Battling Mental Health: Why and How

If you are hunting for a job and still jobless, overcoming a heartbreak and finding no, solace, recovering from a broken marriage or living a relationship that is loveless; if you are being frequently manipulated, bullied or humiliated ; if you are getting low grades in exams, If you are guilty or convicted; there is a huge possibility that you might suffer from anxiety. If you are irritated on small matters, enraged on petty issues, respond aggressively to arguments and conflicts, feel drained out emotionally, if you feel restless, disgusted, lonely all the time; if  you find yourself hopeless, lack in self -esteem , if you are running short of confidence and are always enveloped by negativity,  then you are experiencing depression and anxiety.

Mental health is one of the most overlooked spectrum of human life. We ignore the mental problems because we fear ridicule, rejection, desolation, distrust, manipulation and discrimination. This fear emanates from the social stigma that is attached to mental illness. Mental sickness is related to the functioning of the human mind. People consider this to be shameful. We look upon mental issues as something which is unnatural and incurable. Brain is the centre that controls and governs the human body, just like the Central Processing Unit (CPU) that controls and commands all functions  of a Computer. When we encounter a problem with the CPU we immediately call for technical support to rectify the error. Then when we face mental problems why don’t we ask for support and care? Why is it that we hide them, make desperate attempts to conceal them, remain passive and indifferent towards them? Don’t we want our mind to function properly when it encounters problems?

Mental problem can operate at two levels; one which is  at a primitive stage like ‘Anxiety disorders’ or mild forms of ‘Depression’; the other is ‘Psychosis’. While the first can be cured through self- help measures and support from family and friends, psychosis in particular requires medical treatment. Managing mental health is just as important as managing physical health. Anxiety and depression are very common. Almost every one in four person suffers from anxiety or depression in his or her lifetime.  It is just that we either fail to recognise or acknowledge the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

If you are hunting for a job and still jobless, overcoming a heartbreak and finding no, solace, recovering from a broken marriage or living a relationship that is loveless; if you are being frequently manipulated, bullied or humiliated ; if you are getting low grades in exams, If you are guilty or convicted; if you lost a loved one or are suffering from fatal disease , there is a huge possibility that you might suffer from anxiety. If you are irritated on small matters, enraged on petty issues, respond aggressively to arguments and conflicts, feel drained out emotionally, if you feel restless, disgusted, lonely all the time; if  you find yourself hopeless, lack in self -esteem , if you are running short of confidence and are always enveloped by negativity,  then you are experiencing depression and anxiety. You are fighting a battle you do not know, you are caught in a web, you do not understand. Know then , that your mind is working against you. It is pushing you further into misery, darkness and desolation. Allow it not to mislead you. Battles of the mind are the hardest to conquer. They challenge you every minute, they pose new threats every moment. They lead you towards destruction. They overpower your reasoning and question your existence. Fight back. Do not give up. Speak up , listen to your mind, anxiety is your mind’s way of telling you that all is not well.

Communication is not sharing thoughts when all is well, we need to talk and talk more when our mind is reeling under pressure. Unfortunately, when we need it most we shut all doors to communication, we shield ourselves from people by raising walls around us. We sever all cords, suspend all activities,distance ourselves from friends and family and withdraw in our shells. All this draws you  more towards isolation and alieanation. The worst condition is when a person stops communicating to oneself. This is dangerous, this passivity, this negativity, this lack of interest, loss of faith, loss of control, loss of patience, loss of energy, it breaks you from within. It shatters you completely.

So how can you heal your mind? Here are practical tips to restore your mental health:

Listen to your mind: Do not ignore the signs of mental illness. Acknowlege them, be sensitive to your mind.

Accept your condition: Half the battle is won through acceptance. Accepting yourself makes it easy to cure yourself.

Do not remain silent, speak up: Sharing your problem is the first step towards restoring your balance.

Learn to Trust: Confide in people who care for you and love you. Family and friends are your biggest strength. Discuss things with them, they will never let you down.

Find your calling: Discover what makes you happy, what gives you satisfaction, what pleases your mind; it could be anything like singing, painting, writing, cooking , gardening,traveliing or just anything that makes you happy.

Believe in yourself: Do not lower your self-esteem, believe in yourself, Recognise your strenghths, accept yourself as you are. You are your best help. “God also helps those who help themselves”

It is okay to fail, it is normal to lose: Failures are not the end of the world. People fall, people rise, people move on. You too can. Nothing is permanent. Winning is not everything but living is. You are here to live and your life is so precious. Do not waste your life. Live strong!

Keep believing in yourself! You are a winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What then is the True Purpose of Education ?

Let your students take initiatives, allow them to commit mistakes, mistakes make them wise that is what we mean when we preach, “Mistakes are the stepping stones to success”. Let them take the ownership, inspire them to let loose their creativity. Children are creative, help them to exploit their potential, empower them to express their talent, groom them to become self_reliant and independent. Is it not the aim of teaching? If we fail to motivate our students then the very purpose of teaching _learning process is defeated.

This Independence Day I got an opportunity to be part of the prestigious celebration in one of the reputed schools of the town. It was after years I was to attend the Independence Day function at school. Naturally I was excited and eager to revisit school days. The enthusiasm and energy that school children radiate is amazing.

While I was driving down to school I recalled my school days and the preparations that were done to celebrate this day, which holds great significance in the life of every Indian. The struggle of our freedom fighters was remembered with great respect and gratitude. Speeches eulogising the sacrifices of the brave warriors of freedom were carefully rehearsed. The achievements of independent India were highlighted. One had to go through tough competition before getting selected to deliver the speech on the final day of performance on 15th of August, the Indpendece Day of India. Several competitions like patriotic song competition,  folk dance competition,  essay writing , debates or poetry recitation based on patriotic themes were organised by the school. The environment was electrified with the gusto and fervour of the students.

The smart cadets of the National Cadet Corps (N.C.C) dressed in immaculately clean uniforms, forward marched with brisk steps and saluted the Indian tricolour ; it was a sight to remember. Their was something in their body language, spirit and confidence that automatically aroused the spirit of ‘Unity’ and ‘Discipline’  (which is also the motto of N.C.C.) among the eye witnesses. Even though several years have passed but those images are still fresh in my mind as if they happened just yesterday.

I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I did not realise that I had almost arrived at my destination. I walked inside the entrance gate and looked around expecting to find a huge group of energetic young girls and boys and the disciplined school staff to greet me, but to my utter dismay I found just a handful of students and teachers gathered in a small area looking bored and weary . Upon questioning where the function would take place; a hesitant girl shyly escorted me to a nearby shaded space with some chairs placed in rows and occupied by few parents and small children.  After a while, the school teachers walked down  sloppily and stood by the shade. After a long wait, with some background music being played by the school choir ,and a few patriotic slogans that were being raised by one of the teachers, I found the staff and children struggling to maintain the flow. They appeared pretty uninspired and confused. The person shouting slogans would insist upon the students and participants to repeat them after him. The response was both cold and poor. Attendance was thin,  energy was minimal and enthusiasm was zero. It was such a sorry sight and in complete contrast to what I had experienced or expected; this made me question, “what was wrong with these people?’ Yet, I patiently waited for the students to perform. It turned out to be a futile wait. There were two to three speeches and two short performances all by the teachers and the administrative authorities. Here, I would refrain myself from making any observations on them and reserve that for future interaction with my readers.  However, what struck me particularly was the fact that not even a single student was invited on stage to perform or participate in the event. What I have known or understood over the years is that any occasion like this is a platform to  bolster the confidence of the students. This is the time to provide opportunity to young people to overcome their inhibitions and exhibit their talent.

It is the primary responsibility of any academic/ educational institution to focus on the formation of a rounded personality of its pupil. Students learn more by doing rather than by imitating. Students should be active participants rather than mute spectators. They should live and learn through the experiences they undergo. If a student speaks well, let him deliver the speech; if a student sings well motivate him to sing on stage; if a student is good at organizing , allow him to experiment. Let your students take initiatives, allow them to commit mistakes, mistakes make them wise that is what we mean when we preach, “Mistakes are the stepping stones to success”. Let them take the ownership, inspire them to let loose their creativity. Children are creative, help them to exploit their potential, empower them to express their talent, groom them to become self_reliant and independent. Is it not the aim of teaching? If we fail to motivate our students then the very purpose of teaching _learning process is defeated.

I believe the students appeared quite dull and disinterested as they were not actively involved. To make the students more interested we should adopt a strategy to let them explore,  investigate and experience the principles of life by doing things themselves.  Of course, the supervision and guidance of the teachers and guardians is must to ensure the effectiveness of learning.

Let every child be inspired through consistent support and encouragement. To empower the student to grow and excel is the primary purpose of education .

As I conclude,  I leave you with this strong message by famous poet William Butler Yeats :

“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of fire”

Keep lighting the fire…