Saturday, May 23, 2020

Now Where Did I Put My Happiness?

I remember very well when I was young,during my school going years,it used to reside in two places-my home and my school.

Then I grew up.The friends left one by one and horror of horrors-even my parents left for their eternal abode.It was difficult to spy my happiness during that time,but my children and grandchildren filled the gap.

By and by they too got caught up with their lives and I had to look for it at close quarters.Where was it near me?I found it in the rush of kitty parties and socialization.

This was satisfying no doubt,but old age pitched in to obstruct the flow.Old age and the quirks of those we socialized with.Going to parties,communicating with them was no longer pure happiness.It was an amalgam of positive and negative emotions.

Anyhow,I prodded myself to evolve and be more accepting.But where was my happiness?I had misplaced it again.

Intensive introspection revealed that if I wanted it to remain always with me I had to look for it within me,to latch it on to my thoughts and activities-activities which did not require external support.

So friends,I picked up occupations which give me optimum satisfaction and adhered to them.Thankfully I have a plethora of hobbies-things which keep me usefully occupied and also grant a sense of achievement.In the ultimate analysis it is best to be self reliant,to peg your happiness to your own self.The externals dissipate one by one.Keep it where it cannot be stolen.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

A Four Fold Path to #Happiness

We all want to be happy.All our activities are designed towards that end.Yet this elusive state of mind sometimes fails to oblige.Scientists say that there is an inbound capacity for happiness in every human being.Our observations too,affirm that some people are always brimming with joy while some others are generally morose and pessimistic.Events which the former would have taken in their stride are sometimes given by latter as the cause of their despondence.

I think our personal attributes-in addition of course to our life experiences- play a major role in deciding whether we are happy or miserable.Let me share with you four habits which,if incorporated,will enable us to maintain a cool state of mind even when things do not go our way.Here goes:---

Adopt a rational attitude towards life: 
Life is never static,it keeps moving-and changing.We are effused with joy one day and down in the dumps the next.When misfortune comes after a good phase it causes a lot of heartache.But we fail to realize that everybody has to go through both kinds of experiences and we are not someone special that we should be spared the thorns and showered with roses.

We can not,and should not expect the good times to last for ever.That would be unreasonable as well as insidious,because what we expect from life,what we think we ought to have been blessed with but are not getting;is enough to leave us disgruntled and unhappy even when things are pretty good by any standard.Reasonable expectations protect us from breaking down at every minor or moderate disappointment.  

Be Flexible:
Life has a mind of its own.It will not follow a script written by you.An ambitious project could bite dust,a new relationship may turn out to be the opposite of what you had expected,a dear one could pass away or a disease may change your lifestyle for ever.Disappointments pop up unannounced and one has to rebuild ones life around them.If a cherished dream fails to actualize replace it with something which has better chances of fructifying,nurture a fresh one.  

Flexibility alone can help you to accept the inevitable and forge a way of adapting to the new scene.Look for the positive aspects of a challenging situation.See how you can use them to your advantage and carry on with hope and enthusiasm.

Curtail Overthinking and Rumination:
Cogitating about each and everything fills the mind with a quagmire of doubts,suspicions,worries and fears:Not a happy condition,you will agree.Overthinking creates problems where none exist.It blocks action and can even spoil your relationships by generating unjustifiable biases about others. 

Ruminating about an existent problem or a recent fiasco is beneficial only to the extent that it assists you to find a solution.If carried on indefinitely,it unleashes a whirlwind of negative emotions which deepen anxiety.If you want to be happy curtail overthinking and rumination.

Practice Gratitude:
There is no denying the fact that some people have little cause for cheer in their lives.It could even be a prolonged phase for some.Happiness would be a tall order for them.But we all have to make the best use of what has been given to us in order to conserve our mental health.One way of doing this is to think of the positive features of our lives.This could be in the form of a good relationship,a roof over our heads,an able body,a sound mind,or that competence to fight against odds and yet keep whole.None of these can be devalued.A feeling of gratitude for the blessings we enjoy prevents the picture from becoming blackish grey.It mitigates anxiety.

We cannot control what life throws at us but we can construct a kind of buffer against those volleys and minimize their ill effects.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Ebbing Tide

The jabs and jibes
ultimately subside
an ebbing tide
makes one wise

who can give me
sorrow or pain
I only got
what was ordained 

bitterness or rancor
no more pinch
but from future
I sometimes flinch

the road ahead
is not so clear
murky waters
burgeon fears

the future however
was always dim
come what may
I shall win. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Seven Tips For Dealing With An Acrimonious Kin

We come across people of various kinds during this sojourn called life.We try to shake off those who are acrimonious,inimical or downright offensive,but what if such a person-friend,relative or colleague-cannot be avoided and the relationship cannot be terminated?Such people do crop up sometimes and they ruin our peace of mind.I think the only alternative left for safeguarding our own serenity is to modify our own behavior so that these encounters do not cross the line of decency-at least from our side,and preferably from both sides.

The other day I was feeling very sad because of the behavior of one such person(let me call her P )and a plethora of inconsiderate, rude and aggressive acts on her part came rushing to my mind.It made me cry.I gave vent to tears to cleanse my mind and sat down with an excellent cup of tea to divert myself.After a while the tsunami of hurt sentiments subsided and I became my rational self once again.

Why was I so anguished?This was not the first time that it had happened.All those ghosts from the past testified to it.P was the same old person and I too was the same old Indu.If I had taken it in the past I could take it in the future too.In fact I should have been immune to it by now because what cannot be cured has to be endured.In order to manage such an imbroglio more smoothly next time,I decided to write a rule-book for such occasions.Here goes:-

  1. Perhaps P's behavior stems from her own insecurity or a well concealed inferiority complex which compels her to belittle me so that she can feel superior.
  2. Maybe she is annoyed about her life conditions and I just happened to cross her path at a touchy moment.
  3. I must not inflame the situation by giving a sharp retort.A brief neutral remark should be enough.
  4. When ever possible I shall introduce a touch of humor to lighten the ambiance,taking care not to instigate her in any way.
  5. I should allow time to pass before encountering her again so that both of us have recovered our composure by then.
  6. It is important to recall the instances when she has been helpful to me.After all she does mean something to me,or I would have broken the tie long back.
  7. I will also stiffen my back ,analyse if I have in any way encouraged/allowed her to encroach my space.
I strongly believe that our life is a learning process.Even such individuals serve a very useful purpose:they stimulate us to grow,to learn,to acquire new skills and evolve;as I have done--become more tolerant and empathetic after associating with her.So the next time you come across a vituperative person,don't fret and fume;be thankful that s/he is helping you to evolve,become a better person. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Five Habits Which Perpetuate Anxiety

The reason why some people gambol through life despite the ubiquitous ups and downs while others can find nothing to cheer them cannot be ascribed to external factors alone.I have come across many people who have everything going for them:a well established household,upper middle class standard,a loving family,healthy physique and yet they seem bowed down with sorrow and worries.
They will not accost or converse with anyone.If spoken to they will merely reply with a word or two.You will never catch them smiling.Despite living an easy life they always look tired and woebegone.Yes they do have minor physical ailments like aches and pains,gastric disorders or insomnia,but if you ask them whether they have any worries,the answer will certainly be negative.That is because they themselves do not know why they are always so depressed,there is no immediate trigger at work.
Such people are common but you cannot spot them at formal or chance meetings.Only friends and family know that something is nibbling at their hearts.The problem is endogenous-not because of an external cause.The tragedy is,that they could be happier if only they could catch the culprit responsible for their angst and extirpate it from their lives.
That is why it is essential to be aware of those of our own habits which cause anxiety and which we should change in order to achieve better mental health.
Refusal to accept a crucial change
A big change which has now occurred and cannot be reversed has to be accepted.If we obsess about what was,but is now no longer there,we will torment ourselves interminably.Take the example of Deepak who has now retired from work.He just cannot gulp this depreciation in his status and the absence of any opportunity to contribute to his field of work.His job had been the sole focus of his life.Now time hangs heavily on his hands.He feels redundant after this big change in his life.
Similarly,the onset of old age,loss of kin or a serious disease are things which hit hard but cannot be reverted.It is important to accept such changes and alter our lives accordingly.Being grateful for the blessings which we still enjoy and finding new alternatives to fill the gap is the only way to keep depression at bay.
Over thinking
Broadly speaking,doers are happier than thinkers.Over thinking befuddles the latter and pushes their minds into dark worrisome spaces because over thinking rarely ends on a positive note.Cogitating about each and every individual or event can clutter the mind and fill it with worries and fears.When this becomes a second nature it culminates into pervasive anxiety.A much better way of passing the idle moments is to get busy,do something.
Low self-esteem
A person suffering from low self-worth places himself at the lowest rung and therefore does not expect anything good to come his way.What could be more distressing than this?It has been said ad infinitum,we get what we expect.Those who suffer from low self esteem desist from going out,meeting people,making friends and grabbing opportunities of self advancement.They are perturbed by the thoughts of being inferior to,and looked down upon,by other people.All this is tailor made for anxiety or depression. 
Somewhat in the same category are the pessimists.They view life through a grey lens and thus find nothing to cheer them.They will pass off even a good development as a chance happening and nothing to rave about.A small obstacle will be viewed as a huge boulder and a hiccup construed as something ominous.They ignore all the positives of their life and focus only on the darker aspects.Naturally it is hard for them to be happy and tension-free.When thinking of future,they again envisage detrimental happenings.
Self Pity
This is another habit which prolongs anxiety.When we wallow in self pity we tell ourselves that we are the the unhappiest person on earth,life has been cruel to us and there is not a ray of hope on the horizon.We either become surly and reclusive or bore everyone to death with our sob-stories.Slowly the well wishers too avoid us and then we have more reason to be miserable.  

Our engagements with the external world are so time consuming that we get little time to peep inwards,to learn where we are going wrong,in which way we aggravate our anxiety and how we can reduce it.A reappraisal of our temperament,habits and thinking patterns will help us to find more peace and happiness in life.
Finally,the signs of depression and anxiety:

Image from Google Search