• 08 Aug
    Shruti Gupta Delhi

    Love, hate, and 'Bigg Boss'

     

    Bigg Boss - the name rings a bell, right?

    The show where celebrities live a life like our own, in a house that’s far far away from the world, metaphorically. Based on the Dutch show Big Brother, a number of chosen contestants are made to live in a house (as housemates) where they are isolated from the rest of the world. Since the use of technology and gadgets are not allowed, the contestants, are completely on their own. Each week the participants are commanded certain tasks by a voice addressed as ‘Bigg Boss’. The housemates are usually divided into teams and are required to finish the tasks in a given time. Their performances decide their budget for the week, and certain merits and demerits for those who win and lose, respectively.  Each in-house nominated member is evicted from the house through public votes. The contestants are therefore required to impress us, the mass audience, in order to survive and/or win the show.

    Needless to say, the urge to impress people brings with it various complexities which often leave us having a love-hate relationship with the show.

     

    bigg boss tamil

     

    The mass audience, people like you and I, love the idea of celebrities living our kind of lifestyle. We believe we are exposed to the ‘real’ life of our ‘reel’ celebrities, but is it really so? The curiosity to know how our stars would react in a normal lifestyle leaves us wanting for more gossips.

    The show has become immensely popular over time, mostly because of the controversies and scandals it has come to create. The situations are created in a manner that the contestants are often seen losing their temper in an instant. Speaking foul language and ridiculing others, now seems to be a part of the show, which is why it is also believed to be scripted. However, every task raises a controversy or gossip to be a conversation starter in people's life.

    One such incident took place in the first and the latest season of Bigg Boss (Tamil). Recently in an episode of the show, the contestants had been asked to act like those who are mentally ill. While half the housemates were to behave as doctors, the other half portrayed the mentally ill in a very offensive manner. Psychiatrists slammed the show, saying that the show sold harmful cliches on mental health through its contestants.

    One of the contestants, Oviya, an absolute favorite of the audience, is believed to be bipolar, and this episode only ignited people’s beliefs. Even though Oviya appears to be emotionally disturbed, there is no reason whatsoever to stigmatize her behavior. Television is considered to be a source of information which tends to influence people’s perception strongly. The show, therefore, must aim to remain neutral or at least normalize the stigmas and myths related to mental health. If this was an attempt to promote or normalize people seeking treatment for mental health, it went wrong in various ways because such a portrayal of mental illnesses can severely distort and damage the perception of the viewers.

    "We always think of mental illness in the extreme. We believe that these patients are dangerous or we make fun of them. This is how they are portrayed in the mainstream. We've been talking about mental health for the last 200 years. Nobody is immune to mental illnesses" - Dr. Sivabalan, psychiatrist

    The way the show portrayed mental health can make people create wrong ideas about the issue, further inflicting the stigma. This can lead to people refraining from seeking help, even if they wish to. Such insensitivity by the participants has largely been criticized by the audience, especially the psychiatrists and psychologists. When one is constantly being watched under surveillance, one must think about the influence their behavior can inflict on the masses.

    Then again, the more controversies it raises the more attention the channel gets. They say, there is nothing called as bad publicity. Even though some believe it is scripted, 'Bigg boss' has always become a topic of conversation for all age groups. The games test the control of the stars and break them open to find them react like a layman. Participants begin to lose their patience and end up showing who they really are, which often disgusts the audience and causes them to react emotionally. However, only the celebrities are not to blame.

    The last season of Bigg Boss (Hindi) had commoners as participants and it was exciting to watch because people wished to see how the celebrities behaved with the common people living under the same roof. Sadly, the audience of the show was not only let down but also disgusted to the very core due to the way a selected few portrayed us, the common people, in front of the celebrities. Priyanka Jagga and Swami Om stole the show but put the audience in utter dismay. They led us, and others to believe that the show is not worth watching, especially with people like them in it.

    Despite the controversies related to the show, its popularity has only grown. People share a love-hate relationship with ‘Bigg Boss’ across all culture and languages. That’s how it has always been, and that’s how it always will be. After all, fans will be fans!

     

  • 06 Aug
    Sanjna Verma

    Why is it mandatory to have Counselors in school?

     

    school counsellor

    Counselling is not about giving advice with 'Shoulds' and 'Musts', but rather a communication between the client and the therapist/counsellor bringing out the best qualities in the client to enable him/hers lead a stress-free life. In that case, everyone needs counselling and of course, ‘everyone’ includes school children too. You might wonder if children are stressed to an extent that they need to be referred to a counsellor. Even though counselling is an emerging concept in today’s time, there are a few things to look at.

    One, parents may not recognize that their child is suffering from a mental disorder. This happens because of lack of awareness about disorders or mental issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, depression, anxiety disorders etc.  Also, the concept of counselling is still at an emerging stage, one cannot forget the ‘stigma’ associated with counselling or mental illness in general. 

    Two, the child having a mental problem may be mocked by his peers, classmates or even by relatives. These people do not understand whether the individual is either born with the disorder or certain environmental and/or situational factors has led to this condition. For instance, when a student was being referred to the counsellor in school his classmates made fun of him. Such things can affect the child psychologically, knowingly or unknowingly.

    A professor shared why she feels pity for today’s generation. She said that children are so engrossed with social media- Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat that they hardly get even two hours for revising the topics covered. Moreover, these children are burdened with getting good marks to meet expectations on them. Now that every 13 to 16-year-old teenager has a smartphone and all these applications are easily accessible, distractions due to notifications and messages received leads to less concentration on studying. Also, the social comparison can disturb a child's productivity to a great extent. “He is touring Switzerland and look at me, sitting on my couch scrolling my feed.” Sounds familiar?

    Added to this, is the expectations from parents to ace the Board Exams and make it into a reputed college. These stressors, many a time lead the children wrongly towards drugs, alcohol or smoking which can be harmful in the long run; both physically and psychologically. We have heard enough stories on the suicides that follow exam results.

    Beyond the academic worries, teenagers face a series of changes that they find hard to cope with. Dealing with puberty, handling new relationships, the importance of peers, change in preferences, rebellion to parents, facing an identity crisis, etc. can mess with the psychological well-being of the adolescent. When he/she seeks help and support away from parents, counsellors have a huge role to play.

    Are these not enough reasons why we the need counsellors in schools?

    What do these Counsellors do?

    1. Counsellors are present so that children can freely discuss matters which they would not able to discuss with their parents and they can ensure a strict confidentiality of information. For instance, many students may feel hesitant towards discussing their relationship issues with their parents or they may feel hesitant towards discussing their anxiety due to exams with their parents otherwise it may happen that the parents get tensed about their child's future. In such situations counsellors guide them so as to ward off those feelings and replace them with positive thoughts.

    2. The guidance provided by counsellor helps in the shaping the personality of the child. They shape the behaviour of the child in such a way that they maintain peace amongst their classmates, peers, parents, teachers and everyone surrounding him/her. There are cases in which the child does not behave appropriately with anyone or throws temper tantrums. A counsellor may acts as a saviour here. He/she can ascertain the cause of the defiant behaviour by talking to the child and his/her parents towards understanding the nature of the problem.

    3. Issues like drug abuse, alcohol or emotional abuse can be discussed openly with them. Proper guidance and counselling can help the child get out of it and effective recovery from the condition. As they are allowed to recognise their problems and think about it.

    4. Counsellors are brought in for discussion of issues like sex education, bullying, stress management etc. through seminars, workshops and individual counselling. For instance, in the case of stress management, they educate the children about various conditions that lead to stress and various ways to overcome them. This helps them be aware of and monitor their own behaviour.

    5. Counsellors help students having special needs to mingle with their classmates. They also provide referrals and recommendations to the parents about the mental concerns of their child. They may suggest them through different methods of parenting or if the child needs to be referred to someone like an occupational therapist, speech therapist etc.

    6. Counsellors also serve the function of providing vocational guidance to students about the career options for the child according to his/her aptitude and interests. This can be done through conduction of various aptitude, intelligence or personality tests. At the end of it, they will be able to elaborate on the child's ability and interest and guide him or her for choosing a career that would best suit the child.

     

    Students need to be given awareness about the availability of the counsellors in their institutions and how they can resolve the above mentioned mental conflicts with their help. Even parents should be encouraged by the institution to use the services of counselling not just for students but for how they can take care of their child’s psychological needs. Everyone needs to remain stress-free so as to enjoy this roller-coaster ride called Life.

  • 06 Aug
    Shubhanshi Singh

    Who is the best person to keep your secret?

    You run to your friend to tell her something that you expect her to keep confidential, as a 'secret'. Later that day, this secret of yours comes flying back to you through someone else. How does it feel? Sucks, right? Even family members betray us, sometimes. Ever told your mom a secret and she shares it with your dad? Ever told your brother a secret and he revealed it to your parents behind your back out of revenge over some stupid fight? We expect a guarantee of privacy and respect of confidentiality from people who we trust. We feel emotionally betrayed and upset when people don't stand up to our expectation. We start distrusting others as well and eventually become way too private. We become hesitant or uncomfortable when we have to disclose some of our secrets because of this history. Research has shown that self-disclosing to people you trust has a better impact on life, therefore, it is evident that inculcating this habit can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

     

    Why do people reveal secrets?


    1. Sometimes people reveal your secrets to others because they don't see any harm in doing so. They might unveil your secrets to people who don't know you (would it still be considered betraying?). It might help if your friend keeps your name anonymous while sharing your secret to the other person. But then, what's the need to talk about your secret at all, right? 

    2. Few people get carried away in conversations and before they know it, they have spilled the beans just to be a part of the conversation. It happens unconsciously, and it takes time for that person to realize that they made a mistake.

    3. There are people whom you call friends, but it's not the same from the other side. People are really good at pretending after all. It often happens that you share your secrets with people who hold a special place in your life but you don't mean as much to them. They don't mind revealing your secrets to others because they don't bother to care about your space and privacy.

    4. Sometimes, the problem is with us. We never learn from our mistakes. Many of us repeat the same mistake of trusting the person who had earlier leaked our secret. We give them the benefit of the doubt and dive into numerous leaps of faith on them. We hope that maybe this time they won't betray us. Never ends well, does it?

    5. Well, most people don't have a lot of people to share their secrets and feelings with. Therefore, they are left with no choice other than to go to this one friend again and again.

    6. Few others commit the mistake of trusting the wrong person because they are too excited to talk about this 'secret' that they forget to recall how much they suffered the previous time because of the betrayal.

    How to know if we should trust someone?

    Experience. Don't just blindly trust whoever comes your way. A new friend is less likely to understand the level trust that has to be placed so early. They don't know how friendship with you works, and they aren't even that close to you right now. Take time to build friendship and then after the foundation is strong, start by sharing little things and build your trust.
    The balance between revealing too much and revealing too less must be taken care of, as it varies from one person to person. There should be mutual self-disclosure for a healthy friendship. The theory of self-disclosure proposes that you tend to reciprocate because you assume that someone who discloses to you likes and trusts you. The more you self-disclose in turn, the more the partner likes and trusts you, and then self-discloses even more. This is the social attraction-trust hypothesis of self-disclosure reciprocity. The second hypothesis is based on the social exchange theory, which proposes that we reciprocate self-disclosure in order to keep a balance in the relationship: You disclose, therefore I disclose.

    Another way of knowing if the person is trustworthy or not is by observing if this person spills the secrets of other people to you or not. You might enjoy when this friend of yours leaks some other friends' secret to you but just pause for a second to think, what if he reveals your secrets to others as well? If he/she can do this his/her friends then why not you?

    I understand that it is difficult to evaluate who earns your trust and who doesn't. No one can guarantee 100% loyalty to you. Once or twice we all fail to keep things to ourselves, either intentionally or intentionally.

    How to get rid of this problem once and for all? 

    Trust yourself. Be your own friend. Who else can keep your secrets better than you? We all talk to ourselves all the time. Besides, when you are your own friend, you don't have to care about being judged. You can't lie to yourself, after all. It's very important that you exercise control over yourself when it comes to sharing information with others. Don't forget whom to trust and whom to not, just because you are too upset or too excited to share things. If you really need to express yourself, you can always write down your feelings on a piece of paper as your journal. This process of venting bottled up emotions is known as catharsis and helps in releasing feelings without having to depend on someone else.

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Sep 06, 2017 06:36 PM

      This piece is very well written and you have very well brought out the fact that not everyone has that ability to keep the secrets to themselves. But yeah, it is also true that what is a secret there when you begin to share with various other people. We have a tendency to expess themselves and knowingly or unknowingly, we spill the beans which is not good. But finding people like them whom you can trust with or someone who can keep your secret previously is a task. If you confide into someone who betrayed you by telling your secret to everyone, there is you who are at fault. You cannot go on blaming others. I believe, a true confident is someone who does not interact with many people and who understands or I should say, empathise with your secret.

  • 05 Aug
    Shubhanshi Singh

    All work and no play makes jack a dull boy

    'Do your homework then you can go to play', is this something you must have definitely gone through. Ever since our childhood, we have been taught to prioritize 'homework' over everything.Have we ever paid attention to such a simple demand that our parents placed on us?

    Using sports as a leverage is wrong. It brings out a meaning that it's not as important as 'homework', which is not true. It' is through sports that one learns hard work, resilience, patience, team spirit, leadership qualities. It helps us build a competitive lifestyle. The key is for parents to find a balance between these two realms of work and play because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We don't want our Jack to be dull, do we?

    stressed child

     

    'Play' here means any extra curricular activity should be given equal importance as academic work such as dance, music, art, theatre, etc. I can vouch for the fact that these subjects are not waste, they teach a child basic life skills which can't be gained through bookish knowledge.

    It would be wrong to say that these extra-curricular activities are enough for proper education but at the same time, it would be wrong to completely neglect them and say that books are enough. A balance between books and play must be given priority. Teachers curb creativity in order to reach the academics target assigned to them. It's the responsibility of a teacher to nurture creativity in the education system as well. Even academically, studies show that a child will understand concepts better if it involves play and makes learning fun by handing over control, content, intent, and power to them.

    Benefits of work-play balance

    1. Better perspective
    2. Relaxed mind
    3. Better focus and concentration
    4. Interest restored
    5. Better social skills by interacting with peers
    6. Learning culture by observation
    7. Voluntary self-interested learning
    8. Conflict resolution and cooperation with peers
    9. Developing a positive outlook to learning if it's fun
    10. Motor skills development
    11. Building self-language by talking to their own self for better expression of emotions
    12. Developing self-concept every time the child succeeds in fulfilling a certain task entirely on its own

    Too much pressure during exams leads to impairment in learning. If a child grinds himself studying the whole day, he is more likely to get bored and lose interest, his or her mind won't be able to grab on concepts easily. It leads to mental exhaustion. The number of students committing suicide has increased in the recent times due to the intolerable academic pressure. Many other suffer from depression and anxiety disorders because of the same reason. As the child enters higher education, the situation worsens. The pressure to build a career and choose a stream wisely enhances, the students are put into a do-or-die situation to attain marks and crack high university cutoffs.

     playdate cancelled

    How to overcome this problem?

    'Mens sana in corpore sano' is a Latin phrase, usually translated as "a healthy mind in a healthy body". One cannot develop one’s mind properly without an adequate development of the physical body. The development of both body and mind must go hand in hand. A bookworm who does well in exams may not necessarily be equipped to cope well with the challenges life offers. Therefore, a balance between mental and physical health must be maintained for a happy life.


    How to attain this balance?

    1. Allow the student to explore his or her areas of interest such as dancing, music, art, games, etc. and encourage them to spend time on it adequately when they wish to.
    2. Don't pressurize the child into studying all the time, give him opportunities to explore other domains. Be sure to give your child the idea that life does not revolve around grades.
    3. Let the child make decisions for himself over planning time for work and play. He will learn how to prioritize.
    4. Motivate your child to go out and play in the evening. Many children choose to stay home and play video games but it's still not healthy. Going out enables better growth and blood circulation.
    5. Inculcate the habit of meditation so that the child gains mental peace while relaxing. It also helps the child to concentrate better on the work in hand.
    6. Children learn from playing. Don't inhibit them. They develop social skills and the ability to empathize with other people by building healthy interpersonal relationships.
    7. Longer recess time makes the child more attentive to classes and less fidgety.

     

    There is an evolutionary 'practice theory of play' which focuses on how mammals play in order to survive and reproduce. For them, that is learning. It's natural selection tendency for young ones to learn from playing. This theory has been expanded to humans also and it was seen that children who learn from playing not only develop basic skills but also incorporate their culture into it. They learn by observing instead of being spoon fed.

     

    How are working people impacted?

    Looking at this beyond a student perspective, such children grow up to be workaholic in nature, prone to high levels of stress and anxiety. In a global survey by Travel India Expedia, it was seen that Indians work 42 hours in a 5-day span of the week which is 2 hours more than conventional 40 hours work rule. It might not seem too much of work now but it has also been seen that working extra not only leads to burnout and health problems but also decreased productivity. Most people cancel their vacations, work extra hours, stay connected to office work even when they are at home by checking emails and attending work related phone calls. This Work - life balance has always been overlooked, it's disrupting our physical and mental health. This leads to chronic fatigue syndrome which can cause short-term memory impairment, headaches, sleep disturbance, impaired cognitive abilities, ruin interpersonal relationships and difficulty in focusing.

    When asked about why people overwork, it was seen that employees wanted to be in the good books of the boss. Earlier, people who worked for more hours were appreciated for being more dedicated and prioritizing work, it is in the contemporary period when people have acknowledged how overworking does more harm than good.

    Only if we begin changing childhood education system that we can be mentally healthy in the later years of life. Many schools have started initiating play programs for longer than the conventional period of times indicating the prevalence of play as much as work. It is a cumulative effect that can't form one side alone, parents, teachers, and school have to contribute equally.

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Sep 05, 2017 10:08 PM

      It is very well written on a contemporary and very important issue in today's time. This is so common in today's scenario wherein there is so much cut-throat competition that we become so engrossed in work that we hardly take out time for ourselves.

      I liked the point wherein you mentioned about parents and everyone around the child focusing too much on studies and academics rather than the other activities, the kid desires. You are very right in saying that parents should encourage their children to find a relevant field of interest as it helps in development of various skills required for the task as well as social skills. It is at that age that children don't need someone to bombard them with lessons but someone who can listen to them as a friend and parents and teachers need to learn this art, and also devise methods to make learning more interesting instead of mere bookish learning.

      I never knew that always being grossed at work has such adverse consequences. Thanks once again for sharing this. Every parent should read this.

  • 05 Aug
    Reshma Venugopal

    How we can resist that junk

     

    woman at grocery

    Do you ever just randomly sit at a place when you have nothing to do, so you start scrolling through your Facebook feed, and you find videos of delicious and sinful food. You are now watching it being made, trying to remember every ingredient put in it, but you know deep down there is no point because you just want to devour that end product. You now realize that there is no way you are going to get that because: a) it is too much work, and b) you probably don’t have the money or time to go looking for something that good.
    But the story does not end there. After watching about 5-7 tempting Buzzfeed food videos, you think, 'I am hungry'. Now mind you, you might not even be hungry, but you want to pretend like you are because your mind wants that high calorie, sweet, yummy or cheesy goodness. It’s not you, it's your mind.

    Have you ever wondered why this happens and how can we remedy this? Research suggests that 'while experiencing negative or positive emotions typically leads to increased food intake, stress may result in either over or undereating. Several participant characteristics, like gender, BMI (Body Mass Index) and restrained, emotional, or external eating styles seem to influence these relationships' (Reichenberg et al, 2016).

    Therefore, here are some reasons why your body is craving that junk and how you could help control them.

    Reason 1:  Your body is producing too much Leptin

    Leptin is a hormone that produces body fat cells. It basically tells our brain how many calories have been taken in, and how much more or less we should be having. However, with the increase in body fat, we have an increase in Leptin, which means the need for more calories, implying more intake of fatty foods which are high in calories.

    Leptin

    Reason 2: Your body is secreting too little Serotonin

    Serotonin is our pleasure enhancing neurotransmitter, which is responsible for us having enjoyable moments. They are produced in the gastrointestinal tract and are unswervingly related to our mood, hunger, and feelings. When you have low levels of serotonin, you end up craving for things. Low levels of serotonin are linked to mental health issues such as, depression (hence we have depressed eaters), anxiety (people who eat when they are nervous), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  

    When we get sad or depressed about something, a lot of us tend to find a certain pleasure in eating high-calorie food. So, if you ever wonder why you gobble up an entire tub of ice cream after a heart break, well, then, here you go.

    seratoni

    Reason 3: Food addiction

    Yes, there is such a thing. Food addiction is real, and we need to stop acting like it is not a big deal!
    Okay, I am done being theatrical, but you get the gist. What happens is, we all have neurotransmitters called endorphins, which are released to diminish pain, also known as analgesics. These are the same things that drugs like Heroin is known to have. So how exactly is this related to food addictions?
    The answer to this is, that when we take in food high in salts, sugars and carbs (hello Lays), we tend to feel good and fulfilled after indulging in these “comfort foods”. But what is the point if it only lasts for a few seconds, right?  We just end up eating more and more, and eventually, it becomes an addiction hence constantly releasing all of those endorphins. Once again, this is related to having poor mental health. Depression, anxiety, body image issues, and stress are all famous associates to food addiction.

    food addiction

    Reason 4: Unhealthy tummy

    Well, no guesses for this one. A healthy tummy means the bacteria and the internal space of your gut need to be balanced out with healthy bacteria. When you take in unhealthy foods, you create a space for bad bacteria to overpower you hence putting an effect on your Serotonin levels and Leptin, hence increasing your junk cravings.

    unhealthy stomach

    Reason 5: Stress, stress, stress and some more stress

    Stress is literally the one true love of every problem or bad habit that we have.
    Is there really a way to push out all the stress in our lives? Not really, but the least that can be done is to tone it down and bring the stress to a minimal level. When we are stress we tend to reduce our serotonin levels, which the brain thinks it is the right time to indulge in sinful desserts to get your moods to lighten. But what our poor brain doesn’t know, is that it satisfies you for only a while, and goes back to the same mood. It then becomes a vicious cycle that becomes hard to get out of.

    stress-eating

    Therefore, how can we come up with ways to reduce this pesky little phenomenon of binge eating and food cravings

    • Firstly, exercise. Working out has so many benefits, including the most common one, reducing fat. When we work out we start toning our body. This also means a restoring a healthy level of Leptin. It also increases endorphins, so this way we don’t need to satisfy our brain with the fries and nuggets because exercise is making it feel better.
    • Secondly, practicing meditation every morning. This is mainly to calm your nerves and helps you get less frustrated and stressed.
    • Thirdly, eating clean. This is directly linked to reason 4, which is having an unhealthy tummy. When you eat clean, you are making space for more healthy bacteria to occupy your gut than bad bacteria. Eat more fibrous food and more of vegetables. Additionally, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is your best friend guys, always and forever. It cleans up your system and eases your headaches. So eat clean and stay hydrated!
    • Make a diet plan, by balancing out your cheat day. Obviously, nobody is expecting you to stop all the junk in a day, but, try to balance everything out and try to keep at least once or twice a week for food you love. Remember to gradually bring it down, to maybe once a week, then to once a month.
    • Always have healthier alternatives for snacks. If you are a snacky person like I am, then don't forget to stock up the nuts and fruits as your alternatives to all your junky snacks. 

    There you have it, your biggest question answered. Now you know how to say no to that cupcake and eat an apple instead!