Saturday, August 25, 2018

Five Habits Which #CauseUnhappiness

We all want to be happy.No one in his right mind would choose unhappiness.Yet we could be harboring habits which make us unhappy.Habits which have become a way of life,of dealing with or reacting to people and circumstances.These habits govern our behavior, shape our perceptions and generate corresponding emotions.

Delving into the past
This is easily the most potent cause of unhappiness.If your past life was much happier than it is today and you are constantly yearning for the days gone by,how can you ever find peace?On the other hand if it was traumatic then too,always going back to those dreadful times will divert you from appreciating and enjoying the gladdening features of your life today.Similarly,dwelling on your past blunders or misdeeds will detract from the happiness which could have been yours if only you had consigned your past to the past.

 Worrying about the future
If ruminating about the past is harmful,worrying about the future unleashes fears and apprehensions--all mere conjectures,or the work of an overactive imagination.Your child is leaving home for higher studies abroad and you begin to speculate if he will successfully counter unhealthy trends and temptations he might be exposed to.Why not have faith in your own upbringing and the child's sagacity to overcome evil influences?Worries and apprehensions do not have the power to change future,they only causes trepidation.Don't anticipate problems,solve with them when they really appear.

Breaking relationships over trifles
Strong relationships can be a mighty source of joy and support.If you are very sensitive or quick to anger,and break off with people whenever you feel wronged or hurt,you are likely to feel lonely and isolated after the fervor has dissipated.Therefore don't be hasty in breaking relationships.Understand people,mingle with them,care for them,forget minor squabbles;and you will be happier.

Overthinking about everything said and done by you or someone else,or even about daily events;causes anxiety,restlessness and fatigue.It will make you suspect others' motives,intentions and allegiance.Such skepticism destroys confidence and peace of mind.Instead of spending so much time in analyzing every word and deed,get into action,address the issues which confront you and take charge of your life.This will put a brake on overthinking and lessen your anxiety too.

#Negativeselftalk and a defeatist attitude
Negative self-talk is an insidious enemy of happiness.It usurps confidence and discourages you from going forward and proving yourself.It might even blame you for things which were not your fault.A defeatist attitude is it's natural offspring.These two will not allow you to advance and find happiness.You will have to silence this inner critic if you want to be happy.
You can read more about it at this post.

We are creatures of habit and it is difficult to change habits which have become instinctive reactions.But it is our happiness which is at stake here.We cannot avoid the unhappiness which arises from external factors but we can delete the sadness which is the result of our own habits.Quite a lot of our happiness is in our own hands. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Self-help,Psychotherapy or Medication?

When you catch a disease you know exactly what to do:you go to a doctor,follow his advice and get cured.But a Mental Disorder is a different ballgame altogether.The treatment is delayed first of all because it's incipience can easily be misconstrued as a transitory emotional state and secondly because of the stigma attached to it.Any doubts that you might be on the threshold of a psychiatric illness are quickly expunged.

But when you finally realize that you might be suffering from,anxiety,depression,OCD,hypochondria or Bipolar Syndrome;there is no alternative but to do something about it.Educated people like you and I will search the internet and adopt self help measures to get relief.These might extend from a physical routine comprising exercise,jogging,yoga,pranayam and meditation to spirituality,going out,meeting people,and talking out our problems with friends or family.

But if any of this does not work,then?Obviously the next option ought to be consulting a counselor or a psychologist,but lots of people have compunctions about this, lest they be branded as a mental patient.In this way they unknowingly prolong their suffering and enable their problem to take deeper roots.

Therefore when you realize that your own efforts have failed to perk you up,psychotherapy is the next option.Look for a counselor or a psychologist.Find one with whom you can establish an easy rapport.This is important because only then will you be able to reveal your innermost thoughts which will hasten your recovery.Moreover you will follow the guidelines suggested by the counselor only if you trust him/her.

If psychotherapy too proves to be insufficient,consulting a doctor is the last resort.He will rule out the possibility of a disease being the cause of your problems and also prescribe the required medicines.But very few people go to a doctor for a mental affliction.

According to World Health Organization mental disorders affect one in four people at some point in their lives and nearly two- thirds of them will never seek help from a health professional.

Stigma is not the only factor which bars people from consulting a psychiatrist.There is a general distrust of psychiatric medicines and their side effects.These could range from nausea and vomiting,sleepiness,weight gain,diarrhea and sexual problems to other more serious ones. I am reminded of a lady who suffered from OCD. She has been on psychiatric medicines since many years,her symptoms have subdued but she is only a caricature of her old self.You can read her full story over here.

But we cannot condemn psychiatric medicines altogether.What if a patient is severely depressed,suicidal,or excessively violent?What if the symptoms shown by the patient far outweigh the side effects?WHO's report has this to say about the efficacy of psychiatric treatment:--

Over 80% of people with schizophrenia can be free of relapses at the end of one year of treatment with antipsychotic drugs combined with family intervention. Up to 60% of people with depression can recover with a proper combination of antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy. Up to 70% of people with epilepsy can be seizure free when treated with simple, inexpensive anticonvulsants.

At the end of the day I would say that the decision to take psychiatric medicine should be considered carefully.If you start the medicine but experience some ill effects,collaborate with your doctor and get it changed.Mental turmoil is extremely tiring for body and mind.It almost always disrupts sleep and this itself,creates a lot of stress.A sedative or a sleeping pill given by your doctor could provide enormous relief.

A short spell of medicine might even revitalize you enough to once again adopt one of the earlier two options.I have seen this happen.But if you wish to stop the medicine,then too do it under the doctor's guidance so that you do not have withdrawal symptoms.

Ideally,medicines should be accompanied by psychotherapy and lots of family support.The term 'family support'has been kept to the last but it's importance overcomes everything else.I say it from my own experience.

Stress,anxiety and the accompanying problems are omnipresent today.If you happen to be bogged down by such problems it does not reflect on you as a person,it is just a reflection of the countless demands being made from a person today.Look at the larger picture and you will perceive many saving graces too.