Total 226 Blog Posts

  • 08 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    Summer Holiday-When Children Are SAD In Summer

    summer holidya and sad child

    “I’m not in a bad mood;

      I’m in a “hey! If

      I get the opportunity

      To punch someone in the face today.

      I am taking it,” mood!” _ Anonymous.

    Yes, children’s mood is like a rainbow which keeps changing colours. If they are happy now, the phase is like that of a blown up balloon which requires just a prick to burst if off.

    Moreover, seasons have various kinds of effects on our mind. Change of season can make us feel lazy, clumsy, gloomy and less energetic. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and unfortunately children are more prone to this kind of mood swings.

    If winter is too cold, a child can be SAD, or even if the summer is too hot or too cloudy, he or she gets bored and depressed.

    Summer is already round the corner, and the sun is showing its bright and scorching faces alternatively.

    Summer is the time, when most kids are on vacation; the schools are off and they usually give a long term holiday, so that kids can enjoy, and they are spared of attending classes in the incorrigible heat.

    Summer is the time of joy for kids; they should jump and play and relish the sun, however, they do not cherish it always; they become lazy, and this is due to depression with the environmental factors.

    Loss of appetite, insomnia, weakness etc. are other symptoms of this disorder.

    Peter Zafirides, a psychiatrist in Ohio, said he has noticed a common mental health issue for children, teens, and students during the summer. Many evaluate whether they should still take their medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Many children lack attention and concentration during this time due to the absence of a constructive routine and hence it results in unattended ADHD symptoms with irritability and anxiety.

    A popular treatment for SAD is called "light therapy," in which the person exposes herself to a special type of light for an amount of time each day, sometimes using a light visor or a light box provided by a doctor. Other treatments include medication, changes in diet, learning new ways to manage stress, or sometimes a vacation to a sunny, warm climate during the cold months.

    However, dealing with kids gets difficult when they show signs of bipolar disorder, which is a grave mental problem. Keeping them engaged is the best way.

    Plan a summer workshop for your kids – You can send them to camps which engages children in various productive activities during summer, like trekking, indoor and outdoor games, theatre, art and other cultural activities. You can also prepare something in your neighbourhood for all the kids around. Engage them in a 2-weeks workshop on a specific subject like fine arts or mathematics which will keep the children involved in academic and co-curricular activities as well as provide an incentive for them to learn with fun.

    Teens can be encouraged for part time jobs- during summer vacation teenagers can try and find some productive work for themselves which they can do to keep themselves engaged. Also they will be excited to get payed, and they can use this money for fun activities and pleasure objects. This will teach them self-sufficiency.

    Day care places can also be an option to keep your child socialized- a few hours at a day-care house will provide a common network to children where they can find many friends of their age and involve in social activities. Playing and learning together is a healthy habit.

    Take your children for a mountain camping- if it is too hot in the plains, take your kids for a mountain trek camp; give them hurdles to cross; keep them enlivened with rigorous physical training amidst the beauty of the hilly mist. It can be a very healthy change for them.

    Give your child regular swimming or any kind of water activity during the vacation- playing in water will exercise their body, which will remove the boredom and laziness, hence when they expose themselves to light, air and water, the depression phase will easily pass of in fun and frolic.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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