Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Healing Power of Flowers

Healing Flower LoniceraThe earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fragrance and beauty of flowers tend to captivate everyone’s heart and soul. Whether you gift it to your beloved, tie it in your hairs, gift someone lying ill, decorate your home with them, or use as a medium of offering your heart’s cherished prayers… Flowers tend to be the most wonderful expression of human feelings and emotions. Have you experienced the touch and aroma of flowers on green patches of land? Or have you seen how a flower blooms and blossoms out of a thick rock? Flowers are not simply sensitive entities, but they also reflect many important lessons of life. Beauty, purity, determination, joy n peace… Flowers teach us many aspects of positive life living.

Do you know, flowers have healing properties too? Yes! Flowers have the power to heal. Since time immemorial flowers have been used for restoring physical and mental health. Starting from cold, flu, infections to stress, depression and other ailments… Flowers have been one of the best therapy agents. Let us have a look of the different kinds of flowers that heal:

1)   Lonicera Flower: This flower has anti-viral properties. It is useful in colds, flu, infections and so on. It is also known as Jin Yin Hua. Lonicera is widely used in Asian cultures and is often the first preference to fight against cold and related infections.

2)   Viola Flower: Viola is a beautiful flower with multi-dimensional therapeutic properties. It is also known as “purple flower earth herb”. Viola flower helps fight against swelling and toxicity. Therefore, it is considered as an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic. It helps fight against bacterial infections too.

3)   Passion Flower: It is also known as Passiflora Incarnata. Passion flower is most commonly found in the Southern United States. The flower itself and its leaves are immensely helpful in pacifying anxiety and sleep problems.

4)   Lavender: Lavender is used as an essential oil, as a healing agent and is a significant part and parcel of aroma therapy as well. It has multiple therapeutic effects on mental health. Lavender helps in restoring sleep, it also helps in pacifying anxiety, anger issues, stress management and it enhances overall sense of health and well-being.

5)   St. John’s Wort: I think you must have heard about this before. St. John’s Wort is the beloved healing agent of many health practitioners. It has healing effects both on the body and the mind as well. It is used to treat physical ailments like varicose veins, wounds, bruises, sciatica and other nerve related ailments. It is also greatly useful in mild to moderate depression, mood swings and negative thinking processes.

Do you know how many flowering plants are there on our planet? According to botanists, there are around 240,000 flowering plants on the Earth. Apart from the beauty of their being, their spirit-uplifting fragrance and mesmerizing entity… Flowers have the priceless affluence of compounds and healing properties that help in the restoration of physical and mental health. If you have any queries regarding flowers and their healing properties, if you are experiencing any suffering, pain, illness or ailment, then please feel free to contact us. We will help you in any and every way we can. Your precious comments and suggestions are always welcome!

What a desolate place would be a world without a flower! It would be a face without a smile, a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of the heaven.” – A.J. Balfour

Best wishes,

Sareeta

Special Children and Their World

Special Children“I am not odd, I am just different”… These were the lines spoken by the protagonist in one of the films that we were shown in our clinical internship. The central character was playing the role of an autistic individual. Though it was just a movie, but the problems and issues that were shown in it were etched in my mind and heart. This blog is dedicated to all the special children, their caretakers and my readers who want to know what does being a special child means, what are the clinical symptoms and how they should be taken care of.

Children with Special Needs

Who are children with special needs is the question that taps the mind. Special children are the ones who suffer from brain abnormalities. They have neurobiological problems, which manifest in different physiological and behavioral abnormalities. There are different categories of neurobiological problems in children. Let me tell you some of the common problems falling under this category:

ADHD

The full form of this acronym is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. As the name suggests, ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, lack of attention and so on. The symptoms include: Lack of attention, problems in organizing and planning, getting easily distracted, very impulsive and impatient, problems in following instructions, forgetfulness, etc.

Autism

Autism is a complex disorder to be identified and understood. It manifests itself by the age of three. Sometimes people with autism are so well off that one can hardly recognize that they are experiencing autism symptoms. Following are some of the symptoms and pointers for autism:

  • Developmental delays
  • Delays in attaining milestones
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Spinning of objects
  • Difficulty in expressing needs
  • Inappropriate manifestation of emotions
  • Throws tantrums and does not like to be cuddled
  • Spins objects
  • Wants to remain alone or aloof
  • Irregular fine and gross motor skills

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is caused due to damage to the brain before and/or after birth. Following are the conditions that usually cause it:

Before Birth After Birth
Illness during pregnancy Brain Injury
Premature Delivery Trauma
Accidents during pregnancy Accidents
Insufficient supply of oxygen to the baby caused due to premature separation of placenta Viral infection
Blood type or RH incompatibility of parents, etc. Child abuse

Children with cerebral palsy often experience the symptoms based on the part of the brain that is affected. Based on this, they may suffer from mobility problems, seizures, problems in speech and hearing, spasms, etc.

Mental Retardation

Mental Retardation is also known as Intellectual Disability. It manifests itself before adulthood and is characterized by cognitive impairment. For a person to be diagnosed with MR, his/her IQ should measure less than 70. The degree to which one is affected by mental retardation is also studied in how a person with MR operates in his/her surrounding environment and intellectual abilities. Mental Retardation is divided into three categories depending on the IQ score of the person. Here is a representation of the types of MR:

Type IQ Range
Mild Mental Retardation IQ 50 – 69
Moderate Mental Retardation IQ 35 – 49
Severe Mental Retardation IQ Below 49

Children with special needs often have difficulty in coming at par with the mainstream society. They are often abused, misunderstood and bullied. The world falls apart for the parents who first find out their children to be facing neurobiological problems. Though living conditions become very challenging for the children themselves, for parents and care takers…. Yet today management and care facilities for children with special needs are much more developed. In their own unique ways they are able to do worthwhile things in this world. Do you know there are world famous personalities who fought against their disabilities and attained highest summits of success in the world fraternity as a whole? Some of them are: Mozart, Danish Author Hans Anderson, Lewis Carroll, the world famous painter Michelangelo and so on.

If you find your child or loved one to be experiencing such problems, then please don’t lose heart. With the help of strategic interventions and care, the symptoms can be managed to a considerable extent. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

Public Speaking Made Easy – Do’s and Don’ts

Public Speaking Made EasyThere are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” – Alexander Gregg

But, how is it possible? Public speaking is one of the worst fears that people face other than the fear of dying or hurting oneself. Yes, folks! It is that common. Shaky voice, cracking voice, feeling dizzy, trembling, forgetting everything that you wanted to speak… Public speaking can be very difficult at times. It can make you mumble, fumble and make your words all jumbled up. Public speaking is an art. For some it’s an easy task, while for others it is like hell! But, public speaking is not that difficult or scary. If you know about its dynamics, you too can master the art of public speaking. Let us look into the dynamics of Public Speaking:

Psychological Causes behind the fear of Public Speaking

Fear of speaking in public or social settings is often caused by different psychological phenomena. Some of them are:

  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Lack of personality finesse’
  • Speech anxiety or glossophobia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Problematic decoding of rehearsed material in memory
  • Problems in encoding, storage and retrieval of memory traces
  • Past negative experiences in public speaking

How to prepare yourself for public speaking

Going prepared to a public speaking session always helps to avoid fear or nervousness during the event. Starting from a good night’s sleep to your diet, everything plays a vital role in effective public speaking. Here are some of the important things you need to do for preparing yourself for public speaking:

Know the event

Even before you start planning for the public speaking session, try to know the theme of the event. What is the occasion, who all will be attending it, what is the implication and significance of the event, possible outcome and probable expectations of the audience….try to do a home work on these aspects before you start!! This will help you to captivate your audience and speak the right words in the right most way.

Plan for the even

Planning for the event gives a buffer and boost to your public speaking performance. Planning for the event means what time to get up in the morning, how to get ready for it, keeping all the important stuff/papers you need absolutely ready the night before, what time to leave for the event, how to commute… Planning means to be well prepared about each and every logistics of the event.

Dress right

You can end up feeling embarrassed if you don’t dress decently and properly for the public speaking event. Select clothes that are gentle, that are not too flashy, and that fit well. Check out for any wardrobe malfunction too. Most importantly, the clothing that you are planning to wear for the event should be comfortable and apt for the occasion and audience.

Sleep well the previous night

Even if you are stressed out for the public speaking event, even if you are getting anxious nerves everywhere…do not spend sleepless night. Try to relax and de-stress yourself more and more and enjoy a good night’s sleep. Meditation, deep breathing, soothing music and massage are some of the ideas that would help you to de-stress yourself. Always remember that, the more you are relaxed and composed, the more confident you will feel while speaking. Sleeplessness will only make you more tired, dull and shabby!

Rehearse

Stand in front of a mirror, or speak out in front of your friend….try rehearsing the public speaking material before you actually keep your words out in front of the whole group of people. An elaborative rehearsal will help you keep an eye over your body language, speaking skills, eye contact with your audience, memorize the speech and look into the important points, your voice modulations and lot more.

Review

This is what most of the people forget. Before leaving out of the house for the event, take a tour inside the entire house to cross-check whether you have left any important thing back After you have re-viewed everything, take a deep breathe and zoom forward for the event with a positive spur ‘n’ spark!

Don’ts before Public Speaking

Here is a quick guide on what not to do in or before the public speaking:

  • Do not foster negative thinking or speculations
  • Stay away from assumptions
  • Do not skip meals or sleep. It may make you feel sloppy, weak and queasy
  • Do not over-learn anything. Just make the points clear in the mind…words will automatically flow out.
  • Do not lose your own-self confidence.
  • Do not focus on others… Focus on yourself and what you want to say.

Public speaking is not that difficult the way you are thinking. If you have confidence on yourself, if you believe in yourself… You can do it!!! To help you more here is a wonderful saying by Dale Carnegie:

Students of public speaking continually ask, “How can I overcome
self-consciousness and the fear that paralyzes me before an
audience?”
Did you ever notice in looking from a train window that some
horses feed near the track and never even pause to look up at the
thundering cars, while just ahead at the next railroad crossing a
farmer’s wife will be nervously trying to quiet her scared horse as
the train goes by?
How would you cure a horse that is afraid of cars—graze him in a
back-woods lot where he would never see steam-engines or
automobiles, or drive or pasture him where he would frequently see
the machines?
Apply horse-sense to ridding yourself of self-consciousness and
fear: face an audience as frequently as you can, and you will soon stop shying. You can never attain
freedom from stage-fright by reading a treatise. A book may give
you excellent suggestions on how best to conduct yourself in the
water, but sooner or later you must get wet, perhaps even strangle
and be “half scared to death.” There are a great many “wetless”
bathing suits worn at the seashore, but no one ever learns to swim
in them. To plunge is the only way.” – Dale Carnegie, The Art of Public Speaking

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

Are You Suffering from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder?

seasonal-affective-disorderDo you experience depression pangs only during summer or winter? Do you find your mood to be fluctuating only during the winter and summer months? If yes, then it may be due to SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder is also known as winter depression or winter blues; or summer depression or summer blues. It occurs almost at the same time every year. The symptoms of SAD appear for some time and then fade off. The incidence of SAD is quite common ranging from 1.4% in Florida to 9.7% in New Hampshire. Norman E. Rosenthal and his colleagues, who belonged to the National Institute of Mental Health, did the formal recognition and naming of SAD.

What causes SAD?

Want to know what exactly causes SAD? Well, interestingly the process of hibernation is the main reason that causes Seasonal Affective Disorder. Of course, we do not hibernate like the animals do… But the tendency to hibernate is present in every species in a dormant manner. It becomes active as and when required. Activity decreases during the winter months because of the scarcity of food and the extreme weather conditions. Though you may find food to it during all the seasons, yet the environmental conditions may make you feel low and sloppy. Changes in the environmental conditions have a great influence on human body and behavior. It is often considered that SAD is the residual symptom of some remote ancestor who had a tendency of hibernation response.

Apart from this the presence of the amount of light and clouds in the atmosphere and environment also play a vital role in the development of SAD. It is more common in the Arctic region, Northern Finland etc. Lack of exposure to proper light influences the brain and body chemicals. If you are not exposed to proper light conditions then your circadian rhythm may also suffer, resulting in SAD.

Incidence Rate of SAD

Region Incidence
Arctic Region (e.g. Northern Finland) 9.5%
US Population 14.3%
Florida 1.4%

In a nutshell, light and weather conditions play a vital role in the incidence of SAD. Therefore, the treatment interventions of SAD are also based on this aspect.

Symptoms of SAD

Winter and Summer SAD have their own characteristic symptoms. Let me tell you some of the predominant symptoms of the same:

Symptoms of Summer SAD

  • Restlessness and Anxiety
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Changes in appetite, usually decreased appetite
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and anger
  • Social withdrawal

Symptoms of Winter SAD

  • Feeling low, sad and dejected
  • Increased appetite
  • Changes in diet and sleep patterns
  • Social withdrawal
  • Need to stay isolated
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty in concentration and attention
  • Difficulty in completing work
  • Emotional numbness

Management of SAD

The treatment and management procedures of SAD depend on the season one is affected on. If you are suffering from winter blues, then along with medications and therapy you will be given light exposure therapy too. If you are experiencing summer SAD, then the treatment processes include anti-depressants plus psychotherapy.

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

HIV/AIDS Effects on Mental Health: Depression and Anxiety

HIV AIDSWe live in a completely interdependent world which simply means we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem.” – Bill Clinton

HIV/AIDS… What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear or come across this word? Is it fear, apprehension, stigma, discrimination, anxiety, depression, stress? Well, you may get mixed reactions and feelings when you hear this word. The repercussion of HIV is much more than the nomenclature itself. If you have ample knowledge or awareness about it then it is a good thing. But, if you do not know much about it then it may disturb you knowingly or in unknowing silent ways. Before getting into the mental health aspects of HIV/AIDS let me tell you quickly about its general information:

HIV/AIDS stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the primary form of infection while AIDS is full blown HIV infection. It starts with influenza-type symptoms and then progresses into different opportunistic infections. People living with HIV/AIDS have to check on two things. One is the CD4 count while the other one is ART. Since HIV weakens the white blood cells, so the CD4 count is very much important. The less the CD4 count in blood, less will be the immune power of the infected person. If the CD4 count is very less, then the person will have to start the Anti-Retroviral Treatment or ART. Therefore, knowing about HIV/AIDS and how it can be managed is very important.

The whole incidence of HIV/AIDS; the physical, psychological and social effects of it and above all the stigma and discrimination attached to it are sometimes overwhelming to bear for the ones who are suffering from it. People living with HIV/AIDS come across many challenging situations that exert a lot of negative effect on their mental health too. Some of them are:

Depression

Depression is one of the common aftermaths when one comes to know that he/she is HIV positive. This brings in different symptoms like low moods, feelings of isolation, suicidal feelings, changes in sleep and diet patterns, lack of socialization and so on. Depression is very important to be dealt with in HIV/AIDS cases. Because if one does not come out of it, then it becomes very difficult for him/her to manage the symptoms of HIV.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Getting anxious over everything and any thing is the characteristic feature of GAD. Sometimes, people living with HIV/AIDS experience GAD symptoms too.

Death Anxiety

Despite of being tested HIV Positive; one of my clients (while I was working as a full time counselor for PLHIV in India) always did home-based HIV test till he breathed his last. Death anxiety is also one of the common issues that PLHIVs face right from the moment they are tested positive. This is quite obvious because who would want to die out of illness and drudgery?

Hallucinations and Delusions

Along with making the immune system weak and leading to various bodily opportunistic infections, HIV/AIDS also affect the brain chemistry and mechanism. That is why some people suffering from HIV/AIDS also experience hallucinations, delusions, clinical mental health ailments, etc.

Apart from the above mental health ailments that I have said, people living with HIV/AIDS have to deal with multitude of stressors and pressures, frustration and challenges on an everyday basis. This is due to their own personal thought patterns, the others who are related to them, their professional side, prejudice, social stigma and discrimination.

We respect your confidentiality and dignity.

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

Body Language: Says Everything Known and Unknown

Body LanguageBody language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.” – Deborah Bull

Body language, as the name suggests is the way through which you tend to non-verbally communicate. Even if you do not speak out your thoughts and feelings, your body language says it all. The way you walk, the way you talk, the way you carry your body, your dressing sense, gestures and postures… Each and every bodily nuance of yours speak volumes about your thought processes, behavioral styles, personality features, and so on. So your body language is a very important part of your daily life living. Be it an interview or a party, whether it is a formal meeting or an informal gathering, if your body language is not right then it may lead to wrong implication, connotation and comprehension by others. Therefore, body language plays a significant role in your personal life, relationships, professional life, inter-personal communication and your social life as a whole.

Now let us see some of the common body languages and what do they mean:

Open Body Language

This reflects the openness body posture. It epitomizes confidence, a well-defined self-esteem, overt or extrovert personality, leadership qualities, and a positive personality style.

Defensive Body Language

Opposite of the openness mental state is the defensive mental state. This posture reflects defensiveness, falsity and introversion. People using this body posture are not usually comfortable with their body image. They have a low level of self-esteem and self confidence. They are prone to getting affected with the stressors and pressures of life and can get easily frustrated.

Body Language - Doubt

Have you seen anybody using the above gestures? It means that he or she is probably lying or has doubts regarding the correctness and validity of the subject matter being discussed.

Leader Listener Follower

The three positions above reflect the leader, the listener and the follower. The first picture depicts leadership, confidence and outgoing nature. It would be difficult to convince a person using this form of body language. The second position is listening position. People using this body language are good listeners and are very adaptive. They have good coping skills and can adjust themselves in any situation. The final picture depicts a personality that is low is self-confidence. People using this posture are often stressed out of their lives; they lack motion and motivation and can easily be used by others or taken advantage of. In short, they are very gullible.

Feet Signalling

People who are attracted towards each other tend to point their foot towards the person they like or are attracted to. This picture is a vivid example of the same.

Following is an illustration of the different body outlets that reflect your personality, cognition, conation and affect:

Non Verbal Body LanguageBody language is the most primitive and significant form of human communication. It came into existence even before our ancestors developed speech and language. Use of correct body language is a boon in all the dimensions of your life. Research studies suggest that your body is the reflection of your mind and the way you control your body, it will have an impact on your mental processes too. It is a mutual process. Therefore, daily practice of effective and positive body language techniques will aid you in personality development, refined cognitive skills, positive life and sound health. If you want to learn more about body language then please write a comment below!

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

The Process of Psychological Liberation

Mental Health: Key to a balanced and happy lifeFreedom is never given; it is won.” – A. Philip Randolph

Shackles of the past, chains of negative feelings, bars of reactivity and prison of bitter memories, regrets ‘n’ pains… Psychological bondages tend to create a lot of turmoil in our lives. These scars or wounds not only take a toll on us physically, but also create a lot of havoc in our psychological world as well.

When you are engulfed in the dark smoke of past bitter memories, emotional bleeding of twinges and unfathomable grief; your life comes to a halt. Your ability to forget and forgive becomes crumpled; you become unable to move forward in life and all the dimensions of your life (physical, psychological, emotional, familial, social, and professional, etc.)… Everything seems to get stuck at a dead end. Therefore folks, in order to lead a happy and well-balanced life you need to be psychologically liberated or free from the negative aspects that are bothering you. Many factors lead to psychological bondages. These bondages culminate in pain and suffering. Some of the common factors are:

Factors and life events leading to Psychological Bondages

  • Loss or death of a loved one
  • Break up in a relationship or marital discord
  • When afflicted by pain by someone you trust or love
  • Stress, anxiety, inability to cope in life’s situations and apprehensions
  • Loss of job, bullying or becoming a drop-out
  • Inability to forgive someone
  • Inability to get over the past negative and painful experiences
  • History of abuse, assaults and violence
  • Stringent relationships with family, peers, relatives and/or significant others
  • Prolonged ill-treatment by others
  • Failure and frustration; depressive feelings
  • Other triggers like environmental issues, alcohol or substance abuse, etc.
  • Social behaviors, social values, customs and norms
  • At times through observational learning

On this note, I would like to share some of the wonderful words of wisdom on psychological liberation by Andrew Cohen (March 29, 2010). He opines that:

In the way that I teach, the key to our liberation is simple and direct: it occurs when we discover and recognize something that is more important. When you awaken to something that has infinitely greater spiritual, moral, and philosophical value than your personal problems, when you discover a higher perspective that is inherently more meaningful than the woes of your wounded self, those problems and woes won’t necessarily disappear, but they suddenly appear to be dramatically less important. Now, in a deep and profound and significant way, you are just not as interested in that personal world any more. And that’s how you find liberation.

With the help of some amazing daily-life changes and techniques you can attain psychological liberation from your pains and sufferings. Here are some of the important ways that would help you in the process:

Accept and do not avoid

First of all you need to accept the negative situation and the truth that it has happened. The more you tend to run away from it or avoid it, the more it will run behind you and clutch you hard. In order to be free, you need to understand the boundation and its implication first.

Do not assume or apprehend

Assumptions and apprehensions are like the mental thought clouds that normally do not turn out to be true. Psychological liberation is possible when you have a crystal clear mind with an unflinching determination to deal with a given situation in the most effective manner.

Meditate and exercise

To fuel yourself up for the liberation process you need to recharge yourself with exercise and meditation. Physical work-out plus mental relaxation and meditation will help you remain strong, rejuvenated and focused on your motives.

Good lifestyle

Apart from meditation and exercise equally important is a well-balanced lifestyle. Hope you have heard the saying “Mens sana in a corpore sano”. It means, “a healthy mind resides in a healthy body”. This is possible only if you have a good lifestyle. Remaining sad and sick will thrust you off-balance and will make the liberation process even more difficult and gruesome. The more you are physically fit, more will be the ease with which you can resolve and liberate yourself from the emotional turmoil.

Do not indulge into the blame-game

We often tend to project the reason or trigger of our problems on others. This is quite normal. However, if we ourselves take the responsibility of our actions or try to understand the pros and cons of the emotional/situational turbulence… Then we can flip back to normal functioning a lot easily.

Forgive and let yourself free

I know it is a very difficult thing to do. How can you forgive someone who has inflicted you immense pain? It is a very difficult thing to do. But, folks if you can really achieve this or forgive someone or yourself…liberation will come to you faster. You will be the happiest person around. The more you hang on to the negative things, people or situations, the more you will hurt yourself. I guess you also won’t want this to happen. Try the art of forgiving and see its magic.

Learn the lessons

If we see the past or negative circumstances as lessons to learn from, then psychological liberation will automatically sweep in. We will get to know about the higher perspective of the entire scenario. Each and every situation that takes place in your life has its own meaning and significance. It either gives you something or snatches something from you and makes you even stronger. View life as a book and the experiences as the chapters or lessons in it.

Talk and express

If you seem to get stuck in the emotional turmoil and potential problems of your life, if you think that you cannot move forward any more, then talking to someone you trust or taking professional help also helps a lot. This will give you a direction and a definite flow.

Best wishes,

Sareeta

The Development of Psychology and Therapy

Sigmund FreudImage: Sigmund Freud

Starting from the early age, the world of psychology and mental health has developed a lot. Psychology has attained many milestones beginning from the first psycho-surgery to the modern day scientific therapeutic approaches. This blog is a humble tribute to the pioneers in the field who dedicated their lives to bring the best of psychotherapeutic services to you, the ones who understood human mind and behavior and expanded psychology to the dimensions of usability, therapeutic ability, practical applications and worthwhile aspects. Let me take you in a tour on how the science of human behavior developed into the shape and form that you see today:

387 BC Plato became the first person to opine that brain is the main mechanism behind all mental processes.
1174 AD You have heard the word Hypnosis, right? Even before that Franz Mesmer used the term Mesmerism, kind of hypnosis to treat his patients.
1793 Before this period the ones who suffered from mental illnesses were treated in an inhuman, brutal manner. It was Philippe Pinel who first released mental patients from confinement so that they get humane and proper treatment.
1878 G. Stanley Hall became the first American to receive a PhD in Psychology.
1879 Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig, Germany opened the first experimental laboratory in Psychology.
1883 Wilhelm Wundt introduced the first Psychology lab in America.
1886 The beginning of Psychoanalytical Theory and therapy by the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud.
1890 The first institution in the US for psychiatric research was developed after New York Sate passed the State Care Act.
1892 American Psychological Association (APA) was founded by G. Stanley Hall with a membership of 42.
1895 The first laboratory for psych diagnosis was started by Alfred Binet.
1901 Foundation of the British Psychological Society.
1938 It was the first time when electric shock therapy was used on a human.
1945 Licensure for legislation for psychologists was first introduced by the State of Connecticut. It was the first to introduce and recognize psychology as a practice oriented profession that is protected and safe.
1951 The first medicine to treat depression was approved. Imipramine or Tofranil was the name of the drug.
1952 The APA published the first DSM i.e. the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
1961 John Berry brought cross-cultural diversity of research-its necessity in research and application to light.
1974 The Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scanner) is tested for the first time. It gives clear brain images and mapping.
2000 16 public research institutions around the world framed mapping of human genetic code for understanding human development and diseases.
2010 The APA distributed a draft of the DSM-5 for comment and critique.
2013 The DSM – 5 was published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
2013 The 10-year BRAIN INITIATIVE was announced by the US President Barack Obama to map the activity of every neuron in the human brain.

So folks! This was a brief presentation of how things in Psychology and therapy have developed since their inception many years ago. Researchers and developers, scientists, doctors and clinicians are trying their level best to study the highest, deepest and subtle aspects of human brain and behavior so as to help you attain psychological well being and balance.

Life is a continuous journey of transformation” – Sukant Ratnakar, Open the Windows

Best wishes,

Sareeta

Emotional Ventilation: Necessity and Uses

Emotional VentilationIf your body does not express, your mind suffers in silence…

Human emotions are one of the most beautiful creations. Emotional articulation is an art and is an essential part of our lives. Emotions tend to add meaning and form to our feelings. Without them we would be like zombies or robots. The way you feel and express your emotions play a vital role in maintaining your physical and mental health. Emotional ventilation is the backbone of a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Do you tend to cocoon your emotions or allow a space for the ventilation of your emotions? If you are emotionally expressive then you are on the right track. But, if you tend to seclude your emotions, hide them away and do not feel comfortable in expressing them…then its high time your should express them. 16-year-old X (name changed) suffered from depression and anxiety attacks. He used to remain cocooned in his own world and never expressed his emotions. His peers called him “a dumb fellow” while his teachers were fed up with his emotional silence. No matter how hard he was provoked to express his emotions and feelings, he seldom brought his emotions to surface. Gradually, his grades started decreasing, he was despised and his peers left him. He remained closed in his own room for hours and days together. “Plastic Puzzle”, this is what Y (name changed) is called in her social circle. She is a 35 yeas old professional who lacks socialization skills. Though she is a wonderful human being and very talented. But, due to lack of emotional expression no one likes her in the group. Most of them consider her as being dumb and cranky.

Though many reasons pull a person back from ventilating his emotions, however, emotional shrouding has a lot of ill effects. Emotions are meant to be ventilated. That is why your eyes can cry with tears, your mouth can utter words; you can hear soothing words of concern with your ears.

Many factors refrain one from emotional ventilation. Some of them are:

  • Ineffective coping with emotional turmoil
  • Faulty parenting
  • Emotional instability
  • Cultural and group norms
  • Depression and apathy
  • Some clinical mental ailments
  • Physiological or neurological illnesses
  • Social causes
  • Considering emotional expression as a sign of weakness and so on

As I wrote in the starting lines of this blog, lack of emotional ventilation silently hurts you in many ways. The pent up emotions pile up and finally explode one day in the form of physiological and mental ailments like ulcers, migraine and headache, blood pressure problems, heart problems, depression, anxiety, stress, sometimes clinical mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, delusional disorders etc. Therefore, in order to be physically healthy and mentally sound, you should ventilate and express your emotions.

Emotional expression is a sign of good health and strength rather than weakness. There are numerous ways in which you can express your emotions in adaptive ways:

  • Accept and understand your emotions. Do not avoid them. Just take a deep breathe and feel them.
  • Talk to your friend or anyone whom you trust about the way you feel in different life situations.
  • Keep an emotion diary with you. Write about how you feel and what you learned from a given emotional situation.
  • Recognizing your emotion and listening to a music track related to the mood of the emotion also helps in ventilating it.
  • Paint your way to emotional expression. This will help in releasing pent up emotions and will boost creativity too.
  • If you are angry or aggressive try running on the beach, brisk walking or walking on the sand. This will help release the negative flow of impulsive energies.
  • Stay away from self-harm or negative thinking
  • Learn to adopt adaptive ways of emotional ventilation

Cry like a child, roll on the floor laughing, yell your lungs out and express yourself. There is no other relief and beauty than emotionally expressing yourself. Emotions make you feel lively and fresh.

Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” – Sigmund Freud

Best wishes,

Sareeta

Successful Anger Management Case Study – Inspirational Life Story

Successful Anger Management Case StudyHuman emotions are the wonderful aspects and assets of life. Without emotions, our life would be so mundane and colorless, isn’t it? Technically there are six basic emotions (viz. happiness, sadness, fear, anger, disgust and surprise), but in practical life we tend to experience innumerable hues and shades of emotions. In short, emotions are the colors that give expression and meaning to the entire fabric of your life.

Problems arise when emotions start controlling you, rather than you controlling your emotions. Among all the emotions that I said above, anger is the emotion that can have devastating effects on the person, people related to him and his surrounding as a whole. Anger not only harms your body and mind but is also a potential threat to the safety and emotional world of others. If not managed properly, anger leaves a deep imprint on you, your loved ones and the ones who became the innocent victim of your anger. Therefore, if you feel that your anger is puffing up and is getting out of control, then it is best to try and work on anger management.

People always think that there is a certain age for something; it is easy to change or transform oneself during the early years of life and so on. But, in real life it is not like that. If you are determined to achieve something, then you will get all the strength to achieve that irrespective of your age, ethnicity, gender, etc. Determination and perseverance are the two guiding stars that help man to cross the deepest seas and climb the mightiest mountains of life.

Let me tell you a true inspirational life story of Mr. X (Name changed) who made real progress in controlling his anger and also developed his own new anger management technique. I am proud to be his therapist. If you think that it is only in the earlier stages of life that we can make changes within ourselves, then let me tell you that at the age of 84, Mr. X groomed himself into a person who has greatly improved control over his anger and emotions. He is dynamic, he is filled with youthful energies and above all he is always ready to make positive changes in his life. During the formative years of his life, Mr. X was taught to bottle up his emotions and anger rather than understanding more about them or learning to cope with them effectively. In due course of his life he also confronted many difficult situations. This was not his fault. Each time you are angry, I guess most of the time you would have been also told to calm down or do something else. In worst case, may be you would have been spanked or shouted back for throwing your anger tantrums. This is natural. This happens in most of the households. But, sometimes we need to see things the other way round. When we start looking at things, people and situations through the lens of empathy, understanding and acceptance, the whole world changes within and around us. Mr. X did the same thing. Even if his anger issues were bothering him, he did not sit quietly. He stood up and worked towards anger management. First he tried to accept the fact that he has anger issues, then he started looking at things and situations with more patience and understanding and finally he worked hard to kick off anger out of his life.

Starting from relaxation techniques to realization and reformation… he did not leave a single leaf unturned. Even at this age he did it! Mr. X invented his own anger management technique. I would like to share his valuable words and techniques with you too. Here they are:

The “APOX “ Technique
A = Awareness that I am upset and then accepting it, and stop beating myself with a guilt trip about my feeling angry.
P = Pause: Count to 10, relax, short-circuit the automatic rage response by taking control of the situation.
O = Options: Think of various options I have to respond, what the consequences of each would be, then choose.
X = Express myself in the way I have chosen.

There! Having written it down, I feel better already.

So folks, controlling and dealing with anger is not impossible. If Mr. X could do it at the age of 84 then I think you all can do it too. I read somewhere that Anger and Danger are the same and have only one letter difference. Anger leads to danger. Therefore, do not let anger issues overpower you. If you or your loved ones are facing anger related problems then please try to put Mr. X’s techniques into action. You will surely gain relief. You can also get professional help by starting our online anger management program. We are eagerly waiting to help you deal with and eradicate your anger issues and potential problems.

Every emotion is necessary and obvious… so is anger too. But, everything depends on the depth and intensity of emotions, their expression and who controls whom…

My sincere gratitude to Mr. X who was a wonderful client, whose dedication towards life and change inspired me to spread his enlightening wisdom and determination everywhere.

Best wishes,

Sareeta