• 26 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    An Open Letter to the Normal-

    woman writing letter

    “Dear Normal man,

    I really salute your obedience and gratitude towards the Society, as you completely abide by the guidelines and instructions given by it.

    You never miss a chance to make us feel really ‘special’ when you see us on the road. The way you laugh at our appearance, and call us with different names, we can understand that we are extremely gifted to have all that attention from you.

    Sometimes, you are truly concerned about us, hence you speak whisper amongst yourselves seeing us fall due to imbalance or wrong footstep, but you do not lend a helping hand forward so that we can stand up.

    We do not bite, but you make us feel that we are as powerful as a tiger, when you throw your anxious looks on us.

    You are afraid? Afraid of us? Can a normal man be afraid of anything? Can a normal man be anxious?

    We may be shy, not as smart as you are and that is a drawback for you.

    May be we are suffering, we are in pain, but you tag them with some stigmatized disease of your own.

    We cry, you mock. Is it quite normal to laugh at the pain of others? is it humane?

    Nobody ever taught me so since childhood.

    Nowadays, you use hundreds of scientific names so that you can tag our problems with flourishing colours; sometimes you can just apply these terms anywhere without a thought about how we or anyone hearing it would be feeling.

    Great is the progress of education.

    We do not want to be named. We want to live and breathe as everyone does. We deserve it, but you never let us do so with your speculative nature.

    You are so eager to know, if a neighbour of yours is suffering, or crying or shouting; you are really inquisitive to find a subject of gossip, first by tagging that person ‘abnormal’.

    I salute to your normality that overlooks the shortcomings within yourselves because you are overwhelmed to find faults with everyone around you.

    I know I am not potent enough to compete with you, but I am really trying to improve myself, so that I can do good work; I am happy that I am not as ‘normal’ as you, neither do I want to become like you.

    I do not want your attention or concern or sympathy. I just want to be a better me.

    Thank you,

    Your mentally-bent

    Friend.”

    Image source

  • 24 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    Who are more prone to PTSD ?

    PTSD

     

     

    From the name itself we know that this is a kind of mental situation developed after a person goes through some traumatic experiences in life.

    In the article about ‘Victims of Trafficking’, I have referred to a few of the symptoms and reactions of PTSD, and now we are going to know more about it in detail.

    A traumatic event is one which can shake you from within and leaves a deep impression on your mind, for e.g. rape, accident, bomb-blast, hijack, war, terrorism, death, destruction etc.; physical and emotional reactions that a person gives after such an incident are treated as symptoms of PTSD, i.e. caused due to stress after trauma.

    ptsd

    Who are more prone?

    A traumatic event doesn’t directly conclude that the person will become a bearer of PTSD. It has been observed that events like accident, war, death, car- crash and the like do not generally erupt PTSD; it is more probable in case of personal assaults and attacks like rape, kidnap, domestic violence etc. Hence rape victims and those subject to sexual abuse, molestation, flesh trafficking and physical assaults turn to be sufferers of PTSD.

    Higher rate of PTSD has been observed among foster care children as well, who are separated from their parents in childhood by the Governmental laws or alike.

    People who have experienced some sort of racial or social discrimination in their early life are more prone to the stress caused after a violent event. For e.g. studies showed that among American troops in Vietnam, Black veterans had nearly 2.5 fold the risk of developing war zone-related PTSD as compared to white/other veterans. Hispanics had more than three times the risk. Also, Hispanic veterans who reported experiencing racial discrimination during their service displayed more symptoms of PTSD than Hispanic veterans who did not; reports Wikipedia.

    Those who are already prepared with the probability and potentials of a threat-causing incident are less likely to get affected by it. For e.g. soldiers in general are well-adapted to traumatic situations and do not become subjects of PTSD in general.

    Causes of PTSD

    • PTSD can occur when a traumatic situation of event triggers hyper-active adrenaline response, consequentially creating difficult neurological patterns in the brain, which last for a long period of time after the trauma.

     

    • Sometimes, PTSD can be hereditary. There is evidence that those with a genetically smaller hippocampus are more likely to develop PTSD following a traumatic event. It uses same genetic influences that are common to other psychiatric disorders like anxiety, panic and depression. Hence causatives are also genetically modified; if mother has been a regular user of drugs, alcohol or nicotine substances, child can be affected by PTSD.

     

    • Drugs abuse and other forms of substance abuse are in general associated with posttraumatic stress disorder.

     

    • Damage to the pre-frontal cortex in brain can be actually protective towards later and deeper developments of PTSD symptoms, whereas amygdala which is more responsible for emotional reactions and fear-related issues can actually make the brain more vulnerable to PTSD when affected by trauma.

     

    Symptoms of PTSD

    • Absurd dreams and nightmares are common symptoms which might be evoked from traumatic experiences.
    • A feeling like reliving the incident of stress can haunt you; the images of the incident can flash in your memory, which is termed flashback.
    • Some smell or vision or present situation can remind you of your past trauma, which is like a trigger, that recreates the event for you and affects your senses.
    • Feeling of distrust towards everything and everybody becomes common.
    • A loud noise can startle you.
    • Sleeping problems can be symptoms of PTSD.
    • Purposeful avoidance of threatening sights or situations.
    • Eradication of positive emotions like love, care, compassion etc.
    • Sudden anger reactions.

    Symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person and different people are affected differently with the disorder. However, if these kinds of symptoms last for over three months, PTSD diagnosis is required.

    Remedies of PTSD

     

    ptsd

    Transcendental meditation or TM:

    Transcendental meditation or TM is suggested by experts for patients suffering from PTSD. This is an easy process and requires only 20 minutes of your day, where you let your mind and body loose, just to relax.

    There is no need to concentrate or focus your mind; you also don’t need to be ‘mindful’ about your thoughts during meditation. Just sit still and breathe to get sufficient rest during transcendental meditation to regulate your neural activities.

     

    Therapies:

    Medical experts these days, are more biased towards drug-less treatments and hence PTSD can be taken to them, if your problem is getting severe.

    ptsd

    EMDR (eye movement techniques):

    EMDR uses eye movement techniques (or sometimes sound or other sensory stimuli) under the supervision of a trained EMDR psychotherapist to allow the brain to reprocess traumatic memories. 

    Recognized as an effective therapy for PTSD by more than two dozen research studies, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Department of Defence/Veteran’s Administration, it can significantly shorten recovery time and because it only requires the patient/client to focus briefly on the trauma, it is less likely than traditional talk therapy to activate the trauma.

     

    Neurofeedback techniques:

    Neurofeedback techniques use low-frequency electrical signals to help the brain shift into a state in which it is easier to process emotions, moving it out of stuck patterns induced by trauma.  Improvement may be felt in one to three sessions.

     

    Other counselling and meditation techniques include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (also effective for suicidal thoughts), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Yoga and Guided imagery (another form of meditation) which are often used by psychiatrists to help PTSD patients.

    However, talking is important to get rid of nasty past. The more you speak up about your fear, the better emotional stability you will gain. 

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  • 21 May
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Vir Das-words of wisdom without a word to students

    vir das

    Dear parent and kids

    Exam results are going to be announced soon, you may be worried, and which may cause stress to you and your child. Anxiety before the result is  is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in students of all ages these days.

    Even if the student has worked hard for the exam, they still continue to be anxious.

     

    The problem is a big one, with high number of student suicides around board exams. As a community, as parents, teachers and students, we can all help to manage this issue.

    As parents, siblings and friends, make sure not to pressurize the Child to get good marks or make them feel that they will not be respected or loved if they get less marks.

    It is important to give a clear message that their performance on one exam does not equate to their self-worth as a person.

    A lot of relatives have the habit of calling up students around the time results are being announced or the day the results are announced. Ordinarily, since they do not call on other times, but only for the result, the student can feel judged, especially if the result is not what was expected.

    As a parent, keep the child’s contact with such relatives minimal, or talk to your child about not taking such relatives seriously.

    The most important part is to address the fear of results, by dispelling the myths and by providing love and concern, and by nor pressurizing or judging. There should be other conversations with family and friends, apart from just result. Talk about hobbies, interest, skills and people.

     

    Make sure to spend time in doing fun activities like games, outings and picnics. Once we give the student the assurance that they have tried their best and if after that the result isn’t great, it’s OKAY, that life goes on and that there will be many more achievements to make.

    Here we have actor and comedian Vir Das, saying best of luck to all students and check out his suggestion about how to be cool when results are going to announce soon.

  • 19 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    Natural Remedies for Depression.

    natural remedies

    Depression is affecting almost 120-million people all over the world. The disease which can be the root cause of other severe problems like bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts is taking over a serious platform for concern because the rates of suicides are increasing every year in India and internationally, hence every Government and society is changing their attitudes towards mental health issues.

    Depression is a common problem these days and counselling experts are trying hard to fight with this problem globally.

    In modern times, depression can have several factors-

    • Hectic life-style
    • Sleeping problems
    • Self-Despair
    • Expectation failure
    • Stress
    • Hormonal imbalances
    • Inflammation in the body and brain
    • Nutrient and healthy oil deficiency
    • Toxic environment and pollution

    Sometimes, we feel low in mood without any practical reason because of the strange weather conditions around these days. Hence global warming can be termed as a causative too.

    While medical treatment for depression is available, we can always support it with home remedies. In not-so-serious cases we can avoid medication. We can try natural treatments but we must always inform our consulting psychaitrist about them if you are on medication.

    While most of us want to keep ourselves free from invasion of foreign elements and avoid visiting doctors, what are the natural options that you can try and achieve a perfect mental health balance along with your body? For every illness, we search for home remedies on the web; imbibing naturals glorify your body; organic foods make you healthy. So let’s discuss some of the organic formulas which can act as Natural Antidepressants-

    Get to the basics first.

    • Exercise- working out in fresh environment everyday can always cure depression by uplifting the mood. Since exercising regulates the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin secretion in the brain, hormones and chemicals responsible for mood and other emotions reactions. Experts and doctors suggest working out at least two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes for better recovery. High cardio-vascular movements can be extremely effective like speed-walking, jogging or cycling, however a moderate rate of exercising will also help rather than being idle.

    light therapy

    • Light Therapy- Darkness is dissipated with light. Sitting or lying down under a brightly illuminated box or chamber can give relieve you from the pain of depression though it cannot completely cure it. The created chamber poses of giving natural light which strikes the senses of satisfaction immediately.

    acupuncture

    • Acupuncture- Though it is a medical treatment applied by experts with a clean single-use needle, it is natural and dissuades usage of drugs. In Latin acus means needle and punctura means puncture or disable the area of pain. This Chinese medication technique was applied on three females in a research organized by Kurland, suffering from severe mood disorders. They were treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and electro-acupuncture therapy (EAT). EAT is a form of acupuncture in which 1 or more pairs of needles are stimulated by applying small electrical currents. All 3 patients had severe depression and had not responded to multiple trials of different psychotropic medications and psychotherapies. ECT reduced depressive symptoms but was associated with profound memory loss, confusion, and disorientation. Acupuncture administered with EAT resulted in significant remission of depression and was better tolerated by all 3 patients.

     

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy- This is a form of counselling called CBT which means “sophisticated education” for people with depression. When you are aware of the feelings or thoughts that trigger the respective emotions, you can learn how to control and channelize them.

     

    • Talk to friends- If you are depressed, join groups and friends who are really caring and concerned. Good friends often enliven your mood with other talks and stories which are inspiring. You can also share your problem with them, and we have already discussed in our article on Anxiety, that talking out loud can cure.

    mindfulness

    • Meditate- Mindfulness always calms your senses by letting your weary thoughts pass off.

    These were the preventive measures you can take for depression and mood swings, or practise to reduce the symptoms. Let us now know something more about the natural remedies which actually serve as powerful medicines for your depressed mind-What you eat everyday affects your mood a lot.

    fish

    • Fish oil- Natural oil from fish contain Omega 3 fatty acid, which is good fat and is very much essential for an active brain. Fishes like salmon, cod, mackerel and shelled fish which are also containers of Vitamin B, can check the levels of serotonin without adding to your weight.magnesium
    • Magnesium- It is the 4rth most abundant mineral in the body that is supplemented through diet, and is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems that regulate a wide range of biomechanical functions in the body; it regulates heart beats and DNA functioning. We do not produce it automatically; we have to eat them as a nutrient. Banana, soybean, spinach, cashews and almonds are rich in magnesium. Increase amount of it in your diet.

     

    • Green tea- there are various beneficial effects of this light green liquid. It speeds up metabolism, reduce cholesterol and helps you attain a slim belly and glowing skin as suggested by Shraddha Kapoor in favour of #LiptonGreenTea right? Beyond these advantages, green tea is a positive stress reducer as it is caffeine-free and the bearer of L-theanine which holds psychoactive properties, and reduce stress as well as boost dopamine and the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA.

     

    • Natural herbs and chemicals- Different kinds of herbs have different medicinal values. Since ages, Ayurveda uses herbs and natural chemicals to treat various physical ailments naturally. A few herbs can be strong antidepressants.
      st johns wort
    • St. John’s wort- Mostly available in Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, this weed is scientific name Hypericum perforatum and is popularly known as “ghost plant”, because in ancient times it was used for exorcism of spirits. Researches have shown that depression sufferers who have a long-term chronic type of depression called dysthymia often do the best with this herb. For regular depression disorders with symptoms like fatigue, loss of energy and low mood in work-life, this can be a great emotional balancer for regaining a positive spirit and self-esteem.

     

    • Saffron- Oh my God! Now you know why these red strands are no expensive all over the world. If you love the rich aroma of #MughlaiCuisines and the lightly crimson desserts, you are doing your best, because the dried portions of Crocus flower have been found to reduce moderate stress and depression.

     

    • Zinc- Besides magnesium, zinc is also an important mineral for the body. Zinc is a nutrient linked with mental functions like learning and behaviour. Low levels of blood zinc are more associated with depression, according to Biological Psychiatry. According to Nutrition Neuroscience, taking a 25 mg zinc supplement daily for 12 weeks can help reduce depression symptoms. Taking zinc supplements can also increase the amount of available omega-3 fatty acids in the body.

     

    • Sunflower seeds- Rich in folate, these help enrich the body and brain with antidepressant treatment. Taking 500 mcg of folic acid has been linked with improving the effectiveness of other antidepressants medications. Lentils, fortified cereals, beans, avocado and dark leafy vegetables can be alternate supplements.

    While some herbs and minerals are helpful, not all of them are valuable for your body and mind. The following are often believed to act positively with stress and depression but according to a report published in BJPsych Advances, it is completely a myth.

    • Crataegus oxyacantha (hawthorn)
    • Eschscholzia californica (California poppy)
    • Ginkgo biloba
    • Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
    • Matricaria recutita (chamomile)
    • Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)
    • Passiflora incarnate (maypop, or purple passionflower)
    • Piper methysticum (kava)
    • Valeriana officinalis (valerian)

    Better to stay away from them, as they have been proven ineffective and are often misused in doses.

    You can consult a doctor or an expert for advice on how much to consume, of the above.

    eWellness expert is also there to help you on these issues.

    Staying natural is the best way to stay healthy, so you can follow the above remedies for mental wellness too.

     Image sources:1 2 3 

     

  • 14 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    What to eat, when we are stressed?

    mood boosting foods

    Are you under stress? Feeling nervous or anxious? Are you completely down today and don’t want to get up at all?

    Wake up and make yourself a whole and hearty breakfast. Yes, I mean it. You still think it’s nonsense? Halt before you grab your antidepressant pills and take a look at the #MagicIngredients which you need to include in your breakfast dish.

    mood boosting foods

    Image source

    It is a common saying that chocolate can improve your mood and it is not wrong at all.

    Certain kinds of food products can actually relieve you from various mental setbacks, especially bipolar mood swings, anxiety, stress and depression.

    Most importantly, they are easy to grab and takes lesser time to make than you can imagine, hence you can be safe with your work life balance.

    When you are irritated and disgusted try the following to boost yourself up in the respective situations-

    mood boosting foods

    Image source

    Oats- nowadays, oatmeal is a part of breakfast in almost every household, and people believe oats are healthy and it can help you stay slim. But quite a few of us know that oat is a form of soluble fibre which supports reduced cholesterol hence heart disease, but besides that oats contain phytochemicals which can control blood sugar levels that are affected by stress.

    Banana- taking a banana with you while you rush for office is a good idea. It is a form of carb which is rich in potassium as well. It generates serotonin in the brain which calms and relaxes your hyperactive senses, and at the same time, it relieves you from insomnia, fatigue, breathlessness and keeps heart muscles healthy.

    Amla – Indian gooseberries; the green colour itself acts as a coolant to the senses. It is rich in Vitamin C which keeps the walls of capillaries flexible so that when they tend to be constricted by stress or increased blood sugar level, the ill-effects can be fought with the nutrient.

    mood boosting foods

    Turkey- if you are a lover of western meal, good news for you. Turkey is rich in tryptophan which is a catalyst for serotonin and actively participates in reducing anxiety in a person.

    Egg,nuts- Some studies claim that green leafy vegetables, nuts, rice, legumes, pork, chicken or eggs are rich in Vitamin B and lack of it can lead a person to depression without reason. 

    Whole wheat bread- whole grain cereals and breads are rich sources of good carbs and they can automatically make you happy.

    Salmon- It is a fish which is loaded with minerals and can become a part of lean protein and useful fat in our daily diet. The DHA (docosahexanoic acid) in Omega 3 fats help to nourish the brain while mitigating stress hormones. Plus, the Omega 3 in salmon can reduce inflammation and promote healthy blood flow, both of which are compromised with chronic stress.

    mood boosting foods
     

    Foods you should avoid in stress and depression-

    Refined Sugar- the sweet gives you an instantaneous energy which may last for 20 minutes but it actually blood glucose levels to plummet, resulting in a sugar hangover that disrupts our mood, depletes our energy, and is linked to sleep disorders.

     

    Caffeinated beverages- They keep you awake and intervene with normal sleep processes which can later cause mood disorders. Especially the energy drinks which promise of making you fly like #Superman are actually loaded with caffeine equal to 14 cans of soda beverages.

    Alcohol- Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and it generally numbs your senses of thinking, understanding and reasoning. The central nervous system which is responsible for controlling emotions is greatly affected with alcohol.

    Hydrogenated oils- solid fats are worst for blood sugar level and cholesterol. They can clog arteries and prevent blood flow to the brain.

     

    So now you know which great ingredient can make you a miraculous meal and give you a fine bright morning; which things you can avoid to keep away from a gloomy mood. So eat healthy and be happy.

    Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.

    -eWellness Expert

    Read more: 

    Stress Free: A quick guide to stress relief

    10 Habits that help Change Your Attitude from Negative to Positive

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