Sunday, February 12, 2023

Managing Emotions - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu

Emotions can have an important influence on health, and it is critical to deal effectively with the feelings that accompany the everyday ups and downs of life.

1. Use your emotions and bodily responses to recognize when you are under stress. Responses like a racing pulse, tight muscles may all indicate that something is amiss in your emotional world.

2. Write down your thoughts and feelings about what is stressing you. Take a daily inventory of your emotions. By writing down what you feel and when, you may be able to identify patterns of emotional ups and downs. If is also important to write down the thoughts that go with the feelings.

3. Control whatever aspect of the stress that you can. Life presents many situations every day, and you should not view them in black and white terms- those you can control versus those you cannot. Look for the shades of grey- the elements you can control. When you know what’s going to happen in a situation, you nervous system can gear up to handle it.

4. Redefine the Problem. Your attitude to stress can affect your health more than the stress itself can. If the problem is out of your control, recognize that and redefine the problem to determine which parts you can avoid or handle.

5. Develop behaviors that distract you from stress. Anything you do that distracts you from your stress for a while is good. For example, take a walk when stressed.

6. Reach out to a friend, family member or professional counsellor.  Social relationships are good for your health, and reaching out to someone about your stress can improve your outlook. If you are lacking social networks, you may find it easiest to meet others during a shared activity.

7. Meditate and Relax. Meditation has a wide variety of health benefits, and stress reduction is one of the big ones

There is no single way to instantly reduce stress or manage your emotions. By using a variety of tools and methods, you will be able to calm your mind and regain your emotional health.


Monday, January 16, 2023

Journaling for Mental Health - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu

When you were a teenager, you might have kept a diary hidden beneath your mattress. It became your confidant and a place to confess your struggles and fears without judgment or punishment. It probably felt good to get all of those thoughts and emotions out of your head and down on paper. The world seemed clearer.

Although you may have ditched the diary once you reached adulthood, the concept and its benefits still apply. Now it’s called journaling. It's simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.

Journaling benefits    

One of the ways to deal with any overwhelming emotion is to find a healthy outlet in which to express yourself, which makes a journal a helpful tool in managing your mental health. Journaling can help:

²  Manage anxiety

²  Reduce stress

²  Cope with depression

Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by:

l  Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns

l  Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them

l  Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors

When you have a problem and you're stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Then, once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress.

Keep in mind that journaling is just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle for better managing stress, anxiety, and mental health conditions. To get the most benefits, be sure you also:

l  Relax and meditate each day.

l  Eat a nutritious, balanced diet.

l  Exercise regularly—get in some activity every day.

l  Treat yourself to plenty of sleep each night.

l  Avoid alcohol and drugs.

Use your journal to make sure you follow these guidelines daily.

How to journal

Try these tips to help you get started with journaling:

l  Try to write every day. To encourage yourself to write in your journal regularly, set aside a few minutes every day.

l  Make it easy. Keep a pen and paper handy at all times so that when you want to jot down your thoughts, you can. You can also keep a journal in a computer file.

l  Write whatever feels right. Your journal doesn't need to follow any particular structure. It's your own private arena to discuss whatever you want. Let the words flow freely without worrying about spelling mistakes or what other people might think.

l  Use your journal as you see fit. You don't have to share your journal with anyone. If you do want to share some of your thoughts with trusted friends and loved ones but don't want to talk about them out loud, you could show them parts of your journal.

Keeping a journal helps you establish order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. It helps you get to know yourself by revealing your innermost fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time, a time when you de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that's relaxing and soothing—maybe with a cup of tea. Look forward to your journaling time, and know that you're doing something good for your mind and body.


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Building Relationships Bid by Bid - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu and Neha Vishwakarma

Dr. John Gottman, a leading researcher of couples and relationships, has identified different characteristics and behaviors that distinguish healthy couples from unhealthy ones. One of the principles that he has found is what he calls “Bids for Connection”, which are actions through which a person tries to express a desire for connection towards the other person. These bids could be obvious and/or verbal actions, or subtle and/or non-verbal actions. Irrespective of the nature of bids, they have the capacity to decide the fate of the relationship, and decades of research have suggested that the couples who respond positively to these bids by their partners are more highly likely to have successful and happier relationships.

Since it is difficult to identify the non-verbal bids, here are some of the examples mentioned by Dr. Gottman:

1.      Affectionate touching – pat, kiss, hug, back or shoulder rub.

2.      Facial expressions – smile, blowing a kiss, sticking out of tongue.

3.      Playful touching – tickling, bopping, dancing.

4.      Affiliating gestures – opening the door, handing over a utensil or stationery, sending a reel or meme.

5.      Vocalizing – laughing, grunting, sighing, chuckling.

There are three ways people usually respond to the bids of connection: Turning away – ignoring the bid; Turning against – attacking, ridiculing or disregarding the bid or the partner; Turning towards – acknowledging and giving attention to the bid and the partner. Turning towards is the kind of response that helps build trust and connection between people and build a relationship; so, the rule of thumb is to be aware and notice when someone extends a bid towards you and respond towards it, rather than away from or against it.

On the other hand, if you are the partner who is sending a bid for connection, there are certain things that you can do to make them better:

1.  Use words and make the bids more obvious and clearer, especially if the non-verbal bids are going unnoticed.

2.     Express your need as a positive, such as saying “I miss you”, instead of saying “You are never around”.

Overall, a commitment to make bids, recognize them and respond positively to them can go a long way in building a successful relationship.


Improve your social skills. (n.d.). Bids for connection.

Lisitsa, E. (n.d.). Dr. Gottman’s guide to recognizing bids. The Gottman Institute.

The Gottman Institute. (n.d.). 3 ways to make a better bid for connection.

Ury, L. (n.d.). Want to improve your relationship? Start paying more attention to bids. The Gottman Institute.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Social Media and Mental Health -- Dr. Sangeetha Madhu and Neha Vishwakarma

The social media has been a ground breaking success in connecting people across great distances around the world and helping us catch up with friends and people we’d lost touch with over the years. However, the nature of use of social media has changed since its inception. Research has found that excessive use of social media has a lot of negative effects, including severe mental health conditions, like addiction. Social media has become a source of entertainment as well a way to escape the reality, giving the same kind of dopamine high to people, like any other addictive substance. Naturally, the other symptoms of addiction follow – social withdrawal, dependency, negative thoughts, anxiety, low mood, and so on.  

Social media has become an important part of our everyday lives. Thus, it is very difficult to reduce or regulate the usage of social media, even if we realize the negative impact it is causing in our lives. However, it is not impossible. There are a few ways through which we can regulate the usage of social media in a way through which we can reap the benefits, without letting it harm our mental health, which are as follows:

1.      Keep track of time spent online.

2.      Be mindful of the use and set aside time to spend on social media, instead of using it along with other tasks.

3.      Disable notifications and/or remove it from the device used most, and use it through the website or computer, in the designated time.

4.      Take regular pre-planned breaks from social media.

5.      Do not take the phone to bed.

6.      Engage in hobbies and other interests in free time, offline.

Social media can act as an escape and a relief from the stressors we have to face on a daily basis. However, due to repeated usage, it causes dependency in the long run without our awareness. It creates a cycle wherein we use to reduce our stress, but it causes additional stress in the form of comparisons and FOMO. Thus, taking a break from it, and involving in real life social interactions can help boost psychological wellbeing, as it provides us with a way to break free from this cycle. It might be difficult at first, but with consistent and mindful practice, we can use it to the fullest to our benefit, while also keeping our minds safe and sound.


Coyne, S. M., Rogers, A. A., Zurcher, J. D., Stockdale, L., & Booth, M. (2020). Does time spent using social media impact mental health?: An eight year longitudinal study. Computers in Human Behavior, 104, 106160.

Help guide. (n.d.). Social media and mental health.

Kırcaburun, K., & Griffiths, M. D. (2018). Problematic Instagram Use: The Role of Perceived Feeling of Presence and Escapism. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17(4), 909–921.

Schønning, V., Hjetland, G. J., Aarø, L. E., & Skogen, J. C. (2020). Social Media Use and Mental Health and Well-Being Among Adolescents – A Scoping Review. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Walton, A. G. (2021, December 10). 6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health. Forbes.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Arts and Mental Health - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu, Aayesha Bano and Neha Vishwakarma

Each one of us has strong feelings and memories associated with art and it is also a strong mode of expression of those feelings. Songs can make moods change, colors can change the level of concentration and motivation, and dancing can make us feel alive and excited, to name a few of the modes of arts that we relate to and engage with in our daily lives. It allows us to connect with our own internal world and including arts in our lives can be a powerful source of mental and emotional self-care that is effective and accessible, and that leads to calmness and peace.

Involving in art can be a very cathartic experience and has the ability to provide a sense of relief. Not only that, it can also be beneficial for impacting the health and aging of our brain and contributing to cognitive improvement. It has been found by various research that a consistent practice of art can improve self-esteem, can help us release the thoughts and emotions that cannot be expressed in words and can facilitate in the healing of trauma. When we are involved in art, the artistic processes help us create a balance between our emotional state and decision making, as it helps us to identify with ourselves more than identifying with the issue.

There are multiple ways in which arts can be included in our day to day lives, some of which are as follows:

-          Visual art – doodles, zentangles, mandalas, colouring, painting, sketching, etc.

-          Sculpture, building something or DIY projects.

-          Weaving, knitting, embroidery, chroceting.

-          Creative writing – poems, stories, anecdotes, etc.

-          Dancing and movement-based arts, fashion.

-          Listening to music, singing, acting, theatre, mimicry, playing an instrument.

Art therapy can have tremendous benefits when used as a method of self-care and self-expression. Including any one of these or any other choice of art in our lives every day, even for as less as 15 minutes can help us set a calm and peaceful tone for our day and improve our productivity and quality of life significantly.


A. (2020, August 27). How The Brain Is Affected By Art - Rehabilitation Medicine. ACRM.

How arts can help improve your mental health. (2021, November 11). Mental Health Foundation.

Loeuy K. (2022, April 11). Art for self-care and mental health. University of Washington.,something%20everyone%20can%20participate%20in.

Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. American Journal of Public Health, 100(2), 254–263.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). Arts and health.,risk%20factors%20of%20mental%20illness


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Healthy Mental Health Choices - Dr. Sangeetha Madhu, Aayesha Bano and Neha Vishwakarma

Mental health influences each and every part of our lives and thus, maintaining mental well-being is an important part of everyday life, and needs to prioritized. Mental health includes the health of one’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors, lifestyles, and relationships, and not just being free of mental illnesses. It is an important determining factor about how we feel and think, handle stress, relate to others, make choices and cope with life. Thus, it becomes very important to make choices in our daily lives to ensure that we take care of our mental health and preserve it.

There are a number of small and quick everyday choices we can make to enhance our mental health and life:

·            Staying positive and having a balance between positive and negative emotions

·            Taking a break from negativity and negative information.

·            Practicing gratitude - being thankful for the good things in life, big or small.

·            Taking care of one’s physical health – exercise, diet, etc.

·            Building social connections, developing strong healthy relationships with others.

·            Developing coping skills to deal with stressful situations.

·            Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

·            Experiencing life eventsfully.

·            Developing a sense of meaning in life.

·            Creating a healthy lifestyle.

These practices act as protection from the stressors of daily life. However, sometimes the stressors can overpower our resources to deal with them and lead us to experience symptoms of mental distress, such as difficulty sleeping, change in appetite, unwanted weight changes, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in thing that one usually enjoys and inability to perform daily activities and responsibilities, to name a few. In such situations, it is important to seek support from other people and professionals. In case you are unsure of from where to seek help or treatment, you can start by contacting a primary health care provider. Making healthy mental health choices is the key to maintain well-being, and now is it the best time to take steps towards a better life.


Medline Plus. (n.d.). How to Improve Mental Health.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (n.d.). Caring for Your Mental Health.

NHS website. (2022, March 28). 5 steps to mental wellbeing. Nhs.Uk.

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.


Martínez, N., Connelly, C. D., Pérez, A., & Calero, P. (2021). Self-care: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 8(4), 418–425.

Mental Health America. (n.d.). Taking Good Care of Yourself.

Scott, E. (2022, May 23). 5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life. Verywell Mind.