Millennials romantic crisis

People who do not require the download of a dating site are fortunate. What method did you use to escape the new game? Millennium Generation (Millennials) — we are the generation who grew up with the dawn of a technologically altered planet. It all started with us, and to be honest with you, it has its perks and drawbacks. What are your thoughts? Because the preceding generation was in their maturity, it didn’t appear to matter as much to them. We were still young children with developing minds, and as a result, everything piqued our interest and made us eager to learn more. The internet technically began with us, and we were the first generation to grow up with personal computers and smartphones, according to technical standards. We witnessed the creation of social media and were the first demographic to embrace and nurture it to its current form. Hooray!

What about the romance in past generations? Our parents are fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the joy of writing and receiving handwritten letters. Prior to sending a letter, a person would read and reread it numerous times to ensure that it was clear and accurate. How that ‘read’ must have felt, must have been incomprehensible–more like being sucked into a love novel realm, with butterflies in your stomach and smiles almost as wide as the face. How did it feel to be a member of the generation that came before us (the Baby Boomers)? Because of the power of imagination, we may be able to relive your stories in our minds for some time as we long for the things that escaped us.

How that ‘read’ must have felt, must have been incomprehensible–more like being sucked into a love novel realm…

Why don’t we discuss letter writing for a moment? According to a national study conducted by Janning in 2014, 88 percent of respondents keep their old love letters. Women are more likely than males to save love letters, according to Janning, who believes that this supports the premise that women are typically the “kinship keepers” in their families. Men, on the other hand, return to their letters more frequently. “Men are also more inclined than women to keep them in visible areas, such as on their bulletin boards or on top of their wardrobes,” Janning explained further. “It could be seen as a desire to keep prizes or as a desire to be more sentimental.” (We Might Be the Last Generation of Letter Writers • A Conversation with Sociologist Michelle Janning — handwritten) A handwritten letter carries a great deal of significance. Making the switch from texting to writing can have a significant impact for a variety of reasons. Handwritten letters are significantly more personal and intimate than typed letters, and they express a lot more intimate message. Throughout history, handwritten letters have been kept and displayed in libraries and historical societies.

“With each stroke of the pen, the ink bleeds into the paper– a handwritten letter creates a sense of authenticity and connectedness”

Not only is letter writing too hard for us at the moment, but so is producing complete digital words and sentences. We are left with texts such as ‘K’, ‘ttyl’, ‘wyd’, ‘ngl’, ‘AFAIUI’, ‘D46?’, ‘BOSMKL’, and so on and so forth. Around 1500 slang Short message abbreviations exist, with more on the way. I believe we will eventually arrive at a point where everything is written in abbreviation, to be honest–and I mean that literally. We’ve reached the stage of sloth where we can’t even write a complete word, let alone a complete statement. Perhaps busy? Regardless of how busy we are, the generations before us produced by far the greatest number of geniuses, so what exactly are we doing? playing video games, aimlessly surfing over social media, watching Netflix…? Okay, whatever you’re up to, it’s your business – but at the very least write complete sentences to someone who means a great deal to you. Do you agree with this statement? – It’s perfectly fine if you don’t. Well, If someone takes the time to write an entire page for you today, buddy, retain that somebody. That’s right, you heard correctly: keep that individual because they are definitely rare.

I do have some experience composing letters. It was unquestionably the most nourishing and soothing encounter, particularly in boarding school. I did attend boarding school for the majority of my life, and phones were not particularly permitted. Naturally, kids would smuggle them in, but they would face suspension or expulsion if detected. I recall writing handwritten letters and also receiving so many that I now have a box full of them stashed away. I’m not going to lie; when I pull them out in moments of nostalgia, they bring back fond memories. It’s as if you’ve traveled back in time and are sitting comfortably at that moment, feeling every emotion more vividly than you did then. It’s as if you’re balancing the emptiness of what you’ll never have with the fullness of what it seemed like then. It is the type of nostalgia that is not only recorded in your mind or possibly in a memory box but is also more detailed and beautifully written by hand. Considering you have children and they come across a box of lovingly handwritten letters in storage. I’m fairly certain that the concept of love will strike them differently.

Digit romance has taken over the world, bringing with it a slew of benefits and drawbacks. What about dating websites? This is the new letter writing, with a plethora of overwhelming possibilities to the point that it wreaks havoc on our mental health. The ability to communicate with anyone in the world is a stunning benefit of this technology. This leads me to the conclusion that we have so many possibilities that we no longer care as much since someone/anyone is always one click or one potential match away. You don’t have to go hunting for it; it finds you when you’re dipping chips, watching Netflix, or sipping a glass of wine — how convenient is that? Nevertheless, in the midst of that comfort, there is far too much ghosting, resulting in a significantly increased number of rejections. Rejection messes with anyone’s head, no matter who they are or what their history is. There is an adjustment period, but it still hurts differently with each individual to whom you attempt to offer a piece of yourself, and it varies according to the amount of time spent.

As it turns out, having too many options can be harmful and toxic. Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor, contends that having an endless number of options is debilitating and tiresome. We create irrational expectations and then blame ourselves for making what we perceive is the wrong choice. A surprising study involving jam proves that having more options is actually detrimental. In a supermarket, there was a display table with 24 different varieties of jam available for sampling. On another day, a display table featured only six types of jam. While the larger display drew greater attention, it was just one-tenth as likely to result in a purchase as the smaller display. (Why Having Too Many Choices Can Make You Unhappy) What about having too many options when it comes to humans? You are right; people are less inclined to be in committed relationships or even have possible dates that could develop into a true relationship owing to the lingering concept of right/wrong choice. Furthermore, when there are too many possibilities, it is incredibly difficult to distinguish between right and wrong choices.

Typically, people are far too eager to pass judgment. On top of that, during the talking stage, folks develop a complete story of someone well in advance of meeting them in person. And when they eventually meet in person, they will either confirm or deny your preconceived notions. And if otherwise, then voila — ghosting. Is anyone else fed up with the endless droning on and on? The monotony of repeating one’s self to a variety of different people is simply exhausting. While our mental health stays intact, what else is there to do but to keep trying and hope for the best?

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Why are family gatherings such a wellspring of anxiety?

It’s that time of year again when everyone gathers with their loved ones to celebrate the holidays. Family reunions are the type of venue where you catch up, re-energize, laugh your brains off, and just take a breather from your routinely individual insanity. However, it is not an easy task for everyone. Family gatherings are anything but a vacation; they’re more akin to the most difficult exam you’ve ever taken in college. Shhh, this can trigger so much stress, especially if you haven’t studied for the exam in question hence anxiety. 

Despite the fact that these are the individuals with whom we spend the most of our upbringing, they may not know who we are at some point, particularly if there are walls or disagreements lurking somewhere. During family get-gatherings, there are a lot of expectations and memories to tell. We set ourselves up to be disappointed in one another because we have high expectations of one another. And we invent stories to explain why the individuals in our lives either meet or fall short of our expectations. Many (if not all) people develop their own way of looking at the world, values, beliefs, and so on when they are away from home for a period of time, such as while attending college. We create our own cultures that are distinct from that in which we grew up, and these cultures may or may not be in agreement with what our parents know or have taught us. For this reason, we have a tendency to move more distant from them, despite the fact that they remain close to our hearts. For some holidays, though, it is simply impossible to avoid these pounding head scenarios. You only return home for a little period of time each year to check in, and even then, there is a great deal of apprehension upon your arrival. When this dynamic is combined with the customary holiday health pandemonium, the result is a tremendous amount of stress on the body and the mind.

There is always that one person of the family, whether it is Uncle Sam, Auntie Karen, or perhaps that sibling who has always followed the rules or something– who is invariably digging up dirt on someone. Perhaps they are still inquisitive about whatever remained hidden for a while– they are now ready and eager to poke some faces. It could be that adorable little niece or nephew who recalls your age and wonders why you are still single compared to the rest of your family members. Then everyone looks at you with this curious eye, and the room, which had before been filled with noise, is now filled with silence– and you’re thinking, “Pretty face, just shut the fuck up.” You know that favorite family member to whom you confide practically everything– until they become tipsy or intoxicated and begin spilling some of your secrets, sometimes unknowingly. Well, welcome to the world of family gatherings.

Perhaps they are still inquisitive about whatever remained hidden for a while– they are now ready and eager to poke some faces.

Prior to going, personally, I tend to take it easy in order to prepare for anything that may come up. I take a deep breath and mentally situate myself in that zone where I am prepared for anything—more like the armor necessary to maintain my sanity. I’m not going to lie; I’m rather adept at pitching for myself. For instance, if someone said, “Oh, when are we going to meet your partner?” or possibly asked me directly, “When are you getting married?” I’ll go over all of the data about how things have changed in our present generation, including the fact that the average age for getting married is approximately 28/29 (is that correct, by the way?). To keep my sanity, I can make up figures on the spot if necessary. No kidding, on the following question, I tend to continue my numbers higher until someone stops talking about it. 

To be honest, if attending a family gathering will ruin your week or month and temporarily wreck your mental health, it is perfectly acceptable to grant yourself permission to skip family gatherings and celebrations. If you can act as your own advocate in the midst of never-ending disagreements and possible triggers while maintaining your sanity–go ahead, rock it and emerge with your head held high like a giraffe. My view is that they eventually tire of it and cease bothering you and that you eventually tire of it as well, knowing that they will never mentally ruin you or something like that. When you establish your own boundaries and advocate for them, others are forced to respect them. You should be aware that things are more difficult when dealing with family members than they appear on the surface. However, that does not imply that you are unable to thrive through the wilderness. How do you deal with anxiousness that arises during family gatherings?

Always keep in mind that your mental health is vital and that you should look after yourself.

How are you today?

A person attends a party or social gathering with pals and then slips into bed, only to rip up to the pillow and find themselves alone. At this celebration, I’m sure a few individuals asked the person ‘how are you?’ or, for those who hadn’t seen each other in a long time, “how have you been”— I’m fine, how are you? the definitive response in its entirety.

When someone asks that question, it may sound so innocuous that we automatically respond with something as easy as I’m fine, good, or fine, or even simply a grin if we are feeling very sentimental. However, how are you truly? This question is accompanied by a sense of gravity on the part of the receiver. Perhaps if spoken truthfully, one would not have time to listen—perhaps one was merely inquiring. Perhaps I am unable to express it in a single phrase; perhaps it is too much to comprehend where to begin or end. Perhaps I’m unable to fathom how the fuck I am. As a result, my automatic system will anticipate my one-word response… I’m good.

The person asking the question to a greater extent does not mean the inquiry; they are simply asking to be kind and, of course, do not want to hear the whole tale about how you are not well…We have evolved to the automation of simply being with the intention of nothingness. We pose questions and provide fake responses because that is simply how things are. We have been socialized to conceal our emotions from the outside world. The majority of us cannot fathom responding with “I’m feeling quite down today, but thank you for asking” rather than “OK, thanks for asking.” This is something we are all guilty of… but why?

When was the last time you honestly answered that question?

Many people are suffering on the inside, despite the fact that they are surrounded by quite a large number of caring people, such as friends, family, mentors, et cetera. Why? Perhaps they are concerned that no one will pay attention or understand them. Perhaps they believe that regardless of the scenario, it does not matter as much as it should. Perhaps they are apprehensive about being criticized. We are so disconnected from one another that we are unable to see or feel the people who are sitting right next to us, silently suffering. Only after it is too late do we regretfully open our eyes. Despite everyone’s pleas to be heard, no one is listening.

It’s possible that these one-worded responses are a ruse. These one-worded responses conceal a great deal of emotion. They hold so much that is on the edge of shattering. They weigh so much on the precipice of oblivion. They numb us for an extended period of time and exacerbate denial and repression of feelings. Nonetheless, there is undoubtedly a party of unwelcome guests in our heads (thoughts)– erupting like fireworks, we are simply watching, and hoping someone/ anyone will hear the explosions.

When was the last time you asked that question genuinely, intending to listen?

Every day, we all experience our mental health to varying degrees. I believe it is critical that we convey our true feelings. In addition to this, your feelings are valid; you have the right to experience any emotion you desire. You are not overreacting; you are simply feeling what you are feeling, and that’s okay.

It appears as though the only individuals remaining to genuinely ask the question are experts such as therapists, doctors, and mentor health personnel. What if we all asked the question truthfully and listened intently to the responses of others?

Is schizophrenia over-diagnosed?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine conducted a short study of individuals referred to the Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC) and found that around half of the participants referred to the clinic with a schizophrenia diagnosis did not have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a persistent, severe, and disabling condition characterized by abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Hearing voices or experiencing anxiety were two of the most common reasons for people to be misdiagnosed. “Because we’ve focused attention in recent years on emerging and early indicators of psychosis, diagnosis of schizophrenia is like a new trend,” says Krista Baker, L.C.P.C., manager of adult outpatient schizophrenia services at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Diagnostic errors can be disastrous for individuals, particularly when a mental disease is misdiagnosed,” she says.[1]

What exactly is over-diagnosis? Overdiagnosis refers to the diagnosis of a medical illness that would never have generated any symptoms or difficulties in the first place. Psychological stress and excessive therapies might result from this type of diagnosis, which can be damaging.’ The consequences of overdiagnosis can be harmful to patients since they can result in overtreatment with potential side effects, diagnosis-related anxiety or despair, and labeling, as well as financial hardship.

Several studies conducted over several decades have revealed that Black individuals are diagnosed with schizophrenia at a higher incidence than white counterparts. Researchers discovered that Black individuals are 2.4 times more likely than white folks to be diagnosed with schizophrenia in a 2018 study of data from 52 distinct studies. According to other research, black people are diagnosed at a rate that is three to four times higher than that of white individuals. A number of studies have demonstrated the existence of the phenomena, according to William Lawson, M.D., Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Howard University Health Sciences. The overdiagnosis of schizophrenia is by far the most prevalent among black individuals. This phenomenon has been documented despite the paucity of genetic evidence demonstrating a true increase in incidence in this population. [2]

African Americans continued to have significantly higher rates of clinical diagnoses of schizophrenia after controlling for age, gender, income, location, and education, as well as the presence or absence of serious affective disorder, as determined by experts who were blinded to race and ethnicity, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in June 2012. After controlling for confounders such as major affective illness, Lawson and colleagues discovered that African Americans had considerably higher rates of clinical schizophrenia diagnoses than non-Latino white respondents. In addition, the researchers discovered that, despite these diagnostic disparities, African-American and white individuals did not differ significantly in blinded expert judgments of affective symptoms, but that African-American subjects did obtain greater ratings of psychosis than white respondents. Researchers found that “these data show that psychotic symptoms in African-American subjects may be overestimated by clinicians, skewing diagnoses toward schizophrenia-spectrum illnesses, even though affective symptoms are comparable to those in white subjects.”[3]

Hold on, don’t we all have prejudices? As a matter of fact, we all carry some sort of prejudice, whether we are aware of it or not. Others have a high level of self-awareness and will readily catch judgment before it exits its abode; nonetheless, our facial expressions or perhaps non-verbal signals can occasionally betray our true feelings and intentions. The thing is, by the time you misdiagnose someone based on their skin color, you’ve gone too far. Isn’t it, in some ways, a death sentence? Isn’t the goal of the healthcare sector to aid people, not to condemn them to an early grave? Perhaps not for people of color, but for everyone else—I’m so perplexed; aren’t we all human? I simply cannot fathom the fact that individuals are either overtreated, undertreated, or not treated at all based on their skin color.

My mind is spinning at the moment. Let’s meet on a patio and talk about this absurdity while sitting as comfortably as possible. We may be here for a while, so get a cup of coffee. This is a racial issue—I’m not going to sugarcoat it. This wilderness has no beginning, middle, or end, but we can nonetheless get started someplace. Consider the evidence that reveals that persons of color are less likely to seek and receive professional mental health care. I suppose they’re afraid for their own safety. Isn’t that so? I mean– If a black person goes to see a mental health professional because they are depressed or anxious, they may be diagnosed with schizophrenia. There is so much prejudice and discrimination that it scares people away from seeking professional treatment.

For some strange reason, all diagnoses — genuine or fraudulent — disappear when there is a court issue and requests for documentation of mental disorders with black people for a pass in jail and go to a mental facility. You are a robot without emotions in this arena (court and jail), and the court will lean toward the worst penalty imaginable, regardless of whether you deserve it or not. However, in the real world, you are portrayed as a mental case, whether or not that is the case. Either way, you have been tacitly sentenced to death. On the other hand,  You’re more likely to be mentally impaired if you’re a white person who’s on a trial or if you’re facing possible jail time hence sent to a mental facility despite the lethality of the crime.  And, in the normal world, you have the option and the ability to dictate what you believe is more fitting. To be continued…

Data shows that doctors utilize different symptom criteria when diagnosing schizophrenia among Black people[4] and that the use of a structured clinical interview does not alleviate this problem[5]. Additional research indicates that elevated diagnosis appears to be equally common among African Americans and white practitioners. [6] Patients with Black African ancestry appear to be perceived by clinicians as more paranoid and suspicious in general, which may contribute to the higher than average likelihood of psychotic diagnoses. Actually, much of contemporary popular literature has focused on how schizophrenia became known as a “black” diagnosis, in part because of cultural mistrust and perceived obstinance on the part of white people[7].

How about we make a point of agreeing to disagree? If there are overdiagnoses of African Americans in the normal world, why not apply the same standard while facing possible jail time? At the very least, there will be an opportunity to flee midway between prejudice and a probable death sentence…right? oh no, I forgot that if you’re sent to a mental facility, they’ll put you in such a drug-induced stupor that you’ll forget your name and pronoun. Please make some suggestions for possible actions, as that is by far the intended definition of “fucked” for a predominantly black man living in America.

So, what’s the deal, folks? Should individuals of color seek mental health care despite the high likelihood and risk of misdiagnosis, overdiagnosis, and underdiagnosis? Or should they remain put and perhaps devise a means of regaining a semblance of normalcy?

There are opportunities for cultural education and competence, for increasing the representation of persons of color in mental health professions, and so on. Even so, how soon will these measures become effective? The reality is that everyone needs equitable access to, at the very least, health care services. Everyone has the right to visit the doctor, and they shall be treated with dignity and respect as fellow people. Everyone deserves a chance at life, free from the threat of an implicit death sentence. Everyone, after all, is a human being!

References

[1] “Study Suggests Overdiagnosis of Schizophrenia.” Johns Hopkins Medicine Newsroom, 22 Apr. 2019, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/study-suggests-overdiagnosis-of-schizophrenia.

[2] Schwartz, Robert C, and David M Blankenship. “Racial Disparities in Psychotic Disorder Diagnosis: A Review of Empirical Literature.” World Journal of Psychiatry, Baishideng Publishing Group Inc, 22 Dec. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274585/v.

[3] Moran, Mark, and Search for more papers by this author. “Overdiagnosis of Schizophenia Said to Be Persistent among Black Patients.” Psychiatric News, 29 Dec. 2014, https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2015.1a17.

[4]Neighbors HW, Trierweiler SJ, Ford BC, et al. Racial differences in DSM diagnosis using a semi-structured instrument: the importance of clinical judgment in the diagnosis of African Americans. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2003;44:237–256.  

[5]Neighbors HW, Trierweiler SJ, Munday C, et al. Psychiatric diagnosis of African Americans: diagnostic divergence in clinician-structured and semistructured interviewing conditions. Journal of the National Medical Association. 1999;91:601–612. 

[6]Trierweiler SJ, Neighbors HW, Thompson EE, et al. Differences in Patterns of Symptom Attribution in Diagnosing Schizophrenia Between African American and Non-African American Clinicians. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 2006;76:154–160. 

[7]Whaley AL. Cultural mistrust and the clinical diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia in African American patients. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 2001;23:93–100. 

Mindfulness

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that mindfulness meditation began to be addressed as a therapeutic intervention to improve psychological well-being, despite the fact that research on the subject had begun as early as the 1960s. Nowadays, mindfulness is applied in a variety of circumstances, and there are many diverse interpretations of the term available. The inventor of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), one of the most extensively researched and widely applied mind­fulness programs in the world, JON KABAT-ZINN, defines mindfulness as follows: “Mindfulness is about being fully awake and present in our lives.” Each moment’s extraordinary vividness must be perceived in order to be fully appreciated.” Diana Winston of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center defines mindfulness as paying attention to present-moment experience with open curiosity and a readiness to stay with whatever is happening at any given time. [1]

Most of the time, when this happens, it is completely unexpected, such as while hiking on a mountain trail on a crisp fall day, or while being completely immersed in a task or play that you are not pondering about the past or the future, or while connecting with someone in such a way that it appears as if time has stopped completely. It is always possible to be alive and whole in the present moment, but it is sometimes difficult to achieve, especially during times of difficulties and external demands, as we have experienced.

Positive psychological consequences of mindfulness include an increase in subjective well-being, a reduction in psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, as well as an improvement in behavioral regulation. A mindfulness-based approach is advised as a treatment for some individuals who are struggling with common mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Also included are people who just want to enhance their mental health and well-being through relaxation and meditation. [2]

Mindfulness as a kind of behavioral intervention for clinical problems dates back to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who investigated the use of mindfulness meditation in treating patients with chronic pain, which is now known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Several different interventions have been created that are based on mindfulness-related principles and practices, including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and other forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (ACT).[3] ACT and DBT are both cognitive-behavioral treatments that incorporate elements of mindfulness into their treatment plans. [4]

In psychotherapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a method of treatment that combines cognitive therapy with meditation and the cultivation of a present-oriented, nonjudgmental attitude known as “mindfulness.” Therapists Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale came up with the idea of MBCT as a way to build on the principles of cognitive therapy. Using cognitive therapy in conjunction with a program developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), they hoped to improve the effectiveness of therapy. With MBCT, the primary goal is to assist patients suffering from chronic depression in learning how to avoid relapses by refraining from engaging in those habitual thought processes that perpetuate and worsen depression. According to a study published in The Lancet, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was just as effective at preventing depression recurrence as maintenance antidepressant medication. Individuals who suffer from recurrent depression can benefit from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which has been found to reduce the risk of relapse by approximately 50 percent on average.[5]

I have explored in depth Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), so that is where I will be concentrating my efforts. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a technique that tries to address the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are believed to contribute to stress and psychological health. I strongly advise looking into this technique because it is quite beneficial. The 8-week certified stress reduction program is based on rigorous mindfulness training and is provided free of charge by the Palouse Mindfulness website. Participants in an MBSR course become more familiar with their own behavior patterns as a result of the regular mindfulness training that the course provides, particularly in the context of stressful situations. They also learn that, while they may not always be able to change the situations in which they find themselves, they do have the ability to select how they will respond to those circumstances. MBSR describes this as a transition from reacting to responding, with the latter involving a sharper view of the circumstances by becoming more in touch with the thoughts, sensations, and emotions that are currently present. [6]

As an effective alternative to existing medical and/or psychological treatment, MBSR has been shown to significantly improve the outcomes of treatment for the following conditions: anxiety and panic attacks, Asthma, cancer, and chronic illness, depression, eating disorders, fatigue, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal distress, grief, headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, skin disorders, sleep problems, work, family, and financial stress, and work, family, and financial stress (Center for Mindfulness). When it comes to practicing mindfulness or yoga, there are essentially no obstacles. As long as you have a conscious mind, you can engage in mindfulness practices, and as long as you have a moving body, you can engage in yoga practices.

There are actually multiple distinct ways to practice or participate in mindfulness, each with a different emphasis on a different aspect of the discipline. Focus Mindfulness, particularly mindfulness practiced with an emphasis on focus, entails turning inside to examine what is going on in your mind. Awareness Mindfulness, In contrast to focusing, exercising awareness places an emphasis on the exterior rather than the inward. When you are aware, you are looking at your thoughts and feelings from a different viewpoint than you are used to having, and you are not attaching any judgment to what you are seeing. Breathing exercises, body scans, object meditation, mindful eating, walking meditation, mindful stretching, and mindful listening are just a few examples of mindfulness exercises. [7]

According to research, the practice of “mindfulness” is becoming more popular as a component of mental health treatment in recent years. You may include mindfulness practices in your daily routine. To practice mindfulness, you don’t need any specific equipment, such as a meditation cushion or bench, or any other unique equipment, but you do need to set aside some time and space to do so. The goal of mindfulness is not to quiet the mind or to reach a state of permanent tranquility. The purpose is straightforward: strive to devote full attention to the present moment, without passing judgment on it.[8]

References

[1] Carrión, Victor G., et al. Applied Mindfulness : Approaches in Mental Health for Children and Adolescents. Vol. First edition, American Psychiatric Association Publishing, 2019.

[2] “How to Look after Your Mental Health Using Mindfulness.” Mental Health Foundation, 14 July 2021, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-look-after-your-mental-health-using-mindfulness.

[3] Keng, Shian-Ling, et al. “Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Studies.” Clinical Psychology Review, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679190/.

[4] What’s New | Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. https://contextualscience.org/.

[5] Schimelpfening, Nancy. “How Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Works.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 14 July 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy-1067396.

[6] Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches :: What Is MBSR?, https://www.institute-for-mindfulness.org/offer/mbsr/what-is-mbsr.

[7] “MBSR: 25 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Exercises and Courses.” PositivePsychology.com, 10 Mar. 2021, https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-mbsr/.

[8] “The Power of Mindfulness for Your Mental Health.” Rogers Behavioral Health, https://rogersbh.org/about-us/newsroom/blog/power-mindfulness-your-mental-health#:~:text=The%20practice%20of%20%E2%80%9Cmindfulness%E2%80%9D%20is,relax%20the%20body%20and%20mind.

“Center for Mindfulness – UMass Memorial Medical Center – UMass Memorial Health.” UMass Memorial Health, http://Www.ummhealth.org, https://www.ummhealth.org/umass-memorial-medical-center/services-treatments/center-for-mindfulness.

What about stress?

There is no universally accepted definition of stress. As a result, measuring stress is difficult if there is no agreement on what stress should be defined as. People have very different ideas about what constitutes stress. Most people consider stress to be something that causes only harm; however, any definition of stress should include positive stress as well. The most common definition of stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension caused by adverse or extremely demanding circumstances. The American Institute of Stress defines stress as “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” My favorite definition is the Stoic’s, “the friction of conflicting obligations.” Stress is a mental and physical reaction to what you perceive to be happening.

Acute stress, for example, is the fight or flight response, in which the body prepares for defense. Chronic stress is characterized by a persistent sense of pressure and overload over an extended period of time. Eustress, the positive connotations—which is the bitter-sweet excitement that comes with overwhelming emotions, such as marriage, promotion, lottery, or meeting new people. You know when you finally get to that milestone you’ve been looking forward to, like graduation, so thrilled about advancement but with lingering thoughts of what comes after, like oh shit, I’m now an adult or the reality of responsibilities like student loans? Or when you’re ecstatic to get your firstborn child but have no idea how to parent or even what to do when it arrives. The other sort of stress is distress, which has negative connotations such as divorce or financial difficulties, among other things. Distinguishing between the unpleasant or damaging type of stress known as distress, which often connotes sickness, and eustress, which often connotes euphoria, is critical. Both eustress and distress cause the body to have nearly identical non-specific responses to the many positive and negative stimuli acting on it. Eustress, on the other hand, produces far less harm than distress. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that how a person handles stress influences whether or not they can successfully adapt to change.

What causes stress?

According to Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, a leader in the field of stress mastery, believing that stress is something that happens to us is a myth. For example, if I say that my girlfriend is stressing me out, she is only a stressor; the stress is caused by my reaction to what I perceive to be happening. A stressor is someone or something that presents you with a challenge. What is the true source of stress? Perception. The majority of stress is caused by perception. We become stressed when our perception does not match our expectations.

“We suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

Seneca

Stress, according to the Stoics, is optional. Stress isn’t something that happens to you, as psychologists and neuroscientists have recently confirmed. That is definitely true; I believe stress is optional, but stressors are not. Stressors will always be present in our lives every day, minute, and second; what matters is how you respond to that stressor. Because stress is caused by perception, relieving stress is essentially a matter of training your perceptions. As the Stoics put it, mastering the discipline of perception.

I did think once that I had to carry the entire world on my back. When a problem arose, whether it was controllable or not, I made every effort to control the situation. My mind’s racing thoughts increased my adrenaline levels. I was always so stressed that I thought my heart would burst one day. I spoke with this woman, and she told me something I will never forget: the world existed before you were born, and it will exist after you are gone; control what you can and let go of the rest. That was the exact day I said, “Fuck it.” Of course, I encounter stressors, but my reaction to them has shifted so dramatically that I occasionally relish the challenges. It is important to consider how you perceive the situation. The way one perceives the situation has a significant impact.

Stress can be unhealthy, but it can also be beneficial.

Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, highlighted a massive piece of research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in her TED talk, which shocked many people. A study of 29,000 people over an eight-year period discovered that your attitude toward stress has a far greater impact on your health than the stress itself. People who were under a lot of stress and believed it was bad for their health had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. Nonetheless, in the study, people who experienced too much stress but did not perceive stress as harmful had the lowest risk of dying. The researchers now estimate that 182,000 people died prematurely over the eight years they tracked mortality, not from stress, but from the assumption that stress is bad for you. This equates to more than 20,000 deaths per year. If that calculation is true, stress was the 15th leading cause of death in the United States last year, killing more people than skin cancer, HIV/AIDS, and homicide combined.

According to the study, if you believe that stress is always harmful to you, your prediction will come true. You’re also correct if you believe stress is a positive thing because it energizes, challenges, and motivates you. People who had a positive attitude toward stress lived for several years longer than those who had a negative attitude toward stress, which is a remarkable finding. Short-term stress can strengthen your immune system, make you more social, help you learn better, and even improve your memory. Stress boosts motivation, increases resiliency, and promotes growth.

Reducing stress

There are a number of ways one can reduce stress, exercising, meditation, mindfulness meditation, counseling, finding a hobby, journaling, reading, cold showers- Cold exposure is a hot trend. Silicon Valley swears by taking cold showers first thing in the morning to reduce stress and boost mental fortitude. It’s been dubbed the “secret weapon” and most cost-effective “biohack” in the pursuit of ageless vitality by anti-aging researchers. Dissecting the situation aids in narrowing it down and locating the source of the problem; pause and analyze. What is the source of this? Is this something I’ve brought on myself? What can do? Is it under my control or not? Careless about what others think of you, please…don’t you think it’s easier to be yourself than to try to be someone you’re not—your happiness and peace of mind are too important to be placed on the whims of others? Life is too short to be swayed by the opinions of others. Accept yourself for who you are and what makes you unique. 

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References

“Daily Life.” The American Institute of Stress, 18 Dec. 2019, https://www.stress.org/daily-life.

“Dealing with Stress: 12 Proven Strategies for Stress Relief from Stoicism.” Daily Stoic, 16 Feb. 2021, https://dailystoic.com/stress-relief/.

McGonigal, Kelly. “How to Make Stress Your Friend.” TED, https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend/up-next?language=en.

The Past, The Future, and The Now

Anxiety and depression deprive humanity of the present moment. For depression, one’s mind is captivated by the past, but for anxiety, one’s mind is consumed by the future. We are distracted by the past and the future, and we overlook the simple pleasures that are there in front of us. We miss being alive, and time flies by in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps the past is a safe haven for those who are absorbed by nostalgia and thus spend time in their memory box. The bittersweet emotion of longing for a time when things appeared to be better and easier. For some, it may simply be a trip down memory lane, but for others, it may be a historical type of nostalgia triggered by dissatisfaction with the present. Perhaps the future holds promise for some, so they keep track of their thoughts in anticipation—which isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but it can absorb the present moments if not managed properly. For example, some people believe that they will be happy in the future only if they have accomplished something, or if they meet someone, or if they move to that new house or get married or have a child.

The mind is programmed to associate cause and effect with contentment. It’s like happiness is a waiting game, where you’re hoping to be happy “if only,” “when only.” Perhaps you can be happy right now, you know. It’s about the journey, not the destination because when you get there, you’re only happy for a moment and then you’re back to the normal state-what you nurtured as your baseline for happiness. According to the hedonic treadmill theory, no matter what happens to people, their levels of happiness will eventually return to their baselines. As a result, the doing is more important than the result—It’s like a delicate balance of doing and being, of planning and letting go, of accepting what is while striving to improve what could be.

According to the hedonic treadmill theory, no matter what happens to people, their levels of happiness will eventually return to their baselines.

If I had to compare time to anything, I would say it is a deity. It is deeply embedded in our minds and governs every part of our lives. When our minds are constrained by the past and future—Time does not appear to be psychologically pleasant. It is torturous and makes life seem unbearable. For instance, imagine waking up late for work or anything else, and your entire day devolves into shambles because of a single thought—”omg, I’m late.” The exhilaration that comes with a racing heartbeat, as if time will stand still for you. The rage that emerges during traffic, as if everyone else awoke in the same situation as you. At normal speeds, the effect of time slowing down is minimal, but it becomes highly noticeable as speeds near those of light. To put it another way, the rate at which time passes is determined by your point of view. That is the great physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity– that time is an illusion that moves relative to an observer. An observer traveling near the speed of light will experience time and all of its aftereffects (boredom, aging, etc.) much more slowly than a resting observer.

“People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”

– Eckhart Tolle

It’s more like we sleep, wake up for a moment, and then sleep again. When we fully awaken, we frequently wonder, “What have I been doing all along?” In anticipation of how much time has passed, it can be a frightening moment of realization. Time, on the other hand, is a social construct. It only governs our minds psychologically and is not fundamentally real. “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion,” says Echart Tolle. What you value is not time, but the one point that exists outside of time: the Now. That is truly priceless. The more you focus on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, which is the most valuable thing there is.

What you value is not time, but the one point that exists outside of time: the Now.

Perhaps we can cheat time, or maybe time can be subconsciously altered. Perhaps if we pay close attention to the present moment- The Now… waking up to noticing the birds sing. Paying attention to our breath, spending time in nature- sit still for a while, examine our surroundings, and fill what is. Coming to terms with the current dimension, letting go of affiliation with the mind, and realizing that you are more truly yourself without thought. Perhaps the thoughts that are stolen from us by time, those that travel to the past and future, can be transcended and accessed only when needed, making us more powerful, effective, and creative.

Depression

For some, its like a crawling thought inside your head that you can’t control. For some, it’s like a cold that challenges the warmth in the body. For some, it’s like aches in the stomach, back, and top shoulders. For some, it’s like urging to get up out of bed but find themselves staying longer than usual or perhaps the wakefulness during the night. For some, it’s like feeling worthless and a failure at everything. For some, it’s like hopelessness. For some, it’s like being tired all the time. For some, it’s eating endlessly despite the feeling of hunger- others quite the opposite, not eating. For some, it’s like being stuck in a loop in time. For some, it’s like barely floating on the ocean. For some, it’s like being lodging between nothingness and striving. For some, it’s like screams inside of you- hoping for someone to hear you. For some, it’s being trapped somewhere but nowhere at the same time. For some, it’s like the thrill of pleasure from pain. For some, it’s like chugging glasses of wine or any other alcoholic beverage. For some, it’s like continuously feeling the void of what is. For some, it’s like being uncomfortable with silence- since thoughts get extremely loud. For some, it’s like being invisible. For some…

Depression is a mental disorder that affects how you feel, think and act. And it can strike anyone. It is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. People suffering from depression today are over 300 million according to WHO. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when recurrent and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and affect relationships. Depression is more prevalent in females compared to males-with statistics of 5.1% to 3.6% respectively. There are different forms of depression, such as persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia), postpartum depression, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, and major depression. [1,2]

“It is characterized by a combination of symptoms, including low mood, loss of positivity, feeling guilty or worthless, sleep disturbances, fatigue, lack of energy, changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and thoughts of death or suicide,” says Wayne Drevets, M.D, Vice President, Disease Area Leader in Mood Disorders, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. [3]

depression in developing countries.

Not so long ago, many psychiatrists believed depression was a uniquely western phenomenon. One typical branch of this belief was advocated by JC Carothers, a psychiatrist and WHO expert. He wrote an influential dissertation on the “African mind” in 1953, arguing that the continent’s inhabitants lacked the psychological development and sense of personal responsibility required to suffer despair. In 1993, Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist, moved to Zimbabwe for a research fellowship. His goal was to find evidence for the view, which was widespread among psychiatrists at the time, that what appeared to be depression in developing countries was actually a response to deprivation and injustice – conditions compounded by colonization.

He began his research by conducting focus groups and cultures with traditional healers and those who cared for patients with mental illnesses, followed by interviews with patients. He inquired as to what mental disease was, what caused it, and how it could be treated. The most common ailment had a name: kufungisisa, which means excessive anxiety about a condition in Shona, the indigenous language. What surprised Patel the most were the patients’ responses.- No matter what they called it, no matter what they believed to be the cause or the treatment. They highlighted hopelessness, tiredness, unwillingness to face their difficulties, and a loss of enthusiasm in life – classic indicators of depression.

Patel had previously assumed that depression was merely an appropriate response to misfortune. Your husband is an alcoholic who beats you. Your crop was a failure. Your family is evicted. Your children are starving. Of course, you’re depressed. You and your family require alcoholism treatment, fertilizer subsidies, and a secure job. What role does psychotherapy play in this? Well, there is a difference between sadness and depression. Sadness is a natural reaction to misfortune. Depression, on the other hand, is not the same thing. Yes, the poor are more prone to depression but that does not indicate that poverty causes depression- it is a correlation however. Depression is like a veil of negative thoughts that paralyzes the person suffering, preventing her from responding to traumatic occurrences.[4]

Depression manifests distinctively in developing countries than in more developed ones. The causes of depression are disturbing: war, torture, epidemics; stressors of daily life in poor countries, such as poverty, extreme food shortages, death of a loved one, etc. A total of 161 papers in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on surveys of 80,000 refugee studies found a correlation between torture and depression. Syrian refugees in Lebanon were most typically diagnosed with depression and anxiety, according to Doctors Without Borders. According to one study conducted in rural Pakistan, half of the women examined suffered from depression. This was linked to their early marriage and motherhood, several pregnancies, and adjusting to a new life that they had not chosen.[5]

South Asia represents approximately 23% of the global population and one-fifth of the world’s mental health cases- countries include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and the Maldives. Characterized by significant poverty rates in this region, roughly 150–200 million people have a recognized psychiatric disease and have inadequate access to mental health services. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most prevalent in all South Asian countries. In another study, rural India had 430 persons out of every thousand at-risk individuals who were depressed — about half of the population. It was found that 39.6 percent of the population suffered from mild to serious depression according to research. The burden of depressive disorders was higher among females and older adults than among males and young people. Previous studies have found that females are more likely than males to experience adverse life events that are strongly linked to the onset of depressive episodes, such as gender discrimination, physical and sexual abuse, relationship breakdown, intimate partner violence, antenatal and postnatal stress, and critical cultural norms. [6]

Untreated depression can take a toll on physical health. It may crimple your thoughts and affect they way you eat, sleep, feel., cardiovascular diseases, physical pain, et cetera. It can also lead to suicide. Note that -The majority of people with serious depression do not attempt suicide. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 90% of people who die by suicide suffer from depression or other mental illnesses, as well as a substance misuse problem.[7] The key to preventing depression from increasing and leading to these catastrophic problems is to get professional help as soon as possible. However, many developing countries do not have this access to professional help. Despite the fact that there are proven, effective treatments for mental disorders, a great percentage of people in developing nations have no access to care.  Mental health services and programs should be addressed in developing countries. A lack of resources, a lack of educated healthcare workers, and the societal stigma associated with mental diseases are all barriers to effective care.

References

[1]“Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 1 Jan. 1970, https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/254610.

[2]“Depression.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression.

[3]Reece, Tamekia. “7 Things We Now Know about Depression.” Content Lab U.S., Johnson & Johnson, 29 Sept. 2021, https://www.jnj.com/health-and-wellness/facts-about-depression.

[4]“Busting the Myth That Depression Doesn’t Affect People in Poor Countries.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 30 Apr. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/30/busting-the-myth-that-depression-doesnt-affect-people-in-poor-countries.

[5]“Addressing Depression in Developing Countries.” BORGEN, 14 Feb. 2018, https://www.borgenmagazine.com/depression-in-developing-countries/#:~:text=Depression%20in%20developing%20countries%20looks%20different%20than%20in,and%20homelessness.%20These%20are%20all%20linked%20to%20depression.

[6]Ogbo, Felix Akpojene, et al. “The Burden of Depressive Disorders in South Asia, 1990–2016: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study.” BMC Psychiatry, BioMed Central, 16 Oct. 2018, https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-1918-1.

[7]Bruce, Debra Fulghum. “Side Effects of Untreated Depression.” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/untreated-depression-effects.