• 21 Dec
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    What makes for a happy Christmas?



    What makes for a happy Christmas?


    Christmas has cultural and religious significance for many people around the world. In India, it is one of the many festivals celebrated, but in the west, the Christmas – New Year holiday is a prominent one and figures a lot in people’s thinking. In a 2002 research paper called ‘What makes a merry Christmas’, researchers found that there are 7 main activities that people undertake as a part of Christmas, which lead to more life satisfaction and make them happy.

    The seven activities are as quoted below:

    1. Spending time with family;
    2. Participating in religious activities;
    3. Maintaining traditions (e.g., decorating a Christmas tree);
    4. Spending money on others via the purchase of gifts;
    5. Receiving gifts from others;
    6. Helping others less fortunate than ourselves; and
    7. Enjoying the sensual aspects of the holiday (e.g., good food, drinking, etc.).

    As we can see, the primary themes here are:

    • Reconnecting with friends and family (via traditions and spending time together)
    • Gifting to people of our circles (and receiving gifts)
    • Giving to the underprivileged
    • Being thankful and looking forward to the coming year

    Relevant psychological insights for the most important aspects is explained herein below.

    The Market of Christmas Gifts

    Emotions are a prime target for marketers. Any festival or family event is a big sales bump, and therefore, Christmas is full of marketing efforts in order to make people buy more. In one experiment, people were made to hear only white noise but they ‘heard’ famous Christmas carols because of their frequent visits to malls and shopping centers where the mood in exploited to full blast to make sales.

    Research suggests that there is more to gifting than meets the eye. It is not always the thought that counts. If someone does not like the gift you give, they may actually start thinking why you gave them such a bad gift, instead of thinking that your gesture matters. Gifting money is also fleshy territory and should be avoided as it can be seen as a mark of status difference. Its best to give someone what they like or something that everyone can use but would not buy for themselves (e.g., personalized pens).

    What makes for a happy Christmas?


    Teaching and Learning Generosity

    Christmas and it’s teachings are a good way of teaching yourself and children about the joy of giving to the underprivileged. Many families make a tradition of it by buying gifts for underprivileged children or by supporting a charity. This imbibes the value of sharing and caring in everyone, and instills optimistic attitude. Whereas gifting and the marketed sort of Christmas harm our psychological well-being, generosity is actually very good for our emotional health.

    Connecting and Hoping

    People take holidays and spend time doing things of cultural and familial importance. This gives them a chance to bond and mull over the crosses of the past year, and hope better for the next. Therefore, the connection and sociability helps to end the year on a good note, adding to the joy and fervor of Christmas.


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    Responses 1

    • amit kumar mishra
      amit kumar mishra   Dec 24, 2015 12:37 PM

      telling someone you love. how much you care for them and appreciate them as you wish them a Merry Christmas

  • 13 Dec
    Mandavi Pandey

    Teens => Romance => Pregnancy => Regret


    teenager pregnency


     “I was so scared to lose him and this is one of the reasons, I thought if I didn’t accept his sexual request, I would have lost him. As usual I hid these things from my parents.”



    Handeling your teen


     Teenage pregnancy is a problem that many countries seem to be grappling with, regardless of their level of modernization or development.  In India, there are 62 pregnant teens for every 1000 women, whereas the number is 42 and 24 for the US and the UK respectively.

    Below are certain factors which may explain this rise, or rather constancy of teenage pregnancy rates from 1987 till now.


    • Poverty seems to be one of the biggest contributing factors to teenage pregnancy, be it the US or India.
    • Poverty means that the girl does not get the chance to develop herself and her knowledge of her body as well as the means available to her to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
    • She may also get irresponsible partners and may not have a lot of choice in refusing them.
    • Early marriages are also common in those from low SES and may account for teenage pregnancy.


    • Illiteracy and poverty are tied up together. Illiterate women cannot access material and knowledge which can help them understand their bodies and the ways to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
    • Illiterate women are also more likely to hold rigid beliefs and not be able to tell if some professional is qualified or a quack and may suffer from a botchy abortion or birth.
    • Illiterate women also seem to have less control on the use of contraception and are found to confirm more with the stereotypical notion that men decide in these matters.
    • They are also less likely to have the confidence to visit a chemist or a doctor for their needs.

    Judgemental attitude/stigma

    • Many teens who are aware of the role of contraception also find it difficult to gain access to it because of the stigmatic attitude of chemists and healthcare professionals.
    • In many countries of the world sanitary napkin packets are still tied in newspapers and delivered in black plastic bags.
    • These countries are yet to come to terms with a process as natural as menstruation, and so, comfort with teenagers using contraception is a far cry.
    • Even qualified doctors have been reported to have judgemental attitudes towards teens seeking advice and medication.

    Inability to confide in family

    Though different countries have different legal system and family values but in many countries the situation is as following:

    • Young girls often cannot confide in their family members about having a boyfriend or being pregnant.
    • A woman under 16 years of age needs to legally have a guardian or parent with her for getting an abortion.
    • These girls cannot confide in their family and hence can’t get abortion legally and this makes them either have the baby, adding to pregnancy rates, or go for unauthorized doctors and procedures that can harm them.

    Fundamentalist religious and cultural beliefs

    • Rigid cultural and religious beliefs don’t seem to be helping, because young people are still experimenting with sex.
    • However, the culture or religion they come from determines whether they use contraception or not.
    • Teens from fundamentalist background beliefs have found to not use contraception and thus get a raw deal.

    What can we do to address this?

    • We have to be a much more understanding society at a larger level, and good parents at a micro-level.
    • Sex education does not teach children to go have sex (it’s a natural curiosity, they are going to go and try it anyway regardless of what you do), but it does teach them to do it safely.
    • We need to provide information, advice and guidance so that they can trust us, and unplanned pregnancies can thus be avoided.

    Best ways to handal your teens


    Image source  Image source 


    Responses 2

  • 12 Dec
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    8 indicators of a fake relationship:

    fake relationship


    Although relationships are an important part of human life, some people may be caught in fake and entangled relationships just for the tag of ‘being with someone’ and to not be single. Are you in one such relationship? Read on to know the indicators of a fake relationship.

    1 Communication gap

    Are you and your partner unable to communicate without fighting or misunderstanding each other? Then you maybe in a fake relationship. Communication is one of the biggest assets and aspects of a true relationship.

    2 Enjoy yourself alone

    Some sense of individuality should be there in each relationship. But if you seem to enjoy yourself much more than when you are with your partner, this could be an important red flag of a fake relationship.

    3 Easy to be apart

    Is it easy for you to be apart or not speak to your partner for days? True relationships mean yearning for each other’s company and finding it hard to be apart. If it’s too easy for you, you may be in a fake relationship.

    4 Feel like you don’t know your partner

    Do you feel like you do not really know the true self of your partner? Sometimes what they say or do may be so surprising that you feel you do not know the person at all. This can mean a fake relationship.

    5 No growth

    If you feel there is no sense of growth in the relationship in terms of trust, honesty or communication, then it may mean a fake relationship.

    6 Victim-perpetrator roles

    Is it that instead of both partners seeking responsibility for a fight and also both playing a role in getting better, is there a sort of victim-perpetrator dance where someone is always the victim and someone always the instigator? Then you may be in a fake relationship.

    7 Looking for other partners

    If you feel more than just attracted to other people, when you actually wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with them, that is definitely a red flag that the current relationship is a fake one and your heart is not in it any more.

    8 Lack of trust

    Is there a lack of trust in the relationship? Can you be truthful and honest about your secrets with your partner, without the fear of a lash back or that they may leave you? If no, then you are definitely in a fake relationship as a true one would be built on trust.

    What can you do?

    Depending on how strong your feelings are for the person, you may either want to turn the fake relationship to a more real one, or you may have to be single and leave the relationship. It’s not easy to make a fake relationship real, and you may need counselling and guidance, which you can find at ewellnessexpert.com. However, if you feel the relationship is not worth the effort, it’s better to walk away the soonest and keep yourself busy with other things. It will hurt initially but you will heal with time and will be better off and more satisfied alone.

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    Responses 3

  • 11 Dec
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    How to Train your brain to complete the tasks?

    Stop procrastination 

    • Have you not yet started on the assignment you were supposed to start three days ago?

      Do you study only during exam times?

      Does it give you the familiar guilty feeling each time?

      Feels like you are in two minds?

      Here are some tips on how to reduce this habit -

    Complete small tasks daily:

    One step at a time

    • Yes, our brain needs training to work at its true potentials. Only thing we have to believe is the possibility of achieving very difficult tasks.

      When we believe, we work hard for that. We have to train our mind by rigorous training and deliberate practice. By completing small tasks daily you can achieve what you want.

      It turns out that when we delay our tasks, we actually are in two minds.

      The part of the brain that is sophisticated and tells us to work is the Prefrontal Cortex. This part of brain gets fully developed by adulthood.

      The limbic system asks us to chill. The limbic system is an older part of the brain, from when we used to live in jungles.

      So it only knows two things – either run for your life/hunt food or the other option is to relax or enjoy. This notion of ‘work’ we have nowadays does not fit the bill for it.

      Secondly, the Amygdala, which gets activated when we fear something, lets the limbic system take over when we are afraid, instead of prefrontal cortex. So, actually, the thing we are putting off, might be provoking some anxiety in us.

      It may be due to not knowing where to start, or it can be due to the displeasure of doing the tasks or it may simply be the fear of failure.

    Kick out the fear of failure:

    Failure is a step to success.

    • For achieving success in any field, we have to kick out the fear of failure from our mind.

      When we are afraid, we let our limbic system kicks in and so we lounge around watching marathons of our favorite TV shows.

    Identify the thoughts which bring us down:

    A firm determination beats the failures

    • So now that we know this, what can be done to make sure we do not procrastinate? Well, we have to make it conducive for the limbic system to not take over.

      We have to identify the thoughts which bring us down. We have to learn to control our desires, fears, angers and all emotions. We should make sure that negative thoughts should not stick around us, and also we should not believe on those.

      In other words, we need to plan our goals, that is break down the big task into small steps. We need to plan time that is, put deadlines on each small step.

    Plan resources:

    Clear vision helps is confidence

    • We need to plan resources. If we need ten things to do a task, we should have those ten things when we sit down to do the tasks.

      Getting up to acquire the resource can be a good avenue for procrastination. We also need to plan for the process; which part of the job will take more time, which less and which can be moved around.

      A couple of aspects to be prepared for are distraction and failure. Despite this planning, we are not infallible.

    Be positive on your achievements:

    Necessity is the mother of invention

    • Whatever work you start, be positive on your achievements, work constantly for that, once you start working on that, you gain confidence.

      Remember when you meet any problem and you work hard to solve that which means your mind is getting into habit of solving problem by continuous effort.

      Distraction may happen but it should be taken in stride, and you have to steer yourself back to the tasks again.

      Also meditation, yoga, mindfulness and exercise would help to keep your mind fresh, focused and develop better mind.

    Failure is a step to success:

    Failure in one thing is not overall failure

    • Failure is something that can scare us into being frozen and keep us in our comfort zone forever.

      Therefore, telling yourself that failure is a step to success and a learning process helps to avoid some of the anxiety that fear of failure caused.

      Another aspect of acceptance is that once you have accepted the possibility of failure, then you will see a pressure lifting off you, and you will be much more creative and experimental in how you do a task. You yourself will see a change in both the process and outcome.

      Hopefully, armed with these tips, you can make sure you do the assignment on time from now on!

       Please check this beautiful video for more information: 

    Image source


    Responses 2

    • atul shrama
      atul shrama   Dec 24, 2015 12:43 PM

      Challenge your brain by using your non-dominant hand. Start with a simple task like brushing your teeth and work up to shaving or using a fork with the opposite hand. This allows you to build up neurons and pathways on the opposite side of the brain you usually use to increase brain power

    • amit kumar mishra
      amit kumar mishra   Dec 24, 2015 12:40 PM

      Don’t skip meals, Your brain runs on glucose and needs a steady amount to keep working all day. Start the day with a low-glycemic meal and avoid too much sugar early on.

  • 07 Dec
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Everything You Need To Know Before Remarrying

    Everything You Need To Know About Replacement Wife

    This has been a phenomenon reported by many women and is also written about, with many books to the credit of this theme. What most women face is that they are married to men whose beloved wives have died or few women also say that this happens when they are married to men who have willingly or unwillingly divorced from their previous wives.

    Pressure on new wife

    There can be a great pressure on the new wife to do things the exact same way as the previous beloved wife. This is especially true of aristocratic and traditional families and households. Usually, this happens because the previous beloved wife has been a part of the household for long enough and everyone has gotten used to her ways.

    Depersonalization of new wife

    It may not seem like a big deal to everyone else, but for the new wife, who already is facing the struggles of a change of environment, there are major hurdles is she is asked to be a carbon copy of the previous beloved wife. She may develop a sense of depersonalization as she may be increasingly confused about who she really is and who she should be.

    Psychological effect on new woman 

    The pressure put on her to confirm to the expectation and the criticism she may feel if she is not the same as the previous beloved wife can lead to the development of psychopathology as the woman may feel ostracized and lonely. It can lead to the development of depression, anxiety, somatic and even psychotic symptoms.

    She may have develope guilt feelings

    There can be a sense of confusion because copying the ways of the previous wife may give her the praise of the family, but at the same time she may feel like she is lying to herself and fooling the others and this may make her feel guilty.

    She may have possession episodes

    In many collectivistic cultures like India, it is seen that these women face a decline in health and wellbeing and start having possessions too. In fact, it makes a lot of sense that they have possession episodes, since these are the only times when these repressed women are allowed to be themselves and no one bothers them.

    Remarriage means healing by new relationship

    To avoid such instances of repression and agitation, men wanting to marry again should make sure to work through the grief of the previous beloved wife’s loss before they marry again and use the relationship to heal and not worsen someone else’s mental health.

    Rethink from her point of view

    They should also consider their reasons for marrying: do they really want a partner or they just fulfilling social obligations? All these important questions should be considered to save the sanity of not only the woman, but the entire household.

     Image source