Saturday, February 9, 2019

Your Self-help Guide For Eliminating #Anxiety

"Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness,unease or worry that typically occurs in the absence of imminent threat.It differs from fear,which is the body's natural response to immediate danger."
The wide tentacles of anxiety engulf all else.Even the activities which earlier pleased you are now ignored.In order to get rid of it you must first understand how it caught hold of you.

The brain learns from repetition.When you think fearful,worrisome,disturbing thoughts repeatedly,these thought engrave a pathway in the brain and the mind automatically latches on to that path whenever there is a ripple in the wind.Apprehension and worry become a way of reacting to every situation.These emotions trigger the release of stress hormones like Cortisol and Adrenalin which further aggravate your anxiety.

Living with anxiety is tough.You can try the tips given below to get rid of it and live a more enjoyable life:--
Understand your thoughts
Anxiety is the outcome of faulty thought processes.If you scrutinize your thoughts you may find that they are not a true reflection of reality.They are mostly marred by cognitive distortions.

For example you may be making a mountain of a molehill or jumping to the conclusion that an imminent change is going to be disastrous for you.In this way you maximize your difficulty and filter out your problem solving skills which have served you till now,thereby minimizing your own capability to solve your problem.Naturally,the outlook appears bleak.
Inculcate rational thinking
Try to be more rational while assessing situations and forming opinions.Inculcating rational thinking requires sustained efforts because you have to change an established habit which automatically butts in whenever you are in a thinking mode.If the thought of any contingency perturbs you repeatedly,evaluate it on the metric of logic and probability.Push it to the background with a stricture that you shall deal with it when it happens-if it does.Tell yourself that you have managed your affairs till now and shall do even better when the need arises.
Provide new pathways to your thoughts
Whenever you are at a loose end or tense about something,take up an activity which interests you very much and requires total concentration,so that a different line of thinking replaces your negative thoughts.

For example,those who are the intellectual type will forget all else when they play a brain game or solve a puzzle.

For the artistic folks nothing can be more absorbing than dabbling with paints and brushes.

I myself take up stitching when I want to forget my worries.It works like magic.

The spiritual kind experience peace when they listen to devotional songs and reinforce their faith in a supreme being.My own husband benefits immensely from this.

The sporty guys will forget their worries when they play a vigorous game or take up activities which make them sweat.This will have the double benefit of using up surplus stress hormones.

Take up the diversion which interests you to block distressing emotions.It is essential to prevent the mind from going into wrong channels.
Use up the stress hormones
The most effective cure for anxiety is to use up the surplus energy which is running in your blood stream through regular exercise,because it is this energy which robs you of restful sleep and keeps you on tenterhooks.There are so many activities to choose from: running,jogging,gymming,aerobics,dancing,swimming,gardening or yoga.Choose the one which appeals to you so that you will not shirk it.
Do what you feel you cannot do
Anxiety lies.It will tell you that you can't do so many things which you have been doing till now-like driving a vehicle,going to the market,attending a meeting,enjoying a party and talking to your neighbors.If you obey these diktats you will end up feeling morose and inadequate.Defy these directives.Catch the bull by the horns and do what you are scared of doing.This will help to reduce your anxiety.You will experience a wave of joy at having defeated anxiety. 
Stick to your routine
When you are in the grip of anxious thoughts you may not feel like leaving the bed,but if you continue to lie down and keep thinking of all that is going wrong in your life you will feel even worse.On the other hand if you force yourself to rise at the usual time,spruce up yourself and follow your daily routine,you will feel much more confident,optimistic,energetic and in control of your life.This is no mean achievement;considering how anxious thoughts are always rearing to pull you down.
Stay active
Since your mind is tilted towards negativity,such thoughts will come rushing in when your body is idle.Staying active is an effective way of curbing them.However,slogging from morning to night is not a good option too,because anxiety can certainly be very tiring.When your day's work is done pick up an engrossing activity or an old hobby.Meet friends,chat with family,organize your belongings,do whatever soothes your mind and body.
Go out,meet people
Anxiety isolates.Perhaps you think that if you go out and meet people they will spot you have changed.Well,they may or may not,but the longer you hole up in your house the more inept you will become at relating to others.So,put your chin up and saunter out.If you meet people,talk to them,ask about their welfare,take an interest in what is happening around you,you will forget your own problems for some time at least.
Find the root cause of your distress
There are many ways of diverting your attention from disturbing thoughts but the bottom line is to pinpoint where they come from:Is it your attitude which is basically pessimistic?Has your past been such that you do not expect anything good to happen to you?Are you short on confidence or self esteem?Is it your health or a relationship which is making you tense?

Try to strengthen the element which is the probable cause of your problems.And don't bash yourself for being this way.Be kind.Circumstances make us who we are and evolution is an ongoing process.Everybody has some weak point or the other.

Problems will come and you will have to solve them,but you will be better able to do this if the burden of distressing thoughts does not sap your energy.
Live in the present
The mind has no barriers of time or space.Sometimes we agonize about what we did or failed to do in the past or fret about what the future has in store for us.This can neither change what happened in the past nor alter the future in any way.It only destroys our peace of mind.That is why psychologists advise us to live in the moment,be mindful of what is around us.If we focus our thoughts on what needs to be done today,how we can improve our present and be mindfully aware of our surroundings we shall feel more at ease.

In case guilt or remorse are your arch-enemy this post will help you find peace.
Release the pressure
Anxiety overwhelms the mind and it is imperative to silence all that noise.Talk about your problems to someone who cares for you or a professional.Merely talking about it will confer enormous relief.

Life is never a bed of roses for anyone.The bad times too,have a utility.They make you stronger and enable you to learn new coping skills.

Secondly,even during the most traumatic times you will still be left with many things to be grateful for:people who care for you,the resources available to you and your own qualities which have always helped you to overcome your difficulties.

Thirdly,life is a dappled path,if you keep looking at the dark spots you shall miss the brighter hues of life.Don't allow one dark spot to darken your sky.

Rationality,positivity,hope and gratitude-these four are infallible companions on this dappled path.Keep a tight hold on them.

Finally,something for you to think about and remember :-
Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.
– Robert Eliot 
Quotes from:
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Saturday, January 26, 2019

#Loneliness-The Latest Epidemic

Loneliness is a hallmark of modern life.Ironically,the more you are connected on social sites the less in real life.Go online and you will be flooded with messages and sermons but not one of them can give you company for a  cup of tea or a heart-to-heart talk.Everybody is so caught up with their work that there is little time to build lasting relationships.We are becoming lonelier by the day.

This is contrary to human nature.There is an inbuilt need for belonging in all of us,a connection with someone who knows us inside out,who will cheer us when we are sad,boost our morale when we are disheartened,and stand by us through thick and thin.But the basic necessities of life take up most of our time and nurturing relationships is unconsciously relegated to the background:relationships not only with family and friends but also with colleagues and neighbors.

Experts say that those who are well connected with others enjoy better physical and mental health.Life is more pleasant and enjoyable for them.Even a major upheaval or tragedy is better tolerated by those who are supported by their family,friends or community.They will bounce back faster.Their relationships assist and motivate them to move forward and achieve their goals.Therefore they are happy and well adjusted.

Loneliness on the other hand creates an aching void in the heart.Those who are lonely feel rejected by society,as if they are not good enough to be associated with.Even if their isolation is because of their own reticence a time may come when there is mounting resentment against others for neglecting them.The longer the period of seclusion,the greater the resentment.And when this anger comes out in unseemly behavior it gives people cause to shun them.Loneliness so impacts social skills that a time comes when they are as wary of approaching others,as other people are of accosting them.Hence it is best to beat loneliness as soon as one begins to feel it's pinch.

Overcoming Loneliness
  • Overcoming loneliness is not difficult at all.Start with the service providers.Say something more to them than you have been saying till now.It could be about their service or the weather or anything else which comes to your mind.My BH asked our postman why he had become so sluggish.He divulged that he was having a kidney problem.He has been ever so cooperative since then.This brief exchange benefited both of them.
  • Frequent places like the market,parks,a club,or your place of worship.
  • See people eye to eye.
  • Be the first to greet them-with a smile of course. 
  • Make it a point to add a bit of small talk when you greet someone.It will convey your conviviality.
  • Connecting with kindred individuals opens up an evolutionary chapter in the arena of relationships.If you are a writer you will have much to talk about with another writer.You won't even have to strain to keep a dialogue going.Similarly with other interests.Look for probable contacts in the areas which interest you.Such relationships are abiding as well as fruitful.
  • Even if your work consumes most of your waking hours save enough time to interact with your family when you return home.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and participate in community affairs. 
Mental health experts affirm that although close,positive relationships are necessary for our general well being,the need for social connectivity varies in different individuals.Some are lonesome by nature and quite happy in their own company.By and large,some basic connections are essential for all to live and perform but even then, relationships are desirable only if they are positive.It is better to be alone rather than in a toxic relationship.

Social connectivity boosts our mental health but mental or emotional problems make it difficult to connect with others.Conscious efforts have to be made to check the impulse to isolate oneself.Even close associates or the loved ones should make it their concern to draw them out,because isolation will further damage their mental health.

Happy,joyous relationships do not fall in the lap,they have to be worked upon.If you want more inclusion,spend quality time with the people in your ambit.Take interest in their lives and listen to what they have to say.Conversely,voice your thoughts;appreciate the good you see in others.Help out and be helped in return.This give and take strengthens bonds and makes life livable.

For more about the benefits of relationships read this post.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Ripple Effects Of #Kindness

Everybody is in a mad rush these days.People are busy chasing their dreams and have no time to notice someone who needs a shoulder to lean on or a hand to pull him up.It is best to be self reliant but there are times when one could do with some help or support.At such times if a kind angel comes along,you could not have asked for a better boon.

It does not take much to be kind.You only need to be aware of your surroundings and be attentive of what a person near you is going through.Just a smile or a hello is enough sometimes,to break the ice or brighten someone's day.Open the door if he has his hands full,help him carry a heavy burden,thank the delivery boy,offer your seat to a feeble person standing near you or allow him to jump the queue if need be.These are very small gestures but they leave a deep impact.I,at least,fondly remember those who were kind to me.

If the kindness bug has bitten you,you can start by giving out things which you no longer need,like your shoes,apparel,old gadgets,utensils,ill-assorted crockery,books and whatever you can think of.You will make life so much easier and more comfortable for someone by doing this.

Even more important than this is,helping someone who is emotionally disturbed.Suppose you see someone deep in thought,obviously depressed,fighting a lone battle to keep his head above the waters;do not walk away,afraid of intruding.Begin with a simple query about his well-being.It will assure him that he is not alone,you care for him and he can share his problem with you.

We often hold back because this kind of a situation is awkward for both the parties.A person who wants help may hesitate to claim your time and attention even if he does trust you,while you yourself might be afraid of breaching his privacy if you butt in.At such times the other person's expressions and body language can help you decide.

If even that is not indication enough,you can start with a cursory exchange which will reveal if he is uptight or opens up.Go ahead even if you are in doubt because it is better to be considered officious rather than callous.When someone is in a quandary an outsider is often better able to gauge the situation and think up a solution.Your initiative could be a life saver for him.So it is better to engage with him instead of walking away.Such interventions can even stave suicides.

It is not the recipient alone who benefits from kind acts.You the doer too,will be rewarded in countless ways.There is an immediate rush of joy and satisfaction at having done a good deed when you help someone.It increases your self worth and reduces anxiety.The warmth of that memory will come back to cheer you up many a times.

Kindness is infectious.Even the recipient of a kind act is empowered to return this good deed when opportunity arises.The onlookers also feel happy to see altruistic behavior in this self obsessed world and may be inspired to behave similarly when they see someone in trouble.In this way you help to make this world a better place by one simple act.There is a surfeit of selfishness in the air today,you can add a lot of warmth and empathy to it.
A curious question:How many kind persons have you met so far?

Image courtesy google