The Happy Quotient

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Nisha JamVwal dispels misconceptions that successful people don’t suffer from depression, and gives tips on how to be happy when you feel like you are down in the dumps

THE EQUALITY OF PAIN
When in life we’re feeling down in the dumps, we so easily assume that everyone else has it so good. We just cannot accept that even those with all the ostensible trappings have trying times too. The thing is, life is a package deal and the human flesh comes with its share of suffering. This is a universal truth. There is no life sans pain, depression, trial and suffering. How many cars and homes one has is irrelevant to the amount of suffering or worry a human being is subject to. The truth of this came to me when I saw an interesting message in my Facebook inbox last week. A follower on my page said, “Ma’am, you have a perfect life. Everything is so glamorous and wonderful in your life.” Ironically, this message on Facebook had come to me when I was undergoing a real gruelling trial. Quite amusing this; the truth is quite the opposite – life has trials and tribulations for everyone.

DON’T LOSE SIGHT
That message on Facebook was indeed a sweeping assumption! A revelation. One that made me realise that everyone presumed conveniently that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Because you look glamorous and live in luxury, life has to be just perfect. And it brought home a very universal truth that life and the cycle of birth and death had to have its share of sunshine and darkness. How we deal with it is where the choice comes in.
When you reach that roadblock of energy drain, body ache, over study, pressure, homework, hard work, depression, lack of motivation and the desire to hide from the world, to pick up and move on is definitely not easy. Suicide and ending it all is not the answer, trust me.
In a milieu when drug overdose is on the rise, escape in terms of chemical drugs is not the answer. Seeking help, sisterhood, brotherhood, bonding,seeking counselling, working out, friendship and seeking help and support from parents and ones support structures are the answers.

MENTAL STRENGTH
The trick is to never extinguish the inner spark to heal and move on. It is the inimitable survival instinct that all of us are born with, a magic that gives us resilience and sparks initiative. Most important is to give positive affirmations to your brain instead of telling yourself that you are down and the only one in the world with problems. Do not overwhelm yourself with the perils and problems of the world, or fret about all the negative aspects of your life. Deal with problems selectively and in priority. Most important, cross a bridge when you reach it; do not imagine problems and create mental mountains of molehills.

THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER
A small start toward recovery is to make tiny positive choices. To create a list of cheerful alternatives to start the flow of happy hormones is the trick. It could be a hot bath, a cup of tea that ‘cheers’, a rom-com, a chat with a good friend. A walk and a banana (bananas contain serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’) nearly always do the trick for me, and when accompanied with popcorn and a good movie it’s definitely a home run. On a serious note, a chat with your friend or mentor is definitely healing. Comparisons always debilitate. At a low phase one tends to choose the escape of licking one’s wounds and the comfort of staying alone. I’d suggest the opposite route – however tough – keep up with low maintenance social activities even though you don’t feel up to it. Train the mind to clear itself of recurring disturbing thoughts and problems.

STAY SOCIAL
Retreating into a shell is dangerous and is the instinctive thing we want to do when under the fog of depression. Instead reduce isolation and gauge how bad you’re feeling. If it’s getting worse, meet a counsellor and share your experiences with that impartial outsider to gain guidance on how to cope and get perspective on the situation. At the very least call a close friend or family and pop over for a cup of tea and confidences. It isn’t always necessary to maintain a masque of happiness when you are feeling beaten and tired.

TREAT YOURSELF
We work so hard in this competitive age with pressures of admissions, career expectations, parents’ dreams for us and making the grade in prestigious colleges. Even home makers have to expend so much energy in making a happy home by managing belligerent staff. Commutes are more difficult while study and work are more challenging. Giving yourself a tiny reward every once in a while, appreciating yourself and buying yourself some present are neither selfhelp inanities nor Utopian thoughts. They are the real routes to some satisfaction and happiness instead of waiting for a pat on the back from your boss, professor or batch mate.

The trick is to never extinguish the inner spark to heal and move on. It is the inimitable survival instinct that all of us are born with, a magic that gives us resilience and sparks initiative. Most important is to give positive affirmations to your brain instead of telling yourself that you are down and the only one in the world with problems.

 

Volume 3 Issue 9

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