MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL

American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Olympic floor final earlier this year to focus on her mental health. She has not minced words in documenting her struggles with mental health in posts on her social media accounts. Mind you, she has been a reigning champion – a superstar!

Of late, mental health has been drawing the much needed attention from several quarters. Celebrities coming out to share their mental health struggles has immensely furthered the cause, which is otherwise considered to be a stigma in most parts of the world.

If you are a person who still thinks that there is a lot of unwanted fuss being made about ‘mental health’ and that there are other issues that deserve more attention, then you really need to rethink. Just as one would nurse a bruised limb in case of an injury, a wounded mind also needs to be nursed.

Be it about the physical, social, spiritual or psychological issues, we humans focus more on the seen than on the unseen. And this shapes our behaviour most of the times. However, what is unseen is more crucial than what is seen!

Have you ever attended a Puppet Show? Not only children, but adults too are attracted towards the colourful talking, singing, jumping puppets. But, what attention would puppets draw without puppeteers or marionettists doing their jobs well, behind the screen? The voices of the puppets and their movements are all regulated by the puppeteers. Puppets look attractive, but without voices and movements, they won’t be any different than dolls or other toys that kids play with and no one would accord them much attention. What is unseen is significant to the visible performance of a Puppet Show and that by large determines the success of the show!

We humans focus so much on what we consciously perceive, that we ignore the major preconscious and unconscious zones of our minds. What is concealed comprises of more than what is revealed. And, this concealed zone influences the revealed zone greatly.

This article is not about training the preconscious and unconscious minds. Rather, the intent of this article is to drive home the point that since a person is more than what you and I see him or her as, and since a person’s behaviour is regulated by factors more than what is seen in the external environment, we need to be sensitive to each other’s mental health.

Who are the target groups?

Everyone.

Starting from foetal stage till grey hairs right  upto the grave – each one needs mental health care.

Mental health deterioration in a person (if it happens) starts from the time s/he is conceived owing to environmental stressors and genetic predispositions. When we ensure sound mental health of an expectant mother, we ensure sound mental health of the baby that is born. If the foetus growing within the mother is indirectly exposed to environmental stressors be they in the form of physical/ psychological/sexual/substance abuse, domestic violence, workplace harassment, maternal distress and sicknesses, poor nutrition – the baby that is born either develops a hardy personality (i.e., extreme resilience to stressors and a remarkable ability to cope with them) or develops a vulnerable personality (i.e., extremely sensitive to stressors and ill-equipped to cope with them). Besides purely medical conditions, the genesis of mental ill-health begins from this stage. Hence, foetal mental health is of utmost importance.

Children’s mental health needs a lot of attention too. The way children are shaped and cared for reflects in their adult lives. While the mental health of all children is crucial, those who suffer from disabilities and consequently from low self-esteem, those from single parent or parent absent families, those from war torn parts of the world, those subjected to abuse, those exposed to trauma and other disturbing life events – need specific mental health care.

Adolescent mental health care is crucial as the youngsters leap from childhood into adulthood and dabble with identity, acceptance and self-esteem issues. As they experiment with looks, relationships, careers and largely detest the tons of parental advice that are heaped on them, as they taste success or meet failures – there mental health needs attention. If the adolescent suffers from physical or psychological disorders/ disabilities, targetted mental health care is essential. This is precisely the stage when adolescents need to understand and accept that it is absolutely vital to seek good counsel.

Healthy adults shape up a healthy world. Numerous factors can mar an adult’s mental health. Starting from a lack of social acceptance, repressed childhood memories, to job hazards (harassment, exploitation, deprivation of rights and entitlements, unhygienic environment, layoffs), personal or familial ill-health, financial crises, family disputes, domestic violence, substance abuse and many more such additions to the list – an adult’s mental health requires a lot of care.

During the sunset years of life when one lies in a phase of apparent relaxation, mental health needs to be cared for. This is the time when most aged people are left uncared for, given menials and in many cases given the least attention. This is the time when they feel unwanted, when their desires are left unmet and their thoughts wander without expression. This is the time when most of the aged suffer from various illnesses. While a seed that promises to bear fruits needs care and nurturance, a tree that has borne fruits and flowers throughout life needs to be proffered due dignity.

So you see, all stages of life require mental health care just as they require physical health care.

With this I come to another important aspect which I would urge everyone to ponder upon.

Is mental health consideration meant for the educated and the affluent alone? What about that tramp on the street, the maid in the house, that ragpicker, the child labourer, the trafficked girl in the brothel and all those who find themselves at the receiving end of educational, social, economical deprivation? Those whose primary concerns are two square meals a day, a few old clothes on the body and perhaps someone’s doorstep for shelter? Who cares for their mental health, if at all?

With an unprecedented pandemic hitting the world which was at the helm of economic, technological, social progress like never before – mental health has suffered severe battering. In the last one and half years, there have been reports of increase in crime and domestic violence of humungous proportions – a majority of which have been under reported or have gone unreported. Millions of people have been rendered jobless. Thousands have lost their loved ones. Children have been orphaned.

While mental health professionals are doing their bit to help a wounded world, what can you and I do?

  1. Recognize the need for sound mental of those around you – your spouse, parents, children, siblings, neighbours, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, domestic helps, caregivers, service providers and anyone who you come in contact with.
  2. Cater to their mental health to the extent you can – Understanding words, appreciation, encouragement, connecting to legal/ medical/ mental health professionals as the requirement may be.
  3. Be sensitive – Do not share sensitive details of one person with others without their permission.
  4. Take care of your own mental health – In order to cater to and be sensitive to others’ mental health, one’s own mind needs to be in good health. Take a break when required. Do things that relax you. Arrange for like-minded caregivers to fill in for you in your daily chores as you care for your mind.
  5. Pray – Health is a blessing from God. He alone can grant the serenity and well-being of the mind when the tides rise against us. Whether you are in bliss or in the tumultuous tempests, pray that God keeps your mind tranquil and supple.

God’s plan for mankind was never chaos and destruction. But since we have driven ourselves into it, our mental health has suffered a severe beating. Seeking His strength, we can collectively work together for our own and others’ psychological well-being. May the theme of Mental Health Day 2021 be our focus for life: Mental Health in an Unequal World.

MY FLAWS

“If my flaws make me humble, receptive and compassionate as compared to your perfection that made you indifferent and rude towards a fellow being then I would proudly embrace my flaws.”

Kalpana Vogeti

DEMANDS OF WISDOM

Acquiring knowledge is always desirable but more than that it is important for us to attain Wisdom as it gives the insight to use the knowledge in the right manner.

But according to the Bible, the Wisdom has a few demands from those who longs to attain it.

The wisdom demands our EARS to INCLINE to it.

The wisdom demands our EYES to FOCUS on it.

The wisdom demands our HEART (or MIND) to APPLY it in our day to day life.

The wisdom demands our MOUTH to UTTER the right words using it appropriately.

The wisdom demands our FEET (and HANDS) to GO on the PATH of it.

Because, the words of Wisdom, that is God’s word are LIFE to those who find them and HEALTH to one’s whole body.

Friends! Gain wisdom and fulfill its demands to enjoy Life and Health.

Stay Blessed!

THINK DIFFERENT – THINK WISE

Had man not thought to shelter himself from the vagaries of weather, he would not have built huts, cottages and houses.

Had man not thought of making locomotion easier, carts would not have come into existence.

Man is a thinking creature and hence is referred to as being a ‘higher order primate’ many a times.

Only sometimes does he act before thinking and hence, needs a reminder to THINK.

THINK was Apple’s very first tagline.

But then, not always is it sufficient to think. At times it is essential to THINK DIFFERENT.

Creative Thinking is a booming market where thinking out-of-the-box is encouraged, recognized and honoured. Most organizations have posts of Creative Manager, Creative Head and Creative Director. The task of such personnel is to take decisions that are new and novel, to troubleshoot problems using never-before-used strategies, to suggest ways and means of growth for the organization that would be a win-win amidst existing competition. Their task is to think differently.

Imagine, if Thomas Alva Edison would not have thought differently about the production of light! We would’ve probably never had our rooms illuminated by incandescent bulbs. What if Nick Holonyak wouldn’t have thought differently? We wouldn’t have had the shift from incandescent bulbs to LED lights lighting our homes today. Had Joni Eareckson Tada not thought differently after a diving accident left her a paraplegic, she probably wouldn’t have been the author, painter and motivational speaker that she is today!

Be it the innovations that we see around us and marvel in awe or the people who have risen from ashes and reached the upper echelons of success or those who overcame their broken lives and went on to spread their fragrance around – all of these are the outcomes of people who dared to THINK DIFFERENT and strived hard to make their thoughts bear fruits.

So then, are there a different class of people blessed with the ability to think different?

Its a firm NO.

Each of us has the ability to think different. Some have scope of expressing and experimenting their thoughts and so come into the limelight, while for many others, such thoughts get snuffed out before fruition. Some have their unique thoughts flowing out naturally and freely, whereas some others need to be trained and encouraged to let their creative thoughts flow out.

To what extent can one THINK DIFFERENT?

The reigns of the mind once let loose, can scale heights and depths of limitless dimensions. Should the mind be bridled? Or left to run scot free?

Probably the Creative Head of Apple would have thought on similar lines!

Apple’s new motto now reads – THINK DIFFERENT – BUT NOT TOO DIFFERENT.

Railway tracks confine a train’s wheels to run along its surface so that the train can reach its destination unhindered. One wheel out of the track, and you know what would happen.

While each of us have been blessed with enormous cognitive faculties to stretch them far and wide, there also need to be certain boundaries within the latitude of acceptance so that human civilization progresses without much tumult.

THINK about it.

THINK DIFFERENT.

THINK DIFFERENT – BUT NOT TOO DIFFERENT.

. . . if you wish to follow the footsteps of Apple.

A JOYFUL RIDE IN THE FAIRYLAND

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Daughters usually (not generalizing) have a penchant for dolls and fairy tales, especially when they are in the age group of 3-10 years (not a scientifically proven data but an observation as a girl and as a mother). My daughter is in that phase. She got 10 dolls including the major Disney princesses, 7 lol dolls (her new found love), Disney channel subscription, two fairytale books – basically she is very much into Disney fantasy world apart from being interested in investing time in Lego building. And as a parent growing with a growing up child her curiosity and amusement infected me too. And together we ended up watching Disney movies on a loop over many weekends – hooting and rooting for the characters, bewitched by the magic on screen, the child in me has been rekindled. I am still in that trance, don’t want to be out of it soon 😁.

To compound the impact of that magic we also watched few videos on YouTube – Disneyland tours across the globe. It’s a whole happy world out there untouched by the worries on the other side of the gate. May be that’s the reason why the tagline says : “The Happiest Place On Earth”.

Happiness did spread across on my daughter’s face from the screen and she insisted that we should go to Disneyland someday. And when princess demands can the ordinance remain unheard? Off we go to Disneyland Paris during these vacations of 2021.

Before embarking our road trip to Disneyland I did some basic research about how Disneyland came into existence. The concept for Disneyland began when Walt Disney was visiting Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his daughters Diane and Sharon. While watching them ride the merry-go-round, he came up with the idea of a place where adults and their children could go and have fun together.

His dream was a vision both in terms of tangible and intangible effects it had on future generations all over the world. Spread over many miles the theme park is an economically profitable venture that enveloped many vendors in it’s premises and of course a bigger contribution to the otherwise scheming, fretting, running and racing world – it delivered smiles!! I have experienced it very closely. Fantasy, adventure, amusement, magic and happiness – one word Disneyland. Three days stay there let me relive my childhood. Isn’t it enough reason for me to endorse it? Isn’t it the only thing we want – time recall / rewind?

One more reason for my happiness- We have always feared going out with our son for long trips, especially to places where it needs long waiting hours (yes, the only flip side – long queues with waiting periods ranging from 15-40 minutes). He being autistic patience is something which is not his forte. We feared serious melt downs with so many stimulations working around him. But to our utter surprise he thoroughly enjoyed the visit. He waited patiently like we never would have envisaged. Also the staff working there was quite understanding and helpful. That gave us HOPE as parents and family for we are hopeful now to fill his childhood as well with more fond memories.

If you get a chance do visit Disneyland, it surely is the happiest place on earth😊😊.

CARE ENOUGH TO SEND THE VERY BEST

Sending and receiving cards is a dying tradition these days. But it still gives me the joy to find an old card buried in my treasures. They evoke such beautiful memories. During my school and college days, I have spent hours standing in the Hallmark or Archies gallery looking for the perfect wordings and cards for my friends and families. And believe it or not, I used to always find one such perfect card which suited the receiver’s personality, and also the wording felt like they came straight from my heart. And was also budget-friendly considering our cash-strapped student days.

Finding the perfect card was not enough then we decorated it with our comments and quotations using colorful sketch pens and stickers. Still more sketch pen work on the envelope and then the card was ready to be sent.

This whole rigmarole around sending a card really jived with the tag line of Hallmark cards – “When you care enough to send the very best.”

That hold true today also. Even though we don’t send many greeting cards in today’s times but we do give gifts to our loved ones. Giving the very best doesn’t necessarily mean the latest version or the expensive one. Giving the best means putting thought and effort into buying something that really touches the heart of the receiver, something they really needed or something that excites them or gels with their personality.

Going back in time an 18-year-old lad Joyce Hall started selling postcards from two shoe boxes. More than 100 years and billions of well-wishes later, Hallmark Cards, Inc. continues to thrive with the grandsons of that Nebraska teenager at the helm.

A time came when fire destroyed his entire inventory. But he still trudged ahead moved from post cards to greeting cards, then wrapping paper, Crayola, dayspring and so on.

While going through the history of the company I was very impressed by this thought 

 “Joyce Hall was intrigued by the word “hallmark” used by goldsmiths as a mark of quality. Mr. Hall liked that it not only said quality, but also included his family name. “

Yes mark of quality and full of love and care that is the definition of a hallmark Greeting Card for you..

Link for Hallmark Cards history: 

SUCCESS. IT’S A MIND GAME

We see things the way our mind have
instructed our eyes to see.

Muhammad Yunus

To achieve heights in life, we need to carry out smart work. The smart work leads to right mindset and the right mindset is the key to success. As we all believe inner thought is the foundation of success, so success can only be achieved if our inner mind shapes our skills well.

Some people believe success can develop through hard work. When I were in school I used to think alike. As I grew up, slowly and steadily life taught me that success is all about smart work and then hard work. Undoubtedly, hard work is essential for growth but only hard work won’t draw to success zone.

First of all, you require to fabricate your mind. If you won there, then you have already travelled halfway success. Mind games play a vital role in desiring success. The negative thoughts will try to diminish your belief and thoughts as negativity act like silent killers to success. All you need to discard them with positive approach and it will surely lead you boosting your confidence. Successful people don’t implement discrete activity, they function in a different fashion.

This escorts me to the tagline of TAG Heuer, “Success. It’s a mind game”. This ad inspired me the most as it focuses on the sportsmen’s spirit and the fear that going through their mind in the Olympics,1995. Though TAG Heuer progressed to a better tagline in 1998 but “Success. It’s a mind game” is the most memorable and popular one. Successful people only mould the world by leading the crowd rather than standing in the crowd.

As said by Swami Vivekananda, “Take risks in life. If you win, you can lead and if you fail, you can guide”.

By Deena Bhattacharjee