Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Self-Care - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu, Aayesha Bano and Neha Vishwakarma

Self-care, or practicing to take care of ourself and our body, is an essential part of taking care of oneself. It is a process of engagement in multidimensional strategies to promote healthy functioning and enhancing well-being. Regularly fueling your body with healthy, nutrient-dense food and taking care of your basic physical and mental health needs is a part of self-care.

There are a number of domains that one can cover to ensure care of mind, body and spirit. These include:

·      Physical care: This would include having a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, indulging in required physical activity, and taking care of illnesses and ailments appropriately.

·      Mental care: This might include doing things that keep us mentally sharp and active, for e.g., solving puzzles, reading a book, or any activity that keeps the mind engaged and intrigued.

·      Emotional care: This would involve dealing with uncomfortable emotions like anger, anxiety, or sadness. This can be done by indulging in activities that help one acknowledge and express one’s feelings regularly and in a safe space, or in activities that help processing emotions.

·      Social care: This includes maintaining close connections with friends and family, by investing appropriate time and efforts in the relationships.

·      Spiritual care: Nurturing the spirit is equally important, and that can be practiced by involving in anything that helps one develop a deeper sense of meaning and understanding of self.

Self-care can be practiced in many ways – from ensuring a good night sleep every night and an early morning walk every day, to consulting a professional for healthcare. Self-care helps to build resilience towards stressors in life that one is unable to prevent. Having an effective self-care routine can lead to a number of benefits such as reducing anxiety and depression, improving happiness, increasing energy, reducing burnout, developing stronger interpersonal relationships, finding a sense of purpose in life and also increasing the overall quality of life.

References

Martínez, N., Connelly, C. D., Pérez, A., & Calero, P. (2021). Self-care: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 8(4), 418–425. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnss.2021.08.007

Mental Health America. (n.d.). Taking Good Care of Yourself. https://mhanational.org/taking-good-care-yourself.

Scott, E. (2022, May 23). 5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/self-care-strategies-overall-stress-reduction-3144729 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Emotional Dysregulation and how to Overcome it - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu, Aayesha Bano and Neha Vishwakarma

Emotional dysregulation happens when an individual has intense emotional response immediately after a situation or a trigger, which does not fall under the normal range of emotional reactions. When situation like this occurs, one might feel that they are not in control of their emotions, and might find recognizing their emotions difficult and feel confused, guilty, or stressed about their behavior.

Some common experiences when a person feels dysregulated are:

·         Feeling spaced out, unable to remember where they are, and also at loss of words.

·         Unable to work properly, trying to get things done at once, but unable to finish anything.

·         Tripping over things, dropping things or even losing things because they are unable to pay attention or concentrate.

·         Having flat voice and facial expressions.

·         Frequent, and uncontrollable mood swings.

·         Feeling at rage, frustrated and anxious.

·         Feeling numb in parts of the body, like hands, mouth, face, nose or feet.

What to do to regulate our emotions well?

·         Taking a pause and focusing on your breathing to calm down.

·         Engaging in some physical movement – shaking and wiggling the body, running, skipping, short exercises.

·         Avoiding driving, making decisions or even having discussions with others until you feel better regulated. 

·         Having a nutritious diet and sleep routine.

·         Inculcating mindfulness and exercising on a daily basis.

·         Having awareness of one’s own emotions and physical self.

It is important to remember that though these strategies can help, there might be instances that they will not be enough to manage the extent of dysregulation. In those situations, it is better to consult a psychologist or a counsellor to discuss our issues and emotions and seek help from a professional who can help in these situations.

 References

Davis, T. (2021, August 23). What Is Emotional Dysregulation? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/202108/what-is-emotional-dysregulation

Runkle, A. (2018, October 30). How to Know if Your Brain Is Dysregulated, and What to Do About It. PACEsConnection. https://www.pacesconnection.com/blog/how-to-know-if-your-brain-is-dysregulated-and-what-to-do-about-it

Sherrell, Z. M. (2022, April 7). What is emotional dysregulation? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dysregulation#causes

WebMD. (2021, April 18). What Is Emotional Dysregulation? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-emotional-dysregulation#:%7E:text=Emotional%20dysregulation%20is%20a%20term,mood%20swings%2C%20or%20labile%20mood.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Happiness and Meaning of Life - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu

 “Humans may resemble many other creatures in their striving for happiness, but the quest for meaning is a key part of what makes us human and uniquely so.” – Roy Baumeister et al.

Do we even have time to talk or ponder about the meaning of life? Even if we all want more purpose in our lives, do we spend enough time thinking about it? The concept of meaning in life dates back to Ancient Greece and can be found in famous works by writers like Victor Frankl, as well as in the study of psychology today.

The three components of life's meaning are: coherence – the feeling that one's life experiences are understandable and that they make sense; purpose – having goals and direction in life, that give a sense of meaning; and significance – a person's belief in the value, worth, and significance of his or her existence. While coherence provides an understanding of the experiences, significance and purpose give an evaluation of the value of that understanding. All the three and interdependent, and together, they form a holistic meaning of one’s life and life experiences.

 We may develop or uncover our own unique sense of meaning. Individuals reporting higher meaning in life are more likely to have better relationships and better health; they tend to have higher well-being. However, the relationship between happiness and meaning in life is not that simple. Research suggests that creating meaning in life might cause experiencing negative emotions in a particular time, but still lead to resilience and well-being in the longer term. Having meaning in life might not guarantee happiness in the short term; however, in the long run, it might provide a route to a happier and satisfactory life.

The meaning of life is found wherever we find purpose and fulfilment. As a result, the greater our values, experiences, ambitions, and beliefs are, the more meaning we can derive from our life. Meaning is one of the few things that you can never have too much of; living a more meaningful life is always a desirable goal, and you can never be too fulfilled or purposeful!

 

REFERENCES

https://theconversation.com/having-a-sense-of-meaning-in-life-is-good-for-you-so-how-do-you-get-one-110361

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292190023_The_three_meanings_of_meaning_in_life_Distinguishing_coherence_purpose_and_significance

https://positivepsychology.com/meaning-of-life-positive-psychology/

https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/having-sense-meaning-life-good-you-so-how-do-you-get-one

https://www.lifeintelligence.io/blog/seeking-happiness-find-purpose-with-these-four-pillars-to-a-meaningful-life

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-differences-between-happiness-and-meaning-in-life/#:~:text=It%20seems%20that%20happiness%20has,%2C%20present%2C%20and%20future%20experiences.

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Sunlight For Better Health - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu, Aayesha Bano and Neha Vishwakarma

 Sunlight has the ability to provide powerful restorative, protective, and healing effects. Soaking in the sunlight does wonders to the mind, bones, and the whole of our body. Vitamin D which is a major part of what we absorb from sunlight, as converted by the skin is essential for our bones, heart, teeth, immune system, nerves, and also muscular health.

Some of the benefits of absorbing sunlight include:

1.            Regulation of the circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock)– Sunlight facilitating the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, which helps one to have a good night sleep.

2.            Improves mood – Sunlight triggers the release of a hormone associated to boosting mood, which helps the person stay calm and focused. Thus, it also helps people deal better with depression.

3.            Help in coping with anxiety – The better a person sleeps at night, the less reactivity he/she would have to stress. Thus, by improving sleep, sunlight prevents us from anxiety.

4.            Prevents cognitive impairment – exposure to sunlight can prevent cognitive impairment caused due to stress or other mental health conditions, as the relationship has been found between low exposure to sunlight and decline in cognitive functioning, especially in presence of stress.

5.            Better immunity - Sunlight lowers the risk of a range of health issues such as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. It helps in the absorption of calcium in the bones, preventing arthritis and other bone related problems usually seen in old age. The World Health Organization (WHO), also claims that sun exposure helps treat several skin conditions such as – psoriasis, eczema, acne, etc.

Spending a little time in the sun, or going for a morning walk when the sun is not shining too bright can work wonders for our health. As less as 5 -15 minutes in morning sunlight can help us absorb the numerous benefits that the sun has to offer. Letting some sunshine and brightness inside the house through doors and windows can also help. However, caution should be maintained while being under the sun. It emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which when exceeded, the required amount on the skin can damage the cell DNA. Thus, try sunbathing before 10 amor apply sunscreen if you have to be under the sun for a prolonged time.


References

Byzak, A. (2021, May 7). 5 Ways the Sun Impacts Your Mental and Physical Health. Tri-City Medical Center. https://www.tricitymed.org/2018/08/5-ways-the-sun-impacts-your-mental-and-physical-health/

Kent, S. T., McClure, L. A., Crosson, W. L., Arnett, D. K., Wadley, V. G., &Sathiakumar, N. (2009). Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study. Environmental Health, 8(1), 1-14.

Nall, R. M. (2019, April 1). What Are the Benefits of Sunlight? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#outlook

The Mental Health Benefits of Sunlight. (2020, December 10). Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-mental-health-benefits-of-sunlight-5089214

 

 


 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Procrastination and how to overcome it - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu, Aayesha Bano and Neha Vishwakarma

 Procrastination is the chronic avoidance of difficult tasks, which can even involve deliberately looking for distractions. Experts define it as voluntary delay in action despite being aware of the worse off consequences; it is almost a form of self-deception. Procrastinators might know about the consequences of their delay, but find it difficult to change their habits, despite trying. It is not just a habit, but rather one’s failure of self-regulation, where inability to manage emotions is the main cause for putting things off.  Researches have proved that people who procrastinate are prone to have higher levels of stress in the long run and their quality of work also reduces; it impacts their psychological as well as physical health, as well as their professional life. Thus, procrastination is not only a habit, it’s rather a maladaptive lifestyle.

Types of Procrastinators

The Anxious type: They delay starting their tasks due to fear of failing, or making mistakes.

The Perfectionist: They don’t start the task because they fear not executing the task perfectly.

The Over-doer: They have a fear of not living up to their own impossible standards, thus committing to too many tasks and failing to prioritize important ones.

The Crisis Maker: They believe that stress and pressure is important to perform better, thus waiting till the last minute; they are unable to manage their time appropriately due to this.

The Dreamer: They have a lot of creativity and focus on creating an ideal plan; but they think more than they take action, thus, finding it difficult to actually complete tasks.

How to overcome procrastination?

·         Prioritize. Do the most challenging and important tasks first.

·         Be realistic. Make realistic calculation of the time required; set realistic and achievable goals; don’t get carried away by imaginations.

·         Focus. Focus on what is important achieve the ultimate goal, keep track of your progress. Set time limits for each sub-task, and stay focused on not exceeding the time.

·         Some techniques to use – Pomodoro method to manage time, SMART framework to prioritize and set goals, ‘Eat the frog’ technique.

·         Rest and replenish. Give yourself small breaks to recover and start over. Be kind to yourself.

References

Häfner, A., Oberst, V., & Stock, A. (2014). Avoiding procrastination through time management: an experimental intervention study. Educational Studies, 40(3), 352–360. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2014.899487

Henderson, R. (2021, May 27). 6 types of Procrastinators and how they think. JAYSON MORAN. https://jaysonmoran.com/2021/02/12/6-types-of-procrastinators-and-how-they-think/

Ho, L. (2021, April 19). 5 Types of Procrastination (And How to Fix Each of Them). Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/types-procrastination-and-how-you-can-fix-them.html

Jaffe, E. (2013a, March 29). Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination. Association for Psychological Science - APS. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination

Jarrett, C. (2020, May 14). Why procrastination is about managing emotions, not time. BBC Worklife. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200121-why-procrastination-is-about-managing-emotions-not-time

Lingsieck, K. B. (2013). Procrastination. European Psychologist, 18(1), 24–34. https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000138

Psychology Today. (n.d.). Procrastination. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/procrastination

 


Monday, February 28, 2022

Sleep Hygiene - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu

 Sleep is an essential part of one’s life, responsible for our healthy functioning. It allows the body and the mind to recharge themselves, helping us to become more alert and refreshed. It also helps us to remain healthy and fight away diseases. Consequently, lack of sleep can lead to reduced productivity, low motivation, emotional problems, impaired cognitive functioning, decreased quality of work, and increased risk of chronic and serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. 

It is important for most individuals to get around seven to nine hours of night sleep regularly in order to function properly on a regular basis. This can be introduced into one’s schedule by practicing healthy sleeping habits or sleep hygiene, which can be defined as “a set of behavioural and environmental recommendations intended to promote healthy sleep”.

Sleep Hygiene Practices

·         Have a proper sleep schedule, sleep and wake up at the same time – even on weekends, and stick to this consistent schedule. This would reinforce the bodies internal clock.

·         Follow a relaxing bedtime routine before going to sleep, for example – gentle stretches, a little meditation, listening to soothing music, focused breathing, reading a book etc.

·         Avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime and keep them away.

·         Avoid or anything that is stressful or overly stimulating, including holding emotional conversations.

·         Exercising regularly can improve sleep quality, and health, but avoid heavy exercise around bedtime.

·         Cut down on caffeine, especially nearing bedtime. Caffeine’s impact can stay for over 3-7 hours after consuming it.

·         A cool, dark, and quite room helps falling and staying asleep. Earplugs, blackout curtains, and eye masks would be helpful in doing so.

·         Try to restrain the use of your bed only for sleep. This would help the brain to associate bed to sleep.

·         Go to bed only when you are tired and feeling sleepy. If you do not fall asleep within 20 minutes, try doing something else.

·         Avoid napping during the day, especially later in the afternoon. Limit the naps to not more than 30 mins.

References

Hersh, E. (2020, August 17). 10 Healthy Sleep Hygiene Habits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-hygiene#limit-naps

Irish, L. A., Kline, C. E., Gunn, H. E., Buysse, D. J., & Hall, M. H. (2015). The role of sleep hygiene in promoting public health: A review of empirical evidence. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 22, 23–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2014.10.001

Pacheco, D. (2021, December 9). Why Do We Need Sleep? Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleep

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2016, July 15). CDC - Sleep Hygiene Tips - Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 10, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Mental Health is Health - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu and Ms. Neethu Sara Joseph

What constitutes well-being when it comes to mental health?

Is it about using the best coping techniques, having our defensive mechanisms in control, and being sure that our physical and emotional baggage is empty?

The Challenge

Mental health is often considered as being on a binary scale of yes or no- either we are mentally healthy or not mentally healthy. Sometimes the process of addressing the mental health concerns disregards subtle nuances & plural roles /identities, thereby leading to the stigmatization of the concerned person. When people are compelled to absorb stigmatized identity/ role, it can give rise to feelings of shame, guilt, agony, and apathy from a community perspective.

Mental Health: Beyond All or None

The essential task ahead is to remind ourselves that caring for our mental health is a continuous process that will vary over time-based on certain internal and external factors like our mood, certain triggers, anxiety stemming from it, and a variety of other variables in the moment. Each and every individual is unique and understanding the mental health spectrum is critical in order to build an inclusive engaged community. Raising our collective awareness on evidence-based scientific knowledge on mental health concerns, destigmatizing conversations regarding mental health, sensitizing portrayal of mental health in mainstream media, and building a supportive community to thrive at workplaces and educational institutions will provide a future ensuring establishment of a catalytic community with the ingredients of empathy, kindness, and compassion!

References

https://positivepsychology.com/mental-health-continuum-model/

https://www.rewriting-the-rules.com/self/mental-health-beyond-binaries-ladybeard-panel/