• 31 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    How To Fight With The Self Critic Within You?

    self critic

    I am such a loser; I can just never get the sums correct…. I had practised them so many times; yesterday too I have been struggling with them, especially the one with 10 mangoes, but I got the same error! How could this be? I mean am I nuts or a bull! Had there been a devil’s trance on me in the hall? Why was I getting the same answer to the sum again and again till the bell was gone!!! I am a horrible fellow. I can never do maths; I deserve to be kicked out of the class, maybe the school.”

    These are the possible kinds of thought that haunts us, when we cannot achieve a desired score in maths exam, or cannot be amongst the first three in sports. Self-criticism is good for your development; it helps you to persevere, try harder for perfection and achievement. However, don’t you think the inner thoughts described here are too loud?

    When you cannot remember anything but only worse things about yourself, know that it is getting too harsh and can be detrimental to your health.

    If you constantly provoke yourself with discouraging thoughts, you will soon start believing them, and soon lose hope thinking you can never achieve what you desire.

    So basically, your self-criticism which is supposed to be a booster gives an opposite effect of a dominator, and you behave negatively rather than moving positively towards the goal.

    Too much of dissatisfaction with self can damage your confidence, you start fearing your goal; gradually, you fear to attempt the task any further.

    But if something gets into the head it is difficult to get rid of it.

    Too much of self-criticism will make you a maniac. You will start hallucinating that people are laughing at you; they are mocking your failures, even though nothing of such has happened. Slowly, you will be forced towards the periphery of a good social life.

    So how to fight this? How can you control being a freak?

    • Remind yourself of the good things that you did in life. This can charge you up whenever, you are disturbed with the provoking thoughts of your failures. A person cannot be full of follies; we all have our list of achievements and we love to cherish our merits.
    • So next what you can do is take out your medals and certificates and look at them all over again to cherish the memories of your greatness. Feel proud of your successes. Laugh at the moment you won the awards.
    • If you are pulled down with too much of criticism in your mind, navigate the reason behind it. Try to find out why you are being so critical. Is there anything seriously wrong with you, which needs to be rectified immediately? No, we do not suggest that you accept your mind’s words as true, but try to look out for scope of improvement. When you try to focus on the causative factors, and the remedies to the criticism, the actual thought will slowly vanish from the mind. Kind of practising mindfulness.
    • Read more books to keep yourself active, whenever your mind tells you that you are worthless. Reading will give you a feeling of fulfilment, that you are knowledgeable.
    • After any kind of failure, criticize yourself, but to prevent being overburdened with the thoughts, practise rewarding yourself. “I shouldn’t have been so dumb, this is not the right way; the match was really important, if I could only beat her by 5 minutes, I could win it”, this is self-assessment which will help you improve, “but anyways what is gone cannot be retrieved, I have to try my best for the next match, but I am really fatigued, let’s go for a strawberry golla first and then a #SalmanKhan movie at the town hall”, this is the reward.
    • Self-conversation is a good way of resolving disputes with yourself, however, if the self-critic in you gets vehement, it will be like someone else is trying to prove day as night to you. you find it difficult to manage your plight. You keep blaming yourself for the failures, the mistakes. In such a situation, start talking to others. when you know what others think of you, how they assess you, confidence will be regained. Even the fact that they acknowledge your mistakes and are compassionate towards your plight will help you express yourself better, and talking out will remove the ugly thoughts.

    Develop a compassionate awareness of yourself and you will be able to move towards your goal with a fair pace.

    Image source

    References: 1 2  

  • 31 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    You Can Do Much Better In More Time Than Just 21-Days.

    how to develop good habit

    We often notice advertisements, bill boards etc. reading “Lose 10 kilos in just 3 weeks”, or “start speaking English like a pro, in just 21 days”. However, the myth of 21 days for the formation of a new habit has not come out of nowhere. It dates back to the 1950s, when surgeon Maxwell Maltz generally observed his patients and discovered that it took them approximately 21 days to adjust to a new change in their body or face.

    After every surgery that he did, for the first few days, his patients behaved as if they possessed the earlier state of their physique, e.g. whose limp was amputated would try moving with both legs for the first few days, one who has had aplastic surgery would tend not to recognize him or herself initially. The reason being the previous image that is already imprinted in the mind takes sufficient time to dissolve, and after 21 days of adjustment period, the new situation seemed imbibed.

    But recent researches have proved that the number 21 is as good as a myth. Getting a new habit which will positively change your life is a good thing, but developing a habit takes much more than 3 weeks. A habit is a part of the life process. It is much more than an adjustment or settlement of the mind.

    A good habit develops slowly and steadily.

    The research by University College London delved into the truth and tried to find out the actual time span required for developing a new habit or skill. Each of the participants initially tried practising the habit of taking water after breakfast and attempted to keep to their self-goals so that they could analyse how habitual the practice was actually becoming.

    It was observed that it took almost 66 days, i.e. little more than 2 months for the water taking to be automatic.

    Hence we can conclude that 66 days is a tentative time that one can take to adjust to a new situation, or accommodate a new quality into daily life.

    However, a good habit is again different. If you decide that from the first of March you will start reading at least one page of a book daily, to keep a healthy reading habit for knowledge. It is very likely that you can fail in the first few attempts. Pressurized by your professional and personal life and other daily duties and activities, it might be hard to find time for books, that too for the pleasure of reading. You can fail in the first week; maybe you could just read for two days in a week. That doesn’t really mean that you can never acquire the precious sense of reading.

    Scientific researches have also found that some people took 84 days or more to get accustomed to a particular task, that was not a part of their daily lives earlier.

    How to keep yourself motivated?

    Developing a good habit is great and not so difficult perhaps, but keeping yourself motivated for the task is very important.

    Do not discourage yourself with the failure- You may fail once or twice in keeping up with the set goal. But perseverance should not lose hold. If you fail to make daily exercise as a part of your daily routine, in the first week, it really doesn’t signify that you will never master a fit and fine body. Keep trying.

    Losing to yourself is disheartening- set goals which are practical and which you will be able to achieve. Not the “lose 10kilos in 3 weeks” type, which is next to impossible.

    Move slowly but steadily- each day move a step ahead towards your goal. Do little every day to get the habit embedded in your regular routine.

    Do not slacken your pace once you start- the first few weeks are important for your new habit. Keep yourself charged so that you can achieve what you want. Do not slow down. Do not miss a day or two of exercise, when you have decided to work out every day. If you do not have much time on that day, at least practise it for 10 minutes without giving a miss.

    Regularity will keep you motivated. The day you skip, the next day will automatically pass as a break.

    As you gain the results of the good habit, you will be charged up to do more. Remember, a habit is a process not an event that you have to conclude within a specific time. You can always do better when you give yourself more time.

    Image source

  • 29 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    How Media is responsible for Propagating Or Controlling Stigma On Mental Health?

    media role in mental health awareness

    “You know last day there was a serial coming up which had an autistic child in it. Oh my God! How she was making strange and grotesque faces. It just scared me. I can’t even imagine one like the person in front of me. Everyone in the house were frustrated with her. They were scolding and pushing her aside, but she would not control, but aggressively approached everyone only to hit them.”

    This is a common picture given by most of our entertainment media (whether it is a film or a serial) about someone with mental challenge. Whatever the problem may be, he or she is made to appear helpless in plight and aggressive and abnormal is behaviour and expressions.

    A person with mental health issues must have distorted unclear speech, must shout beyond the normal decibel levels, should hit everyone or attack in some way or the other, harm normal existence etc.

    Such portrayals are dangerous; instead of creating an awareness about the mental challenge, such an image propagates further stigma on mental health irregularities.

    Hence, whenever counselling is spoken about in society, generally people associate it with madness.

    We consciously prefer to stay away from people suffering from difficult mental setups.

    We are scared that they can harm us.

    Even if our friend speaks about depression, or anxiety and considers its treatment, we prefer to exclude our self from the discussion, and if possible avoid that friend completely, thinking he or she is mad. This is harmful for us as well as our society. Our attitude leaves the needy friend alone to suffer with his/her state of confusion.

    Even the treatment and counselling costs are expressed such via media, as if they are too expensive and unattainable by normal people which is not true. So ultimately, counselling can either be the whim of a rich brat, or required by the mad, as per societal portrayal.

    Since we are engrossed in our stigma, we are incapable of viewing the truth about mental health and its problems.

    As a result, we lose approximately 3000 people every year, to suicide, because they were suffering from typical mental pain but could not address it or opt for cure, because the society stigmatizes and mocks a person with mental health conflicts.

    It is high time, that the media realizes their responsibility, and behave in a mature way towards a sensitive issue like mental health.

    Media is a powerful source of developing public opinions be it on political, social and economic issues or health related problems. The media should be unbiased while discussing facts on mental ailments of people.

    Media can be news, entertainment or social platform, and form and mode of information sharing are also different, hence filmmakers should stop showing a person with mental roadblocks, as helpless or harmful. They are neither of the two.

    Framing is defined as the means by which media information is organized, presented and interpreted.

    The frequently negative frames used by the media to portray mental illnesses contribute to the development and persistence of the public's negative attitudes toward persons with mental illnesses. 

    It would be much better if we could bring up examples from #History or #CelebrityDiaries to glorify the special abilities of specially-abled individuals.

    For e.g. it would be so much better, if we could refer to Beethoven, who has been fighting with bipolar disorder, yet never abstained from making great music, or Deepika Padukone and J.K. Rowling who are great names on the planet today, and each of them has had their share of depressing moments, while addressing mental health and wellness.

    There should be more movies like #Barfi and #TaareZameenPar which excavate the extra capabilities of a person with shortcomings, his or her ability to add humour to life and life to the earth, rather than constraining their abilities on screen, by showing them helpless, frustrated, and an ill element to life.

    The role of media should be reformative, not restorative, as long as stigma on mental health issues are concerned.


  • 28 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    How to deal with unsolicited criticism?

    unsolicited criticism



    “Hi Rebecca, how are you today? Doesn’t seem too good, because you have such unmatched clothes on you. Look at the terrible hat, this is just not what proper people wear.

    Last day I was reading the test article that you had submitted for the school magazine. Well I felt it was just OK, the content had nothing exceptional to impart great knowledge to us. Just an ordinary article, I don’t think it will get selected for the publication”.

    This is the general picture in our regular lives. We meet several people who very conveniently start their criticism on us, despite the fact that they are not invited. This is what we call unsolicited criticism. I do not know, if this kind of character assassination is prohibited by law, but if someone speaks harsh of you, without any validation, it generally angers you, upsets you, at times demotivates you, in other words, affect your fair mental health adversely.

    Kuch to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna’, but you should not let yourself be pulled back by these severely attacking words from others.

    1. Do not let negative criticisms stop you- People will criticize, it is their job. Most of the times, the criticisms are not valid, they come as comments, without any suggestion for rectification. Even if they are true, realize that they are good. Such comments on your work can help you improve your quality of work. Do not get demotivated with negative comments, that is the first suggestion. The fact that people are not appreciating your hard efforts is disheartening, but don’t let this feeling of despair, overpower your free will of doing something better.


    1. Do not objectify your relatives and friends as the significant other- Mostly we receive criticism from those who are a part of our daily lives, with whom we meet often, may be they are our friends or our close acquaintances, that is the reason, they put out their so called ‘honest comments’ without hesitation, thinking they are doing so to benefit us. But when they speak negatively about our performance, we tend to avoid them, ‘why can’t you keep shut! Did I ask for your opinion!’, this is what goes on in our mind. We need to realize that they are not the ‘other’ or the opponent. Objectification of our critique as someone of the hostile group, can infuse further negativity within us. That can affect the interpersonal relations, which is not good. We should consider them as our fellow mates and try to rethink about the cause of their criticism.


    1. Accept that you can have fault- Negative uninvited criticisms are not always bad. They can make us aware of our mistakes. Rather than getting angry or upset on the person, it will be better, if you recheck your work. We all make mistakes, we all have follies, there is nothing wrong in that. But it is important to rectify them. So take the criticisms positively, and consider the comments to make your performance better.


    1. Be compassionate towards others- Why are your friends criticizing you? Try to understand what’s in their mind. They may be critiquing you out of helplessness. May be they are suffering from some kind of insufficiency within themselves, for which they are depressed, so they are trying to find faults in you. Rather than being vexed, try to be more compassionate when you are speaking with someone.


    1. Do not avoid social interactions in fear of criticism- Sometimes, when we are not appreciated, we feel low, hurt at self-respect, and we avoid talking to people in fear of getting criticized. That is not correct. This signifies anxiety, it means you are purposely ignoring others because you do not want to face the truth. This can lead to obsessive compulsive disorder or narcissism. Face the criticism, you will keep making mistakes till you learn it properly, and that is the truth. Avoidance will only keep the ignorance alive.


    1. No one is perfect- You are not Mr. Perfect by birth. But we have to strive towards achieving the perfection. Open criticisms can hurt you, especially when you do not ask for the opinion, and it comes as a blow, but that’s the way life is. Learn from your follies. You do not have to consider each and every comment that others make about you, but do not suffer from the misconception that you cannot be wrong.


    Once you learn to follow these significant rules of conduct, unsolicited criticisms will never impact you again in a negative way. You can consciously deal with them, while keeping yourself upright and happy. 

    Image source


  • 26 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    Get Slim And Trim Belly With Dispositional Mindfulness

    despositional mindfulness

    Last day I was watching a movie #SizeZero which was celebrating fit and fine curvaceous body as opposed to skeletal structure of a size zero model. Fat is fit was the mantra. It is true; there is no point in damaging your health for becoming slim. However, if your weight and curves get overdone, that can lead to obesity, which can be the cause of serious problems like diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, cholesterol disorder etc.

    What we eat is not the cause of our fat belly, the way we eat is important.

    Taking a thoughtful diet full of all the required nutrients will always keep you in the best of your health.

    Taking periodic meals is a useful mechanism to keep your weight in control and reduce over intake of calories.

    Recent research has found out, that only giving a thought to the diet plan may not work. A more effective mechanism has been discovered which they call ‘dispositional mindfulness

    Dispositional mindfulness is different from our general knowledge about mindfulness practice, which is a kind of meditation to concentrate on present and physical sensations.

    It is more of a regular awareness of the present occurring, activities, physical sensations and emotional thoughts. This is kind of an inherent nature in a person, which never looks into the past or future but sub consciously focuses on the present. However, this can be preached and practised as well.

    If we apply the dispositional mindfulness to selecting our food items, possibly we can reduce a huge amount of bad calorie and unhealthy carb from our diet.

    Let’s look at how dispositional mindfulness is linked to lower fat in the body.

    Eric Loucks’ study, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, looked at how 394 people in the New England Family Study (NEFS) scored on the six-point Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). 

    The researchers also measured the amount of belly and hip fat each person had using the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanner at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket. They also gathered measurements of body mass index and other data on each participant’s health, lifestyle, and demographics.

    The results showed that people with a score less than 4 on the MAAS scale were 34% more prone towards obesity and developing extra belly fat, than those who scored 6 and above. Both of these results were statistically significant.

    In short, a person who is generally mindful as opposed to those practising it within a period of meditation, tend to be more thoughtful about their present actions, and will dissuade from impulsive snacking.


    How to practise it?

    Start with small steps- Try being mindful for a day’s snack. Choose wisely on what you want to eat. Slowly you can extend it to breakfast, lunch and dinner diet.

    Focus on fruits and vegetables with colour red, orange and yellow-when you choose colourful objects in your diet, your senses will focus on it, and you will be more aware and conscious towards the experience of eating. Moreover, red fruits and vegetables are rich in anthocyanins, the largest source of antioxidants, while orange is more of carotenoid compounds that is good for eyes and brain. β-cryptoxanthin is a part of yellow fruits and veggies which are anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antihistamine hence will help you to fight serious diseases. In short, these useful nutrient compounds will cut down your belly fat and add to your health.

    Focus on the calorie intake- while assessing your health, pay attention to the amount of calorie intake each day. Find out which food item contain how much calorie, and consume accordingly. In this way you can shift your focus from long term worries to your food, and that will positively add to your good health.

    Think about why you are eating- when you go up to take some food, think or ask your body why you are eating? Are you eating because you are hungry? Or because you are bored or tired? Or because there is something tasty in the kitchen? This will interrupt your craving for the moment and once you answer the question, you can be mindful towards stopping the action.

    Enjoy the experience of eating- smell the aroma before eating, choose your favourite colour and relish every bite. This will help in better digestion, as saliva will be generated easily, hence belly fat can be regulated.

    Pay attention to your physical sensations after eating- after a particular diet, you can focus on the physical alarms. Are you feeling light, heavy, happy, or stressed? If you feel heavy and difficult to move after intake of food, it means you have taken the wrong diet or in wrong quantity. Avoid your mistake from the next time.

    Do one thing at a time- do not eat while reading, watching TV or doing other activities. Eat when you are eating. Mindful eating will help you regulate the amount of food intake and will also enrich the experience of eating.

    Image source


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