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

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.

Mental Trap That Mess Up Our Lives #CauseAChatter

Pic Courtesy : Pexel

Mental trap are perpetual modes of thinking that becomes our habit. This metal trap disturbs our ease , take up vast amount of our time and exhaust our energy without accomplishing anything of value for us or for anyone else.

When we know mental trap can be very harmful than why do we fall into them? Why don’t we simply quit? Well , the reason could be many but according to my understanding very often we are unaware of what we are thinking. Even if we know our thoughts, we often fail to recognize that it can be injurious to us. Even when we do recognize their injurious nature, we often can’t quit, because we have become habitual.

Most of the time we humans remain unaware of this mental trap and fall into them automatically without making a conscious decision. The first qualification for getting rid of this mental trap is to learn the art of detection. But learning to detect and recognizing aren’t enough to put an end to them. We also need to be assure that they are useless and injurious. But the irony of life is that most of the time mental traps are often mistaken for absolutely indispensable activities without which life would become chaotic and threatening. Having learned to identify the traps and having been convinces that its is in our advantage to get rid of it and if still we continue, it is nothing but a case of ” Bad Habit”. Lets take the example of smoker, every smoker is aware that smoking is injurious and it is something very difficult to get rid off, still continuous to smoke as it has become a ” Bad Habit” which if they really try can get rid off, but how many actually does?

The mental traps which we are going to discuss today might not feel like traps but when we study them in detail we realize it is difficult to come out of them as many people do not consider them as traps.

The first trap, Persistence, is to work on a task which has actually lost its value. Some times you start reading a book because someone gave a great review about it but the second motive is , the need to complete what was began. Were great review the only motive to read, we would quit immediately if you find it boring , but the second motive to finish what was began, just because it begun , makes us persist.

The second trap, Inflation, is the trap of working harder than necessary to achieve our aim. Doing too little can be an error but too much is also a mistake. There is a certain amount of work appropriate to each of life tasks. If we do too little, we fall short of the goal. And if we do too much, we dissipate our resources. For example making more money than we can spend is a trap if our aim is to be able to buy what we want. But the same activity may be fully in accord with our values if we engage in it for the pleasure of playing the money game.

The third trap, Prediction, is the trap of starting too soon. It is true that if we start too late, we may not have enough time to finish. But their are also penalties for starting too soon. When we predict, we render ourselves to overworking, preworking and working in a vain. We overwork if we act now when the same result can more easily be achieved at a later time. For example, expecting a letter of acceptance or rejection , we compose two replies, one for each possibilities. Has we waited until the letter was received , we would have needed to do only half as much work, and the result would have been the same. Hence we overworked.

The fourth trap, Resistance, we continue with what we are already doing when it would be better to quit. In this trap we ought to quit because something more important or more pressing has come up. For example we resist if we continue to play when there is a fire in the kitchen. It will be foolish if we resist under two conditions, one is emergency and second one is opportunity. We should drop the task at hand when we are faced with an emergency as we may suffer a penalty for the delay. For example, it would be unwise to occupy ourselves with boiling coffee when we are struggling with a masked gunman in the living room. Second we should drop the task at hand when opportunity comes knocking. For example missing an official dinner which can help in networking for finishing a task which can be done tomorrow or next week .

The fifth trap, Procrastination, delay or giving excuses for not doing something by indulging in something which gives temporary pleasure. Some procrastination lasts for only a moment but some last for days, months and years together. Conditions never seems right for the initiation for any task. For example we want to write a letter , we already decided that we will write it and still we hold back.

The sixth trap, Double mind, when we try to attend to two things at once. We participate in a conversation while at the same time trying to solve a financial problems that’s been praying on our mind. Sitting and reading a book when we are attacked by hordes of extraneous ideas relating to other tasks like, bills to be paid, kids to be feed and so on. This is a state or chronic division, always trying to hold all our unresolved problems in consciousness simultaneously instead of setting the burden down and picking up one item at a time. Remember that the technique of saving the best for the last is ineffective in case of chronic division. The attempt to get everything settled before enjoying the best of life results in the perpetual postponement of pleasure.

Pic Courtesy : Pexels

So how to get rid of these mental trap? Well there is no sure shot technique but by following this process you can help yourself not to get too involved in these traps.

  • Be conscious while detecting and recognizing these traps.
  • Convince yourself that these traps can be harmful and do not let them become your habit.
  • Identify accountable partner someone you can trust completely. It could be your guru, your mother or someone you think credible. The external authority should be assertive, someone who is strict and sensible at the same time and aid you to take right decision at right time.
  • Always try to be in focused thinking mode, because once your thinking goes into diffuse mode you will have no control over your mind and sub conscious mind have no limits when it comes to imagining things.
  • Meditation can help you to be more focused and will give you a sense of calm ,peace and balance that can benefit your mental well-being.
  • The last step in this process is ” The practice of thought watching”- The only equipment needed for this is a spot reasonably free from external distractions. Sit quietly and watch your thoughts. That’s all. Here we do not try to think about anything in particular, but neither do we try to block or interfere with the thoughts that happen to arise. We just watch , as though at a movie. While doing this we learn a very important lesson about the mind: thoughts arise by themselves, even if we don’t strive to will them into existence. We can observe in the full light of consciousness how thoughts come and go without the benefit of our assistance.

Once you understand and become more aware about your thought process it becomes easier for you to keep a track on your thinking and your emotions. Mental trap can hold you back for sometimes but cannot hold you forever if you find the key of conscious mind.

This Post is part of Blogchatter’s #Cause a chatter.

Swati Mathur

Habits that affect our lives and Ways to deal with them #CauseAChatter

A momentary impulse, an occasional indulgence, a passing whim may by repetition become a habit difficult to uproot, a desire hard to control, and finally an automatic function that is no longer questioned. By repeated gratification of a desire , a habit is formed and thus habitual conditioning can grow into compulsion – Nyanaponika Thera

We all repeat certain behaviour that is harmful to us, be it on an emotional, mental, spiritual or physical level. We may lie, procrastinate, nail biting, struggle to be punctual, snore, play with our hair, drink too much coffee or smoke twenty cigarettes a day?? Most of us reading this list would have identifies with at least one of the examples. All of these and many not listed , may be irritating or even detrimental to our health in the long run but does ease our tension in the short term.

Why is habitual behaviour is so intrinsic to our existence? Until now we have denied or ignored our habits, but as we understand that their is mind body connection , we have to acknowledge that there must be a connection between what we do physically and what we feel emotionally.

Issues with people and circumstances that causes strong emotions upsets or balance of emotions and that’s when we are more likely to experience mood swings, instability and persistence negative emotions.

How habits are formed?

Certain emotions which triggered certain behaviour when done repeatedly converts it into a permanent habit. Therefore behaviour has become ingrained response to a particular state of being and follows as a cycle. Lets take an example.

A housewife who is experiencing anger towards her husband, whom she experience as abusive and belittling. This causes huge resentment and anger. She does not want to accept the fact that her relationship is unhappy and that there s a serious problems in the home. She wants everything appears to be just fine. Literally, on the surface everything needs to look good. So she cleans and re-cleans to make everything sparkle- except of course herself, who is actually far from sparkling. Lets understand her cycle: Trigger emotions that makes her feel guilty. Not expressing her anger and allowing her husband’s words to make her feel small leads to self-esteem issues. This makes her sad and she loses her self confidence. The truth is that she is still not honest with herself and stay in a denial mode as in there is no problem in the relationship. As a result performing the habit makes her feel better as at least she can do something well and feel some sense of achievement and things appears to look all right on the surface. There are number of habits out of which i will be taking about those which seriously affects our lives and we are not even aware about it.

There are certain habits that seriously affect our lives

In spite of overwhelming proof that these habits can do more harm , most of us do indulge in at least one of them on regular basis. Why? Because they make us feel good while we are doing them.

Self Harming

Self harming is a way of dealing with emotional pain in a physical way. A history of abuse is most often the prime cause, be the abuse emotional, physical or sexual. Most of the time dismissed by the people who call this as an attention seeking behaviour. That’s the reason majority of self-harmers are secretive about their habit. Self-harmers are often understandable angry at the situation yet feel unable to do anything about it. In this case a person feels that they have little or no control in the outside world, harming gives one a feeling some degree of control, even if it causes harm to themselves.

When the emotional pain becomes so intense that we unable to feel and deal with it, harming our self physically becomes only way to deal with it. There are a number of different techniques which can be used to stop self harming:

  • Yoga and deep breathing exercise
  • Finding an outlet as a punch-bag to vent out anger on such as a sport
  • Keeping a journal and recording your feelings
  • Removing potential self harming objects
  • Starting to learn to talk to others about how you feel
  • Using ice cubes and holding them- its painful but not harmful

Skin picking

Skin picking results from a build up emotional stress and anxiety, which is relieved through picking. It is also a habit that involves much shame and guilt, which is why people seldom admit that they do it and seek help. The skin consists primarily of boundary and communication aspects (how we interact with out side world). Digging and picking into it is a way of getting to what;s under our skin that is what is bugging us. This picking relieves boredom, anxiety, sadness as emotional stress.

Issues with the skin are an indication that we do like, that we are showing to the world about ourselves. We somehow want or feel that we should be less flawed and we we seek to rectify the problems by picking at our faults, which makes us feel better when we are doing it, but guilty and shameful afterwards.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is commonly used a means to understand the emotions triggers to this problem. Once these are understood , alternative coping strategies are adopted like , using gloves or bandage to reduce sensory urge , enrolling in web base programs which involves commitment that aims to help you reach a greater understanding of the problem and to work to heal it. Taking a professional help is advisable.

Shop lifting

For each shop lifter there is a different underlining cause. For some it occurs as a result of professional activity, for some it could be a thrilling experience, for some its like they have an entitlement , as if society rules don’t apply to them and they believe themselves to be above other people, laws and rules. Some people do it due to socio-economic issues as they are deprived of attention, material requirements and love as a children. And there are some habitual shop-lifters, for them stealing is both thrill and an opportunity to take revenge on a society which they perceive has failed or wronged them. Another category is of Kleptomaniacs, they do not plan to steal and commonly take items for which they have little use.

How can you stop this? Realise that what you are doing is very harmful. Should you be caught, you may face a prison sentence or community service. Stealing is no way to retaliate against a society where the law is upheld. If you are tempted , visualize yourself being apprehended and the effect that this would have on yourself and on those you love. There may be underlining problems, such as depression, that are provoking you to steal. Get help before you are caught or find any other positive activity to replace stealing.

Hair pulling

While shame and guilt must be the overriding result of hair-pulling. Tension and frustration are its main causes. we feel flawed and therefore afraid to voice who we really are, for fear that those shortcoming will be revealed. Our shame act as an inner critic, telling us that we aren’t worthy of being listened to, that we aren’t bright enough, pretty enough or knowledgeable enough for our needs to be expressed. Our guilt and shame about our hair pulling, then, confirms this assumption. Feeling inadequate and constantly giving in to the will of others at the expense of our own creates huge tension which we relieve through hair-pulling.

There are few healing strategies one can adopt for example Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where in people are taught to identify the trigger points and then substitute the impulse with other, less harm full habits. Another way to deal with this is by simply interrupting their hair-pulling by putting bandages on their fingers or keeping records and journals of their need to pull and when and how it is triggered. There are some medical treatments available which can be adopted. Support groups have been very helpful, as simply knowing that they are not alone.

Can you change your habits? The answer is yes you can if you are determined…

The first and the foremost thing which you need to do is identify what triggers these habits. Follow few steps by answering these questions

  • Write down a habit which you would like to overcome and set a time limit for this.
  • Review the last three times you have exhibited that habit.
  • How did you feel emotionally, before performing the habit.
  • How did you feel physically.
  • How did the habit make you feel afterwards.
  • Is there a pattern.
  • How do other people respond.
  • What is the outcome of performing your habit.
  • What is it, that triggers your habit.

Having gained insight into what really triggers your behaviour, you need to look at ways in which you stop doing what you do.

Three ways to Stop these negative habits

Substitution

In this you substitute your behaviour with less harmful practice, for example you cannot stop snacking on chocolate, so before urge occurs, you have made the decision to substitute chocolate for fresh fruits, which you have to made sure is handy. Each victory, no matter how small, affirms the one to come. This substitution method works really well for most physical cravings.

Interruption

Our negative behaviour often occurs unconsciously. But once we become aware of what triggers the behaviour , we can decide on another action to take, before we do whatever habit it is we want to indulge in. For example if you often find yourself having too many cups of coffee, make a rule of having long glass of water, another example, if you know you get angry on particular situation, make a rule to count till 10. Such interruptions not only make us more aware of when we are acting in a particular manner, but by the time we have done them, they often also alleviate our need to act in that way altogether.

Affirmations and goal setting

Goal setting for your behaviour is a wonderful way of affirming your progress as well honestly identifying your downfalls. The key is not to focus on those days when things went wrong but to affirms those days you stuck with your plan. Affirmations are wonderful way of enhancing the process. By repeating the phrase you have decided upon, make it more of a reality. Make sure your affirmations are positive and is spoken in present tense, as if the desired behaviour is already been achieved.

These strategies will definitely work if you believe in yourself.

This post is part of Blogchatter #CauseAChatter

@SwatiMathur

Picture Courtesy /Edit : Pexels /Canva

Emotional Health During Pregnancy – How to Look and Feel Good Series #CauseAChatter

In this series , I have talked about how to look good now let focus on how to feel good during Pregnancy.

Pregnancy can be overwhelming but if you are struggling to be happy than remind you, you are not alone. On other hand, if you find pregnancy to be your happy time than their are lot of women who enjoy this phase in their life too.

Experiencing vast range of emotions during pregnancy is quite normal. It’s is not easy being pregnant but it is also not that miserable that you cannot find happiness. While it is wonderful to feel happy during pregnancy but there are some external circumstances that can influence the way you feel this includes your financial status, whether you have a committed relationship, whether your pregnancy was intentional, age of the people involved and if their is any pre – existing mental and physical health conditions.

But why is it that some people are able to stay happy during their pregnancy while other’s find it difficult to handle their emotions. What can we do to remain happy during pregnancy?

Tips to Remain Happy During Pregnancy

Spend time with your loved ones

The more you surround yourself with the people you love and want to be with, the more positive you will feel about the whole situation. Try avoiding people who pushes you towards negativity or stress. Women adjust better during the transition to motherhood when they have satisfying and authentic relationships. As gratifying as motherhood can be it is inevitably taxing , so positive self affirmations and appreciation from people around you makes it easier to deal with it.

Spend time engaging in mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness have innumerable benefits. It helps in reducing stress, aids in controlling anxiety, improves sleep, have controlled blood pressure, reduces pain, enhances self awareness, promotes positive outlook and makes you more kind towards other’s and yourself.

Connect with other expecting parents

Supporting and authentic relationships make a big difference in happiness during your pregnancy and the journey of parenthood. Sharing similar feeling and situations will aids you with solutions and guides you to to deal with unknown situation you might face during pregnancy. You will feel better to know that you are not alone sailing in this boat of pregnancy and you can take comfort that someone truly understands what you’re going through.

Exercise

We all know whether you are pregnant or not exercise has an ability to affect your mood positively. It helps in reducing anxiety and feelings of depression. Medically exercise not only bring feelings of happiness, but help reduce feelings of pain. Though it is important that you do not engage in any intense exercise without proper doctor’s guidance.

Eat healthy

A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy life style at any time but especially vital if you are pregnant. Eating well can keep your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight at healthy levels to reduce the incidence of complications. Eating healthy foods can also help prevent or treat common pregnancy maladies, such as morning sickness and leg cramps. When a women is away from all this complications and sickness she ought to feel good.

Sound Sleep

Pregnancy is a magical time in many ways, but sleep schedule during these nine months might be less than dreamy. The growing belly, the aches, the pains, the heartburn ,many women experience sleepless nights long before there’s a hungry, crying infant in the picture.

Pen down your thoughts, maintain a journal

Record how you feel and what you experience as it make beautiful lifetime memories which you can cherish for a long long time. This is like a stress buster as there are lot of things which you hesitate to share with others or experience you want to keep it to yourself can be written and revisited if that makes you happy.

Detach from Technology

We all know the usage of electronic gadgets like a cell phone or laptop is inevitable today. Although, we cannot avoid them completely but being informed of the radiation from these devices on children and pregnant women are necessary. The radio waves emitted from these gadgets may alter the DNA structure of growing fetus and unlikely mutations are possible. Too much usage also harm eyes and can be very stress full. Therefore Walks in fresh air and reading books are more holistic approaches to relaxing during pregnancy and keeping both mother and baby healthy.

A pregnant women exposes her child to all the experience she goes through. This includes the sounds in the environment, the air you breathe, the food you eat and the emotions you feel. When you feel happy and calm, it allows your baby to develop in a happy, calm environment. However, emotions like stress and anxiety can increase particular hormones in your body, which can affect your baby’s developing body and brain. It is normal to have occasional negative thoughts, dreams or fleeting doubts. With any new or difficult situation, sometimes you are able to cope with the challenge, and sometimes you can feel overwhelmed. So all I can say from my own experience is take each day at a time and do not get bogged down by new situations and feelings. Just remember one thing you are not alone.

This post is part of Blogchatter #CauseAChatter

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawlaand generously SPONSORED BY Bugshield Clothing – Enjoy Outdoors More!

@Swati Mathur

What is Empathy Gap ? Ways to Deal With It #CauseAChatter

The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences.Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “Cognitive empathy,” sometimes called “perspective taking,” refers to our ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.

Have you ever felt that someone doesn’t have the same feelings toward you as you have toward them or struggled to predict how you will act when you are angry about something, if we’re currently calm or unable to feel the same pain which other person is undergoing when you are at peace and can only think rationally?

Yes, this happens when we misjudge our own emotions or behaviour and this is what Empathy Gap is all about.

Empathy Gap means when you are in certain mental state for example happy or angry, you are unable to understand the perspective or predict the action of someone who is in a different mental state. For example if you are on diet and currently full, the empathy gap will unable you to access how well you will be able to handle the temptation to eat when you are hungry.

Empathy Gap is one of the cognitive bias where a person finds it difficult to understand their mental state which is different from their present mental state or struggle to understand how such states effect people’s decision making.

Therefore I won’t be wrong in saying that empathy gap has serious implications when it comes to interpreting and predicting people’s behavior, including your own, so it’s imperative to understand it so that we know how to deal with it.

Empathy gap can appear in variety of situations

  1. When it comes to misjudging our own emotions and behaviours . Lets understand this with few examples, When a person is calm, they overestimates their ability to stay composed in stressful situation or when a person no longer have feelings for another person they generally underestimate how much their feelings for that person affected their judgment in the past.
  2. When it comes to misjudging the behaviour and emotions of others . Here a person struggle to understand why someone who is nervous about something acted the way that they did, if we don’t share their feelings on the topic or struggle to see that someone doesn’t necessarily have the same feelings toward us as we have toward them.
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