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Understanding Art therapy

Art therapy is gaining popularity in recent times and it is being found to be helpful to anyone who may find it difficult to express thoughts and feelings verbally. It is not dependent on spoken language.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art as a form of communication. In art therapy people use paint, clay and other materials to explore and express feelings. There is no expectation or demand on the person of being good at art or having previous experience in order to benefit from art therapy.

 

“Art therapy” and “arts activities” may cause confusion on what they are and how they differ from each other. The similarity is that the person works towards the creation of artwork and therefore creativity is involved.

Differences between art therapy and art activities:

Art activities have the primary goal of creating a finished artwork within a fun and learning environment. The teacher/tutor/facilitator who is trained or experienced in art making may influence the creation of the artwork or give advice. The client may be expected to make use of skills that are taught and need to be practiced and the artwork produced is evaluated or judged aesthetically.

 

Art therapy’s primary goal is the intentional use of the arts for psychological change as a form of therapy within a therapeutic context. The artwork produced in art therapy it is not intended as a product in itself. Drawing an ‘ugly’ picture or destroying a picture is in art therapy is an important and valuable expression. Therefore the artwork does not have to be aesthetically pleasing or even finished to be valuable.

Art therapy fosters, enhances and promotes:

  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Small Muscle Development
  • Concentration / Focus
  • Relaxation
  • Imagination & Fantasy
  • Self-Esteem
  • Following Direction
  • Self-Motivation to Explore & to Learn
  • Sense of Control & Accomplishment
  • Left/Right Brain Harmonization
  • Creativity & Problem Solving
  • Stress Management
  • Emotional Intelligence and development

Art therapy is applicable to all of us, to children, adults, and elderly and in various medical and psychological problems like depression, trauma etc. It is a unique and novel way of unleashing inner emotions and is worth exploring.

Art therapy – Atreyee Chandra

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Why does this happen that our message doesn’t get across?

We all remember such instances where people have not taken us seriously despite the fact that we have clearly expressed our opinion or desires. There have also been times when we couldn’t express our desires and intentions openly and regretted it later. Sometimes, weexpress ourselves in a very rude or aggressive way and later feel guilty about it.

If these instances happen regularly they might rob us of happiness, suck the zeal out of our life, warmth from our relationships and peace from our mind. Furthermore it fills our life with frustration and conflicts.

Anita (name changed), a home maker says “ When I cannot express my intentions regarding a particular issue thinking how others will judge me or perhaps because of me my husband, kids or in-laws may face inconvenience, it disturbs me and I feel overburdened. It makes me don’t I owe a life to myself or a choice to myself. But I don’t know how else to deal with this because I don’t know any other way. I have seen my mom living this way, I see my mother-in-law living this way, I see my relatives and friends this way. I have seen them compromising on themselves their needs, intentions and desires and keeping their family, kids and relatives before them. Moreover I also see them expecting the same from me. I try and fulfill them. So I go to social gatherings, I don’t want to go but when I am confronted with the fact that those relatives may later give nasty remarks or my family members will get very upset I decide to bend and go. There are people with whom I would want to keep ties but I have to because since childhood whenever I have expressed such a desire I was told never say like this it creates bad impression so I don’t. There are times when I don’t approve of many things but I have to accept because others want it from me and if I don’t they may not like it or get hurt or give mean remarks. There are also days when I want to meet my friends and not go to some distant relative’s family function but can’t because I feel scared what my family will think of me. I do not like life this way but I don’t know how else to be”.

Nimesh (name changed), an engineer working in MNC says “ I have a tendency to get irritated very easily and I very often without realizing throw tantrums and behave rudely. Due to this I have lost friends, have conflicts at work and home and it also makes me feel very guilty later on. I know I have to calm down but and I try but that doesn’t happen”.

Kriti(name changed), a charted accountant says “Ifeel guilty all the time, even when I know I am not doing anything wrong. Being yourself requires a lot of courage. I really don’t know how to deal with these”.

Like Kriti, Nimesh and Anita many of us have had similar experiences with ourselves or with others but the issue is even though its everywhere doesn’t mean we have to live with this. We can step out from our comfort zone and experiment with various ways and styles of communication. Assertiveness is one of the most effective style of communication. It is the ability to communicate opinions, thoughts, needs, and feelings in a direct, honest, and appropriate manner. It involves knowing yourself, your needs, wishes, desires and dreams and standing up for them. It requires you to know about your individual rights which were perhaps were not taught that it belonged to us (like we have the right to be the ultimate judge of we are and what we do, right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying our behaviour, right to make mistakes and be responsible for them, right to be illogical in making decisions, right to say I don’t know or I don’t understand or don’t care etc) in the same way respect the same of others.

Assertiveness is not only a style of communication but style of life as it empowers you with the power that it is you, who is ultimate judge of yourself and warns you regarding giving this charge over yourself to others. It allows you to treat yourself with respect and spread this beam of respectfulness to others. It gives you more control over your life at the same time it also increases your responsibility towards yourself. It pushes you to speak up for yourself, deal with your sense of inferiority, inadequacy etc which pulls you back from taking a stand for yourself.

It is important because everything starts with yourself. You can provide love, warmth, happiness, motivation, support only when you are intact. As the popular idiom says “You can’t pour from an empty vessel”. So it’s important to nurture yourself, develop yourself and take a stand for yourself because it is through your actions you make a difference and for performing that action you and your desire have to be present. So get up, be assertive and take a stand for yourself, your dream, wishes and desire and your stand will inspire others to take a similar stand.

Rohit (name changed) a marketing director in MNC says “being able to express herself, her opinions, intentions and desires has led to growth in her career and improvement in her relationships.”

Madhuri (name changed ) a home maker says “ initially I had difficulty inculcating sense of responsibility in my children and also but after consulting a school psychologist I realized that children needed experiences to grow up and when I was getting over protective and doing everything for them beforehand like making sure their homework is done, cleaning their room when its dirty etc, I was depriving them of their experiences at the same time I was also overburdened and frustrated because my entire day was spent in taking charge of things for which I owes no responsibility. Furthermoreall this left her with no time for myself. But after learning to be assertive and set limits I notice that my children are learning to handle their own issues themselves and its lovely experience seeing them grow. It has given me wisdom to let them grow in their own way and at their own pace and to respect them and their struggles and also it has given me time for myself, my hobbies and dreams.”

So, assertiveness would not only enhance your relationship with yourself but also with others because it would break your inhibitions and resistances to express yourself, to communicate what you want, desire or intend and also respect needs, wishes and desires of others even though they are different from us and would pull you to negotiate so that both of you wins.

Assertiveness as a Skill – Akanksha Mohta

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What is it like to be Autistic?

Behaviour that may appear maladaptive may well carry important messages and so an attempt to understand them should be made first before trying to change them.

Almost all adult account of what it is like to be an autistic child mention an overwhelming sense of confusion and a difficulty in making sense of one’s own experience. For them objects have no deeper or symbolic meaning they are just what they are. A smile is simply a widening of the mouth opening. A puppet or a teddy bear is nothing more than a structure of wood and cloth. When a person change unpredictably any relationship between others and self is not immediately obvious. It is impossible to get beyond tiny visual details to form an image of the whole. A tree appears accumulation of individual leaves which can never be merged into a single whole. It is difficult to switch off a distraction or to turn up a quite sound and listen to it. Things that are moving, things that are distant and things we are not looking at are much more attractive than anything in central vision. Pleasure comes with stability, and though stability may come slowly but it is disturbed easily. One way of maintaining stability is to do the same thing over and over again or to develop a peculiar interest or activity that is able to exclude all distractions.

Some theories are developed by cognitive psychologists that help us to understand the difficulties of autistic people. They state that the first core deficit identified is intersubjectivity. These people have deficits in differentiating between self and others. They are not motivated to respond to other people rather they are more interested in physical objects and thus preference for human interaction is poor compared to physical sensory inputs. The second one is theory of mind, that is, they are unable to form a mental image of what goes on in other people’s heads, or what it may be like to be somebody else. They cannot understand other people’s belief, desires or emotions. The third core deficit is executive function. Hence these persons have difficulty learning from mistakes and developing strategies to overcome difficulties, have difficulty in change behaviour in relation to feedback, and therefore persist in actions that are punished in some way. And then these behaviours may be labelled wilful disobedience, failure to attend, or provocative. The fourth one is central coherence. This means that they find it difficult to get the meaning of the entire story, rather remember certain words or sentences or thus focus on finer details. Thus there is a preference of parts over wholes. There is also an inability to use context in understanding objects or experiences which leads to difficulty in coping in unknown situations.

The cognitive processing found in autistic people should be regarded as a style rather than a deficit. A mind for details is not always a disadvantage and if combined with normal cognitive power can also become an asset.

Autism and it’s features – Pourabi Chaudhuri

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Worry And Obsession

Payal is a 50 year old Bengali lady who stays with her husband and a daughter. She has disturbing thoughts about any random person dying; she sees someone or remembers a name of a person and thinks that he/she might die. Her thoughts have been reinforced by coincidence. She feels anxious and guilty of the situations and remains fearful. She becomes terrified whenever a hearse car passes by her house. Her muscles contract and head aches when these thoughts come. She washes her hand repeatedly and bathes for a long time to get rid of the terrifying thoughts but they are only for a short time. The thoughts come back soon. Compulsive praying gestures are also present. She repeatedly calls or sends messages to her daughter and nephew to check on them. She becomes restless whenever her husband goes out of town for office tours. She gets irritated easily and shouts and throws household things. She has suicidal thoughts. She lacks self confidence. Self muttering is present. Sleep is disturbed.

These are the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
We all have habits. Some habits come from being worried or unsure. You might have to double-check the front door is locked when you leave the house. You might always cross your fingers for good luck. For people, like Payal, who suffer from OCD, these habits take over. They can badly upset a person’s day-to-day life.

OCD can be broken into two parts, Obsessions and Compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts or images that are out of our control. They come into the mind when we don’t want them to. They can be upsetting and hard to stop. Lots of things can set them off. By and large, obsessions come from feeling unsure or scared. They can cause a lot of worry. People can feel trapped by the thoughts running through their mind. Some of the common obsessions are with germs, dirt, doubt, order, symmetry, repugnant sexual thoughts, repugnant religious thoughts, repugnant and violent images, fear of forgetting and fear that a mistake will harm a loved one. Compulsions are the things that people do to ‘correct’ or ‘put right’ obsessions. Often, compulsions don’t make much sense. People will do the same thing over and over again. This way of coping can make you feel in control. It can make you feel better, but only for a short time. Compulsions don’t have to be actions. They can also be mental acts like counting. Or, people might try to swap a bad mental picture with a good one. Some of the common compulsions are washing, cleaning, checking, avoiding things, asking for comfort from others and thinking “good” thoughts.

From time to time, obsessions come from fears we all have. There could be a very small chance that the worry will happen. You might worry that your house will catch fire. You might worry about someone you love dying. These are common worries. They become a problem when you find you worry about them too much. You can’t stop even when you try hard to. Worrying too much can be a sign of other problems. With OCD, people try to control their worry. They think they can do this by carrying out compulsions – really it just feeds the problem.

According to National Health Portal, in India lifetime prevalence of OCD in the general population is 2-3%, which means 2-3 persons in every hundred persons have OCD in their lifetime. It affects men and women equally.

Most people that suffer from OCD know what they are doing is not helpful. This can make them feel stuck. They might feel guilty or angry. It is also common for people with OCD to feel down. We can understand what keeps OCD going if we think about a vicious circle

Someone with OCD will have obsessive or unpleasant thoughts. These thoughts upset them. They make them feel anxious and tense. To feel better they carry out ‘habits’ or compulsions that will make them feel more in control. But, they don’t feel good for long. Gloomy thoughts like “I must be a terrible person for thinking like this” or “Nothing works, I’ll never be able to control this” go through their head. This means the obsessions are more likely to come back.

When you suffer from OCD you are trapped in a circle of thoughts. You can feel hopeless. The thoughts are linked to an emotion. This means they are very hard to control. If something worries or upsets you, it will pop into your head more often. It isn’t easy to stop the thoughts. If you try, they are often more likely to stick in your head.

People with OCD avoid things that upset them. This can seem like common sense. But, when you avoid a worrying situation it only makes your fears and doubts stronger. Face the fear. This is the only way to learn that it is not as bad as you think. Another common way of coping is to look for reassurance from friends or family. You might ask them to tell you that everything is OK. It is easy to rely on others to make you feel better or to keep you straight. This comfort doesn’t make the worry go away in the long term. It really makes your worry stronger. Facing something for yourself is the only way to learn. It will never be as bad as you imagine. Facing it will help you to feel like you can cope. It will help fight the obsession.

The symptoms in your body are the most obvious sign that you feel anxious because of your OCD. If you can learn to control your body, it will be much easier to tackle the vicious circle. Lots of things happen in your body when you feel afraid. You might feel restless and worked up. You might have a tight feeling in your chest or a racing heart. You might feel sick or faint. You will likely feel sweaty and have ‘jelly legs’. There are lots of other unpleasant symptoms. All of these feelings make you more afraid. This makes it harder to cope. You can use relaxation to fight this reaction in your body.

There are currently two effective treatments available for OCD that may be used separately or together. One is drug treatment, with medication that increases the availability of serotonin in the brain; the other involves the use of cognitive behavior therapy. They are both effective, however, some sufferers who find behavior therapy too difficult initially may benefit from a course of medication so that effective behavior therapy can be undertaken.

The medications that have been found to be particularly helpful in the treatment of OCD have specific effects on serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the biochemical substance that some researchers believe is involved in OCD. In general, these medications have been shown to be effective for some OCD sufferers and assist them in bringing their symptoms under control.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) makes use of two evidence-based behavior techniques, Cognitive Therapy (C) that looks at how we think, and Behavior Therapy (B) which looks at how this affects what we do. In treatment we consider other ways of thinking (C), and how this would affect the way we behave (B). Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) is used as part of the behavioral approach to help explore alternative ways to respond to the obsessional thoughts or doubts.

The aim of CBT is not about learning not to have these thoughts in the first place, because intrusive thoughts cannot be avoided. Instead it is about helping a person with OCD to identify and modify their patterns of thought that cause the anxiety, distress and compulsive behaviors. In CBT the person with OCD will explore alternative meanings or beliefs about the intrusive thoughts and rituals in all their guises (for example washing, checking, writing lists, tapping, touching, repeating, cleaning, trying to get a ‘just right’ feeling, praying) and will learn what it is that ultimately keeps alive the meanings they attach to such thoughts and rituals.

During a course of CBT, the sufferer might be asked to try ‘behavioral experiments’ to find out what happens when they don’t check. ERP involves being exposed to whatever it is that makes a person feel anxious, without checking or carrying out other rituals. Facing up to a situation helps you to challenge the fears and doubts you have about it. Each time you do this, you will become more sure of yourself. You will learn better ways to cope with the way you feel.

Learning to control your breathing and relaxing will help you to cope better. Concentrate only on breathing and on “relax” in the mind’s eye. Use slow normal breathing (10-12 breaths a minute). Breathe in through your nose. Purse your lips and breathe out slowly through your mouth. Practice this breathing technique and use it to help you relax when you feel anxious.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Sucheta Sanyal

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Parenting 101 – Nitika Jaiswal

Who Are “Special Children”?

They’re children who have a disability or a combination of disabilities that makes learning or other activities difficult. Special-needs children include those who have: Mental Retardation, which causes them to develop more slowly than other children. Speech and Language Impairment, such as a problem expressing themselves or understanding others. Physical Disability, such as vision problem, cerebral palsy, or other conditions. Learning Disabilities, which distort messages from their senses. Emotional Disabilities, such as antisocial or other behavioural problems. It further include Brain injury and cognitive Impairment.

Why Learn About These Children?

The more parents understand about how a child grows, the better prepared they’ll be to recognize special needs – and seek help promptly.
Children with special needs require extra attention, teaching, care – and love!
Parenting for special child:
• To accept your child the way they are and try to understand about their problems.
• It’s important to know about your child’s problem. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child.
• Praise your child when he or she does well. Build your child’s abilities. Talk aboutand encourage his or her strengths and talents.
• Be clear, be consistent and be positive. Set clear rules for your child. Tell your child what he or she should do, not just what he shouldn’t do. Be clear about what willhappen if your child does not follow the rules. Have a reward program for good behaviour. Praise your child when he or she shows the behaviours you like.
• Learn about strategies for managing your child’s behaviour. These include valuable techniques such as: charting, having a reward program, ignoring behaviours, natural consequences, logical consequences, and time-out. Using these strategies will lead to more positive behaviours and cut down on problem behaviours. You can read about these techniques in many books.
• Talk with your doctor about whether medication will help your child.
• Pay attention to your child’s mental health (and your own!). Be open to counselling. It can help you deal with the challenges of raising a child with special needs. It can help your child deal with frustration, feel better about himself or herself, and learn more about social skills.
• Be mindful to interact with and teach your child in ways that are most likely to get apositive response. Learn what is likely to trigger melt-downs for your child, so you can tryto minimize them. Remember, the earliest years are the toughest, but it does get better!
• Learn from professionals and other parents how to meet your child’s special needs, but remember your son or daughter is first and foremost a child; life does not need tobecome a never ending round of therapies.
• Let your child help with household chores. These can build self-confidence and concrete skills. Keep instructions simple, break down tasks into smaller steps, andreward your child’s efforts with praise.
• Encourage independence in your child. For example, help your child learn daily care skills, such as dressing, feeding him or herself, using the bathroom, and grooming.
• Meet with the school and develop an educational plan to address your child’sneeds. Keep in touch with your child’s teachers. Offer support. Find out how you cansupport your child’s school learning at home.
Tips for Parents: Brain Injury
• Work with the medical team to understand your child’s injury and treatment plan.Don’t be shy about asking questions. Tell them what you know or think. Makesuggestions.
• Keep track of your child’s treatment. A 3-ring binder or a box can help you store thishistory. As your child recovers, you may meet with many doctors, nurses, andothers. Write down what they say. Put any paperwork they give you in the notebookor throw it in the box. You can’t remember all this! Also, if you need to share any ofthis paperwork with someone else, make a copy. Don’t give away your original!
• If your child was in school before the injury, plan for his or her return to school. Getin touch with the school. Ask the principal about special education services. Have the medical team share information with the school.
• When your child returns to school, ask the school to test your child as soon aspossible to identify his or her special education needs. Meet with the school and helpdevelop a plan for your child called an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
• Keep in touch with your child’s teacher. Tell the teacher about how your child isdoing at home. Ask how your child is doing in school.
Parenting 101 – Nitika Jaiswal

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Stigma and Mental Health

Does anyone think about how a person feels when he/she is labelled as mentally ill ? The answer is probably ‘No’, because we donot view ourselves putting foot in others shoe.

When a person is labelled as ‘depressed’ or ‘sichzophrenic’ , the person’s whole life gets labelled and has to face discrimination and stigma. Themental condition is not mandatorily life long, in most situations , symptoms of mental illness fades away with the passage of time . However, the scar of stigma doesnot as the person scarred for life.

Stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labelled by their illness, they arre seen as part of stereotyped group,such as having mental illness.Stigma can be seen in many forms- internal or external .

In internalized stigma , the person internalizes the stigma, feels loss of control and accepts denigration. This leads to self-perception of shame, guilt and fear, which leads to protective action, usually the individual avoiding others and living in isolation. Isolation makes situation worse, and the cycle repeats.

External stigmas or social stigmas are commonly defined, and worm through people avoiding contact and not even doing business with the stignatized, treating them as inferior.

Stigma brings experiences and feelings of:

  1. shame
  2. blame
  3. hopelessness
  4. distress
  5. misrepresentation in the media
  6. reluctance to seek and/or accept necessary help

Families are also affected by stigma, leading to a lack of support. For mental health professionals, stigma means that they themselves are seen as abnormal, corrupt or evil, and psychiatric treatments are often viewed with suspicion and horror.

A 2006 Australian study found that

  1. nearly 1 in 4 of people felt depression was a sign of personal weakness and would not employ a person with depression
  2. around a third would not vote for a politician with depression
  3. 42% thought people with depression were unpredictable
  4. one in 5 said that if they had depression they would not tell anyone
  5. nearly 2 in 3 people surveyed thought people with schizophrenia were unpredictable and a quarter felt that they were dangerous

Some groups are subjected to multiple types of stigma and discrimination at the same time, such as people with an intellectual disability or those from a cultural or ethnic minority.

How can we challenge stigma?

We all have a role in creating a mentally healthy community that supports recovery and social inclusion and reduces discrimination. Simple ways to help include:

  1. learn and share the facts about mental health and illness
  2. get to know people with personal experiences of mental illness
  3. speak up in protest when friends, family, colleagues or the media display false beliefs and negative stereotypes
  4. offer the same support to people when they are physically or mentally unwell
  5. don’t label or judge people with a mental illness, treat them with respect and dignity as you would anyone else
  6. don’t discriminate when it comes to participation, housing and employment

talk openly of your own experience of mental illness. The more hidden mental illness remains, the more people continue to believe that it is shameful and needs to be concealed.

 

Stigma and Mental Health – Sudarshana Sengupta

 

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We Are Not Our Thoughts

WE, as human beings, are responsible for our own lives. We are responsible for what we think and what we choose not to think. Though it might seem like a common statement to make, let’s stop for a moment and evaluate its importance.

How many times have we thought about ourselves in terms of what other people think of us? Probably, much more than we realise! Give it a moment of consideration. Do we label ourselves lazy, when our mother calls us lazy because we have delayed taking a bath? Do we consider ourselves judgemental after our spouse has accused us of being judgemental since we criticised themduring an argument? If you answer yes, then it is likely that you are identifying with whatever you are thinking. This also means that you might be thinking ‘whatever I think, I am so.’ If I think I am lazy, then probably I am. If someone close to me thinks I am judgemental, then I must be so.

If we try to evaluate if this is true, perhaps we might find ourselves mistaken. Do we become synonymous with the ‘adjectivelazy’ if we acted lazy on one or more occasions? Then what about the times, when we got up and did our job right away because it was important to do so. Why is it necessary to call ourselves judgemental just because we might have acted judgementally during an argument with spouse? The thing to consider here, is, that we are notsolely what we call ourselves or what others call us. We might be much more than that. Despite labelling ourselves ‘negatively’ and calling ourselves lazy, judgmental, or other names, we might act quite differently under different circumstances. Labelling ourselvesmakes us focus on only one aspect of ourselves and closes our eyes to the whole range of behaviours and thoughts that we are capable of performing. It may even make us less thoughtful leading to a tendency to act in an automatic and robot-like fashion.

Isn’t it better to focus on what we are capable of, rather than what we have done or been in the past? That’s a question we need to ask ourselves!

We are not our thoughts – Ushnaa Ghatak

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Anger Management

Everybody gets angry from time to time. It is a normal emotion to experience when we are faced with a frustrating or annoying event. However, it is important to learn about how the effects of anger on our body. When you get angry-

  1. your heart pumps faster
  2. your blood flows more quickly
  3. your muscles become tense
  4. adrenalin and other chemicals enter your bloodstream

Too much anger or uncontrolled anger may cause:

  1. inability to maintain harmonious relationships
  2. poor self-image
  3. guilt
  4. regret
  5. problems at work

Anger may be a consequence of feeling stressed or frustrated. One may even feel anger when one is annoyed or disappointed. Often the feeling of anger starts as a response to our thoughts. Suppose, it was expected that someone would do you a favour. You were looking forward to the person doing something for you but it turned out that the person did not take it seriously and did not do what you had expected of him. In such a situation, you might have thoughts such as, “how could he/she take me lightly”, “why did he/she disappoint me, when I was counting on him/her’’, “how dare he/she not do this much for me”, “the person is mean” etc. When we think such thoughts, we feel angry, annoyed, frustrated and disappointed. All these negative emotions can block our view from the positive side of the situation and make us focus only on the negative part of the event. When we focus on the negative, we tend to create more problems than solutions.It also prevents us from understanding another person’s point of view and makes us see things from a biased perspective.

Anger management focuses upon understanding the root cause of our angry behaviour. It helps us to become aware of the subtle signs, which if left uncontrolled, can lead to an outburst.Once, you learn how to recognise the first signs of anger, you can begin to handle situations more effectively. Other than dealing with you problems via solution-focussed discussions, anger management teaches you strategies which you can practise daily to become calmer and more assertive. It makes an individual more solution-focussed instead of being problem-focussed.

Anger management deals directly with what one is thinking about a particular situation and how it is contributing to the anger. In some situations, we may believe that the only way to see a situation is our way; changing our point of view and taking a different perspective can give us a better grip on a tricky situation.

Anger management emphasizes upon the appropriate reaction to a situation. It recognises the importance of expressing anger, disappointment and frustration and helps you discover better strategies of expressing your feelings. After all, we can only be at ease when we feel understood and not misunderstood.

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The Traveller’s Psyche

“Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

The travel and tourism industry has seen an extraordinary increase in interest in the past decade. More and more individuals are taking the risk of leaving the comfort of their homes behind to go out into the yonder and embrace new experiences. The psychology behind this can be interpreted in many ways.

One of the reasons maybe the fact that this fast paced digitalised life is difficult to sustain for long periods of time without taking breaks. The pressure on working professionals to perform and the fear of being replaced results in anxiety and a stressful work environment. Taking breaks and holidays are like replenishing fuel to the mind which comes back recharged to work again.

The other reasons for travelling are to explore new cultures, meet people from different places and generally to broaden ones’ horizons. The world is now a global community where news travels between people in the blink of an eye…thanks to social media. The intrigue and mystery that a lot of places held have now changed to allure and attraction. It is possible to get any information at the click of a mouse which has changed the whole concept of travelling and made it an easy process.

Customisation is another major reason why the travel bug has bitten so many. The sheer variety of options is endless. Just within India, one is spoiled for choice with deserts, beaches, forests, historical sites, majestic mountains and more. Also, one can customise their vacation according to their taste, preferences, budget etc. For example: a history-buff would choose their travel destination and design their holiday very differently from an adventure-junkie.

The bottom-line is that travelling has opened up a whole new vista for many who led mundane cloistered lives. A whole new world literally awaits those who venture out from their comfort zone.

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Altruism And Mental Health

“All the pleasures of life seem to wear out, but the pleasure of helping others in distress never does” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In general terms, Altruism refers to the unselfish concern and helping behaviour toward others. True blessing is to give than to receive. Wellness is a state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual exemplified by the quality of life and sense of wellbeing. Negative State Relief Model states that the increased energy and positive feeling generated when a person is altruistic are vital to general mental health and wellness. Distress refers to the state of being in trouble. Distress is a pain or suffering affecting the body. It has been found that altruistic activity tends to increase happiness and subjective wellbeing. The altruistic act of being charitable is beneficiary since the simple nature of concentrating on other people counteracts the self absorbed nature of depression and anxiety. Further, competitive altruism approach also asserts that one important reason for people to help others is that doing so boosts their own status and reputation, and it ultimately brings them large benefits, ones that more than offset the cost of engaging in pro-social actions.
From research and personal experience, it has been seen that helping behaviour is associated not only with the benefit of the recipient, but also of the giver. Prosocial behaviour is a part of successful social interaction and is considered to be an important factor for promoting positive psychological growth. In every society, there are individuals who voluntarily become associated with the care of the distressed persons. Some of them devote money and material things and some devote time and some devote expertise to people in distress, whereas, others do not. Cultural variable might also be reflected in an individual’s prosocial behaviour. Every religion in the world talks of the virtue of giving. Especially, giving away one’s personal properties in an unselfish manner is encouraged as a part of moral training in almost all societies. Yet some adhere to it, and some do not. The above discussion delineate the fact that altruism leads to greater self benefits and must be inculcated as an important value system in our society.