Friday, December 26, 2014

On The Edge--then back :-)

We often hear of someone committing suicide over a break up.Sometimes it is not a single issue which instigates a person to take his life.If we could peep into that person's mind we would find a host of frustrations heaped therein.
Diwakar was one such boy--age 23 yrs,thin frail structure and a nervous demeanor.He was in the second year of his MA and holding a small job simultaneously.He lived in a joint family of eight members.He was the youngest of three sons.His elder brothers were also holding small jobs.His father ran a failing business and the family was under millions of debt.
Being under great pressure,he came to the point immediately.He had been in a relationship with a girl for the last two years.She got married to someone else because he had told her that he could not approach his parents for their alliance.He admitted that he was a coward.This girl got married six days ago.He had gone to attend her wedding in a neighboring town.
Now he was overcome with remorse.His friends were taunting him about his gf's marriage.Since the girl was his colleague,he did not know how he should relate to her when she took up her job.He also wondered what he should do if the girl made advances towards him--he did not wish to spoil her married life.His family's poverty and his own small-time job also frustrated him.What pained him most was his inability to stand up to his parents.
All in all,he was sorely disappointed with the whole scene and wanted to commit suicide; only here again he felt he was too much of a coward to be able to do so.Therefore he came to me for advice.
I counseled him suitably--telling him to come again if he felt depressed.
However,he did not come again.After six months i rang his home for a follow up.He was not at home but he returned my call soon after.He told me he had recovered from his break-up and was preparing for a competitive exam.I was very happy that he had taken positive steps to improve his life.This shows that it helps to talk when one is under a lot of stress.A sympathetic listener alone can ward off disaster.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

#Emotional Baggage

Emotional trauma is worse than physical trauma because while the latter heals in due course,the former is sometimes very difficult to shake off.The pain lingers on.Some manage to bury unpleasant memories,but there are also those who find it difficult to forget their hurts.Eventually those memories may be relegated to the subconscious mind but they do impact their thinking and behavior, so that it is difficult for them to thrive and be happy.

Emotional baggage has many constituents.There is extreme anger,hostility,resentment,fear,hatred,disgust,suspicion,shame,self pity and apprehension.These emotions--if allowed to reign supreme,will lead to a melancholic personality,making it even more difficult to find peace and be happy.

A desire,or should I say an obsession,to hurt the other person similarly, could over-ride all other emotions.This could become a consuming passion to the exclusion of all else.It is quite natural to want to take revenge from a person who has wronged us considerably, but it keeps other aspects of our life on hold--so that we end up damaging our own interests and prolonging our misery.

Another kind of baggage is lessons learnt about normative forms of behavior in an unhealthy environment.A child might be forced to adopt unhealthy coping strategies in a dysfunctional family but these could prove to be counter-productive when conditions change and he enters the mainstream.It is best to discard them at the opportune time.

Fearful apprehensions stemming from past experiences or prejudices generated by disastrous encounters are like fetters around feet.Times change but these negative emotions prevent us from making the most of available opportunities.

Emotional baggage can sometimes be so vague that the person may not even be aware of the cause of his melancholic nature.In order to free yourself from this state,it is incumbent to first realize that it is the past which is hampering your growth.Try to pinpoint the events which are unknowingly influencing your thinking and behavior.Evaluate the damage which this emotional baggage has inflicted upon you.

Let your intellect take charge and you will realize that you survived those unpleasant experiences and came out stronger and wiser ;because you shan't allow it to happen again.Yes,unpleasant events cannot be totally avoided but they do provide valuable lessons.They should leave you wiser,not weaker.

While you are in the rational mode,go ahead and decipher your own role in that incident.I don't mean to say you were at fault but for your own sake,determine what you could have done differently in order to ward off what happened.Were you by any chance,partly responsible for the turn of events?A session of honest introspection may point to the changes you need to make in order to avoid emotional setbacks  in future. 

There are many selfish,insensitive persons in this world.Ulterior motives lead them to trample over others' feelings.The stronger tend to oppress the weaker,the cunning deceive the innocent.Sometimes it is sheer chance which positions one at the wrong place at the wrong time.You happened to be the target.It does not in any way diminish your worth.Rather it reflects badly upon the villain.All you can do is,put it out of your mind and be more vigilant in future.

Looking at things from the perpetrator's point of view is another way of getting over what happened.Human frailty is a reality.Give your aggressor some margin for that and forgive.Forgive,not for his sake,but your own.Unless and until you put a closure on the whole thing your mind will not be at peace.Just take care that it should not happen again.

However much your brain may tell you to forgive and forget;it is not easy to forget unpleasant memories.But you can get relief by sharing your anguish with a friend,family,colleague or counselor.This is a form of catharsis.Once your feelings come tumbling out you will feel much lighter.At last you will be relieved of the burden of a long kept secret.

There is no way you can stop disturbing events from happening.What you can do is,build your resilience.

Cutting off all connections with those who harmed you is important.Shun abusive persons.

Do not isolate yourself out of a fear of being hurt again--nurture new relationships.

A common response to emotional trauma is to avoid new challenges and just play safe.This curtails all growth and evolution.Take baby steps towards new horizons.Your confidence will appreciate with each success.

Meditation and yoga can assist you to overcome your negativity and give you peace of mind.

The best way to get out of the rut of past abuse or injury is to remind yourself that this was in the past and things are no longer the same.There must be many redeeming factors in your life; think about them and be grateful for them.Do not allow ghosts from the past to assail your present.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

De-Stress in eleven easy steps :)

Stress is a silent killer.As we plod through our to-do lists,schedules,deadlines and responsibilities,it quietly ensnares us in it's tentacles.It can lead to hyper-tension,heart attacks and depression.No matter how organised we are,unexpected developments and traumas often leave us shaken.Our mind goes into a cycle of depressive thoughts and we require a diversion to break that cycle.It is as simple as that.
Next time when you find yourself overwhelmed by worry, try one of these diversions and hopefully,your stress will disappear:--
  1. Connect with people--being alone propels rumination.
  2. Nourish yourself--tension and excessive work-load make you forget hunger and thirst.A cup of tea and a nutritious snack will energize you.Even a glass of water can soothe frazzled nerves.
  3. Play a game--outdoors or indoor.Even a simple board game will take your mind off your worries,give you something else to think about.
  4. Do Crossword or Sudoku--brain games initiate a new thought process and you forget your anxieties.
  5. Listen to music--if possible,play an instrument or hum your favorite tune.
  6. Watch a humorous program--borrow some joy de vivre from others.
  7. Dabble in art--even if you are not gifted, drawing,doodling or painting will lighten your mood considerably.Painting in children's coloring books is a good starter.You may even surprise yourself and begin to believe in art's efficacy to beat stress.Just keep the stuff ready.
  8. Do some craft work--pick up things you have no use for and think of new ways of using or recycling them.Let the creative juices flow.It is very satisfying to make something out of nothing.
  9. Indulge in a vigorous physical activity--the extra calories you burn consume overbearing,surplus stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol.As a result your tensions subside and you feel fit enough to face your challenges.
  10. Take a walk in the lap of nature--focusing on the outside world helps you to forget your fears and anxieties.   
  11. Sleep or just lie down --preferably in shavasan.
We all have our chosen stress-busters but trying out new ones can be very satisfying--it breaks the monotony and  augments your arsenal to fight depression.