• 10 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    Why do we feel a physical pain when someone rejects us?

    why do we feel physical pain after rejection

    Rejection can be fatalistic to emotional sensations. We hate being rejected socially, personally or professionally. But Rejection can have deeper impacts than mere psychological set back or hurt emotions.

     Scientific researches have proved that brain identifies rejection equivalent to a physical pain.

     Which means the way our brain reacts to a physical injury, ailment or illness, the same reaction it gives to a rejection.

    • Rejection affects the same areas of the brain as that of physical injury- MRI studies have shown that neurologically, brain reacts in a very similar manner to rejection as it does for physical pain, hence rejection hurts so much.
    • Social Rejection played a major role in our evolution- it is said that ostracism or being thrown out of your own clan was equal to death sentence because man as a social being could not survive for long. So it is assumed that brain learned to take rejection alerts as something very serious since then and this characteristic has evolved in human biology as an impact of social norm.
    • Rejection is more painful because memory supports it- we are prone to rethink and relive the instances of rejection oftener than we do for a physical pain. Physical pain can be diluted with pain killers and medicines and doesn’t last long though the initial impact is high, but rejection has the same kind of impact on the brain while it doesn’t get cured easily. Our brain reminds us of the memories time and again.
    • Rejection hurts our self-esteem- we lose confidence as an individual which can be shattering for personality development.
    • When self-respect dissolves, the need to belong is gone- rejection affects our need to belong very badly. We all want to be a part of a group and acceptance will boost our survival, but rejection hurts that area and we cease to live; we may choose to end ourselves as well.
    • Rejection causes anger- anger is too dangerous. It is not only an emotional state; it severely affects bodily health as well. When a person is too angry he can hurt himself or others. Anger can also cause chronic headache issues due to damage of brain tissues.

    However, as rejection is treated as a medical cause by the body, it has its own treatment strategies.

    When the body experiences physical pain, the brain releases chemical opioids into the empty space between neurons, which “dampens” pain signals.

    Dr David T. Hsu of University of Michigan Medical School had carried out a research where people who are more resilient to social situations were studied.

    However, people with depression and social anxiety may face a lack of this adaptability. It was observed “Individuals who scored high for the resiliency trait on a personality questionnaire tended to be capable of more opioid release during social rejection, especially in the amygdala,” which means that “opioid release in this structure during social rejection may be protective or adaptive,” said the doctor.

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help reduce the emotional pain of rejection was proved by psychologists, which further proves that rejection as equal to physical pain hence it can be cured with pain-killer pills.

    Hence the next time you feel that rejection hurts a lot, there is nothing to get worried, it is quite natural as per our biological processes. 

    References 1 2 

  • 09 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    Multiple Personality Disorder And Human Beings.

    multiple personality disorder

    "When I came back to myself I'd be exhausted. I never knew where I'd been or what I'd done, so I would have to look for clues, like a bag in the car or leftovers from a restaurant. It was amazing, but I accepted it."—Karen Overhill.

    This is what usually happens to a person having alter egos, i.e. several selves, or many personalities in one person. A person behaves as a complete different person in different situations, where he or she has a different name, place of birth and profession for each exclusive situation; he or she forgets the real self and starts acting in the shoes of his or her that personality or ego that emerges as dominant. Scientifically, this is a problematic mental health issue which is called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or recently also termed as Dissociative Identity Disorder.

    The severity of the illness can be judged from the above referred case where an American woman claims to possess 17 alter egos which she sketches out with the help of a psychiatrist. Each personality has a different age, sex and name and she recognizes each one of them; though whenever she is someone else, other than Ms. Overhill, she remembers nothing of what she does during the phase, after she comes back to normal self.

    During a trip to a Las Vegas casino, Ms Overhill's mind "went somewhere else" and was stunned to find the $25 she had arrived with had turned into $2,500, she reported to Daily mail.com.

    Generally, DID can be the result of suppressed emotions which may have occurred in a person due to some life term trauma, and this mental ailment is kind of a coping mechanism which a person adopts in order to vent out the drastic effect of the trauma on another personality of herself, and feels safe and secure that she has been exempted of the brutality.

    However, this is a kind of denial to recognize the truth that life has been unfair to the person himself and not anyone else, hence it is a disorder.

    Karen chooses a range of varied personalities from an 18-year old Sandy who is a depressed teenager to an 11-year old black boy to a 7-year old Claire to escape the clutches of her trauma.

    She had been abused by her father and grandfather during her childhood, starting with physical assaults by her dad when she was just a baby.

    The mother-of-two began developing imaginary people aged between two to 34 to bear the brunt of the abuse.

    Two-year-old Karen Boo took over when she was attacked as an infant, while seven-year-old Claire was created after Ms Overhill was sexually abused on her Communion Day.”- Daily Mail.

    Many of us suffer from some kind of split self-issues, which we generally term as day dreaming. Some of us even converse with our alter egos as if communicating with a real person. These are ways to modify behaviour as we channelize our negative thoughts by speaking out which is healthy actually, however, when the line between reality and illusion blurs, there begins the problem.


    Diagnosis of MPD is yet a challenge for mental health practitioners as it is difficult to recognize whether a person is suffering from the problem unless he or she admits to be so. Usually, a person with dissociative identities puts all their intelligence in hiding the problem as a matter of social acceptance; they put up a smart attire and attitude which cannot be penetrated to reality.

    However, the common symptoms are-


    • Presence of two or more personality traits in one person.
    • Forgetfulness, that is inability to recall basic information like name, address, family etc. quite often.
    • Variation in the span of memory, which means a single event doesn’t remain registered in the brain for a long time.
    • As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals' behaviour and thoughts, it's called "switching." Switching can take seconds to minutes to days.


    Hypnosis can quite often bring out the alter egos in a person, and one responds adequately to the queries of the therapist, which may help in resolving the issue. A problem once identified can be cured.

    More of awareness is required though our nation is quickly progressing towards such mental health issues. We still can’t forget the devouring #Majulika of the psycho-horror comedy #BhoolBhulaiyaa where an educated young woman possesses the challenges of being in split personalities because of her deep interest in the myriad world of stories.


    Treatment is a complicated process. It may take several years or it can take just a moment to get a person out of his world of illusions. The earlier the case is correctly diagnosed, the easier the treatment becomes.

    Helping the identities to be aware of one another as legitimate parts of the self and to negotiate and resolve their conflicts is at the very core of the therapeutic process. It is counter-therapeutic for the therapist to treat any alternate identity as if it were more “real” or more important than any other. The therapist should not “play favourites” among the alternate identities or exclude apparently unlikable or disruptive ones from the therapy (such steps may be necessary for a limited period of time at some stages in the treatment of some patients to provide for the safety and stability of the patient or the safety of others)- Journal of Trauma and Dissociation puts it.

    Validation of patient’s childhood memories is important here. The root-cause analysis is important before any medical treatment.

    A number of professional societies have issued statements concerning recovered memories of abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 1993, 2000b; American Psychological Association, 1994, 1996; Australian Psychological Association, 1994; British Psychological Society, 1995). These reports have all concluded that it is possible for accurate memories of abuse to have been forgotten for a long time, only to be remembered much later in life.


    However, mental health is roughly disturbed with a problem like DID and the faster a person gets a vent to express his sub-conscious, the quicker he or she can recover. Family and friends can play a major role in curing the person. Society generally tags such illness with superstitious beliefs like spirit possession, bhoot-pret ka saya etc. and hence patients fear to take medical help. If we remove the taboos and fear from society regarding mental health issues, the earth will be a much better place to live with healthy minds.

    Image source

    References 12 3 

  • 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.

    Image source   

  • 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

                                                                                                                                                                  Image source


    • 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

                                                                                                                                                           Image source

    • 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

                                                                                                                                          Image source


    • 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.


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