Archive | July, 2018

Is Suicide Really a Choice.

27 Jul

The one question every friend, sibling, family ask when someone close has committed suicide is — ‘Why did they choose to take their own life?’

The more I think about it, the more I ask myself. Is suicide really a choice one makes?

What does one do when one feels hopeless and helpless; When one finds oneself in an orbit of despair — A dark and dismal bubble from where there seems no escape.

How does one operate when the mechanics of going through day to day life appear unbearable?

When all the thoughts that swirl around in ones’ head convince him that he is drowning and there is no hope left?

Is death then a choice one makes?

Not to the person who decides to end his life.

To him, death is the only relief he sees, that will save him from his misery.

Its not death he chooses but a way to end the misery of living through pain.

Each person struggles with his own kind of misery — This misery grows inside him leaving him feeling alone and many a time he sees himself as a burden on others.

A long term serious health condition which has no complete cure, Struggles with addiction; Depression and anxiety; Stressful life events like- A job loss, relationship issues, financial problems, School dilemmas can all be reasons why ones thinking gets warped and makes one desperately look for an outlet to end the pain.

So if Suicide is a choice …. then it’s a choice made by a very agitated mind.

Its your distorted thoughts that compels you to get away from the extreme emotional turmoil you feel.

People who take their own lives aren’t exercising ‘choice’; Instead they are victims of an irrational thought pattern either because of an illness or unmanageable life events.

Then what is the choice they have — In my mind the only choice they have is to reach out to people. To ask for help and support, to believe that everyone deserves to feel valued and to know that there are people out there who will hand hold when the going is rough.

The recent spate of suicides makes our responsibility towards our fellow earthlings far more. Increasing protective factors and resilience in the community need active participation from all of us.

Despite the challenges in identifying those at risk for suicidal behavior there are preventive strategies that provide effective measures against suicidal thoughts and ideation.

· Destigmatize mental illness. As a society, we need to talk about Suicide as we talk of Cancer or a Tumor –After all isn’t it an impairment of the brain; of rational thought patterns. The stigma that surrounds Suicide or talks about contemplating such an act hinders treatment from reaching those that need it.

· Have empathy for those who struggle with difficult life circumstances or mental health issues. The angst of having to function in a helpless, unfair or hopeless situation is overwhelming and makes one believe that life is not worth living.

· Share your experiences about your struggles and leave with them numbers of suicide helplines or counsellors in your area.

· Adolescents typically share their feelings on social networking sites. Supporting research and technology that help create more apps which can be freely accessed by our youth will help them get timely assistance and make our outreach more effective.

· Educating the media on responsible coverage of a suicide is essential so that the message going out is that the person who committed suicide is actually ill. The news should emphasize more on mental illness, the health care providers who can help.; the warning signs that friends and family should know about so that they can identify and respond quickly to the person in need.

· Be an active listener, Understand warning signs and Be proactive in offering assistance to those around us who struggle through this emotional crisis. Suicide is many a time an impulsive decision. Many Suicidal people are struggling with the decision to live or end their life. Reaching out and connecting with a part of them that wants to live can save lives

The Benefits of a Daily Dose of Laughter.

27 Jul

‘The most wasted of all days is one without Laughter.’…..E E Cummings

A good laugh is humanity’s weapon against almost anything.

A restorative that helps you deal with whatever comes your way, Laughter repairs and restores not just a broken heart but also a myriad of physical ailments.

A hearty laugh promotes social interaction, strengthens relationships and gets a cold environment to change to warm and friendly.

Laugh and live longer, didn’t come out of nowhere. Research has found that a good laugh lowers your blood pressure, improves sleep patterns, boosts your immune system and gives you a sense of wellbeing

Travelling in public transport, I’ve noticed that the best way to connect with a stranger is by sharing a laugh. Watching another laugh can put us in a good mood. Some of the strongest friendships I’ve had are with those whom I’ve shared a good laugh. Laughter makes people feel more connected and comfortable with each other.

Hugh Sidey says ‘Joy in ones heart and some laughter on ones lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life’.

So when did you last have a good belly laugh?

Life can be stressful and you may not have opportunities to laugh daily — Reason good enough to make a resolve to inject yourself daily with a good dose of side-splitters.

A few tips on how you can get started

· Read a joke everyday, preferably in the morning.

Invest in a joke book or read the ‘funnies’ section in the newspaper. Breakfast and a Joke — is the best way to begin the day.

· Spend 15 minutes watching your favourite funny sitcom.

Not that I advocate TV watching, but to maintain optimum mental health, there is nothing better than 15 minutes of rib-tickling laughter. For me it’s the Big Bang Theory that keeps me in an upbeat mood. Figure out your favourite comedy show and trade your stresses for the merriment provided by those fictional characters.

· Pets represent a Panacea for laughter and joie de vivre.

Like balm on a burn, our four legged companions give us incredible amounts of health, happiness and laughter. If you can’t have a pet for various reasons-visit an animal shelter or befriend the neighborhood doggy or look at pictures of animals doing their antics, all of which will definitely induce a smile and boost your positive emotions

· Have a ‘Fun Stuff’ bank

Put together funny videos, short clips of stand up comics and funny sayings in your mailbox. Pull them out on days you feel like you need an extra laugh or send them to friends who could do with a smile.

· Have a playful frame of mind.

Life is fragile and there are enough things floating around to suck the joy out of life. To stay healthy would mean to see the funny side of life. Look for the funny happenings in everyday life. When things go wrong or the unexpected happens ……Reframe what you say to yourself and induce humour in everyday situations so that tension is out, and your mood perks up instantly.

· Spend time with people in whose company you laugh more.

A happy good natured attitude to life is an antidote for despair, fear and ill health. Find those who know how to create their own happiness. Being around them will energize you and uplift your spirits too.

So yes, Laughter is indeed a good Medicine, enhancing the lives of those that give and receive it. There is nothing more irresistible or contagious than a good laugh.

Is it any wonder then that ‘Hilarious’ is the new Wow!

Ageing Beautifully

27 Jul

We live in a society that emphasizes appearance and equates beauty with youth.

Is it then any wonder that so many of us spend precious time and money trying to deny the effects of ageing.

The appearance of the first wrinkle or gray strands can get some of us to begin viewing getting older as more of a handicap than a privilege.

Keeping with the societal pressure to look young and beautiful can be exhausting. Looking into the mirror wondering, ‘If only I could fix this…. I would look like I did before’, can have us reaching out for the hope that sells in jars and bottles.

Dealing with this anxiety about ageing requires a realignment of ones definitions and beliefs about beauty; Something that can be done with bit of self exploration and self acceptance.

I’ve been asking myself, How can I keep my fears aside and embrace the ageing process gracefully?  How can I be comfortable with my age and ward away society’s persuasive nudges to melt away the years?

Why allow billboards to tell me that beautiful is always young?

Why spend money and time in erasing the amazing time I’ve had on this earth?

Instead why not look at ageing as a time to sit back and enjoy life without the angst and uncertainty of youth.

Ageing is inevitable, and ignoring what you see, hear and feel is difficult, but here’s how you can make sure that you’ll be beautiful at any age


Reflect on your idea of beauty

Close your eyes and go back to the times when you’ve had a lovely time with someone you care about. As you celebrated in that moment of joy, surely you didn’t notice the saggy arms or age spots. What mattered was only the feeling you got when you were in their company. Then why do we obsess about our lines and spots when they matter so little to those who hold us close. Why should beauty be about trying to fight ageing?

Why not free ourselves from the pressure that the old definition of beauty puts us through?What if we believe that whether we are 15 or 51, Beauty is about looking healthy and feeling our best?  We need to throw away our conventional, media defined parameters of beauty and redefine our ideas on beauty.


Pay attention to that inner voice.

What is your inner dialogue telling you – the story you tell yourself daily? Is the process of ageing seen as a gift or is it one to be dreaded, where you feel you would end up being invisible? Does the word ‘Retired’ mean that your self worth has vanished? If the purpose of life is to give and enjoy happiness, then don’t let your age define what you can or can’t do. Try out new hobbies, new experiences – activities that bring you fulfillment.  Look at each new year as a year of renewed opportunities. Another year doesn’t mean decline or despair. We need to watch what we tell ourselves. We create our own reality through the dialogues we have with ourselves. So make sure they are empowering

Redefine what makes your identity

Is your identity only about the way you look, or have you included in it your accomplishments, your relationships? You have so much more to offer the world – your laughter, your creativity, your kindness, your smiles and your compassion. All these are also a part of what defines your unique beauty. Basing your identity on just your outward appearance is absurd.

All said, its only normal to love going to the salon, buying new clothes, enjoy wearing make up oe dyeing your hair. Invest in whatever makes you feel beautiful both in body and in mind. Whatever you do, do it with panache. Its that self- confidence that shines out of our faces that make us beautiful with every passing year.

Personally I have felt and looked most beautiful when I have been fully engaged in the moment, connecting with the people around me and doing what brings me satisfaction and joy. My beauty is all about my confidence and my attitude.

So, go ahead, deconstruct the Beauty myth, and redefine what beauty and ageing mean to you.