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Mental Health & The Basics

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Mental Health
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Mental health is a major concern worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.” World Mental Health Day is celebrated on 10 October,  for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. And May is celebrated as Mental Health Awareness Month or “Mental Health Month” .

CONCEPT

Ever heard of the saying “ The key to a healthy life is having a healthy mind”? That is true because a healthy mind plays a vital role in our daily life in performing normal activities, actively. Mental health is a concerned topic for every group of people, for every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood.  When we talk about mental health, a common thought that comes up in our mind is a scary picture of a person who is lunatic and violent, wearing dirty torn clothes, has unkempt hair and poor personal hygiene  – probably hurts and kills people or eats the flesh of the human body, talks nonsense or someone who does things that a normal human being doesn’t. A misconception, sadly!. Infact, a mentally ill person is no one but whose mind works extra than a normal human’s brain. Their mind works too fast and gives them no time to think or decide. Yes, the only thing is that it has different levels of being “crazy”.

HOW BRAIN WORKS IN MENTAL HEALTH  

Mental health is the ability to handle or cope with stress and enjoy daily life. It includes the way you feel, think, act and relate to others. According to scientists, it is the brain that affects mental health by helping one avoid harmful things and escape danger, by controlling one’s response to fearful and stressful events, by helping an individual make decisions, solve problems and recall memories. Not just that, it helps you and our focus on tasks and controlling emotions, by making and storing memories. So it is basically when the brain stops or fails to function the normal way, makes one suffer from mental illness. And when there is too much pressure put on the brain for example too much stress about a relationship break up, or losing a job, or losing a loved one in a car accident, failing in exams, everything hurts the mental health and causes mental health problems.

CAUSES OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The causes or factors affecting mental health are vast in numbers. There can be Biological factors which include chromosomal and chemical abnormalities, genetic predisposition, medical illness, substance abuse (alcohol addiction or any kind of drug addiction) , brain damage etc. The second factor can be, stressful life experiences or negative life lessons in the past or at the present that includes violence, physical abuse or trauma, unhealthy relationships or separation, career fall, business failures. And, thirdly but not lastly, a family history with sufferings of mental health problems may also be one of the reasons behind. Sometimes, daily habits contribute to affecting mental health, for example, a monotonous lifestyle or less exposure to the outer world.

WARNING SIGNS

It is not easy to figure out if someone around you or yourself is suffering from mental health problems. Some may look absolutely normal outside when their mental health is not okay, and some may just show it through their actions and behavior that they need help. The early warning signs of mental health problems could be major anxiety, nervousness, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, isolating, having low or no energy, being obsessed with issues which are pointless, irrational thought process, inability to connect with others and pulling away from socializing, increased irritability and negativity, increase in substance dependency. Besides all that, one may have severe mood swings, eating too much or too little to deal with their mental health, sleeping too much or too little, waking up with anger or extreme depressive temper, thinking of harming others or self unknowingly, usually seem confused and worried. Therefore, it is a wide range of mental health conditions that make one’s mental condition miserable and at times end up affecting the physical health too. And if it is not treated at the right time, the latter stage could have serious consequences not only on the person suffering from mental health problems but also for the ones around them.

PREVENTION OR SOLUTION

Mental health problems are common because of the rat race ingrained in human nature and the competitive spirit accentuated by globalization. If help is offered or given at the right time, people dealing with mental health complications may get back to normal. Even though prevention is not always easy, but some people do realize if they are suffering and they work on it either by sharing their concerns to their near ones or by changing their lifestyle, indulging themselves in activities and hobbies of their choice, reducing substance intake, exercising, have a proper and complete sleep. This very important step one can take to treat themselves is known as “Self-help”, who are well-informed people being the best judge of what treatment suits them. The second strategy is “Psychotherapy” which is about taking therapies and getting sessions of counseling. Psychotherapy is a long-term procedure and focuses on a broader range of mental health issues, whereas psychological counseling is short-term as compared to psychotherapy. Rehabilitation and  Medication, being the third solution, may not always work to cure mental health conditions but it can decline or improve symptoms.

AWARENESS

Usually, some fail to get or give help because they are unaware of how and where to start from. Some are scared of society judging them as insane and making them feel as an alien. Social stigma and discrimination thus, make mental health problems worse and stop a person from getting the help they need. To remove this or overcoming this stigma, awareness is the only best way.  Thus, sensitizing and spreading knowledge, educating individuals, talking about it and sharing stories, holding campaigns, or organizing events focussing on mental health will be of great help. Encouraging people to come out of their shell and have a non-judgmental conversation in a group or one-to-one, being sympathetic to each other and understanding,  and normalizing the idea of seeking support for themselves or others, is surely going to help society to deal with mental health issues.

OTHER THAN THAT 

When awareness is spread, one becomes more active and conscious to work on their mental health. Yes, because technology is playing a best friend’s role in our life, researchers have come up and reviewed these science-based happiness apps to help us. There are various phone applications to track and boost one’s happiness; when you are happy, you are mentally healthy.

Here is a app to track your happiness

Even reading inspirational and motivational books like How to Overcome Mental Tension by Swami Gokulananda, Self Help That Works can be quick solutions to combat mental health problems. Other than that, one can get themselves enrolled in regular meditation, yoga or chanting groups because spiritual steps may appear illogical or too simple for a complicated mental disorder, but they heal one in a much positive way. And if not that, one may look forward to engaging in positive self-talk therapy and practicing self-love.

7 Habits of Surrendered People

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C:\Users\jeetr\Downloads
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Surrender is a positive, healthy state. Being a surrendered person does not mean one is beaten down and so hopeless he or she has “given up.” It’s quite the contrary. Surrender is a state of living in the flow, trusting what is, and being open to serendipity and surprises.

As I write in The Power of Surrender, adopting the behaviors and habits of surrendered people helps us improve our relationships, feel love and gratitude, get healthier, give up destructive people and behavior patterns, and become more successful and influential in our lives and careers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as benefits go.

In my medical practice, I’ve identified specific habits of surrendered people that dramatically enhance their health and allow them to excel in many aspect of their lives. Here are seven of them:

They recognize they can’t control everything.
Being a control freak makes us tense, stressed out, and unpleasant to be with. Surrendered people understand that they can’t always change a situation, especially when the door is shut. They don’t try to force it open. Instead, they pay attention to their own behavior, look at the situation at hand, and find a new, different, and creative way to get beyond the obstacles.

They are comfortable with uncertainty.
Fixating on the outcome or needing to know all the details of an upcoming event, such as a trip, causes people to be upset when things don’t go their way, overly focused on the future, and unable to bounce back easily. Inflexible people are susceptible to anger, distress, and depression. Surrendered people go with the flow, shrug it off when an unplanned situation happens, and tend to be happier, more lighthearted, and resilient.

They remember to exhale during stress.
We have two choices when things pile up at work or we’re surrounded by energy vampires who leave us feeling depleted. We can get frantic, hyperventilate, shut down, and become reactive. Needless to say, these responses to stress just make us more stressed. Surrendered people have the ability to pause, take a deep breath, and observe. Sustaining silence and circumspection are two behaviors that lead to better, healthier outcomes.

They are powerful without dominating.
The most influential person in the room isn’t the one who is being a bully, talking loudly, and imposing him- or herself on others. Surrendered people understand that true power comes from being respectful and listening. Surrendered people know themselves and are empathetic toward others. They don’t measure themselves by how much they are liked, nor do they compete for attention. When they sit quietly in a room, others always seem to come to them.

They feel successful apart from their job or net worth.
Surrendered people enjoy life, relish their personal development, and value their friends. They may have an exceptionally good career and be wealthy, but they are more concerned with meaning and fulfillment. The drive to acquire money and power is a behavior that drains people of their passion and emotional connection to others.

They can admit when they’re wrong.
People who hold on to grudges, insist on being right, and try to change other’s minds have a difficult time maintaining healthy, happy relationships. Surrendered people easily forgive. They are open to new ideas, and aren’t attached to being “right.” As a result, people love working and collaborating with them. Others seek them out as mediators and advisors. They are more laid back and relaxed than their rigid counterparts, which makes them highly valued by others.

They are passionate and emotional.
People who feel the need to push and control tend to keep their feelings bottled up. As a result, they get shut down or remote, and their feelings come out in twisted, unhealthy ways. They become irritable, passive-aggressive, or volatile, for example. Surrendered people make great lovers. They can be spontaneous and playful. They love to feel and express all of their emotions. They look vibrant, healthy, and energetic.

 

Want to find out how “surrendered” you are? Take a free quiz HERE.

(Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff’s national bestseller The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being)

 

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How To Stop Comparing Yourself and Start Building Self-Esteem

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How To Stop Comparing Yourself and Start Building Self-Esteem
Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

As a psychiatrist, I realize that comparing is a natural tendency we all have. It can be absolutely neutral, as when you merely evaluate similarities and differences. Such comparison is essential for astute reasoning. It’s also productive if you’re inspired to emulate another’s impressive traits. However, it becomes dysfunctional when it stirs envy and jealousy, if you judge yourself as better as or less than others. Think about it: without comparisons jealousy and envy couldn’t exist. Interestingly, it’s more common to feel inferior to those with “more” than to feel grateful compared to those with “less.”

We’re a society of comparison junkies. It starts from day one. Babies are compared to each other. Who’s smarter, cuter, more precocious? Then comes grammar school. I remember a hideous game some of my king-of-the-hill classmates would play. They’d pick a target, usually the shy, insecure student. Then, in a taunting tone they’d sing in unison, “There’s a fungus among us. Her name is (fill in the blank) fungus” until the poor kid, totally humiliated, slunk away. So, at school, there were basically the funguses and the non-funguses. Not so different from the breakdown of our comparisons in later life, interpersonally and politically. Shiites and Sunnis. White Supremacists versus Jews and Blacks. Protestants and Catholics in Belfast. Comparing yourself to others can preclude a bond of common fellowship and is a disservice to finding true worth. Either you’ll end up with the short end of the stick, or, if you deign to put yourself above anyone, you’re nowhere. (No one is above anyone else.) Self-esteem must come from simply being you.

In my book Emotional Freedom,” I emphasize that comparing ourselves to others can come from low self-esteem and lack of belief in the integrity of our own unique life path. In a spiritual sense, comparing your path to another’s is comparing apples and oranges. Why? Your life is explicitly designed for your own growth. Every person you meet, every situation you encounter challenges you to become a stronger, more loving, and confident person. Try to appreciate the grace of both the hurdles and the joys you’ve been given. This is life’s legacy to you. Self-esteem comes from embracing this, working with what each day brings. How you spend your time here is up to you. Why squander it by comparing? Realistically, you’ll probably still do it. We all will. Even so, let’s strive to keep our eyes on ourselves to build self-esteem so we can become more emotionally free.

The following exercise will help you to turn jealousy and envy around. The more you practice it, the easier it will get.

Stop Comparing, Build Self-Esteem

  • Choose a person you feel jealousy or envy towards. Perhaps a coworker your supervisor favors. Or a cocky, well-off relative. Make this person your test case before you go on to transforming these emotions with others.
  • Behave differently. Practice dealing with jealousy and envy by mindfully using humility and avoiding comparisons, even if the person irritates you. For instance, rather than automatically bristling or shrinking in your seat when your supervisor praises this co-worker, second her good ideas, a collegial gesture. Try not to feed into feeling “less than.” Instead, as an empowered equal, add your own good ideas, not letting their rapport or your wobbly self-esteem deter you. Although you have the right to be upset about your supervisor’s favoritism, a humble but confident approach will begin to improve things. In that instance and the situation with your well-off relative, practice the commandment “I shall not compare.” Shift your mindset to concentrate on what you do have, what makes you happy. Let that be the tone of your interaction.
  • Give to others what you most desire for yourself. If you want your work to be valued, value others’ work. If you want love, give love. If you want a successful career, help another’s career to flourish. What goes around comes around, an energetic dynamic you can mobilize.
  • Learn from a rival’s positive points. Get your mind off of what you perceive you lack and towards self-improvement. Yoko Ono says, “Transform jealousy to admiration, and what you admire will become part of your life,” an inspiring credo to live by.
  • Wish a rival well. Even if it’s hard to do this, try. It helps you to turn negativity around to something more positive.
  • Enlisting these methods helps you take your eyes off of other people and back to yourself. The point is to appreciate what you have rather than focus on what you’re lacking. A big part of emotional freedom is developing self-compassion rather than beating yourself up. Praise yourself. Gain self-esteem from your efforts to deal with jealousy or envy positively. Showing humility and avoiding comparisons let you build self-esteem. It fosters a loving versus defensive posture in relationships.

    Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011)

     

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    What Makes a Good Lover?

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    Good Lover

    In my book, The Power of Surrender, I discuss how to manifest your full sexual power, even if you are out of touch with it now. First, you must learn to completely inhabit your body and the moment. If not now, when? Holding back, fixating on performance, or letting your mind chatter and drift is the end of passion. It’s vital to get out of your head and into your bliss.

    What is true sexual power? I define it as proudly claiming your erotic self and mindfully channeling sexual energy. You never use it to hurt, manipulate, smother, make conquests or get addicted to the ego-trip of sensual pleasure at the expense of others. This is bad karma. Nor do you allow others to harm or disrespect you. Sexual power is not just who you are in bed, though that’s an aspect of it. You also make electric linkages to your body, to spirit, to a lover, to the universe. It’s a turn on when sexual power is blended with spiritual power. Too many of us in our heady, frantic world lack the rich experience of having a primal connection with someone. Sexuality can offer us this, a satisfaction you can never get from your intellect alone. As you open to both sex and spirit, whether you’re single or part of a couple, you’ll be a vessel for erotic flow, enjoying pleasure without insecurities or inhibitions.

    A key aspect of sexual power is emotional intimacy, an instinctive desire to bond to a lover, to feel comfort, to be known. This makes the difference between pure physical sex and lovemaking. Emotional intimacy comes from affection, from sharing feelings, from being vulnerable. By caring you reinforce each other’s attractiveness and make each other feel special. As friends and lovers, you are fundamentally there for each other which creates trust. You see each other as real people, the good and the bad, not some idealized version. When conflict, anger, or hurt feelings arise, you’re committed to working through them.

    What makes a good lover? There’s an electric chemistry between couples that is unique to them. Smell, voice, touch, and kissing style all figure in. Technical skills and good hygiene are also important. But beyond these, here are some characteristics to look for.

    10 Qualities of a Good Lover from The Power of Surrender

  • You’re a willing learner
  • You’re playful and passionate
  • You make your partner feel sexy
  • You’re confident, not afraid to be vulnerable
  • You’re adventurous and willing to experiment
  • You communicate your needs and listen to your partner
  • You make time and don’t rush
  • You enjoy giving pleasure as much as you enjoy receiving it
  • You’re supportive, not judgmental
  • You’re fully present in the moment with good eye contact and can let go
  • What stops us from being good lovers? Frequently it’s time constraints, self-centeredness, inhibitions, and lack of technique. Also, our minds won’t shut off which keeps us from being in the moment. Further, many of us resist surrendering to how sexy we really are. Why? We haven’t learned to see ourselves as sexy. We’ve been brainwashed by the “skinny ideal.” Also, sex is frequently viewed more as a performance feat than a holy exchange. Growing up, most of us haven’t been given the right kind of education about what true sexiness is. If only we’d been taught that sexuality is a healthy, natural part of us that we must embody in a mindful, loving way–not something “dirty” or something to be ashamed of. Early on we learn that the words vagina and penis embarrass people. Except between lovers, they are rarely ever part of our vocabulary. We are a culture that embraces shame, only there is nothing to be ashamed of!

    Sexual responsiveness is a sensitive barometer. Intimacy requires self-awareness and a willingness to remove obstacles. Taking action can help you achieve a loving, erotic relationship. On a daily basis, train yourself to be more mindful about getting rest and pacing yourself. It’s not sexy to rush around and be constantly stressed out. Especially when you’re busy, it’s important to remember to breathe, a quick way to reconnect with your body! Though family, work, and other demands can intrude on making time sexuality, being dedicated to self-care can help you prioritize it in your relationship.

    To cure self-doubts, you need to be solution-oriented. For instance, if you wonder, “Is my technique right?” honestly talk with your partner how you can meet each other’s needs. If you’re bored with the same positions, playfully brainstorm together about exciting ways to experiment. Also, with respect, keep discussing the anger or hurt you may feel towards each other so that your resentments don’t numb passion. For more complex issues such as fear of intimacy reach out to a therapist or a friend for insight. While exploring your fears, be kind to yourself. Such sweetness allows you to mend wounds and reclaim your sexual power.

    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff’s national bestseller The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being)

     

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    Relationship Tips for Highly Sensitive People

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    Relationship Tips for Highly Sensitive People
    Photo by Văn Thắng from Pexels

    Highly Sensitive People : –

    In my books, “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “Emotional Freedom” I describe emotional empaths as a species unto themselves. Whereas others may thrive on the togetherness of being a couple, for empaths like me, too much togetherness can be difficult, may cause us to bolt. Why? We tend to intuit and absorb our partner’s energy, and become overloaded, anxious, or exhausted when we don’t have time to decompress in our own space. We’re super-responders; our sensory experience of relationship is the equivalent of feeling objects with 50 fingers instead of five. Energetically sensitive people unknowingly avoid romantic partnership because deep down they’re afraid of getting engulfed. Or else, they feel engulfed when coupled, a nerve-wracking, constrictive way to live. If this isn’t understood, empaths can stay perpetually lonely. We want companionship, but, paradoxically, it doesn’t feel safe. One empath patient told me, “It helps explain why at 32 I’ve only had two serious relationships, each lasting less than a year.” Once we empaths learn to set boundaries and negotiate our energetic preferences, intimacy becomes possible.

    For emotional empaths to be at ease in a relationship, the traditional paradigm for coupling must be redefined. Most of all, this means asserting your personal space needs — the physical and time limits you set with someone so you don’t feel they’re on top of you. Empaths can’t fully experience emotional freedom with another until they do this. Your space needs can vary with your situation, upbringing, and culture. My ideal distance to keep in public is at least an arm’s length. In doctors’ waiting rooms I’ll pile my purse and folders on the seats beside me to keep others away.

    With friends it’s about half that. With a mate it’s variable. Sometimes it’s rapture being wrapped in his arms; later I may need to be in a room of my own, shut away. One boyfriend who truly grasped the concept got me a “Keep Out” sign for my study door! For me, this was a sign of true love. All of us have an invisible energetic border that sets a comfort level. Identifying and communicating yours will prevent you from being bled dry by others. Then intimacy can flourish, even if you’ve felt suffocated before. Prospective mates or family members may seem like emotional vampires when you don’t know how to broach the issue of personal space. You may need to educate others — make clear that this isn’t about not loving them — but get the discussion going. Once you can, you’re able to build progressive relationships.

    If you’re an empath or if the ordinary expectations of coupledom don’t jibe with you practice the following tips.

    Define your personal space needs

    Tip 1. What to say to a potential mate

    As you’re getting to know someone, share that you’re a sensitive person, that you periodically need quiet time. The right partner will be understanding;  the wrong person will put you down for being “overly sensitive,” and won’t respect your need.

    Tip 2. Clarify your preferred sleep style

    Traditionally, partners sleep in the same bed. However, some empaths never get used to this, no matter how caring a mate. Nothing personal; they just like their own sleep space. Speak up about your preferences. Feeling trapped in bed with someone, not getting a good night’s rest, is torture. Energy fields blend during sleep, which can overstimulate empaths. So, discuss options with your mate. Separate beds. Separate rooms. Sleeping together a few nights
    a week. Because non-empaths may feel lonely sleeping alone, make compromises when possible.

    Tip 3. Negotiate your square footage needs

    You may be thrilled about your beloved until you live together. Experiment with creative living conditions so your home isn’t a prison. Breathing room is mandatory. Ask yourself, “What space arrangements are optimal?” Having an area to retreat to, even if it’s a closet? A room divider? Separate bathrooms? Separate houses? I prefer having my own bedroom/office to retreat to. I also can see the beauty of separate wings or adjacent houses if affordable.
    Here’s why: conversations, scents, coughing, movement can feel intrusive. Even if my partner’s vibes are sublime, sometimes I’d rather not sense them even if they’re only hovering near me. I’m not just being finicky; it’s about maintaining well-being if I live with someone.

    Tip 4. Travel wisely

    Traveling with someone, you may want to have separate space too. Whether my companion is romantic or not, I’ll always have adjoining rooms with my own bathroom. If sharing a room is the only option, hanging a sheet as a room divider will help. “Out of sight” may make the heart grow fonder.

    Tip 5. Take regular mini-breaks

    Empaths require private downtime to regroup. Even a brief escape prevents emotional overload. Retreat for five minutes into the bathroom with the door shut. Take a stroll around the block. Read in a separate room. One patient told her boyfriend, “I need to disappear into a quiet room for ten minutes at a party, even if I’m having fun,” a form of self-care that he supports.

    In my medical practice, I’ve seen this creative approach to relationships save marriages and make ongoing intimacies feel safe, even for emotional empaths (of all ages) who’ve been lonely and haven’t had a long-term partner before. Once you’re able to articulate your needs, emotional freedom in your relationships is possible.

    Share your feedback in the comment section about highly sensitive people

     Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s book,The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, 2017)

     

     

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