Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Common Cause of Unhappiness:Comparisons

They say happiness is a state of mind.It follows that the various constituents of our mind are what make us happy.And if we are sad,then too it must be because of the workings of an element of our mind only.In order to be happy we need to weed out that element,tendency or habit which  cooks up despondence for us.

One such culprit is the human tendency to rate oneself in comparison to others.I hasten to add that comparisons can be useful too.When we recognize we are far more talented than many others,our self esteem climbs up many notches.Even negative comparisons can inspire us to jack up our performance or cultivate in our own selves a quality which we admire in others.

But this happens only if we remain level-headed and do not bemoan our inadequacy or mediocrity every time we come across someone who is more accomplished than us in any way. When unfavorable comparisons become a habit,they also become a major source of unhappiness because they  spawn discontent and wither our self esteem.This  throws a damper on our confidence and zeal.Even a hitherto happy person begins to feel restless and dissatisfied after such comparisons.Anxiety arrives,followed by jealousy and rancor.Peace of mind goes out of the window.

You can read this post to raise your self esteem.

All of us are different in each and every way.No clones around.When our genes,upbringing,education,backgrounds and responsibilities are all different,then what is the use of rating ourselves in comparison to others?We are born with certain innate talents and aptitudes which,if nurtured,will take us far.But negative comparisons can deflect our attention from the goals which best suit our abilities. They may even goad us to take an inappropriate route in pursuit of that charisma which we espied in someone else.

By all means keep a benchmark in front of you to guide your journey.Evolve and learn new skills,but imitating anyone is not the best way to do it.Even if you do come abreast with the person who unknowingly kindled your race;given your tendency to compete,you will soon espy another person who is superior to you and in this way the race will never end.You will remain dissatisfied all your life.

For more on the merits and demerits of competition you can read  this post.

It is no doubt very disconcerting to realize that you are less than someone else; but instead of getting upset,seize that moment to discover the potentials which you have and make the best use of those God-given gifts.Compete only with yourself.Better yourself every day and one day people will look admiringly at you and strive to equal you.

I am reminded of Anand (name changed) who was depressed because he was was doubtful of gaining admission in a prestigious institute.When I asked him if he had a plan B in mind he said his uncle and his son had graduated from that very institute and if they could,why not him?He was determined to end his life if he failed.See the extent to which a comparison can disrupt our thinking? It led this boy to the brink of suicide.

These days it is more difficult than ever to keep away from negative comparisons.The high achievers and the glitterati are all over the media,as are the glossy updates of friends and family.To safeguard your cool,remember that the ground reality may be quite different from what you see on the social network sites. If you pay more than cursory attention to them,you are bound to be frustrated.Instead of being grateful for what you have,you will be depressed because of what you do not have but others do.Give up such comparisons and you will be happy as you are and where you are. 

Image courtesy google search.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Bitter Truth

To tell you the truth
I have no hometown
There used to be one
My heaven on earth
A safe cocoon
A warm embrace

I grew up assimilating 
It's different vibes
Never knew that life 
Also has a flip side
Which revealed itself
When I left it's side.

I went to it again and again
To recover lost treasures
And be my old self again
Like all good things
This too came to an end.

What is a hometown
without a home
And what is a home 
Without those loving souls
What used to be my hometown
Is now a deserted town.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Adverse Consequences of a Lethargic Life.

If overwork is a problem,the reverse too,can be vexatious.Disability,debility,illness,retirement from work and even affluence:all combine to swell the ranks of those who spend the day sitting,lying down or twiddling their thumbs.Those weighed down by work or academic pressure are also inadvertently consigned to this category.
In Complete Relaxation Mode
Some people dislike being idle but some revel in an indolent lifestyle.The immediate gratification of such a life makes them overlook the problems which will accost them sooner or later,because it can lead to many physical or mental ailments.Inactivity causes obesity,which itself is a risk factor for Diabetes,Hypertension,Cardiovascular diseases, Migraines and various aches and pains.Even the brain requires activity to stay fit,which is why lethargic or indolent people are more vulnerable to Anxiety,Depression and Dementia.

Physical exertion is a gateway to good health.It improves the blood circulation so that all the internal organs as well as  the extremities are nourished well and proper.Activity facilitates a good appetite, digestion,and subsequent elimination of wastes and toxins from the body.It also accords sound sleep and better mental health.The body remains flexible and one is  spared the agony of joint pains.

Despite the various benefits of living an active life we do come across people who hate physical exertion.They would rather read,enjoy screen-time,play cards,sit and chat with family and friends or do crossword or sudoku. Passing time is not a problem for them but it is for those who do not have a large family, friends or hobbies to engage them.So they end up lying down,ruminating about the good old days or just sitting and watching the world go by.
                The Disuse Syndrome
No matter what be the cause of living an under-active life,it is indisputable that it undermines health and happiness.Decreased stamina often causes people to give up physical exertion;but this entails the likelihood of losing whatever strength and agility they do possess,because the body parts which are not used,deteriorate.Disuse of muscles leads to atrophy.A limb which has been in cast for long looks thinner when the cast is removed.Similarly the brain too works at it's optimum when the person stays active.

The disuse syndrome is caused by physical inactivity and is fostered by our sedentary society.
"Inactivity plays a pervasive role in our lack of wellness. Disuse is physically, mentally, and spiritually debilitating."

This should be enough to jolt anyone into a bout of activity.If you have been sluggish till now,begin a new chapter by getting up at the right time every day,followed by simple exercises,massage and a bath.Adding Yoga,Pranayam and Meditation to your morning routine would be the icing on the cake.Making your bed,tidying up your room and organizing your belongings come next.You can even make your own tea/coffee instead of waiting for it to come to you.

These activities do not require much energy.Graduate to more strenuous tasks after you have gotten used to them.Look around you and do what needs to be done-pronto.Give up procrastination.If a gadget is not working get it repaired.If there are a number of garments which are not in use give them in charity.If your book-rack holds a number of books which you don't intend to read,give them away.Similarly with other things which are past their utility.Sort out your files and documents,discard the ones which are not needed.

Merely pottering around the house is not enough.Let it be a precursor to moving out of the house,taking walks and doing simple errands.Meet people,socialize with them and become an active member of society.The aim should be to do what you can, to keep the metabolism active.These initiatives will notch up your happiness level in addition to safeguarding your health.

Snoring the day away
An indolent lifestyle is seldom a matter of compulsion and more of choice or habit.Junking this habit and supplanting it with a new one is possible and advantageous.If you doggedly do something new for at least three weeks it can become a habit.

The key lies in understanding and accepting the fact that inactivity is not good for you,it invites disease and decay.Remember the old adage 'use it or lose it'.

Images courtesy google search.