Total 225 Blog Posts

  • 25 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    How To Help Victims Of Trafficking?

    human trafficking

    “When I was 12 years old, I met a guy who was 18. I gravitated to this man, because he made me feel safe and secure and gave me the attention from a man that I desperately desired. During the first six months, I felt like I was in love with him. Well, things were about to change.

    One evening, when I was 13, he introduced me to two girls named Candy and Cherry. He told me that for all nice things he had done for me, it was now my turn to pay him back. He said that I had to go down the street to the strip club and dance.”- (Alexiana’s story: Escaping from a Nightmare)

    Most human beings are tricked into the dark world of flesh trade and sexual abuse, with an apparent masquerade of caress. It is important that we keep our senses wide open, and utilise our brain while getting along with strangers.

    Across the globe, about 20 million people are bought, sold and exploited into the sex trade and forced labor, according to Equality Now.

    Human trafficking is one of the most profitable crime industries in the world, generating about 30 billion dollars every year. Young girls and boys are kidnapped in groups, either their bodies are sold for sex or for slavery and bonded labour. It’s hard to imagine a modern educated society like this today, where human flesh is traded with for money, which was only crude racism in the past in #UncleTom’sCabin. This brutal crime leaves irreparable impact on the mind of the victims, who generally suffers one or more traumatic experiences, from the time they are ‘taken’ and they are left, biologically and psychologically, incapable of overcoming this trauma. Victims of trafficking are mostly lost into the underworld of crime and destruction. Some of them, even after rescued, never completely revive from the shock and trauma of being violated.

    It is important to know how we can help these victims regain themselves, in the right way.

    • More genuine rehab centres should take up the major responsibility. NGOs working for restoring individuals from this gruesome experience, should create an environment, victims can communicate with each other, and share their sorrows in order to unburden them.
    • It is important for us to reconstruct the thought pattern of such victims who have had a hard time in life. Bringing them back to the main life process is very important, and it can begin only with their employment. Each one of us should lend a hand forward and engage and employ them in activities, which they will like to do, like craftwork, teaching, writing etc. this can give them back their confidence and also reconstruct a positive idea about earning money, which has been demolished by their past trade work.
    • Talking to a victim is very important. We as a part of society, should be more sensitive towards victims of such crimes. If we meet even one such person, we should go forward and talk to them, no sympathy, sympathizing with a victim can bring back their gruesome experiences. A heart to heart conversation about positive things can rejuvenate them.
    • Society should change their attitude towards victims of trafficking. Instead to setting a taboo for them, each individual should develop a friendly approach towards them. Remember, they are not the criminals but the victims.
    • Government should look seriously into the matters of rehabilitation. Just setting up homes, may not work, it is imperative to note, how these homes are functioning. Inspections should be sent from time to time to check the progress of these institutions.
    • We as individuals should engage victims with social works and activities that deal with upliftment and rehabilitation processes. This will make them feel worthy of saving some people, and thus will save them too.
    • A victim should also be made aware of legal policies against trafficking criminals. If they realise that Government actually have strict punishments for the criminals who have trapped him/her, they will feel relieved and safe.
    • Children rescued from trafficking, should be given good education and the government in general, and we as individuals should try for it, so that it becomes easy for them to overcome the trauma, in the light of knowledge.
    • We should voluntarily work towards specially training the victims, to help them improve their psycho-social behaviour, manage anger and frustration, and develop a more adaptive living in the society.

     

    Trying is important. Every step we take, will change for betterment. Many organizations are already working towards this issue.

    Girls on a Journey Program, a YFT (USA) initiative works every year towards rescuing and restoring atleast 50 young girls, who have been victimised with flesh trade.

    We should encourage more such initiatives, the way we can. Social media is a strong podium, each one of us, should engage in blogs and bring up stories of victims who have suffered human trafficking, to create an awareness and generate a positive force for rectification of situations.

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  • 24 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    How does mindfulness reduce anxiety?

    mindfulness

    You must be wondering, again a new term for dealing with anxiety! What is it? How can it help? Yes of course, there is an answer. We never knew that something so beautiful and simple can actually be a modifying agent for behavioural problems, especially anxiety.

    We have spoken about power pose, we have spoken about determination for managing anxiety, and now we are into mindfulness which can be a scientific solution to your panic attacks.

    Mindfulness is your purposeful concentration on the present, and the better you practise it, the more you can keep yourself aloof from the thoughts of past and future.

    You can meditate focussing on the present moment of joy, or you can practice yoga with mindfulness. Try to feel the different sensations on your physical self during the daily life activities. For e.g. the breeze on your face, the dewdrops on your feet, tune in to sensing the fabric of your clothes on your skin. As you follow this process, you will notice that you are slowly and gradually being swept away from panicky thoughts like ‘what ifs’.

    How can mindfulness help in reducing anxiety?

    • Mindfulness changes the brain- Amygdala which is the centre of all emotions is hypersensitive to perceived dangers. Whenever, it can foresee danger, whether it is real or not, it tries to warn you, alarm you, and this comes in the form of anxiety, your ‘what if’. It has been scientifically proven, that practising mindfulness-
    1. Increases the density of the brain- 27 minutes of mindfulness can affect the density of the prefrontal cortex in a positive way which is responsible for calming down.
    2. Decreases the size of amygdala- the main player for anxiety reactions, the amygdala is reduced in size.
    3. Increases the level of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)- this is the chemical generated in the brain for reduction of hyperactive anxiety reactions.
    4. Decreases the cortisol- which is the main stress hormone in the brain.
    5. Activates relaxation response- contrary to the flight response, associated with nervousness and panic attacks, is the relaxation response which relates to settling down of the over-active sensations of anxiety, worry and stress.
    • Mindfulness improves well-being- By focussing on ‘now’ many people have been able to prevent themselves from getting caught up in worries, and thereby adhered to a satisfied life.
    • Mindfulness improves physical health- if well-being is just not enough motivation for you to start up with something new, know the health benefits of the practice-
    1. Helps relieve stress
    2. Mindfulness can treat heart disease
    3. Lowers blood-pressure.
    4. Fights with gastrointestinal difficulties
    5. Improves your sleep practices.

    Mindfulness attributes its roots to Buddhism, where it was a kind of formal prayer. Later, Professor emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine and demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health attitudes and behaviours.

    How can you practise it?

    • Mindfulness requires concentration. As you start focussing on the meditation, you will observe that your inner thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations are getting channelized without any judgemental reaction.
    • Watch over what comes and goes in your mind. Focus on the bodily sensations. Every day, there are a multiple collections of emotional and physical sensations that meet us, the idea is to get carried away with them, rather than holding on to any particular thought or sensation and ruminate on the past or future.
    • Initially, you may feel the pressure of trying too hard, such that it gives you a feeling of boredom, rather than relaxation. Don’t worry, keep practising, it will help you on a long run.

    Accepting your anxious thoughts is the key to reducing it. You have to acknowledge that you are worried, only then will meditation help.

    Ways of practising-

     

    1. Sit on a chair with your back straight or cross-legged on the floor, for this practice.
    2. Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing while chanting a particular word, expression or ‘mantra’ that can help relax your mind. Avoid the recurrent thoughts that provoke.
    3. Focus on small bodily sensations like itch, hiccup, or tingling, focus on each part from head to toe.
    4. Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.
    5. Allow emotions of joy, anger, frustration, despair and sadness to come and go without judgement. Do not get your mind involved in evaluating them.
    6. Cope with your cravings. Your desires will come, but don’t let them haunt you, just let them pass off. Concentrate more on your breathing regularity.

    Keep trying till you succeed. Often we fall short of time for yoga and meditation, but if you miss your schedule, try practising some other time in the day. Perseverance will help fight your anxiety.

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  • 24 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    Surprising Addictions

    We all speak about ‘quit smoking’ or letting go of alcohol, because they are things that become addiction if not overcome with time. Drugs are addictive and they slowly affect your internal organs, hence we say a big ‘NO NO’ to them.

    But what is this addiction? Is it only related to intoxicating objects?

    Well anything that alters your mood is an addiction.

    We have earlier spoken on checking your addiction with substance abuse in How to deal addiction with a tough handbut today we will speak of some other forms of addiction, which are present in our daily lives, but we do not identify them as addictions; nor do we do anything to recover from them.

    Some common forms are easily identified like addiction with the internet games, social media, and networking, either via texting or social networking, which takes up maximum time of our day; subconsciously, we focus more on messaging and commenting on posts, rather than talking to our family. Some of us are shopaholics; that is a form of addiction too.

    We are becoming really mechanical in our approach towards different things. However, some surprising addictions are there, which are really difficult to get rid of, but we do not realize that they are addictions.

     

    Smart phones and tablets: We really don’t know, what is so fascinating or important in our phones, that we keep scrolling up and down; if not anything, we just check the calendar; similarly, for tablets, if you are using it regularly.

    The average mobile phone user checks their device 150 times a day, and a recent study cited that 94% of college students reported feeling troubled when not carrying their phones with them. 80% of them said they felt jealous when someone else held their phones, and 70% said they expected to have feelings of depression, panic and helplessness if their phones were lost or stolen.

    A behaviour becomes a habit, and then a habit becomes a harmful habit. It has a neurological basis, when we regularly carry our phones, we are prone to check something or the other, and this slowly increases in probability, till we become impulsive towards it, just like we lock the door of the bathroom, out of practice.

    Smart phones are designed to make you check it again and again. However, this can cause cyber sickness and nausea, but we do not just give up.

    Digging and biting nails- some people say that tension and anxiety make them bite nails, however, this is a form of addiction. Digging on the corners of the nail is an obsessive compulsive action; the action gives you a sensation which, in Freud’s language is an indirect sexual urge; a sensation which is also associated with sucking of thumb or something for a child, hence it becomes an addiction, and we cannot get rid of it easily.

    Tanning: You won’t believe, many people across the globe are addicted to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. We Indians crave for #FairAndLovely skin, while many people, especially in America, are fond of getting a slightly dusky complexion, and for that they can lay down in the sun for hours; chances are that they will visit the beach as often as twice a week. In fact, according to Dr. Bryon Adinoff, an author of the study, the brain responds to UV light in areas that are associated with reward, causing some people to develop an addiction (“Tanorexia”) despite the potentially fatal health risks of tanning.

     

    Lip Balm: Have you ever imagined, that helpful stick that protects your lip skin during the winters, can become an addiction? But it is true; some people just get obsessed with the idea of keeping their lips moistened and hydrated, so much so that they always carry a lip balm in their bag; many a times, of a different flavour. Gradually, they get addicted to the taste and smell of the cosmetic. This is because while lip balm offers a temporary moisture boost for dry lips, it can interfere with the process of cellular turnover and the production of natural moisture, leading you to apply more and more lip balm to counteract these drying effects. It may not be life-threatening, but it can be the cause of many illnesses.

    Falling in love: Love and relationships complete our lives, but for some people, it is an addiction. They fall in love, and get off with it soon, and this becomes a habit, such people cannot stay single even for a day, they love being linked to someone or the other of the opposite gender, and they claim they are in love.

    Exercise: Exercise is a healthy habit; it keeps you healthy in mind and body, however, for some people it becomes not just a habit, but an addiction, so much so, that they won’t give up exercise, even if they are ill or injured. Now that can be dangerous.

     

    How can such addictions be cured?

    Unfortunately, addiction is not an acute illness like jaundice or diarrhoea, where a direct medicine can be implied.

    1. Cognitive behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be much of a help for recovering yourself of this urge of going back to your habit. CBT is especially popular for its non-invasive and non-drug-based approach to therapy, which allows the patient to exercise more control over treatment than with other options.

     

    1. Controlled environment- Sometimes, we can use a controlled environment to get rid of the habit, we are in. For e.g. you choose to be without your phone for a day; intentionally, forget your phone at home, and go for office; you will be disturbed initially, but, when you practice this for a couple of alternate days, you will no longer feel anything compulsive about your smartphone.

     

    1. Self-control and routine set- start your schedule from a fixed day. You need to make up your mind that you need to free yourself of the addiction. Promise yourself that you will not look into Facebook posts for more than half an hour in a day, and maintain this timing religiously.

     

     

    1. Spend more time in other activities- after you get home, instead of switching on the TV or computer game, or facebook, read a book, do some study on subject of your interest, practice some yoga, or just help your partner in cooking. Do some cleaning for the house. When you are engaged in something, you won’t feel the urge for addictive things.

     

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  • 22 Aug
    Trisha Ray

    Backup plans affect your chances of Success:

    backup plan

    Success is the key mantra of today’s living society. The first step that we take while thinking about achieving success is planning. Planning, deliberating, analysis and action are ascertained to be the four common steps we go through while searching for success.

    Planning for success can be stressful and energizing at the same time. Depending on the situation, environment and locus of control, someone might start planning for success.

    In the initial one or two days, there is a lot of energy around the planning. But slowly when stress starts creeping in, people generally start looking at a Backup Plan, just for the safety’s sake, as we call it.

    The question that arises here is Is making the Backup plan safe for your actual plan which is eventually going to lead you to success?”

    The answer might be “No, Not at all”. The so-called back up plan might actually overpower your actual plan and might make you complacent regarding your actual plan.

     There has been some research on this as well.

    A paper previously published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that a backup plan can reduce the effort you put forth to achieve a goal, thus hurting your chances of achieving it.

    Most of us think a backup plan is always a good idea. However, a latest study highlights an unintended cost of making backup plans: a lower chance of successfully achieving your primary goal.


    Investigation started with a simple survey at a large east-coast train station. Researchers approached people who were waiting for trains, asking them to write about a goal they were pursuing and how much effort they were putting forth towards achieving their goal.

    Then, participants were asked if they had made a backup plan for their goal. Analyzing the data collected from the survey, researchers found that the people who had made a backup plan were putting forth less effort towards achieving their goals.

    Although this finding was consistent with previous hunches about the risks of making backup plans, correlation does not always equal causation.

    The possibility for this kind of a result can be variant.

    It might be that people who were working less hard towards their goal were more likely to make a backup plan because they knew they were more likely to need one. Or maybe, people who didn’t really care much about goal achievement to begin with were putting in less effort and were more likely to make a backup plan.

    Coming back to our current discussion, a backup plan, however, can have various dimensions. Let’s elaborate with an example:


    Carol is dissatisfied with her current job. The reasons are manifold starting from dissatisfaction with the job description to a general distaste of the corporate culture after having worked in it for over 7 years now.

    The most obvious primary plan would be to discuss the matter with her current boss asking for a role change and to initiate any sort of discussions that would improve her dissatisfactions. Again, the obvious backup plan with regards to dissatisfaction with the Job description would be to change her current company.

    However, the distaste for corporate culture would require her to change her line of work. In this scenario, Carol is thinking of 2 kinds of backup plan.

    If she is only thinking of changing her current company, then her backup plan would entail having a one directional route. However if she chooses to change her line of work altogether, she would have to adopt a parallel route for a backup plan.

    In the first kind, Carol with the one directional backup plan seems to be in a safe place. The only interesting factor to be noted would be that the primary plan which is to stay back and talk about a role change will already have taken a backseat.

    Carol’s focus is most likely to shift to the backup plan rather than the primary plan because she would be already tired with the current company, she would focus on looking out for another job than go through the lengthy process of resolving the issue within the current company and her manager.

    This would hence make her complacent regarding her primary plan.

    In the second kind, Carol will have to parallely look for another complete different line of work while dealing with her current scenario.

    This would require her to deal with multiple scenarios at the same time, hence creating more confusion while searching for a job and preparing for the interviews.

    With all these setbacks in mind, the temptation to completely shift to an even newer plan increases or to drop both plans altogether.

     


    Hence, it is important to remember that while having a backup plan might seem somehow safe, the consequences of formulating it might not, in reality, be that way. It is advisable that the focus should be on the PRIMARY PLAN and not the BACKUP plan to gain success.

    With reference to the example and research mentioned above, it can be stated that a backup plan might not be the healthiest route to success.

    A healthier process can be adopted in the primary planning itself by doing the below:

    • Choose your goal practically, i.e., something that is achievable
    • Measure your resources before making the plan
    • Analyzing the consequences
    • Focus very deeply on your plan and believe that you have the strength to execute it.
    • Be prepared for the tough challenges that might come your way.
    • Be in a very mental calm state of mind while deciding on the planning.
    • Be patient

     

    Having these weapons with you makes you ready to take up the challenge of your primary plan and prevents you from making a backup plan, out of that stress of not being able to achieve.

    We have to constantly remind ourselves that life throws us challenges at every turn, especially when we want to achieve something and succeed in that.

    But we have to keep ourselves strong and be prepared for whatever challenge come our way and take a more focused approach rather than trying to play safe with keeping backup options and getting more boggled.

    Backup options can be kept in consideration, but only after you have tried full fledgedly to achieve your success as planned primarily.,

    References:

    “How backup plans can harm goal pursuit: The unexpected downside of being prepared for failure (Jihae Shina; Katherine L. Milkman)

     Paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597816302096

     Google.com

  • 19 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    A win is a Win in the Game, only when you play it Happily.

    usain bolt

           

    A survey claims that,  when players are free from the pressure of the competition, they will play just for enjoyment, which is definitely not miles away from success. Being in the game in good spirit is a big achievement; you learn new techniques, physical skills and have fun while acting into the situation.

    A competition free environment will provide a stress free environment and a zeal for new learning. Losing a game can actually demotivate a person to move forward if they care much for it.

    There are more professional athletes like Rafael Nadal – whose enjoyment of different sports was such that he had to choose between tennis and football at the age of 12 – than Andre Agassi, who, pressured by his father throughout his childhood, prospered as a tennis player despite coming to hate the game.

    Even the compulsion of winning a game online, has reduced. Customized shooting games online are played just for maintaining a good kill/death ratio.

    Gradually, people are losing the passion for winning the match. One of the reasons in this case, could be, that they are obsessed with the idea of ranking-up system, especially in games like the #Doom.

     

    Well, in this case too, we will provide a positive side; if you are not engaged with the concept of winning or even trying to do so, you can easily get over your addiction of these computer and internet games, which will eventually save you a lot of precious time.

    It will keep you in good mental health, if you just play for fun, and not bang your fists on the keyboard or touchscreen, once you take a wrong path while playing #Asphalt.

    However, this indifferent attitude towards being a winner cannot go without criticism.

    Well it is good to be easy going, but casualty? Is it a good characteristic trait?

    A video game will not determine your life, however, if you are a professional sportsman, your attitude will determine your fate, your career.

    rio winner

    Especially, in sports like wrestling, boxing, martial arts or mere street fight, if you feel it is ok to lose, you might get trampled under the prowess of your opponent. Also in life situations, where you need to fight out a bunch of goons, you won’t be guided by any ring, or any set pattern of rules; there if you feel it is ok to lose, you might get killed.

    Sports is a competitive game, and it gets included in school curriculum, to teach children the importance of maintaining a healthy competition throughout their life. If you remove this quotient, sports will be nothing but a child’s play.

    For e.g. if a child knows that earning a good grade is not important, why will he/she then study at all; he/she will rather choose to play for most of the working hours in order to enjoy. If failing is alright, then why should someone work hard to pass with above average rank?

    We do acknowledge Rudyard Kipling’s promise of the earth, where we bear and ‘triumph and disaster’ with equal grace, however, that is an Utopian existence, which doesn’t come real; and we cannot forget the Darwinin rule of survival of the fittest; well I do not literally mean that you should do everything you can (like beg, borrow, steal or kill) to be successful, but maintaining a healthy competitive spirit within self is not that bad.

    It acts as a kind of motivation towards hard work.

    Again. The balance is very important; while in a game, a person should keep up with team spirit and follow the regulations in order to gain a fair win. He/she should not be tied down with the burden of winning; it should not be a compulsion, but a wish and a need.

    Winning a game should be a reward not something that needs to snatched at any cost. Vengeance and wicked strategies can affect negatively on the mind, and also consequentially affect the sportsman spirit within an individual.

    Excessive pressure can be the cause of anxiety, tension and stress which can make you physically unfit for a game.

    Hence it is important to remember, that win and lose are part of a game; you work hard towards a fair win, you give your best, but maintain a balance, keep to a healthy lifestyle, be happy with your work or sport, whatever you do, enjoy doing it, in order to achieve success.

    Image source