• 24 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    How can we make our happiness, a long term truth?

    mood enhancing activities

    All of us want to be happy, but we hardly can do so consistently, however, currently data science has proved that if we can manage our mood inconsistencies in the proper way, we can remain happy.

    New findings from large-scale data clarify how hedonic considerations shape human behaviour.

    In fact, the study tells us, how we can overcome the pleasure of short-term gains to gain a long term peaceful settlement in the mind.

    It depends on a few basic things; we can ensure our happiness by choosing our daily life activities wisely; what to do when is the key concept behind managing your mood.

    A team of researchers, led by Maxime Taquet, a research fellow at the Boston Children's Hospital, developed a smartphone application to monitor in real-time the activities and moods of over 28,000 people.

    The team found that, rather than following the pleasure or hedonic principle, people's choices of activities instead consistently followed a hedonic flexibility principle. 

    Results showed that people who are happy choose to engage in exercise, meditation, work outs etc. when they are sad, and opt to do monotonous tasks like household chores, office work etc. when they feel better in mood.

    These considerations can shape your behaviour and ensure long term welfare; this is also the possible method for overcoming your short-term gain attraction, which will give you long time peace and happiness.

    For e.g. you lose the flat race competition on the sports day in school; instead of crying on the situation and mourning over your loss, you can use the situation as a motivating factor to develop yourself; if you really like the sport, and you have talents of a runner, you choose to practice harder; more practice will build your self-confidence, it will make you fit, and give you the finesse required to be a champion in the national games or state level competitions.

    On the other hand, if you keep complaining about your present loss in a school sports event, it will waste a lot of time, it will hamper your studies, will put you into depression, and this mourn will be of no help, you won’t become first if you cry.

    Hence it is an individual’s choice of activities, which gives him/her happiness or success.

     

    Choosing what to do with your time, is the crucial choice a person should make, to direct his/her emotions. Mood enhancing activities should be engaged in when you are feeling low, and alternately, do the heavy duty tasks when you are already charged up.

    For e.g. if you wake up in the morning with a cross mood, or low energy, do not open your laptop immediately for office emails, better sip on a cup of warm green tea, and start your exercise schedule for about an hour, to sweat and lose some calories; it will alter your mood as your heart rate increases; and when your mood is good, you are feeling lively and joyous, you can do works like kitchen cleaning, sweeping, wiping floors, vacuuming etc.

    Hence, directing your activities can actually make your happiness consistent; you will feel happy even when you are not happy, and also feel happy when you are happy.

  • 24 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    Don't let depression affect your sex life.

    depression and sex

    Depression is a common illness these days, due to over stressed lifestyle, cultural imbalance and relationship issues.

    We all want to be achievers, however, time doesn’t move uniformly all the time, and hence we get pressurized with expectations from self and society, which is of no good, but puts people into depression.

    Depression affects us physically and it is followed with different symptoms, one of which is drastic impact on sexual drive and overall sex life. In simple words, when you are depressed, you are less likely to get aroused or enjoy your sex life with your partner.

     

    The reasons are numerous.

    Our brain is associated with every sensation that we feel; every movement or touch triggers a signal which is received by the brain for arousal of further feelings and sensations.

    Depression weakens our sensory and motor responses; most of the time, a person is depression, feels gloomy, lazy and tired, and hence their brain is not able to process the triggers of sexual touch properly, which means disinterest in sex.

    Sometimes, certain medicines of depression can also reduce your sexual urge.

     

    Depression and relationship:

    This can negatively impact relationships, because when you do not respond positively to the advances of your partner, it often hurts the self-respect of the other and lowers confidence in your partner; he/she feels you are dissatisfied with their way of love making, or you just don’t like him/her anymore. Partners usually take such signals of denial very personally.

    According to the NIMH, a higher rate of depression in women is connected to hormonal changes. This is why a woman’s risk of depression may increase:

    • before and during menstruation
    • after childbirth
    • when juggling work, home, and family life
    • during perimenopause and menopause.

    Well it is not that men are not in depression; in fact, depressed men suffer from low self-esteem which can be the cause of erectile dysfunction which affects their sexuality.

     

    So how can you draw a balance between the mind and your body, so that depression cannot affect your personal relationships?

    Treating depression is very important so that you can nip the problem in the bud.

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)- For those who are suffering from milder depression symptoms, can be cured from it, with this therapy. This is a process of counselling which fights with your negative thoughts and aims at transforming them into positive.

     

    Change your medicine: If your depression medicine is affecting your sexuality, do not stop your treatment; that is wrong; you need to speak to your doctor, so that he/she can alter the medicine for you.

    SSRIs come with many sexual side effects, and often are known for discouraging you into sexual desire, however, medicines like Bupropion (Wellbutrin) have lesser such side effects. In fact, as per the intensity of your problem, you can also resort to natural remedies for depression with an expert’s help, that way the chances of side effects will be removed.

     

    Communicate with your partner: sex is also a form of communication between partners, if depression is silencing that voice, you need to speak more with your tongue; share your thoughts with your partner, often sharing, will reduce the negativity within you, and will make you feel much better in depression.

    Your partner will also get a chance to understand you better and he/she will still feel that he/she is important to you.

     

    Do not stop your amorous actions: We often feel better in sadness, when someone holds our hands, hugs us and makes us feel comfortable. Indulge into lovey-dovey actions, like holding hands of your partner, hugging kissing etc. which will take your relationship a long way, even if your sex life is on a break due to depression.

    This way, none of you partners will feel deprived or detached from the other.

     

    Responses 1

    • victor de
      victor de   Sep 05, 2016 03:23 PM

      Yes, that's true, that depression harms our relationship also, and sadest crypart is no body can understand the feeling of depressed person, and how to react. 

  • 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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