What is Conduct Disorder And How To Handle It ?#MentalHealth #CauseAChatter

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Parents can be the biggest allies or worst enemies when it comes to dealing with children and adolescent. Their denial of their child’s mental health issues can complicates things and can worsen the situation. There are so many therapies available which kids or anybody who is suffering from mental health conditions can be benefitted from. But I see most of the times parents ignore the seriousness of the situation and write it off as defiant behavior, active imagination or they just hope their child will grow out of things such as torturing animals and setting fires. Denial is one of the defense mechanism and can be extremely unhealthy in the long run.

Conduct problems have become very common among students and adolescents in our society. And the reason could be many, to name a few

  • Nuclear Families
  • Working parents
  • Exposure
  • Social Media
  • Expectations
  • Competition
  • Nanny culture
  • Family history

But first it is important to understand what is Conduct Disorder?

Conduct Disorder is a mental condition. The behaviour goes beyond normal bullying to hurting people to Intensive disregard for societal norms and the rights, feeling, and personal space of other people. Children with conduct disorder are often difficult to diagnosed, as all kids act out sometimes. It is only when extreme behaviour shows up over a long period of time and isn’t caused by the child’s environment. And also if major age appropriate societal norms are violated or if their is a significant impairment in everyday functioning at home or school can be labeled as Conduct Disorder.

When we talk about normal behavior, it depends on the child’s age, character, and physical and emotional development. If their behaviour doesn’t match with family or societal expectations or is disruptive, it may become a problem. And that’s when intervention is needed.

Now lets move on to the symptoms of Conduct Disorder

  • Aggressive Behaviour: such as cruelty to animals, fighting, extreme bullying or committing physical and sexual abuse etc.
  • Destructive Behaviour: Destructions of property, breaking and throwing things, stealing etc.
  • Deceitful Behaviour: such as shoplifting, lying, cheating etc.
  • Violation of rules: such as running away from home, ignoring rights and feeling of other people, not caring about social norms etc.

Childhood onset conduct disorder can lead to problems like drug abuses, adult crime, marital disruption, alcoholism and many more.

But what factor causes all of these?

  • Genetic predisposition : Having a parent or sibling with conduct disorder or having a biological parent who abuses alcohol or has depression, bipolar disorder or any other mental health conditions.
  • Physiological influences
  • Social Influences
  • Family Influences
  • Environment influences
  • Individual characteristics

In fact combination of all these factors can lead to conduct disorder. In order to understand the conduct disorder exhibit by a child, it is important to find out the social and medical history of the child and the family. One thing that we need to remember is, it is our thoughts that creates feelings within us and these feelings creates behaviour and behaviour reinforces these thoughts. We all realize the influence of our childhood on the adult we become. Therefore, the foundation of a house and our childhood experiences are the foundation on which the rest of our lives are built. And if the foundation is not solid and has emotional cracks and wounds, these affect the structure of our adult lives. If a child has experienced awful instances like the way his/her parents always argued, that his/her brother was abusive, that school was hell etc. , all these will lead to bad memories which can haunt them throughout their life and shape their life accordingly.

Can we do anything about it?

Yes, we can. But prior to this, creating awareness with respect to conduct disorder is must, as there is very limited knowledge in this area. Recognizing at the right time and acting on it when they appear, can minimize the distress experiences by the child and the family.

Congnitive Emotional Interventions (CEI)

Now this is an extended version of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral therapy), which aims at helping individuals to evaluate the basis of their emotional distress, understand their trigger points and this exercise will train individual to enhance their cognitive control over their emotions. Most of the time people form certain beliefs and attitude based on their environment and if they have negative influence on them, it leads to emotional distress results in mental health conditions one of which is conduct disorder. So CEI process will help in reducing emotional distress by correcting errors in thoughts, perceptions and beliefs. As a result an individual will have better self control and become direct agent of their own changes rather than as helpless victim of external events and forces.

The major strategies that are adopted in CEI are

  • Cognitive Restructuring: The technique involves first identifying a situation that leads to stress and the thoughts and feelings that arise in that situation. Then examine the thoughts by understanding what is true about them and what is not. Finally, develop an alternative and more balanced thought and determine how you will feel when you adopt this new way of thinking.
  • Cognitive problem solving: In this first identify and define the problem, find alternate solutions, evaluate them and find the best one.
  • Thought stopping strategies: List your most stressful thoughts, imagine the thought, Stop the thought, Practice steps 1 through 3 until the thought goes away on command, after your normal voice is able to stop the thought, try whispering “Stop.” Over time, you can just imagine hearing “Stop” inside your mind.
  • Three column technique: In this technique, fold a paper width-wise into three columns. In the first column, write your negative thoughts, such as, I can’t do anything good in life. In the second column write cognitive errors like I hate my self, life is not fair etc. In the third column write those thoughts which are based on fact and not distortion, which would be, I have challenges so, I will keep working at it until things get better. Now underline those things that created anxiety or negative emotions. By doing this you make an individual realize that they are not doing anything good to themselves and not adding any value, so start ignoring these inner critics.
  • Cognitive mapping: It is like a flow chart or popularly known as mind mapping. Describing the problem in detail can help us identify key thoughts and behaviors’ that otherwise might be overlooked. It will not only help you identify the origins of your difficulties but, more crucially, help you spot the patterns of thought, feeling and action that are keeping the problem going in the present.

All these techniques will help a child or an adult to replace their self-criticizing thoughts with self-compassionate ones and keeping track of their negative thoughts will lead to more adaptive coping behaviour.

This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter

Need For Mental Health Awareness and Inclusiveness #MentalHealthAwareness #CauseAChatter

Mental Health Awareness is something that can help the millions of people who are impacted by mental health conditions across the globe. It should be considered as any other illness. Month of May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness month ,the sole purpose is to help people with mental illnesses understand that they are not alone in their struggle and that getting treatment can make all the difference. If we apply this approach to mental health every day of the year, more and more people could benefit from knowing about these common illnesses.

The difference in the quality of medical care received by people with mental illness is one of the reasons why they live shorter lives than people without mental illness. Even in the best-resourced countries in the world, this life expectancy gap is as much as 20 years. In the developing countries of the world, this gap is even larger. But of course, mental illnesses can kill in more direct ways as well. The most obvious example is suicide. Suicide is at the top of the list of the leading causes of death in young people in all countries in the world, including the poorest countries of the world. But beyond the impact of a health condition on life expectancy, we are also concerned about the quality of life lived.

We need to use a matrix called DALY , Disability-Adjusted Life Year.

The Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) and the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) are two popular health status indices, used to measure health outcomes based on the duration and quality of life for an individual. The QALY was the first developed health status index, and is mostly used in developed countries. A QALY is defined as a year lived in perfect health. 

Both metrics use a scale of 0-1 to represent the quality of life:

  • QALY: “0” is equivalent to death; “1” represents perfect health. 
  • DALY, “0” represents perfect health; “1” equates to death.

I am sharing this just to understand that by this calculation we can discover which populations are living with the greatest health burden, and prioritize those areas for future health interventions.

After Daly calculation some startling things about mental illness from a global perspective has been discovered. For example, mental illnesses are amongst the leading causes of disability around the world. Depression, for example, is the third-leading cause of disability, alongside conditions such as diarrhea and pneumonia in children. When you put all the mental illnesses together, they account for roughly 15 percent of the total global burden of disease. The World Health Organization estimates that there are nearly four to five hundred million people living on our tiny planet who are affected by a mental illness. But consider for a moment the incredible diversity of mental illnesses, from autism and intellectual disability in childhood, through to depression and anxiety, substance misuse and psychosis in adulthood, all the way through to dementia in old age, and I’m pretty sure that each and every one of us can think of at least one person, in our most intimate social networks. What’s truly important from a global health point of view, is that the vast majority of these affected individuals do not receive the care that we know can transform their lives, and remember, we do have robust evidence that a range of interventions, medicines, psychological interventions, and social interventions, can make a vast difference. And yet, even in the best-resourced countries, roughly 50 percent of affected people don’t receive these interventions. treatment gap reaches approaches an astonishing 90 percent.

It is quite surprising that when I meet people who are affected by mental illness, I hear stories of hidden suffering, shame and discrimination. It is this injustice that makes me do a little bit to transform the lives of people affected by mental illness, and want to bridge the gap between the care provided and their illness.

In India or I can say in the world we face immense shortage of mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists. Can we do anything about it. Yes, we can ? There is something called as Task Shifting. Now the idea of task shifting in global health is , when we see a shortage of specialized health care professionals, we can train whoever is available in the community to provide a range of health care interventions. As you know in our country mid wives are trained in a complex task like delivering babies than why can’t we train ordinary people for mental health interventions.

There are five ways in which this task shifting can be done

  1. Simplify the message by avoiding all the jargons that medicine has invented around itself.
  2. Simplify healthcare interventions that can be easily transferred to less trained individuals.
  3. Deliver healthcare not in large institutions but close to people’s home.
  4. Deliver health care using whoever is available and affordable in our local communities.
  5. Reallocate few specialists who are available to perform roles such as capacity building and supervision.

Task shifting is not just significant for developing countries but has equal importance for developed nations. In developed counties the cost for health care is rapidly increasing and a huge chunk of those cost are human resource and secondly health care has become incredibly professionalized that it’s become very remote and removed from local communities. Therefore task shifting will not just make health care more affordable and accessible but can proved to be fundamentally empowering. This way ordinary people will become more effective in caring for health of others but will become guardian of their own health.

Therefore, it is important that health care advocate and professionals should stand together with people who are suffering from mental health illness so that they can receive the health care that can transform their lives and can live with dignity.

“Share and Seek Help As Every Story Matters”

This Post is Part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter Campaign

How To Deal With Self-Defeating Behaviors? #CauseAChatter

Get out of your comfort zone, accept the change, be positive, be resilient, perseverance is the key to success are few things that we keep on listening. And why not? People who have growth mindset are the ones who follow all of these and are more successful in life. Most of us are aware about all these qualities but still there is something that holds us back and we fail to understand the real cause.  In my experience, people who fail to learn the lessons that life teaches them fall under the prey of self – defeating behaviour.

Self- defeating behavior works against your own interest. It keeps you away from the goals that you have set for yourself . They are distracting, self-loathing and self- sabotaging. Nothing can drive you crazier than knowing that you have been keeping yourself away from gaining love, success and happiness which you deserve and desire. Self-defeating behavior occurs when impulse wins over awareness. It might give you quick gratification but you will long for lasting satisfaction, it might give you immediate relief but ultimate resolution is what will make you happier. It is like a coping mechanism, which can make you feel better for a while but can be really be nasty in long run. Self defeating behavior is your biggest enemy, the earlier you get rid of it the better it is for you. There are many self defeating behaviours,  to name a few

  • Procastinating
  • Holding a grudge
  • Trying to change others or having expectations from them
  • Waiting until it’s too late
  • Always having to be right
  • Letting fear run your life
  • Becoming obsessive or compulsive
  • Feeling sorry for yourself

As with the most persistent patterns,  this behavior has roots in childhood experience.  Children who are abused or neglected in their childhood, feel unprotected and alone. Then there are children who do not lack affection but are not given adequate guidance, grow up feeling incompetent an incapable.  In both these cases they end up with stubborn self defeating behaviours. This kind of behavior are quite impulsive and people act without regard for long term consequences.

How to deal with such impulsive behavior?

3 Awareness Level

  1. Physical Awareness : Take a pause and notice what you feel and where you feel it.  As we know impulses begin as physical sensation. It could be your gut,  head, chest or any other part of your body.
  2. Emotional Awareness: Ask yourself the reasons for feeling stressed out or tensed. Try to connect your physical sensation with your emotions.
  3. Impulse Awareness: What action do you feel like talking when are going through such emotions?

Once you understand these three awareness level the next thing that you need to ask yourself is, what the outcomes are likely to be, if you take any action? Once you become aware about the consequences it helps you to deal better with any situation and in turn can keep you ready with the alternatives which can be more constructive.

Do it Now

Stop procrastinating. We procrastinate not because we are lazy but because we are lonely. It’s a human nature, we always look for a support or an accountability partner.  That little push from someone can actually makes a hell lot of difference. A procrastinator can become an activator when he or she is around others. That’s why we have jogging buddies, study groups and collaborators.

Acceptance

Can you fix something until you admit it’s broken?  No right?  Acceptance is the catalyst for change. Once you accept that there is a problem , you can find a solution.  The longer you persist in self defeating behavior the more likely you are to lose the respect and trust of people. God also help people who are ready to help themselves.

Self love

Self-love surrounds you with positive feeling about yourself, it encompasses not only how you treat yourself but also your thoughts and feelings about yourself . So, when you conceptualize self-love, you can try to imagine what you would do for yourself, how you talk to yourself, and how you feel about yourself that reflects love and concern. There are times when you feel really low and not confident about yourself or the things you do, self love will not let you loose hope. Practice certain things in your life that can bring self love in action.

  • Positive self talk
  • Forgiving yourself when you mess up
  • Meeting your own needs
  • Be assertive
  • Do not let others take advantage of you or hurt you
  • Prioritizing your health and wellbeing
  • Prioritizing mindfulness
  • Spend time around people who are supportive and avoid negative people
  • Ask for help
  • Set realistic goal with challenges
  • Accept the imperfections

Learn to say NO

Many of us struggle to say no, fearing rejection, anger or just the uncertainty of what the other person’s response will be. Our people-pleasing is often rooted in childhood. We might have been raised to be a good girl or boy, praised for being “mummy’s little helper”, or we might not have been given enough attention, and so sought it by pleasing others, even at the expense of ourselves. Not saying No not just takes away your precious time , time that you could have used in more productive things but can also lead to self and other’s manipulation. Warren Buffet famously said: “Successful people say no to almost everything.” Saying no allows you to say yes to what is important to you. It allows you to be a better person because when you say yes, it comes from a good place, not from resentment or fear.

Be Authentic

You don’t have to put up an act to make a good impression. Remember if you fail to express disapproval, the unacceptable traits can become habitual. Be yourself from the beginning of a relationship. Why would you want to be involved with someone who doesn’t like you for you. Being fake is the most dangerous self defeating behavior as there comes a time in every relationship when the parties let their guards down. The longer they have been concealed, the greater the disruption to the relationship.

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight for a very long time” ~ Andre Gide

Professional Help

Believe in yourself, nothing is impossible but even after doing all of these if you still feel that you need professional help, do not hesitate as meeting with a counselor or psychologist can be an important part of reducing unhealthy behaviors. A psychologist can help you to identify triggers that lead to your self-defeating behaviors and provide tools to help you replace them with healthier options. 

“Share and Seek Help as Every Story Matters”

This Post is Part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter Campaign

Are nutrition and exercise inter-connected to strengthen your muscles?

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates

Balanced nutrients and healthy routine exercise go hand in hand just like peas and carrots. One without the other just doesn’t work. As an Image Consultant I always talk about “Image inside out”. Now what does this means? It means managing image is all about developing your inner strength and at the same time reflect them on the outside through your appearance. Similarly, if you are looking for prolonged health benefits and want your body to retain muscle strength even when you age, it is imperative to focus on both diet and exercise at the same time. Nothing exists in isolation. Everything is inter-related.

Contrary to popular belief, exercise alone will not help you with weight loss or stimulate your metabolism.  Healthy eating accounts for roughly 70-80% of the work with exercise being the rest. Too many people think that they can eat crap as long as they exercise. But it is just going to do more harm than good.

If you are looking for perfection, I am sorry to disappoint you, but no one is perfect nor should they expect to be. In life and nutrition, it’s about finding a good or right balance. Proper nutrition and right exercise will help you obtain the body you desire, improve your self- confidence and boost your fitness performance.

There is a 80/20 rule. Aim for healthy nutrition at least 80 percent of the time and exercise accounts for approximately 20 percent of the work. Try to set realistic goals, look for progress and not perfection. As far as exercise is concerned, do not force what your body can’t bare. One thing you need to remember, your metabolism decreases as you get older. So, eat mindful, build a life style which can be maintained and gives you longer, happier and healthier life.

As you age your nutritional need also alter. This is because aging leads to varity of changes in your body like, nutrients deficiencies, decreased quality of life and poor health outcome. But luckily there are things you can do to prevent all of these by taking nutrient rich food and taking the appropriate supplements for example Ensure supplements. #EnsureStrongerInsideOut.

6 Ways To Stay Strong And Healthy As You Age

Do you know that people over the age of 40 may lose up to 10 % of their muscle mass per decade? And the rate of decline may double after the age of 70. But can we do something about it? The answer is Yes! Now let’s understand How?

  • Add Movement

Engage in regular exercise, including resistance training, to maintain muscle and strength. Exercise not just keeps you fit physically but also mentally.

  • Add protein rich diet

Eat good amount of protein from lean meats, eggs and beans. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at every meal. As we know protein is a muscle building nutrient and while aging bodies process protein less efficiently and need more of it to maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health, and other essential physiological functions.

  • Add balanced nutrients in your diet

Choose a balanced diet full of veggies, fruits, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats. It also lowers your risk of developing chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

  • Add considerate supplements to you diet

Consider adding a nutrition drink to your diet to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need as you age. But one needs to remember, they can also have unwanted side effects. Therefore it’s important to understand the supplements you are taking and why you are taking them. Talk with your doctor if you are considering taking a supplement.

  • Add regular health check up in your lifestyle

Consult your healthcare provider about nutrition, especially if you’re ill, hospitalized or recovering from surgery, to manage illness-related muscle loss. And go for regular health check-ups.

  • Add more positive people in your life

Surround yourself with positive people. When you surround yourself with positive influences, you will feel better about yourself. You’ll feel energized and motivated and in turn have longer and healthier life.

Build a lifestyle, not just a diet and treat your body as a holistic system for long term results. When these two lifestyle factors Diet and Exercise are combined, they provide holistic health.

This Post is part of Blogchatter’s Campaign #EnsureStrongerInsideOut

I have taken my test.. Have you taken yours?

Check your muscle age here https://bit.ly/MuscleAgeTest

3 Simple Ways To Change A Habit

How are habits formed? Is there any habit which you wish to change? It is our thoughts and actions that create pathways in our brain. And as we repeat the thinking and response, so the pathways become a tarred road and in no time, highways develop, along which our response travel. This means that whenever we are required to respond to a certain type of thought or situation, our brain follow the road most travelled. And that’s how habits are formed.

Identify The Habit You Want To Change

Make a list of habits you wish to change. Find the trigger point or the cause which is leading to those habits. It might be overwhelming but you need to be focused and determined. Once you learn what prompts them, it is easier to find solution.

Follow 21/120 Rule

Any habit which you wish to change, you must train yourself to turn off the freeway and start a new path, which involves change and hard work. The trouble is that when a crisis arises, we inevitably rush back to the old familiar path or way of doing things. New Year’s Eve is the time when many of us decide to rectify certain bad habits. But how many of us really abide by them? It is said that if you can maintain a cessation of your behavior for 21 days then you are a long way down the road towards maintaining the new behavior. After 120 days you have truly turned the new path into an established road and are far less likely to revert to the old road even during the periods of stress.

But then why we find it hard to stop a bad habit? According to my observation giving up on habitual behavior is hard as we must engage voluntarily in the change, but anything which is forced upon us is easy as we have very little say in the process. Change is something that we humans are not very good with, rather we use up huge amount of energy trying to ensure that change does not happen to us. So, when we are required to change a habit, we need huge amount of determination and courage if we are to succeed.

We develop certain habits because they make us feel good. They help us ease tension and bring relief. This is not just true for good habits but bad habits too.  Someone who self-harms know it very well that what they are doing will cause a scar, but the negative implication of doing this surpassed by the emotional release. This really sounds scary and one must strive hard to change these negative habits.

Take Small Steps

Change in habit will not happen overnight. And changing something completely is also not practical. Or setting huge task like “I will stop eating chocolate” might not work as well. So, what are we supposed to do? Take baby steps which you can fulfil. For example, if you just aim not to eat chocolate for a day, then the goal would be more attainable. At the end of the day, you would feel good about yourself and resolve to continue the process for another day, and so on. After 21 days the craving would have reduced, and you could look at weekly target. Now having build up on your success and affirmed a positive sense of self, you would be ready to take up any habit which is a hinderance in your life. Once you’ve established that habit, you continue to do it for another ninety days. It is like throwing a small pebble into the pond and watching how ripples increase in size as they more outwards. One small success can lead to far bigger ones.

Once you understand the only thing which is constant in this world is change, you will dug up your fear , win over your mind and will see a ray of hope.

@ Swati Mathur

How Inclusion Can Help In Employee Well-Being? #CauseAChatter

Mental health and diversity and inclusion are closely related. You cannot ignore the effect of racism and racial trauma on mental health at the same time the disparity in access to mental health care across various communities cannot be ignored. The inequality and lack of cultural competency in mental health treatment cannot be ignored. Employees from diverse backgrounds can face lack of representation, unconscious bias, and other stressors that impact their mental health and psychological safety at work. Nothing can be ignored as they all are deep rooted, but we do see a ray of hope.

Today the modern workplace is consists of people of different religion, ages, gender and ethnicity. And one of the reasons for this outcome is economic globalization. Many organizations have realized that diversity at workplace can bring lot of material as well as intangible benefits. However, diversity has their own challenges like discrimination, harassment. disrespect, indifferent attitude and many more which can lead to a nasty consequence. Hiring a diverse workforce is great but this is not enough if people don’t feel wanted and accepted. Diversity is one part of the equation, to balance this equation companies need to work on inclusion.

Therefore, many companies have adopted diversity and inclusion programs. Inclusion in the workplace is extremely important for any organization looking to build a strong sense of connections and belonging and an engaging culture. Inclusive workplace is where all the employees irrespective of their differences and disabilities feel welcomed and valued for their contribution.

Here we need to understand without inclusion, diversity effort will not succeed. Some of the important traits of inclusions are

Every employee should feel that they have a voice and will be heard.

Every employee should feel the sense of ownership. The feeling that you’re a part of an organization that knows and values you. 

Every employee should be given an environment for learning and development which makes them feel that companies care about their growth and aspirations.

Every employee should have access to resources which will aid them in their work.

Every employee should be provided with collaborative environment regardless of their role and department.

Ways to create inclusive culture

Firstly it is important to educate employees and leaders.

Secondly creating an environment for open communication where listening should be given priority.

Third and the most important is embracing employees to their full authentic self. As we all know we are at our best when we are our own authentic selves. Give employee freedom to explore their true potential.

Benefits of inclusive workplace

  • People are more committed towards their work.
  • People are more engaged with their work as they enjoy working.
  • People will have better wellbeing in their lives.
  • Reduction in attrition rate and people will stay with the company for a longer duration.
  • People will be more likely to recommend their company as a best working place.
  • Increase in productivity and sales.
  • Improved participation and decision making.
  • Reduce conflicts and miscommunication.
  • Brings out favorable work cultural and happy and satisfy employees.
  • Leads to increase in self- esteem and self- confidence.
  • Better ideas that leads to inflation of profits.

According to Deloitte’s article on diversity and inclusion, it states, “A growing body of research indicates that diverse and inclusive teams outperform their peers. Companies with inclusive talent practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30 percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors. Without a strong culture of inclusion and flexibility, the team-centric model comprising diverse individuals may not perform well.”

Therefore, diversity with inclusiveness leads to positive growth not just for the employee but for the organization. It is time that each and every company should adopt this for the overall growth of our country and for better mental health of our employee.

This post is part of the Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter campaign.

Pic Courtesy : Pexels/Google/Canva

Reasons For Fresher’s Distress and Coping Mechanism #CauseAChatter

Today, whether you are working for a well known company or a start up or for yourself, going digital is the only way forward. Generation Y and Z consuming digital content every second of their lives ,leading India to the world’s largest internet using population. And this will witness its zenith in the coming years. Though most of us are still trying hard to adapt to this changing environment, the youth is accepting it whole heartedly. But this fast changing technology is quite overwhelming for these freshers, which leads to stress and taking our attention to the fast increasing mental health issues.

Stress is the biggest trigger factor which impacts mental and physical wellbeing. The lesser or the more managed the stress levels, the better the overall wellbeing. “It is a well-known fact that physical and mental wellbeing are correlated, and one cannot be managed at the expense of the other. 

There could be numerous reasons which can induces stress but to name a few

  • Uneasy work place : shows team politics, late working hours, not fitting in with the team’s vision, not being recognized for work, expected verses actual task etc.
  • Family Issues : shows money crunch, parents pressure for getting married, emotional instability etc.
  • Exposure to technology : leads to continuous learning, industry pressure, competition etc.

There are certain set of skills which are prerequisite to be able to sustain in the competitive market. Unfortunately I feel sorry to say that freshers lack even the basic problem solving skills.

Here are the top four , most important problems fresher’s faces that leads to increase in stress

  1. Lack of Readiness : Students when step into the corporate world expected to have certain skill sets. There is a wide range of dissatisfaction among recruiters as students lack initiative skill, being efficient and flexible, accepting protocols and procedures, basic corporate etiquettes etc. Every organization today is looking for candidates who are ready for the job or someone who is trainable. Being proactive and with right attitude can actually assist them to be more acceptable in this giant would of opportunities. Freshers need to comprehend the realities of a workplace, along with being aware of the realistic expectations around them.
  2. Lack of Application Knowledge : Today’s generation is really lucky as they have instant access to abundant information and they are very much conscious of the power it holds in this new age. Somehow all the information they possess is theoretical and is not getting channeled practically. But whom should we blame for this? Students are not to be blamed completely, the problem lies in our education system that does not have access to detailed courses and uses outdated curriculum. Due to this it becomes even more important for the companies to provide internships to freshers before hiring them. This will not only give them better clarity about job expectations but also clear their concepts about different subjects.
  3. Lack of communication Skills : As you are not working in isolation, dealing with people becomes must. And if freshers lack in expressing themselves it can hinder their growth. While some suffer from the fear of speaking in public, others lack the right way of doing so. Inadvertently, their job suffers. These skills can be worked upon, just that there has to be self motivation and desire to achieve more.
  4. High Attrition Rate : This is to do with the attitude. Students get into “get” attitude where everything has been served on the silver platter. Parents supported them financially and emotionally, college supported them with good education and industry supported them with infrastructure. But once they step into the real world they realize things are not the way they perceived and that leads to stress which they find difficult to handle and quit. Owing to a growth in the technology, freshers today have access to endless opportunities. They are more interested in higher salaries and fast-track promotion as they know there is no respite from the pressure of timelines and deliveries, wherever they go. They know they can jump around companies and get what they want. But how long they can continue like this. Here also companies come to their rescue by providing access to mentors who can administer job guidance and help them understand their role and responsibility by honing their skills, the problem can be solved to a great extent.

If freshers really want to survive in this competitive market without being stressed out they need to

  • Take ownership of their personal and professional growth
  • Bring positive change in their attitude
  • Be proactive in understanding the changing needs of the market
  • Work on upscaling skills that can aid in their success path
  • Accept the change and come out of their comfort zone
  • Ready to learn-unlearn and relearn

Remember stress itself is not negative the way we respond to it makes it negative of positive. Make sure you take it as an EU Stress which will help you to be more confident, adequate, and stimulated by the challenges you experience from the stressor.

This post is part of Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter

Impact of Body Image on Mental Health #CauseAChatter

Body dissatisfaction is the experience of negative thoughts and feelings about one’s body and appearance , is a powerful and consistent precursor of a whole range of unhealthy body-related behaviors. These includes : unhealthy dieting regimes and problematic eating behaviors (starving, bingeing and purging), clinical eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia), cosmetic surgery, extreme exercising and unhealthy muscle-enhancing behaviors in men and boys (such as taking steroids or other supplements ). It is also linked to depression, anxiety, sexual dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. Therefore body dissatisfaction is a significant risk for physical health, mental health, and thus well-being. Any factor, such as idealized media image, that increases body dissatisfaction is therefore an important influence on well-being.

  • I am fat
  • I am too skinny
  • I would be happy if I was taller
  • I would be happy if I was shorter
  • I would be happy if I had curly hair
  • I would be happy if I had straight hair
  • I would be happy if I was fairer
  • I would be happy if I was………A never ending list of complaints about how I look.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you used to putting yourself down? If so you are not alone. However these are not thoughts which crept overnight. It has been there sub consciously and this all started slowly when you were a kid probably at a age of 2 years plus, when others have commented about you. Lots of people have trouble adjusting and this can affect their self esteem. If I say body image and self esteem are inter related, I am sure many of you will agree with me. Self-esteem is all about how much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you act. For example a person who has high self esteem will make friends easily, is more in control of his or her behavior, and will enjoy life more. As far as Body-image is concerned it is how someone feels about his or her own physical appearance. Therefore, for most people, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem. That’s because as kids develop into teens and further adults, they care more about how others see them.

There are people who look into the mirror constantly. Forget about them, if I just ask why we look in the mirror? We are all more obsessed with our appearance than we like to admit. But this is not an indication of vanity. Concern about appearance is quite normal and understandable. But drawing a line is important before it becomes an obsession.

The bias for beauty operates in almost all social situations. Most of the experiments show we react more favorably to physically attractive people. We also believe in the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype- an irrational but deep-seated belief that physically attractive people possess other desirable characteristics such as intelligence. competence, social skills, confidence, even moral virtue. (The good fairy/princess is always beautiful; the wicked stepmother is always ugly)

It is not surprising that physical attractiveness is of overwhelming importance to us. Concern with appearance is not just an aberration of modern western culture. Every period of history has had its own standards of what is and is not beautiful, and every contemporary society has its own distinctive concept of the ideal physical attributes. Advances in technology and in particular the rise of the social media have caused normal concern about how we look to become an obsessions. Thanks to media, we have becomes accustomed to extremely rigid and uniform standards of beauty.

According to my observation ,people see and react to their reflection in a mirror varies according to their age, mood, gender, eating disorder, what they been watching on TV, what magazines they read, their marital status and also what kind of childhood they had.

All research to date on body image shows that women are more critical of their appearance than men. Up to 8 out of 10 women will be dissatisfied with their reflection, and more than half may see a distorted image. On the other hand men looking in the mirror are more likely to be either pleased with what they see or indifferent. Research shows that men generally have much more positive image than women, if anything, they may tend to over-estimate their attractiveness. Some men looking in the mirror may literally not see the flaws in their appearance.

But why are women so much more critical than man?

  • Because women are judged on their appearance more than men, and standards of female beauty are considerably higher and more inflexible. Constant exposure to idealized images of female beauty on TV and magazines makes exceptional good looks seems normal and anything short of perfection seem abnormal and ugly.
  • Also, most women are trying to achieve the impossible: standards of female beauty have in fact become progressively more unrealistic during 21st century.

Female dissatisfaction with appearance begins at a very early age. and puberty only makes things worse. Boys were found to be significantly less critical, but they too do go through a short phase of relative dissatisfaction in early adolescence, but the physical changes associated with puberty soon bring them closer to the masculine ideal. There is also a possibility that if a child is teased about flaws in their appearance, their body image may have become permanently disturbed.

Most of us are aware of our society’s emphasis on the importance of appearance, and we know what the socially sanctioned standards of beauty are. But not all of us accept or internalize these standards. Strong minded individuals who reject current standards are more likely to have a positive body image. If you have a positive body image, you probably like and accept yourself the way you are. This healthy attitude allows you to explore other aspects of growing up, such as developing good friendships, growing more independent from your parents and challenging yourself physically and mentally. Developing these parts of yourself can help boost your self esteem.

7 Steps To Enhance Body-Image

Body images are not fixed. Our body experiences changes as we grow older, and each stage in our life is associated with body image maker. Building a positive body image is a lifelong process. Changing body image means more than changing our body, it means changing how we think, feel and react to our body. There are many a way to remodel the outside, however, it also requires extensive inside changes in body-image. Some steps to enhance body-image are:

  • Explore your personal body-image with its strengths and limitations
  • Confront thinking distortions related to your body
  • Challenge misleading assumptions about body appearance
  • Accept and love who you are
  • Be comfortable with your body
  • Have positive experience with your body
  • Be a friend to your body with positive affirmations

This Post is part of Blogchatter’s # CauseAChatter

Pic courtesy / Edit : pexel / canva

What IS OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)? And Ways To Deal With It

People suffering from OCD are not many, In fact only about 3% of adults have it and it is even less common in children. People generally mistake habits with OCD. However, there is a grey area between habits that we may have and OCD. For example, we may drive to work a certain way for the benefit of passing a favorite site , here we do not feel compelled to do so from a belief, but if we were to feel compelled to drive a certain route because not doing so would result in a car crash, such behavior could then be said to be OCD.

To come to any conclusion it is imperative to understand : What is an obsession?

As obsession is a thought which is recurrent and persistent or something which is inappropriate and unwanted. Now when the obsession continuous without showing any apparent cause, makes you distressed and make your life difficult, that is when intervention is needed. With obsession it is an image or thought that stuck with you and will only go away when you follow some other specific action and compulsion. In OCD, often the person will be aware that the original trigger for the action or compulsion, is simply a creation of their own mind, in spite of that they cannot get rid of these thoughts and images.

Now lets understand: What is a Compulsion?

It is nothing but a reaction to the obsession and must be adhered to rigidly, failure to do so will result in a major disaster. If someone suffering from OCD force herself/himself not to follow the compulsion may result in a huge increase in stress which can be released only by performing the compulsion. They have a feeling , by performing the compulsion repeatedly , they can actually get rid of their obsession. The sufferer knows it very well that performing these compulsion is illogical but as it worked at reducing the fear and tension in the past, they are compelled to repeat.

Are there any specific types of OCD?

Well, there are infinite types of OCD, it can impact on any thought, on any subject, on any person, on any fear, and frequently fixates on what’s important in a person’s life. Some of the known OCD’s are

  • Contamination: a fear of things that might be dirty or a compulsion to clean
  • Rumination : causes a person to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying, figuring out, trying to understand, analyzing or clarifying thoughts
  • Intrusive thoughts: are usually disturbing and the person often tries to resist them
  • Mental Contamination: Having a feeling of unwanted, being treated unfairly or feeling like you’ve been treated like a dirt.
  • Checking : Confirming if things are done in right way for example, checking up of locks, alarm systems, ovens, or light switches etc.
  • Symmetry or arranging : Wants things to be lined up in certain way.

Why people don’t open up and share their problems especially if it is related to mental health?

  • Fear of being judged : One of the most common cause is fear and being misjudged. The reason could be that people recognize the negative sigma and discrimination associated with it and don’t want to be labeled as “crazy” or, “mentally ill”.
  • Lack of awareness : A person my acknowledge that something is not normal but may not understand the real cause or consequences of it.
  • Fear of hurting people they love : Their is a sense of hopelessness. They feel they might hurt their near and dear once as this is considered as a taboo in the society and people might isolate them and their family.
  • Lack of understanding from others – It is very difficult to deal with someone with OCD as they don’t want to be treated differently. They don’t trust people as they feel no one will understand them.
  • Distrust : Not everyone is comfortable sharing and when something is related to as delicate as mental health people become more conscious. They worry that their personal information won’t be kept confidential.
  • Feeling of inadequacy ; Many people believe that they are inadequate or a failure if they won’t be able to handle this on their own.
  • Other Barriers : these barriers are more practical like inability to pay for treatment due to financial hardship or lack of health insurance. Not having reliable transportation, child care issues and appointments for treatment that conflict with work or school schedules can also prevent someone from engaging in treatment.

When do you know that you need an outside help?

According to the research, in terms of brain chemistry, insufficient serotonin levels may be a cause of OCD and that brain circuits appear to return to normal after taking serotonin medication or receiving cognitive behavioral psychotherapy.

It really disturbs me when I see that most of the time OCD goes unrecognized. According to the Obsessive Compulsion Foundation, studies show that it takes an average of seventeen years from the onset of OCD until the obtaining of appropriate treatment. What do you think would be the reason? Well as far as my experience with my clients, most of the time sufferer keep it a secret, as they feel no body will understand and most importantly access to appropriate treatment is not always available. This is a pity as with proper treatment patient can avoid suffering and can lessen the risk of developing further problems. In some cases it has been witnessed that after treatment, patient was fully cured or in some cases they have gained symptomatic relief.

How can you help someone suffering from OCD?

Offer support and understanding

It is very important that you clearly communicate to them that you do understand the difference between behavioral symptoms of OCD and the person. When compulsions are visible you need to convey to them that you know it is not them it is their OCD. This will help to reduce the person’s feeling of guilt and low self worth and in return can also help in diminishing of their stress and anxiety. Once they open up and discuss it becomes easier for you to understand how it affects them and how you can be more supportive.

Do not Comply with OCD behavior

Some times you comply with their request and do what pleases them, as you find it much easier then dealing with the prolonged anxiety, fear, or arguments that may arise if you don’t do what is asked. But this can act as a hindrance in their recovery process if they are undergoing any sort of treatment. Yes, It is important to normalize family or household routines at the same time refuse to participate in reinforcing OCD behaviors. 

Reach out for support for yourself and for the sufferer

Living with someone with OCD is not easy. Make sure you not only confide in someone who understands you and guides you . It is important to maintain your connections and supports among your extended family and friends. If need arises do not hesitate to consider professional support. Contact a telephone helpline for families of people with OCD and anxiety condition.

Treatments available

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Relaxation
  • Neuromodulation
  • Transcranial Magnetic simulation

(You can google and find out these treatments in detail or can consult your Doctor)

I strongly believe, self awareness and acceptance can solve most of the problems. There is a saying that goes “the first page of the book of life is a mirror”. By understanding ourselves we can start to understand the nature of all things. We humans have a habit of ignoring our subconscious mind. Something which troubles or disturbs us we conveniently avoid rather than own and confront them. Knowing your strengths and weakness, accepting that they exist and work on them as needed can help us overcome any obstacle in life.

This Post is part of Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter Campaign.

This blog post if part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla.

@Swati Mathur

How Does Natural Environment Impact Our Mental Health #CauseAChatter

“Nature itself is the best physician” – Hippocrates

Mother earth has a healing power, there is something about the quite calm of nature that is contagious, leaving quite calm in the mind. Don’t you feel the same?

Nature provide us with great benefits some are more visible like food, shelter, air, water and some are less visible benefits. Surrounded by nature or just watching a picture or a movie of nature reduces stress , anger , fear and gives a pleasant feeling. Research done in many hospitals, offices, and schools have found that even a simple plant in a room can have a major impact on stress and anxiety.  Exposure to the natural world would help humans live happier, healthier lives. But not everyone is blessed to reap these benefits. Urbanization , decline in human contact with nature and increased screen time, amongst other factors, means that we spend the majority of our time indoors. It has become even more crucial to create opportunities for nature experience. Nature has given us everything in abundance but we human have exploited for our own pleasure and that’s why today we all are facing the heat. A clean and healthy environment is essential for human to feel positive.

Approaches to ensure nature have positive impact on human mind

Ecotherapy : Or green care or nature based interventions. This is a therapeutic approach that includes participating in structured outdoor activities such as gardening, food growing, nature walk and farming conservation work. All these proved to be extremely beneficial for improving mental health of the people. Ecotherapy shows that the environment, without doubt, is part of the foundation of our wellbeing. Experiencing nature has allowed us to rediscover our ties to both people and places , it helps us meet our need for connection and identity, ultimately giving our lives an enhanced sense of meaning. We are not separate from nature, but are an integral part of it.

Forest Therapy : It is yet another approach that contributes to improved emotional and cognitive health. This experience can be through a forest activity program and by experiencing the social and physical conditions of the forest environment and the therapeutic elements of the forest. Visiting or viewing a forest scene has a positive effect on psychological healing and well-being in terms of recovering from stress, improving concentration and productivity, improving the psychological state, particularly for people from urban environments.

Protecting Green spaces: From both climate and biodiversity perspectives, the protection of existing green spaces should be prioritized and evidence suggests these spaces also provide the largest health benefits.

How human have taken nature for granted!

Climate change: Climate change leads to psychological distress and anxiety about the future as it is considered as a global environment threat. It is very disheartening to see earth warming up at a steady pace. The reason for this is the increase in human-caused green house, which has lead to health, ecological and humanitarian crises.

Chemical Substances : As we know humans are exposed to wide range of chemical substances can results in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and other psychiatric and neurological conditions. For this no one else to be blamed but us.

Noise pollution : Noise pollution affects mental health problems like annoyance, poor sleep, cognitive impairment etc. Noise is particularly relevant for children, as they are particularly vulnerable, including in settings such as schools. We human need to be more sensitive towards mother nature. It is like digging our own graveyard.

All the reasons mentioned above are man made and therefore it is our responsibility to preserve nature in all its aspects. E.O Wilson has rightly said “If all mankind has to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed then thousand years ago. If insect were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos”.

Men are considered as the most selfish creatures , but if it is about our own mental health effecting due to this mess , than it is our responsibility not to cause irreversible damage to our nature and regain back its beauty.

This Post is part of Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter Campaign.

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