• 15 Sep
    Oyindrila Basu

    Anger and Brain.


    anger management therapy

    We have different types of emotions every day, out of which anger is an emotion which is naturally believed to be detrimental to the mental health. Aggression is kind of an impulsive reaction to any situation which is dissatisfying. This can create a lot of stress and negativity in a person and we speak in detail about how we can control this anger; how can we give our reactions selectively and many more.

    However, till date it was never known, that anger and aggression can actually alter the brain and its functions.

    Neuropsychopharmacology, neuroscientists from the University of Chicago show that white matter in a region of the brain called the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) has less integrity and density in people with IED than in healthy individuals and those with other psychiatric disorders. 

    Too much of the anger component in a person can vary serotonin levels in the brain which is responsible for stress management, calmness and happiness.

    This restructuring of the brain makes a person even more violent.

    An experimental set up was established pathologically in the lab, where rats and mice were permitted to physically assault other rodents repeatedly, and it was observed that the initial mild aggression transformed gradually into a more violent behaviour.

    Researchers found that levels of serotonin, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, decreased in animals perpetrating repeated victorious episodes of aggression but not as a result of performing normal, functional acts of aggression. These findings are consistent with studies in humans showing that serotonin deficiency is associated with escalated rather than more functional forms of aggression.

    The serotonin component of the brain, is helpful to people with anger problems, and those suffering from depression, hence we often discuss about dietary plan and meditative practices for increasing serotonin level in the brain; when this part is affected, we become vulnerable to stress causing stimulus.

    Teenagers show aggression even to mild situational threats and this can hamper their cognitive abilities. However, research also implicates brain circuits involved in moral judgments in violent behaviour. The researchers found that people with antisocial, violent, or psychopathic tendencies tended to have overlapping damage in brain structures involved in making moral judgments. In normal, healthy individuals, moral decision-making activates the dorsal and ventral prefrontal cortex, the amygdala(important in emotions, fear, and stress), and the angular gyrus (involved in language and cognition). Antisocial individuals tended to show more damage in these brain regions than did control subjects. 

    Unlike other behavioural traits, aggression and anger are more prominent reactions in an individual which creates a negative aura around the person, which not only affects his/her mental health but also the society, family and people around him/her. It is imperative for everyone to practice anger management for better physical and mental health.

    1. Meditate for 15 minutes every morning. Let the thoughts pass on their own; you cannot control them, but do not get engaged in them.
    2. Whenever, you are angry, enter a room, close the door and chant “OM” in long breath, the word means universal, and it has a positive vibe which helps in increasing the level of serotonin in the brain and calms you down.
    3. Drink a glass of cold water, when you are feeling restless or aggressive at something.
    4. Counselling with Cognitive Behavioural therapy is a proven way to deal with anger in a positive way.
  • 08 Jun
    Oyindrila Basu

    Why Women are more prone to Mental Stress than Men?

    indian woman painting

    Gender disparities are observed when it comes to experiencing mental health issues. Women are psychologically more vulnerable to queer situations of the mind.


    Study by APA’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology

    APA’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology published a research study which evaluated the causative for this. Women are conditioned genetically, to internalize their emotions, which means they always try to hide their grievances and ponder on them in the mind; expression finds lesser importance in daily activities.

    They try to deal with their problems and difficulties within themselves, to appear more sociable and well accommodated and this leads to suppression, which can be the cause for future anxiety and depression.

    Men on the other hand are boisterous, outgoing and tend to externalize their emotions with a don’t care attitude which releases all charged up sentiments and pacifies the negativity inside the brain.

    Biologically, a difference in hormone between the two sexes is also a reason for disparity between stress levels. Both male and female has testosterone and estrogen in varied quantities based on age, health and physical built.


    In women, due to the difference in the levels of these hormones, less serotonin is secreted, which is the prime nerve relaxant in the body. Hence women are more prone to stress factors.


    Women are subjects of trauma.

    They're twice as likely to develop PTSD, with about 10% of women developing the condition after a traumatic event, compared to just 4% of men. Most women are likely to have faced some form of traumatic event due to domestic violence, abuse, social discrimination, sexual harassment, accident or death of loved ones. Their natural tendency to preserve the memories make them vulnerable to later mental health issues.


    Gendered wage-gap can be a very important factor in blowing women’s self-esteem and confidence.


    Also socially, women are burdened with greater responsibilities. Pregnancy, birth, parenting, are often endorsed by women. The role of a mother is emphasized on, by the society. Automatically, a woman is conditioned to believe that she is more responsible towards the child.


    A recent debate on our forum referred to an article by Chetan Bhagat, which tried to navigate the causatives for Indian women being the most stressed out beings on earth. Additionally, Indian married women have to adjust in a new home, new environment and new people which is already stressful.

    The level of acceptance is low; their actions are often judged and criticized and many-a-times, her ideologies clash with others and her opinion is rejected, which can be the reason for anxiety.


    Work life balance for Women

    The swing of work-life balance is also critical for Indian working women. She is socially conditioned to be guilty for neglecting her family while she is working in an office.

    She never challenges or fights her belief, instead, tries to accommodate and balance her roles between home and work, which is kind of an impossible task accomplished, and at the end of the day, she is completely stressed out, over-burdened, doesn’t have time for herself and also doesn’t have time to relax her mind.


    Work life balance for Men

    On the other hand, a man is more focused on his career and office, and homely responsibilities come second to him.

    He is conditioned to believe that way. If he chooses to help in household chores he will do it wilfully, however, for an Indian woman the choice is quite limited in this case. Sometimes, the unequal treatments of the genders can create frustration in women, which leads to additional stress.


    Diagnosis of mental health issues 

    Further, it is disheartening, how the treatment counsel uses their personal biases in diagnosis of mental health issues. Whenever a woman reports of mental health issue, for e.g. depression, the doctor renders it as something ‘emotional’, may be a temporary reaction, however, a man reporting stress is treated more seriously and suggested to therapy.

    If women’s stressful situations are not addressed properly, that can lead to genuine mental health issues. Neglect has also been studied as a secondary factor for deterioration of mental health in women.


    What can you do?

    This is an advice to all women.

    • Try to keep yourself calm in all situations.
    • Do not compare or compete with others of your gender. Believe that you are the best and try to do everything with your 100%
    • Work-life balance is an art; however, spare yourself the horror of being guilt-ridden all the time you return home from office. That is not the right attitude.
    • Stress factors will always be there around you. You cannot control your environment. Create a world of yourself; be in it; spend time reading and watching good movies.
    • Exercise is a must. Meditate regularly to control your emotions and the mind.
    • Eat healthy; use lots of greens, fish oil and lean protein to encourage the flow of serotonin in your brain, which will keep you calm.
    • Be yourself.

    References:1 2 3

  • 06 Jun
    Oyindrila Basu

    Psychological tricks to help you progress in life.

    psychological tricks

    Psychology is a vast and devious thing. Mind control is an art; applied on yourself or on others.

    It would be so much fun if we could have people following the same things as we do, or agreeing to whatever we propose; it would be so good if people would actually do what we want them to do sometimes, with or without knowing.

    If that can happen, it will be solving so much problems and arguments in our politics; also the Government will be spared of all those dog fights in the Houses while passing a Bill.

    Let’s just imagine that our parents gladly agree to our college trips without us having to convince them much, or may be shopping becomes a dream come true every weekend, wouldn’t that be wonderful!

    It is not so difficult to get things done; a few tricks can actually help; you just need to know the right thing to be input at the right time.

    Let’s look at a few tips:

    psychological tricks

    Gif source

    • Nodding your head while asking a question will make the other person more inclined to agree with you.

     psychological tricks

    Gif source

    • If you want to get rid of an object that you are carrying while going with someone, you can keep talking with the other person, while handing over the object to him/her. He or she will most often take it without a question. (The other person’s brain will be engrossed in the subject of the conversation, and the object won’t generally distract him or her; remember, brain can receive only a few information at a time.)

     psychological tricks

    Gif source

    • If you feel irritated that someone is looking at you, pretend to look at your watch; if the other person is actually looking at you, he/she will definitely look at his/her watch to find out what you are paying attention to.

    psychological tricks

    Gif source 

    • If someone wants to get to have others attending him/her, or sympathizing with him/her all the time, he/she mostly presents self as a ‘poor fellow’. Such people are often found saying “why this always happens to me,” “I am a doomed person,” etc. so that you feel that their misfortune is graver than yours and you try to attend them even if with a negative attitude.

     psychological tricks

    Gif source

    • Reasoning persuades reasonable people. If you want to get your Xerox done first, rather than saying, “I have only 2 copies”, say that “I want to use the machine first because I am in tremendous hurry”. An experiment found that 90% of the people will let you proceed in first, in a queue if you use ‘because’, i.e. you are giving a proper reason for your cause. (Though I have no idea whether it works in our Indian culture. :))

    If you are aware of these transactional patterns, you can actually use them in your favour. Once you have an idea of how the other person will react in a situation, you can actually prevent many quarrels and arguments for the good; make others agree with you and bear a coherent relationship with everyone around you, which can actually help you progress in life. 

    Image source

  • 02 Jun
    Oyindrila Basu

    We remember uncompleted tasks better than completed tasks.


     “11.00 pm sharp. Reema finishes packing her bags, and rushes in front of the television to switch to Star Plus. Her mother is very angry because it is quite late, and she should go to bed, because she has early morning school hours. But who cares! Reema ‘will sleep no more’ unless she has found out what has happened of Ishita in her favourite show."

    These days, popular cinema is constructed based on this psychology, so that we as audience do not forget the film. When episode in a TV show or serial ends on a query; for e.g. a dialogue or a conversation which never finishes and we are proceeded to preview the next episode, which means it ends unfinished, and the human brain naturally feels an urge to know what happens next.

    An unfinished work or episode or anything, often distracts the mind much more than what we are doing at present. Probably, it is in basic human nature to finish what we start; in fact, we are genetically modified to do so. Hence, if something ends at an inconclusive point, it attracts our attention; it pokes us at intervals and we are not at ease unless and until we are able to know the conclusion or solution.

    Often we have dreams at night, where we view a scattered story, which may be adventurous; for e.g. a dinosaurus is following you in the middle of nowhere. You are awakened from your dream with the shock and fear of getting trampled to death, but you feel an urge to go back to sleep again, because you want to know what happens at the end; do you win or the dinosaur, isn't it?

    When we do not finish what we start, we tend to remember it more; our memory preserves it, and that is often agitating to our present work which may be requires more effort.

    Baumeister & Bushman, 2008 defines the Zeigarnik Effect as the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete.

    The Zeigarnik effect suggests that students who suspend their study, during which they do unrelated activities (such as studying unrelated subjects or playing games), will remember material better than students who complete study sessions without a break (McKinney 1935; Zeigarnik, 1927).

    The automatic system signals the conscious mind, which may be focused on new goals, that a previous activity was left incomplete. We feel a kind of dissonance if we do not have the to-do list completed checked.


    There is a negative side to this.

    If a person is poked with the thoughts of his previous work, which was unfinished, he will find difficult to concentrate on the present task.

    Even if we complete our present work somehow, the unfinished chapters of the book, never give us a moment of peace or relaxation and that can be stressful.

    Relationships can be negatively affected if people do not forget their ex girl friends or boy-friends.


    How can you manage this dilemma?


    • Do not keep thinking and thinking.


    • Set your goals for the day, by making notes.


    • If you have a plan of finishing the previous work, time management is the best policy.


    • Set up a time table regularly, so that you know which time is scheduled for which task, hence you can go by it accordingly.


    • Use the drawback as an inspiration.


    • Zeigarnik Effect will remind you of your unfinished tasks; do not get stressed. It is good that you are still into it, hence go ahead and finish it, instead of slothing around. This will make you a man of firm personality and a conclusive nature.


    • In case of personal life, do not turn over the pages of a closed chapter. Futile attempts only lead to failure. So if something is useless, do not pursue that task, go ahead with the better works.


    • Mind exercise is the best way of self-control. Practise meditations to stop procrastinating.       

    Image source


  • 28 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    When Sitting down makes you unhappy, better to take the Stand!

    bored kids

    The Teacher: Sit down kids; do not make a noise in the class.

    Children: Yes, mam.

    They all obey and sit down. The whole day these school children sit at their respective places in the classrooms from 8.a.m to 2.00 p.m. Six hours of formal education given by making them sit for so long. Is this discipline good? Let’s find out.

    A study of more than 3,300 government workers in Australia found that those who spent more than six hours of a typical workday seated were more likely to score in the moderate to high range on a test of psychological distress than those who sat fewer than three hours.

    This clearly proves that sitting down at a stretch for a long time can interfere with the performance of your body and brain, irrespective of the leisure time you are getting in some other time of the day.

    Today, our sedentary life style urges us to stick to our chairs and stare at our computer or laptop screen, effortlessly for hours to get the multitude of tasks done, because there is a deadline, a goal to meet; and the office hours for an individual are gradually increasing.

    In short, the tasks don’t finish and you do not quit your beloved friend, the chair. However, the chair can prove to be your deadliest enemy.

    Sitting at a place adds to your waistline, makes you obese, and can be the cause of Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases ranging from major to minor.

    But few of us know, that inactive lifestyle can also hinder the proper flow of blood into the brain and increases the risk for glitches in brain functioning.

    more than 75% cases of women’s depression result from constant sitting. Anxiety can arise from fixed position work-life.

    What can you do?

    • Try fetching your own coffee instead of ordering the peon.
    • Take a 2min walk at an interval of one hour during your work schedule, even if it is going to the next desk.
    • Raise yourself up from the chair as many times as possible.
    • Deep breathe, whenever you get some relaxation time during your work.
    • Try finding a half an hour break, during office hours every day, for exercise, meditation or evening walk.
    • Regular exercising at an hour of the day is mandatory.

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