

Remedies for Emotional Exhaustion

▷ Emotional health and wellbeing - Everything you need to know | Adia

Detection is important and once you know what is wrong with you, you can seek ways to treat and help yourself. First and foremost, it is important to accept that you are not in your best condition to work and go on with your life. Physical ailments are easier to detect but that’s not the case with mental ailments like emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion is the state of complete hopelessness and emotional detachment. It is not something that can be overlooked and needs to be treated for an individual to continue to be efficient in whatever he does. 

Read: 9 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion

A person can get emotionally exhausted due to an array of reasons, some of which are relationship troubles, demise of a loved one, job related and financial problems. In the current pandemic situation, everyone – from front-line healthcare workers to people who are working from home – must have felt a wave of exhaustion due to the uncertainty and new working conditions at some point. Some people must have rebounded without any efforts and the good news for those who didn’t is, the condition can be reversed with some efforts.

Here is a list of things that you can do for mental and emotional replenishment

  1. Exercise and eat healthy

A healthy being can overcome anything. Exercising not only distracts you but the physical stress leads to release of happy hormones that elevate your mood. The pandemic might not allow you to hit the gym but you can still workout at home.

Read: 5 Ways to Stay Fit During Quarantine

Indigestion is a sign of emotional exhaustion and even if you feel like eating a lot or eating nothing at all, try and stick to a healthy, nutritious diet as it will not only energise you and make your gut happy but also help with your sleeping schedule and workout routine. Staying hydrated is also a must for a healthy body.

  1. Indulge in calming activities

Meditation and Yoga are a few activities that lead to peace of mind. They are also effective in helping with the blood pressure and heart rate which are associated with stress. There are a lot of breathing exercises in Yoga Asanas that can help the erratic breathing associated with panic attacks and just hyperventilation, 

A diary can become an outlet for everything that you are feeling and going through and you won’t have to worry about what it would think about you. 

  1. Distract yourself

Everything and everyone comes after your own well being. Take a break and do what makes you happy. If you think, nothing makes you happy, think again! Do something different, learn something new. Hang out with your friends and talk to them about their life. Knowing that other people have it rough too and what they do to fix their situation can not only make you feel that you are not the only one but also give you ideas. Maybe, what you need is a solo trip. Try out everything that can help openly.

  1. Actively seek help

Talk to someone – be it a therapist or a close friend. Sometimes you just want to feel validated and empathised with. The person may not advise you anything but having someone to talk to about and someone who would listen to your pain and agony will definitely help you feel better.

Three Ways To Prevent Virtual Communication Fatigue While Successfully Working From Home

During the coronavirus-led lockdown, the concept of ‘workplace burnout’ has taken an all-new meaning, with employees having to deal with virtual communication fatigue. 

While working from home has been a sought-after perk for some employees, we have entered a new reality of frequent online meetings and an inability to disconnect from the job, which has created a new stressor, known as communication fatigue. With the coronavirus pandemic, companies across the globe opted for the work from home model to ensure the safety of their employees, and to follow the social distancing guidelines. 

As time went by, several organisations realised the benefits that work-from-home provides both for businesses as well as their employees. Many large organisations such as Facebook are considering permanent work from home policy for their employees. Twitter has already implemented work-from-home measures during the lockdown and declared it a success. 

In this context, the concept of ‘workplace burnout’ has taken an all-new meaning, with employees having to deal with virtual communication fatigue. Today, with the array of communication and conferencing platforms available, employees are continuously connected virtually with their colleagues, seniors, clients and more. 

This communication overload is resulting in employees feeling drained at the end of the day with virtual communication fatigue being one of the most talked-about topics today. With this perspective in mind, below are four ways to identify and prevent virtual communication fatigue: 

  1. Virtual time off 

As the work-from-home trend continues, many people within the workforce are noticing the blurred lines between work and home since they both are part of the same space today. It can be tempting for employees to schedule back-to-back meetings to get through the day quicker, but doing so can cause signs of fatigue to appear earlier than expected. While most of us take the support of caffeine to look and sound fresh, it can only do so much when up against consistent virtual meetings. To combat virtual communication fatigue that comes with a busy virtual meeting schedule, the cure is as simple as scheduling breaks during the day. Taking breaks at regular intervals will help you to recharge before the next call appointment and allow for extra planning so the next interaction goes as effortlessly as the last one. And your break doesn’t have to involve sitting at your home workstation. An effective break should include moving around to get your blood flowing and introduce a change of scenery. Talk to your family members, quickly whip up a salad or just take a power nap. 

  • Set a deadline and create an itinerary for every video call 

We’ve all been there before: one co-worker begins the meeting by asking how everyone is doing, what’s their current favourite thing to do and before you know it, half an hour is gone by without any discussion of the true topic at hand. As much as everyone loves to hear all about each other’s lockdown life; too much talk can cause meetings to go longer than planned. To prevent this, create an itinerary ahead of time. By scheduling minutes and other talking points, your meetings will run effortlessly while also limiting everyone’s virtual time to prevent communication fatigue. 

  • Block your front camera view 

One of the biggest contributors to video call fatigue is keeping the self-view feature open during meetings – no matter how wonderful your look turned out. As humans, we’re not used to staring at ourselves constantly. Regardless of how you feel about your quarantine look, self-view induces a feeling of anxiety; worried about how we look, sound, or what’s going on with the lighting and background. To prevent any sort of communication fatigue from view yourself, simply turn off the camera feature whenever you’re not presenting or not expected to talk. If you’re worried about how you’ll look on camera, open up your camera app before a meeting to make any last-minute adjustments, test the lighting, or make a quick location change. If closing the self-view isn’t possible on the platform you’re using, you can block it off by taping a piece of paper.

Why Mental Health is not something to be ignored?

Sushant Singh Rajput’s death due to suicide speaks volumes on why mental health is important. According to reports, it is believed that he was suffering from depression for the last six months and was consulting a psychiatrist. Many celebrities have come forward and talked on how society needs to take mental health as seriously as physical health, without waiting for a moment of crisis.

Researches have said that every 4 minutes, one person commits suicide in India. With the lockdown, situations have become even worse. There is an increase in stress among individuals. Reason being that people are thrown out of their jobs due to financial crunch and they have no money left, no social life, or by overthinking. Not only this, but people are also wondering how to come out of it, there may be post-traumatic stress disorders as well. Staying alone is yet another issue as there is nobody to monitor.

Experts underline that people need to watch out for symptoms for the behavioral pattern that is not normal in themselves or others. Symptoms could be – disrupted sleep pattern, sudden emotional outbursts, change in behavior such as being withdrawn, no urge to ear or overeating, consciously not maintaining hygiene, seeking solace in excessive smoking, drinking, etc.

Though we seem to have progressed as a society, we still lack the openness when it comes to mental health. This block in mind needs a change. Gone are the days when we did not have awareness about mental illness. Just like we can go to the doctor when we are physically sick, we can also go to a psychiatrist/psychologist.

There is also a lot of stigmas attached to mental health that needs to be eradicated. Society has this mindset that strong people cannot get depressed. But depression is like COVID, anyone can get affected by it. It does not come with a clause.

Mental health services in India have been highly inadequate even before the pandemic. With just 4,000 psychiatrists to serve over a billion people, the situation seems difficult to handle. But somehow it needs to be met.

The device that we throw away for our sake of mental health, we need to pick that up, call your loved ones. Sharing our thoughts and feelings always lightens up the mood. There is someone out there to hear you, always, you need to vent it out.

There are small steps that you can take to improve your mental health every day. Things like exercising, eating a balanced diet, opening up others in your life, remembering something you are grateful for, taking a break when you need to, and getting good sleep, can help boost your emotional health.

Being healthy mentally can boost your productivity and effectiveness in work, school, college. It also plays a crucial role in building your relationships and allowing you to adapt to changes.

All to say, when mental health is ultimately recognized as essential to physical health and not an extraneous element of it, then we will have access to real, complete medicine.