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