Total 228 Blog Posts

  • 05 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Stress Free: A quick guide to stress relief

     yoga girl

    Feeling stressed is quite common these days. Demands on individuals have increased and the pace of life has really picked up. We always have to get so many things done all at once.

    In such a hectic and busy life, is it possible to manage our stress?

    Yes, definitely. One only needs to know how.

    The most effective key to stress relaxation is to use one’s breath adequately. Increased oxygen intake can reach the brain within seconds and help to calm us. There are many kinds of relaxation and breathing techniques, the easiest to understand and practice are 4-square breathing, JPMR muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation.

    4 square breathing:

    Inhale (for four counts) 1,2,3,4

    Hold 1,2,3,4

    Exhale 1,2,3,4

    Rest 1,2,3,4

    This is like 4 sides of a square, thus called four square breathing. This can be repeated multiple times till the person feels calmer.

     

     8 muscle group relaxation:

    Each muscle group has to be tensed for 30 seconds and then released before moving on to the next muscle group. The eyes should be closed while doing this.. When doing this for the first time, start with one or two rounds of it.

     

    1. Whole arms – slightly extended, elbows bent, fist tightened and pulled back.
    2. Whole legs – extended, toes pointed up
    3. Stomach – pushing it back towards the spine.
    4. Upper chest and chest – inhaling into the upper lungs and holding for a count of ten
    5. Shoulders – picking them up towards the ears
    6. Back of the neck – pushing the head back
    7. Face – squinting eyes, scrunching features towards the tip of the nose.
    8. Forehead and scalp – raising eyebrows.

    (You can give a gap of 30 seconds or more between each muscle group)

    Stress Free: A quick guide to stress relief

     

    Mindfulness meditation:

    Mindfulness is a school of thought that believes in concentrating in the moment completely, and doing only one task at a time.

    It is easy for our mind to jump, and this contributes to the restlessness we often feel that makes us stressed. Although mindfulness is a philosophy that can be extended to the whole day, you can start by practicing meditation.

    Hands rest on the thighs, facing down.

    The eyes are somewhat open and the gaze rests gently on the floor in front of you about four to six feet away.

    The idea is that whatever is in front of you is what's in front of you. Don't stare or do anything special with your gaze; just let it rest where you've set it.

    Begin by just sitting in this posture for a few minutes in this environment. If your attention wanders away, just gently bring it back to your body and the environment.

    The key word here is "gently." Your mind will wander; that's part of what you will notice with your mindfulness: minds wander. When you notice that yours has wandered, come back again to body and environment.

    The second part of the practice is working with the breath. In this practice rest your attention lightly (yes, lightly) on the breath.

    Feel it as it comes into your body and as it goes out. There's no special way to breathe in this technique.

    Once again, we are interested in how we already are, not how we are if we manipulate our breath.

    If you find that you are, in fact, controlling your breath in some way just let it be that way. 

     

     

     

  • 05 Oct
    Mandavi Pandey

    Why we feel good when we are in love

    Why we feel good when we are in love

    Role of oxytocin in love:

    Love is a powerful emotion, and a whole lot of us feel overwhelmed by it at times. One of the most commonly discussed neurochemicals in the context of love, is oxytocin. It goes up significantly in the brain when we hug or kiss someone we love, and makes us feel good by providing a boost. This reinforces the connection we have with that person.

    Role of Dopamine and Serotonin:

    However, love is neurochemically more than just that. Dopamine and Serotonin play an important role. Dopamine is influential in the reward system of the brain. When we do something that is useful for our survival, speaking in terms of evolution (hunting or mating), and our brain reinforces that behaviour so that we continue to do so and that furthers our chances to keep engaging in the behaviour. Being in love with someone increases our chances to mate with them and produce offspring, and so the brain rewards this behaviour with dopamine and that is the reason behind the ‘feel good’ sensation when we are in love.

    Serotonin is a chemical that is associated with being able to control one’s mechanisms. Serotonin levels drop when people are in love, and one study shows that it drops to the same level as those of OCD patients who are not able to control their compulsions! Why does this happen? Again, evolutionarily speaking, if we were to stay in control, we would not really go out of our way to show love and kindness to the significant other of our lives. Bonds of strength would not get made, and the person would not feel compelled to enter a mating relationship with us. Therefore, it is necessary for us to relinquish control when in love, and that is what the brain does for us.

    Why we feel good when we are in love

    Adrenalin for lust:

    Other chemicals that are also implicated when in love are adrenalin and cortisol. This actually has more to do with lust than love, but since lust is an important motivator, it is often the beginning. This is also why there is an emphasis to look good when looking for a partner, because lust gets triggered before love.

    Why people feel lust and love together:

    However, a puzzling finding is that although lust and love occupy overlapping regions in the brain, there are also some non-common areas to the two. This is why, people can feel lust and love together and also feel them for two different people. That is why, people who cheat on their partners often talk of still being in love with them. The puzzle is how this makes sense for mating behaviour. Maybe it is a protection against breaking old bonds just for enticement of new mating possibilities.

    Overall then, there is a lot going on in the brain when we are in love and the notion of  ‘crazy in love’ and ‘love is chemical’ may not be so wrong after all! This understanding can help us appreciate our excited state when in love and savor it if that is okay to do, or, if it is unsolicited, then blaming the chemicals is the best respite!

    Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.

    -eWellness Expert

    Image Source 

    Responses 3

    • jyoti sharma
      jyoti sharma   Dec 24, 2015 03:54 PM

      then what is real love?

    • kiran kumar
      kiran kumar   Dec 24, 2015 03:53 PM

      Love is an intense feeling of affection and care towards another person. It is a profound and caring attraction. On the other hand, lust is a strong desire of a sexual nature

  • 05 Oct
    Mandavi Pandey

    Postpartum illnesses: Psychosis, Anxiety and OCD

    Although postpartum depression is one of the most common emotional problems new mothers face, psychosis, anxiety and OCD are also found to occur, though this is much rarer. Go through this article to understand a bit more about them so that you can help yourself or someone you know from sinking deeper into these emotional issues without help.

    Postpartum illnesses: Psychosis, Anxiety and OCD

    Image Source: akhbar-kosmo.blogspot.com

    Postpartum Psychosis is a rare illness, compared to the rates of postpartum depression or anxiety. It occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately .1% of births. The onset is usually sudden, most often within the first 2 weeks postpartum.

    Symptoms:

    Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:

    • Delusions or strange beliefs
    • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
    • Feeling very irritated
    • Hyperactivity
    • Decreased need for or inability to sleep
    • Paranoia and suspiciousness
    • Rapid mood swings
    • Difficulty communicating at times

    A history of bipolar disorder, or any illness on the psychotic spectrum, even if in a family member, can contribute significantly. The birthing process puts hormones into overdrive and this can sometimes alter neurochemistry of the brain, leading to disturbance.

    Post-partum Anxiety

    Approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. Sometimes they experience anxiety alone, and sometimes they experience it in addition to depression.

    Symptoms

    The symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum might include:

    • Constant worry
    • Feeling that something bad is going to happen
    • Racing thoughts
    • Disturbances of sleep and appetite
    • Inability to sit still
    • Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea

     

    Risk factors for perinatal anxiety and panic include a personal or family history of anxiety, previous perinatal depression or anxiety, or thyroid imbalance. Sometimes, postpartum panic disorder, which is characterized by panic attacks can also occur.

    On the spectrum between psychosis and anxiety lies OCD. OCD is a problematic issue because it can make the mother undertake dangerous cleaning habits with the infant, that may be very harmful for it.

    Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders. It is estimated that as many as 3-5% of new mothers and some new fathers will experience these symptoms. The repetitive, intrusive images and thoughts are very frightening and can feel like they come “out of the blue.” 

    Symptoms of perinatal OCD can include:

    • Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.
    • Compulsions, where the mom may do certain things over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions.
    • A sense of horror about the obsessions
    • Fear of being left alone with the infant
    • Hypervigilance in protecting the infant
    • Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them.

    Having a previous diagnosis of anxiety or family history of it can be a risk factor for OCD.

    Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.

    -eWellness Expert

  • 04 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Could Your Common Cold Have A Psychological Cause?

    Are you falling ill too often? It could be linked with your stress levels. Research shows that there are very important and obvious linkages between stress and illness. High levels of stress are known to decrease the strength of our immunity level, which is why germs and disease agents can affect us more easily. A common cold is actually the body’s response to attacking disease agents. When the body prepares its fighter cells, it needs you to be resting. The process of raising one’s immunity can also increase body temperature. That is why we sometimes get fever and cold together.

    Could Your Common Cold Have A Psychological Cause?

     Image Source :plus.google.com

    In fact, it is estimated that a lot of illnesses have stress as a major factor. General physicians suggest that up to 70 % of the cases that they see have at least some component of stress. Usually, stress and back pain as well as other localized pain are also linked. It seems that a lot of people who go to their doctor, do not need just medications, but an understanding of the effects of stress and how to handle it.

    Why does this happen? Why does stress give us physical symptoms?

    To understand this, one must look at the evolutionary perspective. According to this, a lot of the ways in which our bodies and minds function is affected by how we evolved. From the point of view of evolution, the development of the prefrontal cortex (which allows us to think, plan and feel complex emotion) is a new aspect and may yet be unaccomodated for. Therefore, ‘stress’ in prehistoric times meant that there’s a lion lunging at you, and the body had to go into overdrive.

    The body would produce the relevant resources to deal with this threat to life. This would mean more blood flow to the limbs to run, increased heartbeat, and so on. Such threats were not an everyday occurrence. However, now-a-days, the daily stress we face is not the life threatening kind. But our brain still cannot distinguish between the two. So each time you feel stressed, blood flow and other vitals get disrupted to make way for a stress response.

    It must be understood that we encounter stress in much more frequency as compared to the prehistoric man. Therefore, our system might be going into over-drive several times a day! On top of that, we make our organs weaker by faulty eating, smoking or drinking. The combined effect of all this is that stress starts to affect our health in very obvious physical ways.

    Work-life balance is a key to handling stress. Consumerism never makes us feel that we have enough and we keep pushing ourselves to earn more and spend more. It is an endless cycle that takes a toll on our mental health. Even though modern medicine has increased average life expectancy, we are still struggling to make the quality of our life as high. Stress still rules our working day. This needs to change.

  • 04 Oct
    Mandavi Pandey

    Does my Partner have Post-Partum Depression? How Can I Help?

    If you are a partner to a new mother, this could be a question on your mind. You could have noticed some signs and symptoms like lack of joy in her, or she sits staring in space for long and does not show a lot of affection for the baby. You might be confused and scared. The first thing to do before you can help your partner, is to address your fears.

    Firstly, Baby Blues and PPD look similar, so make sure it’s not the former before you panic needlessly.

    Secondly, PPD is common and treatable; you just need to know how. Thirdly, this isn’t anyone’s fault.

    Does my Partner have Post-Partum Depression? How Can I Help?

    Image Source: ibuammar.com

    If it is PPD that you are up against, then involving mental health professionals is required. Talk to your partner’s obstetrician and physician for some primary referrals. Generally, both medication and psychotherapy may be required to work on PPD and improve the relations of the mother with the new-born as well as other people in the family.

    There are many ways you can help the situation.

      They are as follows:

    • Do not ignore PPD. The longer it remains ignored and unaccepted, the longer it can wreck havoc in her life as well as everyone else’s who is connected to her.
    • Support her by helping out at home and with the baby. If it is possible, hire part-time help.
    • Get her treatment, both pharmacological and psychological.
    • Give her supportive messages: That you love her, you understand that she feels terrible, that her emotional problems does not mean she isn’t a good mother, you believe in her, it will get better, and that you are glad that she is trying her best to fix it.
    • If there are people in your social circle who are likely to be supportive, call them over sometimes. If you are unsure or if you feel that they may add to the problem, then reduce contact with them.
    • Do certain tasks together, like bathing the baby or taking the baby out. Especially when caring for the new born together, it sends strong messages of support.
    • Do not tell her that this is what one needs to go through for a child, or it’s just a phase, or she caused it, or any other critical comment of that nature.
    • Be sure to be supportive and encouraging and not expect quick fixes or solutions. Accompany her on doctor/therapist visits.
    • Make sure you are managing your stress well, unwinding and relaxing when you need too. This will make sure you have the energy to handle the multiple demands.

    Above all, you have to give yourself the credit that’s due. If you have reached this page looking for information, you are no doubt willing to do whatever it takes, and you should be happy that you share a bond with her that makes you want to do so. With love and affection, PPD can be overcome.

    Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.

    -eWellness Expert