Total 226 Blog Posts

  • 06 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    Is experiencing intense, prolonged grief after a tragedy healthy?

    grief and loss

    Grief is a part of life and each of us experience grief and loss at some point of time. when we lose someone, a loved one grief becomes a mandatory phase which each of us handle in our own way.

    There are several stages of grief, passing through which gives us completion of the process and the final acceptance.

    Sometimes we do not have enough time to grieve and mourn the loss of something or someone and we fail to pass through all the stages; that can mean subdued expression of emotions which can later on harm mental health in a deeper way.

    5 stages of loss and grief

    There are commonly five stages of grief which experts have evaluated.

    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross discusses them in her work “On Grief and Grieving”:

    Denial- when a loss comes to us, we are in shock, we are numb. We generally do not believe that life can be so unfair to us. When someone has died or we have lost our job, we initially do not admit to ourselves that the incidence is true; the state of shock bewilders us. During this phase, you want to stay away from everyone and everything that remind you of your loss, and stay in isolation.

    Anger- It is the necessary process towards healing and cure. You feel angry because you are unable to do anything, you are helpless to recover this loss and get back the thing you have lost. But the willingness to be angry is important if you want to recover from the grief. This phase may seem endless, but underneath this anger, there is pain, immense pain, hopelessness and frustration which needs a vent for future mental wellness. If it remains submerged within, it can cause long term problems.

    Bargaining- It is phase where you start dealing with God, or the super power. Before you lose a person you bargain in the way that, “Please God I will never fight with my husband, please cure him”. After the loss or death, you bargain to keep yourself away from the truth. “Oh God, I will do everything you say, I will be good, I will never be angry again, please change the mode of life so that I can find this whole episode of loss is just a bad dream. Please give me back what I have lost”, even though you know that this is not possible. This is a faith that helps us survive with a hope that things will be alright.

    Depression- when we find our bargaining has not helped, we feel everything is gone. Life has no meaning anymore. Empty thoughts; empty feelings; your environment is completely lost in the process of mourning. You don’t feel like eating or sleeping. If you go to sleep you wish you never wake up, because you are depressed and you do not wish to live anymore.

    Acceptance- acceptance is often misunderstood as an ‘alright’ or ‘ok’ situation. Acceptance comes after the depression phase when you learn to identify the truth. No longer you keep yourself under misconceptions that the loss will be retrieved. You do not wish so anymore. You accept the reality of death or loss as it is. This is the ultimate phase which leads to the slow process of healing. In fact, you are still far far away from being healed. You have just started recognizing what is actual and that you have to live the rest of your life with the truth.

     

    Overcoming the five stages of grief is important for a person’s better mental health in future. If emotions remain suppressed the false expectations and hope never die which can later on, cause serious mental issues that can be damaging both physically and mentally. Hence mourning is not bad, it is not impractical; weaken yourself for the moment so that you can gain lot more strength in future.

    References: 1 2

    Image source 

     

     

  • 06 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    10 Cognitive Biases Which Affect Our Conceptions

    The human brain is capable of 1016 processes per second, which makes it far more powerful than any computer currently in existence. But that doesn't mean our brains don't have major limitations.

    Cognitive biases deflect us from rationality and clear perception. Cognitive bias “refers to a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion”, as defined by Wikipedia.

    In simple words, it refers to our misconceptions which affect our judgement.

    Let’s know a little more about the types of cognitive biases-

    congnitive biases bandwagon effect

    • Bandwagon effect- the probability of believing something increases when many other people believe it to be true. The more number of people agreeing on a fact means that becomes truth for you.

    confirmation bias

    • Confirmation bias- we love to be in the particular group or culture those particular things which confirm our own belief. We wish to follow those news channels which support our political inclination. We also like talking to those who think and preach our mind or something similar. We generally avoid our opposites.

     

    conservatism bias

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    • Conservatism bias- this is a typical state where a person finds difficult to accept something new. It means he has more faith and belief on preconception, so any change in the notion is not acceptable.

    post purchase rationalization

    • Post purchase rationalization- it can also be named as choice-supportive bias, where a person tends to speak in favour of an object that he or she has chosen, even though it may have flaws. For e.g. if we have bought something useless, we try to justify our purchase with many fanciful ideas like how pretty it looks, its colour texture etc. and how it can make the room even more bright etc. just to prove that the object is good because you have chosen it.

     ostrich effect

    • Ostrich effect- when a person purposely decides to avoid dangerous information or negates ideas and news about a negative reality, just like an ostrich digs his head in the sand. If we are expecting poor marks in the examination, and the result comes out, we avoid taking up phone calls or going near the merit list, to delay the process of getting bad news.

     


    recency bias

    • Recency- It is the opposite of conservatism bias, as it is the tendency to have more faith on the current information than the previous one. What is latest is true, because people think that the recent information has come after a lot of research.

    steriotype bias

    • Stereotyping- this is a kind of mentality which most people possess. We tend to fix qualities and characteristics to a person or a group without having any personal knowledge on them. For e.g. South Indians do not speak English even if they know (irrespective of region), Bengalis love rasgullas, and a fat man eats 10kg of mutton every day and a thin person doesn’t eat anything, these are some of the stereotypes in society.

    gambling fallacy

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    • Gambling fallacy- Also known as clustering illusion, where a person believes that the chances of winning the next time are more if he or she has lost this time. They love to think that fate will turn the futile events in favour of him. This thought process is the cause of gambling practices.

     

    outcome bias

                                                                                                                                                   

    • Outcome bias- Parallel to the previous comes this one, where a person uses his favourable outcome to judge the quality of his decision. If you win in a gamble game, doesn’t mean your decision of risking with your money was good, but once a person wins, he feels that he has the chance of winning again and gets addicted to it.

     

    blindspot bias

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    • Blind-spot bias- the fact that we do not realize that we possess so many cognitive biases which affect our day to day decision is a shortcoming in itself.

     

  • 06 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    10 Sentences To Tell Your Child When He Or She Is Anxious.

    anxious son with mother

    Anxiety can be stressful not only to adults, but to children as well. Moreover, children get affected in a graver way, when they start panicking about their security, school, examination, marks and progression.

    However, if a child starts panicking, you have to know how to alleviate his stress instantly.

    A few phrases or sentences will help cure the pressure in your child and will provide initial first aid required for his mental health.

    1. “It’s OK to be imperfect, it is fine if you have failed this time, try again”- teach your child the value of perseverance and endurance. There is nothing wrong is scoring poorly in an exam; growing from there and being better next time is important.
    2. “I am here; don’t worry, you are safe and fine”- anxiety can make a situation look scarier than it is. It can badly infect your child, which consequentially affects his physical health too. Relieve him instantly with a calm voice; tell him that whatever happens, he should be safe because you are there to care. Assurance does a lot for an anxious person.
    3. “Please tell me what’s the problem”- be a support, a friend to your worrying child at the moment of his anxiety. Encourage him to share his difficulties with you. speaking out the thought will alleviate the panic to a large extent.
    4. “Try blowing up a balloon; let’s play the game”- if you want to calm down your anxious child, you can instantly do it, by interfering with his thoughts and proposing him a game. If you tell him to take deep breaths he will generally say ‘I Can’t’, but children are more enthusiastic towards games, so make him breathe deep in the process of blowing a balloon; he will like doing it, so the mechanism will help relieve his fears instantly.
    5. “Drive the monster out of you. Hoosh! Yes, we can fight it”- once you give his fear a personified shape, like that of a monster, he will be more excited to get himself out of the thoughts in order to defeat the so called monster, which is anxiety.
    6. “It will go away soon; let us be comfortable till then”- the act of getting comfort can calm down your child a lot. Tell him that his fear is temporary; it may be real but it will soon pass off.
    7. “Draw out your feeling, we will cross it out together”- if your child is anxious, ask him to draw out his feelings on a paper. As we have discussed earlier, speaking out your thoughts loud can clear them and drawing for children, is the same kind of mechanism. In the process of expressing his fears, he will forget them.
    8. “Tell me the best things you did today”- if you find your child worrying, ask him to talk about the positive things or feelings, once he starts recollecting the good things, the negative impact of anxiety will diminish.
    9. “Your worry is just nothing; when I was young, I was even worse in school”- the best way to stop his or her anxiety is to make him believe that his or her situation is simple and common. So refer to a story or instance which is more serious in intensity, so that he or she can relax with the feeling that there is nothing much to worry about.
    10. “You are scared. Good. Let’s learn more about it”- ask your child more and more questions about his worry. Strengthen his mind. Teach him to face his fear and not run away from it. Answering is again a way of acknowledging the fearful thoughts which can remove them.

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  • 04 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    First Help In Mood disorders.

    mood disorders 

    What is mental health first aid? A first aid is generally provided to an injured with #Dettol and cotton. But you must be wondering what this mental health first aid is! First aid means instantaneous relief, or momentary help provided to a suffering person till he or she can reach an expert or doctor. The first help refers to the immediate relief provided to a person showing mental ailment symptoms, so that he or she calms down and gets the time to recognize his/her problem and reach out a professional.

    For e.g. if a person panics because he feels he is late for a flight, your duty will be to calm him down with a cool voice and reiterate “everything will be alright”, and that you have been in the same situation which never went beyond control. When an anxious person can relate himself to a similar experience of another, he relaxes. This is called first aid.

    Mental distress can be severely damaging for the personality of your loved ones, and it helps you realize that you are responsible too in restoring their mental wellness.

    Stress and depression can have graver impacts on the mind which leaves a person disoriented, fatigued, disheartened, and hopeless. They feel they are alone, such, that this situation can lead to suicidal tendencies.

    So how can you help your close ones if they are showing symptoms of such ailments?

    • It is important to note significant changes in a friend’s behaviour- anyone apart from a medical expert cannot diagnose mood disorders. But you can notice some special changes in behaviour, if a friend is suffering from depression, anxiety or such kind of special disorders. Do not ignore the symptoms. If a friend is suddenly quiet, take it as a signal that there may be something wrong. Remain aware that each individual is different and not everyone experiencing a mood disorders will show the typical signs and symptoms.

     

    • If you really want to help improve your awareness- start reading more articles and books on mental health problems and their symptoms. Knowledge will help you identify the challenge in a professional way.

     

    • Your approach should be focused on your friend- let your friend speak. Choose a proper time in private, so that a one to one talk can be generated, and your friend feels comfortable. Let him know, that you have been noticing changes in him, hence use ‘I’ in your narrative., so that he or she is convinced that you are concerned, and that you have not heard something from someone.

     

    • Your support is very important- Treat the person with dignity. Do not blame him or her for reiterating over his or her pains and sufferings. Be a good listener so that he or she is encouraged to talk. Make him feel that you are there and things will be alright.

     

    • Don’t do things which can damage the situation- Being sarcastic, violent, or critical towards a person with mental aid requirement, can shatter his or her confidence. There is no point asking him or her to snap out of the situation with a click, that is not possible. It is a process, and requires time, and you have to respect that space and time, rather than forcing him or her to get rid of it and stop bothering you; this can make him feel lonely and unwanted.

     

    • Encourage the person to get medical help- denial will be the first reaction. But do not get discouraged. Know the reasons why he or she is avoiding medical aids. Make him or her understand that it is important and is being suggested for the better, not worse.

     

    • Try to identify suicidal warnings- do not ignore if your friend is having suicidal thoughts. Speak to him clearly about suicide and attempts and its consequences to discourage him or her from doing so.

    Image source

     

  • 01 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    Travel Is Not Only A Great Experience, But Ensures A Great Mental Health.

    family travel benefit

    The fact that the act of near constant travel these past four years has shifted my perspective on life in tangible and identifiable ways. It shifted who I am, who I want to be, and how I perceive myself. And ultimately, it changed how I see and interact with the nearly every aspect of the world around me: family, jobs and career goals, political views, consumerism and consumption, friendships and my relationships.” – A girl from Florida finally celebrates her four years travel anniversary in 2012.

    After taking adventure trips across a dozen countries, she has gathered hundreds of experiences, hundreds of challenges and about more than a million memories, stories and ideas which she shares in a blog.

    We all love to travel, visit new places. Sometimes because we need a break from our regular life schedule, and want a holiday, or sometimes for adventure.

    Have you ever wondered how can moving yourself from your locality to another, mark a break or a holiday? Why do we go for travel?

    • To balance the roles of the same brain: If you are in the same place, with the same people and same work for a long time, your brain tends to play some mechanical roles in specified ways. The balance of your left brain and right brain is generally damaged, i.e. if you are working from 9-6 every day, coming home having dinner, communicating, going to bed, what you are actually doing are the functions of your left brain, which is analytic, objective, mathematical, digital, while your right brain has nothing to do at all, which tends more towards instinct, art, imagination and emotion. Once you are moving out of your known locality for a travel, you do not know what the new place is going to be like, you can let your imagination free to discover new food, new buildings or roads, new highlands and lowlands etc. a new place always leaves you awestruck. You get an opportunity to appreciate nature, which is the best Art of The Master, and you don’t need to restrict your expressions.

    So travelling gives freedom to your imagination, instinct and emotions, thus when you are able to balance your mind, you feel better, and realize that you have been able to ‘Break’ the shackles of monotony, when you are on a holiday.

    • To change our vision towards life: sometimes, life gives you its own pieces of gloom. You may be having a fight with your loved ones, you may be in depression, you may be bored, possibly then, your emotions are getting the better of you. Changing your location, going for a travel, helps you get a hold on your rationality. A travel is like an escape from the pre-set picture of your life. Once you switch over to another picture, you can compare the both, have an idea of the wider perspectives and then decide. Basically, travelling gives you a broader perspective of the world around you, gives you a clearer vision, with which you can perceive yourself and life. Feeling other places, other people, closely, adds to your experience, wisdom and rationality, which consequentially helps you solve graver problems once you come back from travel.
    • To ensure better physical health: doctors often recommend travel, if someone is ill in health. The reason being, that the body of the patient is well accustomed to his own environment, so the positivities are no longer so positive for him, which can rectify his/her physical health. So a ‘change’ is often suggested. When his/her environment is shifted, the fresh air, the new water quality automatically acts like a medicine inducing positivity in the patient. This is like changing an anti-allergic tablet, if your body is already habituated to it, and hence no longer reacts (for improvement) to it.
    • Travel in general, boosts personality development: travel, especially adventurous trips puts you through various challenges and tests of time, which makes you strong as a person, helps you grow.

    Like if you go for treks to Himalayas, you won’t get the facility of a soft bed or delicious food, but the glimpse of the rising sun on a mountain will be the only source of gratification.

    • It also gives you experiences, visions which can change your attitude towards various facts like lifestyle, politics, human nature etc.

    Personality reflects a series of long-term goals that people aim to achieve”, Psychology Today, and once you are back from a travel, some of these goals are definitely achieved, you feel more knowledgeable, and your personality reflects that confidence, that vision, that enlightenment.

    At the most basic level, travel has humbled me and expanded my perception of my place in the world………. Once I left my bubble in the U.S., I was thrust into new situations outside my realms of previous experience. I saw extreme wealth living aside startling poverty; I met people with radically divergent religious views. People who hated my country but not me. People who loved my country and assumed my America was a land of great wealth, equality, and outrageous opportunities. Opinions, stories, and new baseline realities were shoving into me at startling speeds.

    The pace of life quickens when you’re outside of your home base,” says the Florida girl after her four years long travel experience.

    • Travel can help you to create something new: you never know, just your passion for travel can transform you to another person, and create new things, like you may start writing a book, or start painting, or photography, because we all want to record our travel experiences in some form.

    Liz Carlson who was an English teacher in Spain, turned to a travel writer when she was suffocated by her routine job in school. Ever since then, “From camping with the Bedouins in the desert in Jordan to paragliding in New Zealand, she’s fully embraced having both a life filled with travel, while also encouraging others who might want the same that it is possible,” through penning down her experiences in her travel books and websites.

    In other words, we can also say, travel helps fostering your creativity.

    • Travel also changes your orthodox beliefs: widening your vision on people, cultures and practices, will automatically make your beliefs on customs and rituals more dynamic. Like you will no longer rush for washing your hand every time you enter home, from outside, once you are in America, and you see that people don’t even wash in latrines, but use only toilet paper rolls. (just a joke! J)

    Your purpose of travel can be anything, you can be a foodie, so you want to travel, like did Montrealer Jodi Ettenberg, after working for five years as a corporate lawyer in New York.

    Your work or profession can also be a good scope for you to travel new places, like it happens for our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. J

    But travel develops you as a person, as a human being, and boosts a positive mental health which helps you heal your worst wounds, and cope with life in a better way.