Sunday, December 27, 2015

Overcoming #Obsessive Thoughts

Our thoughts wield tremendous power.When constructive,they chart our trajectory;but when not,they can destroy our health and happiness.Obsessive thoughts are a prime example of the second kind.They are recurrent,persistent,embarrassing thoughts and images which come out of the blue and refuse to go.These thoughts are generally violent,sexual or fearful in nature.For example,a person may have repetitive thoughts of murdering or raping someone.Or he may be plagued by blasphemous or incestuous thoughts.

The thinker is immensely disturbed by such thoughts because they are not what he is.The depravity of these thoughts gives rise to a lot of anxiety and he is tormented by shame,guilt, and self-hate.It is very painful to have these thoughts or images buzzing in one's head and the sufferer may even isolate himself to preclude the possibility of carrying out the hateful acts he thinks of.

The Remedy
Persistent efforts are needed to cure oneself of this condition.

*If you are afraid that your thoughts might translate into action--relax.There is no such possibility.These are intrusive,unwelcome thoughts and not your plans of action.In fact, those who have such thoughts are generally decent,gentle folks.The people who commit such acts are different.They do not have compunctions like people suffering from obsessive thoughts have.They just go out and do it.

*Having unacceptable,intrusive thoughts results in a lot of shame and self-hate.Every time you are chagrined by such emotions you need to tell yourself--this is not me,these thoughts do not come from my volition.I totally disown and disregard them.

*Persistent thoughts have a way of engraving deep pathways in our brain so that we automatically think along those lines.You need to change that circuit in order to get relief.If the sight of a child arouses in you a fear that you may kill him then train your mind to respond to the child's sight by saying to yourself--what a cute kid.By and by,after a lot of practice,his sight will evoke the desired reaction--and not that violent thought.Suppose a dreadful image of a road accident confines you indoors,tell yourself 'I will be careful,I have been safe till now and I shall be in future too' and move out.In due course,it is this thought which will come to your mind when you step out of your home.We can change our brain through concentrated repetitive affirmations.

*It is futile to push an intrusive thought out of your mind--it only occupies a wider space that way.Diverting your attention to something else like a physical activity,a chit-chat or mindful scrutiny of your surroundings will erase that thought.Personally speaking,I have experienced that these thoughts vanish the moment I pay attention to the various sounds emanating from my surroundings.We usually do not register the low sounds which surround us,like the tick-tock of a clock,the hum of an air conditioner,the whirring of a fan or the chirping of birds.The moment we pay heed to these noises unwanted thoughts fade away. 

*Intrusive thoughts do not stay for long.If you want immediate relief try deep breathing,watch your breath come and go.This will take your mind off that worry.

*Making relaxation exercises a part of your daily routine will help.

*Meditation too is an excellent tool for controlling the mind.

*It is best to ignore unwanted thoughts--they are harmless.Flick them away like an irritating fly.And it is extremely important to refrain from undertaking any sort of ritual to prevent these thoughts from culminating in action.It is not needed.

At the end of the day, I would say that although these thoughts are harmless their power to unnerve us depends on how much importance we ascribe them.We all have days when one particular concern or the words of a song keep going on in our brain like a broken record.We also have crazy thoughts now and then;but having these thoughts does not make us evil or immoral.It is perfectly natural to have these thoughts.Lots of people do,but it remains private and every sufferer thinks that he is the only amoral person around.

The only difference between a normal person and one agonized by such thoughts is that he gives too much credit to them and concludes that he is no good.This results in a lot of anxiety.If someone is not able to stem them with self-help techniques then he had best consult a mental health professional.Cognitive Behavior therapy or counseling will provide relief in mild cases but severe ones should try medication or a combination of both.

It is best to be aware that a thought is a thought-not reality. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Priceless and Precious--Lost for Ever

Voices heard years ago
Now lost,
Forever and more.
Do they linger
In the air?
Not heard by me,
But very much there?

I ache to hear
Once again,
My name,whatever,
In voices dear,
Priceless and precious,
Lost forever!

Yesterday I had a very vivid dream of my mother calling out my nickname.I was upset throughout the whole day and then I wrote down the thoughts which were churning inside me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Taking a Break :)

Much though I love reading and writing blog posts,it consumes a large chunk of my time and energy.Therefore,taking a cue from my last post,I have decided to hibernate for some time.
I will certainly miss all of you with whom I share special ties(and I hope I shall be missed too).Let me see how long it will be before the bug bites again.
May you all fare well and prosper in every possible way.
A Very Happy New Year to all of YOU in advance :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Avoid # Overwork and be Happy

Stress is fine as long as it does not distress us but these days most of us are distressed because of overwork.If we are here,doing this,we are at the same time thinking of what all we have to do after that.We decide that once we have dealt with the various tasks which come popping in our minds we will take a long rest,but the to-do list elongates like an elastic till it breaks, or we break down.

There is little doubt that over-work has it's own incentives.It begets us appreciation,rewards and material benefits.But it is also true that after a certain point the productivity and quality of our work diminishes and negative effects creep in.

When we are dog tired the first casualty is the Circadian Rhythem.We sleep late and less,get up late,wreck our eating hours and skip a minimum physical routine.Many of us resort to substance abuse in order to make up for all these aberrations in our routine.The adverse effects begin from here.

Tiredness,irritability,headache,backache and eye fatigue are common.If we consistently work for more than 10 hours every day,our memory and cognitive abilities too,could decline.Depression and anxiety could follow.Physical ailments like high blood pressure,cardiovascular problems and digestive disorders also make their way if we stretch ourselves too far.Even the immunity depletes.As if this was not enough,our family and social life too,are adversely affected.

Not much good comes out of over work,eh?It could be a sorry necessity for those who are hard up,but it is also a chosen lifestyle for many.A yen for perfection,a desire to climb up the social ladder and be seen as a successful person,a hunger for material wealth and status symbols--any of these can push a person to work himself to death.

We drudge so that we can lead a happy,satisfying life;but if we go on like this without knowing when to stop, when will we enjoy the fruits of our labor?The goal of happiness keeps shifting farther and farther and the whole exercise becomes self-defeating.

Being stressed now and then is fine,but that constant feeling of having lots to do or very little time to do all that needs to be done is very detrimental to our well-being.Something needs to be done to avoid this outcome.

*It is necessary to prune our to-do list and garner more time to relax.We can chuck out the chores for which we have no aptitude if they are not really that important;or hire help to get them done.One way of beating stress and finding satisfaction from work is,to prioritize our tasks,finish the most important ones first and tick them off as we go on. 

*We often cling to everything because we fear that no one can do it the way we can.Very often it is not the truth,but our yen for perfection rearing it's head.If we could lower our standards a bit or trust someone else to do part of the work satisfactorily then we would have much more free time in which to relax.

*Sometimes we saddle ourselves with lots of work just because we cannot say 'No' to anyone.We shall have to learn this technique if do not want to become beasts of burden.

*One thing which makes even normal amount of work seem laborious is clutter.If we organize our work station and get rid of spurious distractions we shall work much faster and better.

*Lastly,Taking a break whenever possible can be highly refreshing and energizing.It will also stave off a burnout

It is essential to remember that there is more to life than work,success,achievement and material acquisitions.Our bodies require a minimum time to rest and recuperate or they will fail us.Similarly our minds too,need some form of recreation in order to function at their full potential.A life bereft of relaxation and entertainment is more like a punishment.

If our work creates friction at home and weakens our relationships, then it needs to be reassessed so that we do not lose the love and companionship of our family and friends.The joy of just sitting idle in the company of those who care for us,exchanging thoughts and sharing memories,relaxes us as nothing else can.True happiness lies in our relationships and not in the external symbols of wealth or success.

Image courtesy google.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oft In The Stilly Night--by Thomas Moore

Oft, in the Stilly Night (Scotch Air)
Oft, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood’s years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm’d and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain hath bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends, so link’d together,
I’ve seen around me fall,
Like leaves in wintry weather;
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

# Old Age and # Unhappiness

Being old today is more stressful than it ever was before.

The sea-change which we are witnessing in our lives leaves us oldies panting to keep pace.Hitherto simple activities are becoming more and more complex and tech-driven.Whether it is using your mobile,viewing the T.V,opening car doors and windows,operating the faucets in plush new-age buildings--everything is in a state of flux.Even lodging a complaint for a land-line phone or booking an L.P.G gas cylinder is not as simple as it used to be.And going to the cinema or mall is fraught with challenges of basement parking,lifts,escalators,A.T.Ms,credit cards and more.An attempt to grab some entertainment results in tension and perspiration. 

We learn a few tricks only to be confronted with many more.A deterioration in physical prowess and mental faculties makes all this an uphill task and if we give up, then there is the danger of being side-lined for ever.Life today is all about smartness and achievement.We lag behind sorely on these counts and it is very humiliating.

Lack of Support

Gone are the days when we could entrust the difficult jobs to our kids and rest in peace.They have moved out in search of their dreams.Very natural and understandable,but it leaves the whole drudgery of running the home upon our frail shoulders.It no doubt,energizes us and keeps us agile but it can also be very tiring.

There are groceries to be bought and countless bills to be paid;beginning with electricity,water,mobile,DTH,clubs and house tax etc.Then there is the upkeep of our homes,the umpteen repairs which crop up from time to time.Day and night connectivity is of little use when there is work to be done at the ground level.

Failing Health

All this becomes very difficult due to failing health which is the hallmark of old age.Any new symptom is cause for concern and the whole exercise of fixing doctors' appointments,undergoing various tests and procedures and coming to terms with the assault of a new disease on your body--all this has to be suffered mostly all alone.If you are lucky you may have your spouse with you but s/he too is likely to be in the same basket.

Diseases are not only painful and alarming-they are also very demeaning,especially when you lose control over your body functions.Being bathed,sponged,clothed,diapered and fed on bed--all this is hard to adjust to.You are forced to jettison your modesty and body-shame.Your children will do all they can to alleviate your suffering but the agony of being a burden upon others is ever present.
We all love the company of friends and relatives.It is an excellent mood booster.But the company of our peer group dwindles at an alarming pace.One by one,they leave for their ultimate destination.This leaves us lonely and worried.It is not easy to strike up new friendships at our age.The vacuum remains.
Lack of Occupation
We have all the time in the world but very little to occupy us.The drudgery of running our home does not count.Those whose life till now was focused upon their family and career are suddenly bereft of all responsibilities.The career has come to an end and the children are capable of managing their own lives.Is it any wonder then,that we feel useless and redundant?This results in a lot of rumination which is poison for peace of mind and good health.
A Feeling of Insignificance
This is the last straw.When you feel that your knowledge,expertise and skills are no longer required you feel useless and insignificant.It destroys your self respect and you lose the will to live.Mental disorders like anxiety and depression barge in.Your children will be anguished to see this change in you and they will try their best to help you but the spark has to be kindled from within.You have to banish negative thoughts and believe in yourself.

In order to bring this about it is necessary to join the mainstream and connect with people.Strike up a conversation with those you come across,whether it be a shopkeeper,a vendor or someone standing next to you in a queue.This will ward off loneliness,which,research shows,can cause early death.It will also give you something to think about in the lonely hours.

Daily walking too,is a must.When you go out you meet people,greet them,they smile back at you and the cloud lifts up a bit.You absorb Vitamin D,which maintains bone density,reduces Triglycerides and cures depression.Stretching exercises,yoga and meditation too,are excellent tools for nurturing body ,mind and soul.The idea is to keep up an optimum level of activity.

Entertainment comes close behind.A hobby you could not pursue earlier can be taken up now.Even simple activities like playing cards,board games,coloring,solving puzzles watching TV or listening to music can add freshness to a dull day.The whole purpose is to pass the time in a happy way and stop your mind from reveling in distressing thoughts.

Many people find solace in prayer meetings.Gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us,the good times we lived through and a faith in the Almighty will enable us to live the sunset years in the best possible manner.

Any more ideas anybody?

Related post --

Image courtesy google.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cudgelled into Obedience--All facts no Fiction.

What could be the reason behind a decent 27 year old B.Tech boy smashing mobiles ,breaking his watch and even taking a swipe at his wife-though instantly regretting it?This is what brought him to my counselling centre.He was at the end of his tether.Anger and agitation were written all over his face.

No prodding was needed.He blurted out instantly'My father and his elder brother have destroyed my life.'He had planned to take the GMAT test but his elders conned him into getting engaged to a girl three years ago.He was even beaten up to comply.But he managed to break that tie after a few months.The girl in question attempted suicide.This plunged him into depression and he was treated for it by a psychiatrist who warned his father to not thrust any major decision upon him.

Despite this,the duo got him engaged to another girl after one year.He broke off that engagement too but six months later he was forced to marry a girl citing his grandfather's illness.The girl was not his equal intellectually or culturally--she had a village background,although she was a post graduate.So they were not happy.

After he had narrated all that was boiling inside him,I gave him suitable advice.When I followed up after a few months I came to know that he had gone to Delhi to prepare for his exam.

I hope they are better adjusted now.But his father and uncle did their best to mess up the lives of their son and three other girls.Obedience,children's compliance-at this cost?

Image courtesy shutterstock

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Shriveling of The Extended Family

I remember when I was young we used to have a fixed two months' summer vacation and every year without fail,we would visit my mother's brothers in those vacations.My father did not have any sibling or living parent.There was never a doubt that my uncles' families may not be at home or it may not be convenient for them to have us.

We would halt at Ambala,where my elder uncle lived and then proceed to Nahan where my second uncle and grandfather lived.We were always welcomed with open arms and had great fun with our cousins.During the rest of the year our home was a focal point for our cousins to visit.These meetings fostered affectionate bonds between us.

I wonder how many of us mingle as frequently and informally as we used to,then.Our lives have changed phenomenally.The idea of an extended family might seem incongruous to the millennium kids but a need for togetherness and belonging is ever present in the human heart.Today this hunger is being satiated by social networking sites and countless gadgets.But even a hundred facebook friends or a thousand 'likes' cannot take the place of genuine human warmth.

No wonder,despite 24x7 connectivity this age is being termed as the age of loneliness.This is partly responsible for the hike in mental disorders.Our support systems have dwindled.From an extended family to a nuclear family to one-child-norm to broken homes to live-in relationships;how many loving persons will there be in a child's ambit tomorrow when s/he feels lonely and confused?

But even as I say this I know that the clock cannot be turned back.This is a natural progression of events--no body's fault but everybody's lot.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Switching from a Despondent Disposition to a Cheerful one :-)

Our disposition controls the way we think,feel and defines disposition as 'the predominant or prevailing tendency of one's spirits;natural mental and emotional outlook and mood;' or 'characteristic attitude'.Obviously it is of prime importance in determining the direction and quality of our lives.

It is very natural to be disheartened by an adverse event.When a few such events come close together it becomes difficult to be bullish and buoyant.But for some of us it takes very little to push us into the depths of despair,and dejection becomes a dominant quality of our nature.We lose interest in everything,do not converse with family or friends,can't even muster a smile at the best of jokes and give a negative reply to every query or suggestion.

When we believe from the core of our heart that nothing good will ever happen to us,we give up constructive efforts and are so engrossed in malaise that we fail to notice promising openings or dismiss them as mere chimeras.Even if we pursue a lead,our defeatist attitude prevents us from going all out for success.It is as if our unconscious mind wants to prove us right.And lo,the prophecy is fulfilled.As a result,our belief in the hopelessness of our condition is reinforced and we become even more apathetic. 

A despondent temperament is injurious.It vitiates our personal,social and professional life.As if that was not enough,it also ruins our physical and mental health.There are bound to be valid reasons behind such a temperament but these blocks can be overcome and we can change our attitude through deliberate and persistent efforts.If you feel that you too can do with more enthusiasm in your nature then read on,here are some tips to take you there :--
Your self-talk is your constant companion and therefore the biggest controller of your moods.Consciously,regularly,appreciate and encourage yourself,applaud your past victories and affirm that you can earn more plaudits.Weaknesses?Everybody has them.It is in your hands to climb over them or hold them up as insurmountable barriers.
Whenever you meet someone,talk about the good things which are happening around you.Appreciate the goodness in the other person.Never ever crib about what is wrong in your work place,society or neighborhood.It does not serve any purpose.It will only add to the blackness of your mood.If you make an effort you will be able to find many things you can be happy about.Talk about those.

In a similar vein,your response to a 'How are you?' should be a chirpy 'Good'.Those who start off on a litany of their woes,deepen their anxiety,worsen their mood and are subsequently shunned by others.Fake it and you will make it.
Associate with those who are optimistic and progressive.Their enthusiasm will motivate you to shed your ennui,view the future with hope and take positive steps to improve your lot.
The stuff you read,the songs you listen to,the movies and shows you watch;all these determine your mood.A downcast person automatically chooses the diversions which mirror his state of mind but this is the exact opposite of what he should be doing.When you go to a dark room you switch on the light;you do not draw the curtains and make it pitch dark.Watch comedy shows.Laughter they say,is the best medicine.

Life becomes much more pleasant and satisfying when we switch over to a cheerful disposition.Life being LIFE,there are occasions when it is impossible to retain one's composure.Even the toughest will find it hard to be calm in the face of certain circumstances.Tragedies and traumas are hard to get over and everybody has his or her own way of coming to terms with such events.But it is also essential to make sure that dejection does not become a permanent state of mind.If we keep the faith and look to the future with hope,the rest of the journey becomes easy and more satisfying.

Let me give you some tips for instant tranquility:--

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ek Bhool Kafi Hai--A Poem From My Collection,Very Touching and Poignant

इस कविता को महेश संतोषी ने बहुत समय पहले लिखा था। यद्यपि यह बहुत ही त्रासद है और मेरे फलसफे से मेल नहीं खाती ,फिर भी यह मुझे बहुत पसंद है,जाने क्यों। 
एक भूल काफी है 
याद भूल जाने को एक उम्र कम है पर, 
एक भूल काफी है उम्र भर रुलाने को !

एक सांस जीवन में एक बार आती है, 
बार बार लेकिन क्यों आँख डबडबाती है ?

मनचाहा आँचल तो मुश्किल से मिलता है, 
इसी लिए आंसू को धूल बहुत भाती  है !

रूप के बढ़ाने को लाख फूल काम हैं पर, 
चार फूल काफी हैं अर्थियां सजाने को। 

कुछ तो मन मृगजल के पीछे भरमाता है, 
कुछ मन का मेघों से मरुथल सा नाता है। 

आशा ही आशा में होंठ सूखे जाते हैं पर
कौन बुझे प्राणों की प्यास बुझा पाता है।  

प्राण दान पाने को एक बूँद मुश्किल पर, 
एक बूँद काफी है जिंदगी डुबाने को। 

प्रात कब हंसाता है,सांझ कब सुलाती है,
किस किस से साँसों की कथा लिखी जाती है। 

समय सभी घावों को पूर नहीं पाता है ,
दबी हुई पीड़ा भी उभर उभर आती है। 

दर्द के मिटाने को सौ सौ सुख  काम हैं पर,
एक दर्द काफी है लाख सुख भुलाने को। 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

# Anxiety is a Liar-Kill it Before it Destroys Your Life.

Anxiety does strange things to people.A hitherto well-functioning individual begins to feel powerless at the mercy of his thoughts.He has misgivings about his health,or his ability to succeed at upcoming events like an exam,an interview,a meeting,or even to efficiently conduct his day to day activities.Or he may fret endlessly about the health and safety of his loved ones.Whatever be the subject of his misgivings,they are mostly baseless  or  at least disproportionate to reality.

But they cause real damage--to both mental and physical health.If not checked at the beginning,this kind of negative thinking becomes a habit--with the brain.The more we think along these lines the more entrenched it becomes,so that anything and everything can give us jitters.

The roller-coaster of anxiety goes through four stages.
It is a well known fact that thoughts cause emotions.A preponderance of ominous thoughts gives rise to fears.There is a pervasive feeling of impending doom-as if something terrible is going to happen.Then,there are mammoth self doubts.We doubt if we will be able to drive a car,purchase groceries,attend to our official duties or even interact with friends.Each day begins with dubiety about our proficiency and the night starts with fears of not getting enough sleep.

Naturally,this is very upsetting.We realize that our fears are groundless,our personality is deteriorating, but we are unable to stem the slide.We are jealous of those we see gadding about,free of any hassle.A feeling of inferiority and incompetence takes hold of our mind.Happiness is a distant dream.We remain miserable most of the time and pay scant attention to anything else but our own worries.
When the mind is tense and apprehensive,it has an adverse effect on the body too.An anxious person experiences many physical symptoms.According to:-
This is how mind affects physical diseases:--

"It is well known that a turmulous mind can cause physical symptoms.For example,when we are afraid or anxious we may develop:
  • A fast heart rate
  • A thumping heart
  • Feeling sick (nauseated)
  • Shaking (tremor)
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • A knot in the stomach
  • Fast breathing
These physical symptoms are due to increased activity of nervous impulses sent from the brain to various parts of the body and to the release of adrenaline (epinephrine) into the bloodstream when we are anxious."
The cumulative effect of our emotions plus these sensations impels us to take counteractive measures.If we are scared of being killed in a road accident we will stop driving a car,crossing the road,or even stirring out of the house.A fear of tripping and falling could force us to give up all physical activity.And if we are chagrined because of a marked deterioration in our looks and personality,we may avoid going out and meeting people.Fears about our loved ones may compel us to enjoin upon them unreasonable controls and regulations.

No doubt all these measures are intended to curb anxiety but they have the opposite effect.The result is a stilted,inactive,asocial lifestyle which adversely affects our sleep,appetite,diet,weight and a general feeling of well-being.The worst part is that it isolates us from others,which itself is a common cause of depression.

In this way our reactions intensify our anxiety and the whole cycle of thoughts>emotions>sensations>reactions rolls out once again-but at a higher pitch.Anxiety is self perpetuating and treacherous.

What makes matters worse is that catastrophic thoughts deplete feel-good chemicals like serotonin,dopamine,oxytocin and endorphins while they boost stress hormones--adrenalin and     cortisol--which make us tense and nervy.We feel physically and mentally exhausted.The physical symptoms are interpreted as signs of a horrible disease.The end result of all this   is that we feel helpless and hopeless in the  face of mounting anxiety.

If you feel that your anxiety is getting out of hand,if it has brought all your activities to a halt;it means that your own efforts to curb anxiety are insufficient and you need professional help.In such cases it is best to consult a psychiatrist.Psychiatric medicines will grant you a good night's sleep so that the next day you will wake up fresh.Your anxiety levels will decline due to the release of more happy hormones.As your thoughts improve your emotions too,will follow suit.Many of the irksome sensations will subside.You will be able to take up some of the daily tasks which you had shunned till now.

Once your mood stabilizes and you are sure that you can now carry forward this improvement through your own counteractive measures;you can phase out those medicines with your doctor's help.Sudden stoppage of psychiatric medicine can cause withdrawal symptoms.No doubt these medicines help to tide over the worst but it is essential  to remember that they can also have damaging ill-effects.On the other hand if anxiety is allowed to persist for long,it can degenerate into GAD,panic attacks,hypochondria,OCD or depression.Taking this decision--of whether to continue taking medicines or stop them-- is like walking on razor's edge.

If you decide to tackle this ogre on your own,there is a wide range of measures to choose from.Those which are in tandem with your temperament,inclinations and beliefs are more likely to succeed.If you tell a sporty person to paint or solve puzzles it is not likely to click with him.He is more likely to benefit from vigorous physical activities like running,swimming,gardening or washing his car.An intellectual type will benefit from knowing more about his disease,searching self-help measures,journaling or playing brain games.Artistic individuals can find relief through sketching,painting and craft work.Apart from this there are many other options to choose from--like meditation,yoga,exercise,massage,dance,music,watching comedy shows,indoor/outdoor games or juggling balls . 

Anxiety can be very stubborn.Sometimes it will not respond to any of these measures.In such cases it is very likely symptomatic of a deep underlying emotional conflict which the person is unable to share with anyone.It could be the memory of an abuse or guilt about something the person did or failed to do.Whatever it is,the only way to find peace is to process that turmoil.If not with kith or kin;such feelings can be discussed with a mental health professional,a priest or a guru.But the main thing is that this conflict needs to be talked about.Only then can the feelings of guilt or victimhood be resolved.

The early stirrings of anxiety should not be ignored.Nip it in the bud before it gobbles up your health and happiness.Choose the weapon you like but stick to it till you are tension-free and can look back upon those angst-ridden days with a smile on your face.Kill anxiety before it destroys your life. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Good,Bad,Better and Best Half !

The Good Times

The first flush of marriage is good.For most
everybody.Both are at their rosy,syrupy best.Even the extended families can be recognized by the overflowing milk of human kindness.Best clothes,best manners,best behavior;what more could a couple want?Each vies with the other to please and be pleasant.
The Bad Half
Like all good things,this phase comes to an end.The polish begins to wear off.Hidden kinks emerge.They see each other in their true colors.Why do you climb the bed with dirty feet?Change your socks PLEASE!Hang out your towel to dry.You have burnt the vegetable today and yesterday you burnt my toast.Your chapaties are so stiff.My mom is such a fantastic cook,you should learn from her.You can go back to HER !

This is the general refrain after the incubation period ends.The disease is at it's vilest.Expectations crash down to the Down Under.Dreams wither and tempers flicker.A power struggle ensues.Each tries to gain control by playing the blame card.And then there are attempts to fashion the other person according to one's own specifications.If you can live through this phase,your ties are as good as cemented.
The Better Half
Ting tong!The apple of your eye arrives.There is a lot of flurry.A new bond is created.Self obsession gives way to a common obsession.Both sides give in a bit.Can't scream or bang doors when the baby is sleeping--can you?There are more important issues to be taken care of.The childish games of one-up-man-ship are relegated to the background or deferred to a more convenient time(which never arrives).A slip here or a lapse there is ignored.Good old adaptation has made it's entry.Both can truthfully refer to the hitherto ogre as their better half.
The Best Half
Ting tong!Another baby?After twenty years?Nah,this is middle age knocking at your door.The birdie has flown the nest.The original combatants are again face to face.Now what?More sparks?Nah!The heart is heavy with a hollow feeling.There is no inclination to fight.Both try to reorganize their lives once again around each other.

Soon one or both of them retire.Even more of togetherness.Will we see some fireworks now?It has been so long.But no,there is little energy left for a proper ding-dong.I think both have resigned themselves to their differences.And some of them have even been erased to meet at the equator.There is very little impetus to gain the upper hand.

Meanwhile old age slips in without knocking.Infirmity
or disease of one rattles the other.There is a lot of concern,empathy,caring and finally,genuine,unadulterated love.But unfortunately,this is not the proper age to say 'I love you.'

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Sunshine Award

Colleen,who blogs at is a recent blogger friend but her posts are so candid and forthright that I feel as if I have known her since long.Her post about her homeland is a poem of love-love for a homeland we are often forced to leave.She pleasantly surprised me by nominating me for the Sunshine Award.Thank you Colleen!

The rules for this award are:--
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to her.
List the rules and put the picture on your blog.
Answer the questions.
Nominate other bloggers and notify them.
Come up with questions for them.

Here are the questions which Colleen asked me:--
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I am an introvert.
Where in the world are you most drawn to?
To New Delhi,the place where I grew up.
What characteristics in others do you like most?
Intelligence and a sense of humor.
What characteristics in others do you like least?
Dominating and lying.
What area in your own life are you seeking to grow in?
I am trying to perk up my self esteem and confidence.I have gained a lot but I want more :).
Do you have a daily routine?
Oh yes,I have a deadly monotonous routine starting early morning with yoga and ending at 10 pm with Sudoku.An evening walk with friends and a couple of kitty parties in a month are the highlights of my routine.
Since this is a Sunshine Award,what things bring light and sunshine into your day?
When my kids are home for a vacation it is all light and sunshine.Otherwise I take solace from the fact that we are together and in fairly good health. Meeting friends over a cup of tea is always enjoyable.

Now it is my turn to ask questions.I will repeat the first one:-
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
The first item on your bucket list?
Your favorite hobby?
Your strength?
Your weakness?

I would like to nominate the following for this award.I hope they will accept it.

Mridula at

Renu at

Archana at

My congratulations to you all for hosting outstanding blogs :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How To Be Mentally Tough

Life is a race--to learn more,be more,get more and zoom ahead leaving others far behind.In this race, sometimes laggards charge ahead of those who had been seen as brilliant,sure winners.It is not credentials,intelligence or even talent;which decide who comes out on top.Rather,it is the quality of mental toughness that marks the winner.

Mental toughness is an amalgam of different qualities like clear thinking,tenacity,self confidence,optimism and fearlessness.If you are blessed with a combination of these qualities then you can achieve much in life--whether it be in the field of education,work,relationships or health.

Mental toughness gives you the strength to cross over hurdles and reach your destination,even when the prospects look bleak.It also gives you the resilience to set aside hurts and disappointments and get on with life.You are better able to resist the temptations which could destroy your health or ruin your personal life.

Many of us feel that we are not tough enough,and miss success for want of grit.We give in to opposing forces instead of fighting them, and this prevents us from attaining the heights we are capable of.Here are some pointers which could help us to get rid of this handicap:--

* Start with a clean slate--rid yourself of preconceived notions,prejudices and other whimsical theories.

*Forget past failures,misadventures and misunderstandings--they will only dishearten you.

*Accept responsibility for your past mistakes--do not look for scapegoats.

*Examine accurately the situation you are in today,even if it is not what you had dreamed of.

*Accept a daunting challenge,the one which is most crucial to your happines--it will help you to evolve.

*Chart your plan of  action and follow it religiously.

*Take calculated risks--nothing ventured,nothing gained.

*Be conscious of your drawbacks at all times,so that they do not jeopardize the results of your actions.

*Be ready for failures--nobody succeeds every time.

*Some people get pleasure from pulling down others--don't let their jabs or jibes discourage you.

*Avoid seeking advice from others--take well thought-out independent decisions.

*Don't let anybody push you around.

*If you don't want to do something,or do not agree with what is being said;have the courage to say no.

*Voice your opinions--they are no less important than what others say.

Mental toughness comes handy in many fields of life but it's best function is to save us from mental disorders.The tough ones do not crack even after major upheavals or traumas.Nothing can keep them down for long.They spring back with minimum collateral damage.

But a word of caution will not be out of place here.Our quest for toughness should not catalyze us into hard rocks--after all murderers too,are tough!Single-minded pursuit of self interest to the exclusion of human sentiments will leave us high and dry.We have to take care that we do not step on others' toes or climb over their shoulders to reach the top.