Total 228 Blog Posts

  • 01 Aug
    Oyindrila Basu

    Fiction engages our brain in Empathy

    reading fictions

    We read fictions to fuel our imagination. We love entering a world which may be similar or different from the real existence and we admire the myriad hues of the characters painted by the author.

    We can associate with them, communicate with them internally, and we don’t realize when they become a part of our daily life and family. In other words, fiction give us an escape from the morbidities of our regular real existence; sometimes we read fiction to achieve company; characters which are similar to us; whose sufferings or problems, we can relate with, often inspire us to forget our drudgeries.

    fiction

    However, scientific researches prove that fiction does much more than that; reading a fiction affects our emotionality, it makes us more empathetic.

    Not only through books, any form of fiction including Television Dramas, engages us and we feel one with the characters of the narrative; we feel their joy and sorrow and empathize with their predicament the more we follow the visual or printed text.

    Keith Oatley, of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto, Canada directs towards one such scientific study where it was observed that participants were not much affected, or never felt any empathy for TV documentaries or their characters, as they did for Television fiction series.

    When we read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, we do feel an innate pride for the self-empowered heroine Elizabeth; we acknowledge her self-respect and get inspired to behave rationally like her in ourselves; at the same time, we empathize with her due to her social situation and her wrong decisions due to prejudice.

    However, Oatley suggests, that reading fiction make a person more social and develops his/her communication skills.

    In the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, he refers to a study conducted by him and his peers, studying the impact of novels on reader’s brain function in daily life.

    While in the field of psychology, functional magnetic resonance imaging(FMRI) which is a form of brain imaging, had already shown that imagination-encouraging phrases like pitch “pitch black night” or “reddish orange carpet”, instigated the hippocampus, the part of the brain mostly responsible for memory, the “Mind In the Eyes” research by Oatley et al. showed that subjects reading fictional books scored much higher than subjects who read non-fictional books after viewing 36 images of people’s eyes.

    This proves that reading fiction makes a person more empathetic, sensible and socially successful, and also develops their ability to interpret human beings.

    "The most important characteristic of being human is that our lives are social. What's distinctive about humans is that we make social arrangements with other people - with friends, with lovers, with children - that aren't pre-programmed by instinct. Fiction can augment and help us understand our social experience.", says Keith Oatley.

    The next time, someone asks you the utility of watching a TV serial or reading Romantic literature, you can scientifically back your answer with logic. It’s a great way to have a great mental health.

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  • 22 Oct
    eWellness Expert

    Psychological violence in family requires immediate action

    psychological abuse

    We have laws in our country for domestic violence, though it means physical and mental violence, but how do you know if you are psychologically threatened?

    Someone may be causing you psychological pain, but you bear with it, giving an attitude that all relationships have disproportions.

    Well, we don’t advice, that if you have a small fight it means, it is the time to give up, NO, but identifying and proper remedy of family related psychological problems, is important.

    First let us see why is it harmful?

    Psychological abuse is harmful, as

    1. It disturbs your personal well-being.
    2. It disturbs your social life
    3. Your brain stops functioning rationally; you are instigated to behave the way you don’t want to.
    4. If you are sad, you cannot concentrate on your professional life too.
    5. Your self-esteem is destroyed.
    6. If you are sad, your children and your loved ones will suffer too.

    If your partner abuses you psychologically, you tend to ignore it most of the times, but you don’t try to move out fearing you have to stay alone.

    This is the problems with most couples in a relationship for a long time.

    They are subject to various kinds of pressures from their partner or family, but they sometimes surrender, sometimes adhere to it, thinking its normal, all five fingers are not the same size.

    Women are more affected by such subjugation in general, and hence women around the world are more prone to depression and anxiety than men.

    In India, psychological violence doesn’t always come from the partner but also from the in-laws who are new to a bride.

    And as a matter of social custom, daughters are taught to bear as long as they can.

    However, being happy should be the biggest priority of a person, relationships, people and everything else comes because you want to be happy; if that is not there, what is the use of all the other things?

     

    How can you identify when you are being exposed to psychological abuse?

    The journal #YoungMinds speak about the symptoms of an unhealthy relationship-

    • Brain-washing
    • Provoking jealousy (openly talking about other woman)
    • Being emotionally/physically distant
    • Requiring permission for actions
    • Criticism
    • Disrespect
    • Lying (both from the victim and the abuser)

    When these factors enter your relationship, you should be decisive that it is time to move on.

     

    Accommodation and adjustment are not always required. Even today, in the 21st Century, India is plagued with cases of bridal suicide, and housewife murders; domestic violence has not taken exit from any society, it prevails in the household silently, either on a man or woman, and it can, because we remain silent in shame or insecurity.

     

    Bearing the above things leads to anxiety and depression, neither you are happy nor your loved ones around you.

    Hence before it gets too late, it is time to find a counselling service first who can diagnose the problems and find a solution.

  • 20 Jul
    eWellness Expert

    Autism-Be the best therapist of your child with special needs.

    autism child with mother

    Its utterly shocking and depressing for parents when they come to know that, their child is suffering from some psychological problem, for the first time.

    Till the child is 6 years old, you cannot predict his/her behaviour, because children are different from each other and may take time in responding or reacting to things, so many parents are under the assumption that may be with time things will get right, but when parents come to know that their kids are suffering from some kind of special abnormality, they almost shatter, they cannot accept the fact, sometimes they are angry, sometimes despaired, hopeless and sad, and they tend to vent it on the child initially.

     

    Teacher asking to Antara-“How much is 25+7? Antara! Antara! Can you hear me? Speak up”,

    The teacher fidgets to push the child and make her answer, she doesn’t respond.

    Principal-“Mrs. Anuradha, we are really sorry but Antara cannot study with us, she will has to go”……….

    Anuradha upset and despaired runs to her child’s doctor from where she discovers

    Doctor-“Antara is not normal, as the results are concerned, she seems to be autistic, it is a special mental condition, please keep your courage up”…………….

    Anuradha is in tears, she never could have imagined that her child will not be normal like all other children, she is in shock, trauma, but she cannot express it to her 5-year old kid who cannot even understand what is going on with her.

    She promises her child: “You don’t worry, mama is there, I will give you all the happiness of the world, you won’t ever feel neglected, you will grow up with all other kids, it’s your mama’s promise.” Aap Ki Antara-Zee TV, episode 2.

     

    Here are a few cautions and tips for parents as to how they will cope in such a situation, where their child is in some kind of special mental health condition:

    Do not vent your frustrations or anxiety on the kid- if you are upset with the discovery, do not vent it upon your ignorant child, he doesn’t understand, but he/she can feel the emotions, the vibes. Your anger or depressed attitude towards your child will negatively impact him/her. Instead to curing, you are adding to his/her discomfort.

    Always keep yourself composed: Dealing with a child who is different from others is a complex thing. Your job is significant, but it is difficult too. Do not lose hope. Things will be better when you want to make it. Keep yourself healthy first, only then can you help your child. Keep your mind on track, be composed, practice it through meditation.

    Read and learn more about the Psychological disorder your child is going through. As your knowledge increases, your mental health will be restored.

    Do not blame yourself: Often parents blame themselves for their child’s suffering because he/she is born out of them, or they feel that they have not trained the child properly from the beginning.

    They also hold themselves responsible for not discovering the problem earlier.

    However, it is important to note here, that psychological problem is never inherited genetically, it is a natural psychological condition with which the child may be born due to some biological dysfunctions or just acquire it after birth due to external socio-environmental factors.

    The parents have hardly any role in causing the child a mental health problem, unless and until they are attacking the kid regularly with assaults of some kind.

    Be compassionate with yourself: You have to be in a stable mental health first. Use your compassion and sensibility towards yourself, then can you be compassionate towards the needful child.

    Even if your child bears similar symptoms which you reflected in the past, even then there is no point blaming yourself for it.

    If you have to change the situation, you can only do it towards betterment. What had to happen has happened, you did not do it on purpose, so proceed towards a solution.

    Guide yourself through similar case studies and enlighten yourself. Feel yourself special, that you are adorned with this big responsibility.

    You have a lot to do, and you are the best at it, and you will do it.

     

    Seek compassion from others: Just sharing your situation with some close friends can help you keep calm. A few words of condolence can cheer you up again. Just the statement “everything will be all right”, can create the magic. You will start feeling better all over again.

     

    Involve the family: Taking all the responsibility on your shoulders can affect your mental health badly.

    You can be depressed, or anxious about your role. You may also suffer from the fear that if you are unable to help your child, the society will blame it on you.

    Involve other members in the family in your situation. Their mental support will guide you, and knowledge and advice from different sources is always helpful, though you will decide what is best for your kid.

     

    Be tactful while dealing with your teenager: If your child is a teenager, and is having behavioural problems, their sudden outbursts of anger and frustration can also affect your mental health gravely.

    You can feel humiliated, insulted and be in pain, but do not put yourself in this state, rather ignore the reactions, and focus on the causes.

    The more you ignore their outbursts, the better you can work at understanding them.

    Merely caring for their words will only make you aloof and reluctant.

     

  • 20 Jul
    Oyindrila Basu

    Online Counselling is proving helpful for Women.

    Women are proactive members of our society. They are educated, established, self-dependent, ambitious, productive, caring, sensitive, multi-tasking, motherly, hard-working, professional and family-oriented experts. There are lot more attributes to their character, however, women often have to take extra pressure to live upto these adjectives.

    Women are burdened with more than average responsibilities.

    We have already discussed in Secrets Of Striking A Work-Life Balance as how women need to multi-task in their daily lives and miraculously, they are able of that; for e.g. a woman can cook, at the same time, she can listen to her TV serials and instruct her child to revise his/her lessons.

    A working woman has a more hectic schedule. If she also has a family, then she has to attend to both; her profession as well as her family demands priority, and she is pressurized with the dilemma of choosing which one gets more time and care.

    Non-working women face frustration due to a lack of professional activity, too much household chores, insecurity due to economic factors and many more.

    All these social and psychological factors lead to a lot of stress in women. Working at home and outside, taking up motherhood, as for Indian scenario, getting married and moving into a new house, all these are much too stressful, and whenever you do not have a solution to the problem, you get anxious and depressed. Mental health among women is deteriorating day by day.

    • Women are more likely than men (28 percent vs. 20 percent) to report having a great deal of stress (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale).
    • Almost half of all women (49 percent) surveyed said their stress has increased over the past five years, compared to four in 10 (39 percent) men.
    • Women are more likely to report that money (79 percent compared with 73 percent of men) and the economy (68 percent compared with 61 percent of men) are sources of stress while men are far more likely to cite that work is a source of stress (76 percent compared with 65 percent of women).
    • Married women report higher levels of stress than single women, with one-third (33 percent) reporting that they have experienced a great deal of stress in the past month (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) compared with one in five (22 percent) of single women. 
    • Similarly, significantly more married women report that their stress has increased over the past five years (56 percent vs. 41 percent of single women). Single women are also more likely than married women to say they feel they are doing enough to manage their stress (63 percent vs. 51 percent).

    They need help; they want to restore their mental wellness, however, they often do not have enough time to for regular check-ups and appointments at clinics or hospitals, as a result, their problem often remains unaddressed and un-diagnosed.

    In such cases, online counselling is proving to be a huge help for busy women.

    With increased popularity of online counselling clinics and techniques, women all across the world are getting benefitted with healing therapies for a good mind.

    They can just browse through the web and find a suitable online mental health clinic to put forward their problem; sometimes, they can find an answer immediately.

    The fact that someone is listening and is there to respond is pretty much of a help.

    TA-ICBT for PPD was adapted from a TA-ICBT program for depression offered through the Online Therapy Unit for Service Education and Research (www.onlinetherapyuser.ca) in Saskatchewan, Canada.

    The intervention included 7 modules, and participants were encouraged to complete one module per week although more time was often taken.   Each module included a range of media (e.g., text, graphics, animation, audio, video), as previous research has suggested that multimedia options enhance the effectiveness of Internet-delivered treatment.

    The efficacy of the treatment was investigated at 7 and 10 weeks. TA-ICBT participants were also contacted four-weeks following treatment completion.

     

    Women receiving TA-ICBT experienced a greater reduction in depressive symptoms than women in the waitlist group (average reduction of 6.24 points and 2.42 points on the EPDS, respectively).  These results were maintained at four-week follow-up.

    Women receiving TA-ICBT also demonstrated a reduction in postpartum anxiety, general stress, and parental distress, and an improvement in quality of life as compared to the waitlist control participants.

     

    Women living in remote areas, devoid of much health facilities are no longer deprived of a healthy counselling therapy.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) imparted by experts, online is proving to be a huge success in the field of mental health and wellness for women.

    A survivor, herself, reported to us in her story, how online mental health clinic, eWellness expert, not only identified her problem, but also suggested useful techniques to evolve out of anxiety and depression.

    For young and recent mothers, the CBT therapy proves really helpful in coping with perinatal depression. Women at this stage, cannot go out much due to her own health reasons, as well as for the responsibility of the new-born child, and online therapy is a miraculous remedy for them.

    We hope that online therapy will continue to grow as a health sector and will foster better mental health to women all over the world.

    Image source

  • 17 Jul
    Dr. KV Anand

    Grief: The Venture towards Resilience and adjustment

    grief

    Grief is an emotional response to a loss. It involves different stages usually; include anger, denial, depression, bargaining, and acceptance (Kubler-Ross, 1969).

    Albeit numerous individuals experience these phases in a genuinely predictable order, there is extensive overlap among the stages.

    Working through the phases of misery can in the end lead to the positive results of recuperation, determination, and flexibility. Notwithstanding, these results resemble a far off shore when one is suffocating in those first effective rushes of pain.

     In comprehension the journey from deprivation and grief to determination and resilience, it might be useful to see a portion of the procedures included. Mourning alludes to the condition of being that outcome from a huge misfortune.

    It envelops an extensive variety of responses - cognitive, behavioral, physical, and spiritual. Grief alludes to the inward procedure of recapturing harmony.

    It requires revamping on both emotional and cognitive levels, and incorporates a re-assessment of spiritual concerns.  

     

    Anticipatory grief alludes to grief that happens to proceed the misfortune. While it doesn't set one up for the misfortune, anticipatory grief allows time for determination of a few issues.

    Consequently, the sudden death of a friend or family member is especially troublesome for the survivors since it doesn't give at whatever time to expectant distress.

     

    Mourning refers to the general society articulation of grief, including religious customs, which can change extensively by society.

    Though the experience of sorrow is interior, private, and individualistic in nature, the way toward grieving is more outer, open, and social in expression..

    Commemoration responses allude to encounters of the pain reaction at certain huge times, even after there has been determination of melancholy.

    Grief is not for the most part considered a turmoil, but instead is seen as an adjustment to a misfortune. In this regard, the way toward lamenting is like the way toward healing.

    It includes working through the phases of distress. The tasks of lamenting incorporate encountering the agony of despondency, tolerating the truth of the misfortune, changing in accordance with a domain in which the cherished one is missing and pulling back one's passionate vitality and reinvesting it in another relationship.

    Inability to finish these tasks can bring about affected sorrow, which is a drawn out kind of depression connected with despondency.

    Affected grief can block further development and growth. For instance, the nonattendance of family or social backing amid mourning can complicate the process of grieving.

    Some of the early cautioning indications of unresolved grief are as per the following: 

    - Dodging the funeral, not going by the grave site, or not taking part in different rituals.

    - Not having the capacity to discuss of the lost adored one without encountering exceptional pain.

    - Encountering an extraordinary despondency response activated by some moderately minor occasion.

    - Seeing that the subjects of misfortune appear to come up every now and again in easygoing discussions. 

    - A powerlessness or unwillingness to move material belonging to the adored one.

    - Feeling constrained to impersonate or tackle propensities or identity attributes of the cherished one.

     

    The resolution of grief requires tolerating the truth of the misfortune, intellectually and emotionally, and rearranging the features of life despite the misfortune.

    Be that as it may, determination is not a return to the "old self." One never truly comes back to his or her previous self. Rather, one joins the experience into what in the end turns into another self.  

    Achieving resolution requires working through grief, which requires some time. Although the time required for mending may shift from individual to individual, the way toward healing includes a few essential tasks.

    The tasks depicted beneath can happen in a pretty much methodical way, in spite of the fact that there are extensive overlaps among the tasks.

     

    Encountering the emotional pain of the death. The agony and enduring of grief are not overcome by maintaining a strategic distance from pain, but instead by encountering and working through the pain.

    Albeit one's first reaction to a heartbreaking misfortune may include numbness or feeling nothing by any stretch of the imagination, one's first task includes the simple however apparently unconquerable assignment of encountering the agony of the misfortune.

     

    Discussing the loved one and the misfortune. At some point or another, encountering the pain of misfortune includes discussing the cherished one who has been lost.

    It is often a story that must be told again and again. However, there is an excruciating oddity to grief. Some of the time the family and companions that one has relied on the most in life are not by any means accessible, yet colleagues and even outsiders that one doesn't rely on at all may appear to be the most prepared to tune in.

    In any occasion, having contact with the individuals who care, especially the individuals who likewise knew and thought about the adored one, encourages the way toward sharing. 

     

    Incorporating the positive and the negative. To start with, the lost cherished one might be idealized so that the survivor recalls just the positive, while existence without the adored one might be vacant, forlorn, and depressing.

    At different times, one's memory of troublesome times in the past may bring an unforeseen grin. As one keeps on sharing the stories, and starts to encounter an alternate kind of life, the sharp complexities of highly contrasting will in the long run converge into more practical shades of gray.

    In the long run, the brilliant recollections of the past can get to be consoling indications of hope and joy. 

     

    Tolerating the reality of the misfortune. Despite the fact that there is no timetable, the shock of losing the adored one will in the end begin wearing off, and the truth of loneliness will start setting in.

    As one keeps on trudging along the way toward recuperation, stepping toward making another life once more, acknowledgment of another reality gradually starts to emerge. 

     

    Discovering significance in the experience. The grieving person will be able to find a meaning in his tormenting experience, a meaning which will propel him towards a meaningful further life.

     

    Gradual diminishing  of the emotional agony. At the beginning, the influxes of grief are powerful, regularly thumping one down in what may appear like a spirit pulverizing rout. After some time, the influxes get to be smaller and smaller, while the times of calm turn out to be longer and more.

    In the long run, there will come minutes when the waves are a delicate memory. 

    The excruciating experience of lamenting a misfortune can in the end lead to the positive results of recuperation, determination, and resilience.

    Recuperation includes the cognizant procedure of working through the phases of grief. Determination alludes to the possible result of tolerating the truth of the misfortune, psychologically and inwardly, and rearranging the aspects of life.

    Resilience refers to one's sure ability to adapt to future emergencies and even catastrophe. 

    While numerous individuals finish the undertakings of grieving all alone, the procedure of recuperation can regularly be encouraged by chatting with a psychologist who has prepared and involved in counseling.

    Despite the fact that there are no easy routes, there are some viable methods for working through the phases of grief and finding positive results that are not really conceivable when one is suffocating in those first powerful waves of grief.

     

    References

    Frankl dies at age 92. (1997, November). Monitor on Psychology, 28(11), 46.

    Engel, G. (1961). Is grief a disease? Psychosomatic Medicine, 23, 18–22.

    Bonanno, G. A., & Kaltman, S. (1999). Toward an integrative perspective on bereavement. Psychological Bulletin, 125(6), 1004-1008.

    Kubler-Ross, E. (1969). Death and dying. New York: Macmillan.

    Lewis, C. S. (1961). A grief observed. San Francisco: Harper.

    Frankl, Viktor E. (1969). Man’s search for meaning: An introduction to logotherapy. New York: Washington Square Press.

    Kushner, H. (1981). When bad things happen to good people. New York: Avon Books.