together we can change ourself

together we can change ourself

Is stress taking you down?

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Think your life is spinning out of control? Take heart. Most of us have felt stressed out at some point in our lives.

The Oxford Dictionary defines stress as “a state of affair involving demand on physical or mental energy”. Whether it is due to losing a loved one, meeting a deadline, a difficult commute, failing an exam or dealing with illness, stress is unhealthy and can disrupt the healthy working of both body and mind.

During a chat on stress and related issues, on January 16, clinical psychologist Prachi Vaish was on hand to help readers deal with this modern day malady.

Have a question you want to ask?
For those of you who missed the chat, here’s the transcript:


Sushma asked, I am feeling very much tensed and feeling completely helpless due to sudden death of my mother
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Hi Sushma. I am very sorry for your loss. A mother cannot be replaced, but I suggest you focus on the happy memories and the joy she gave you. Also think on how she would have wanted you to go on with your life and not wallow in grief. You can try meditation or penning your feelings in a diary.


Krishna asked, I am working in an organisation where my colleagues are 12-15 years older than me and I have to guide them to deliver their responsibilities every body is moving friendly with me but no one is co-operating with me to deliver their duties and also I failed to keep up my word with management. Please guide me

Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Hi Krishna. First, try to find out the reason why you failed to keep your word, and then make sure it does not happen again. Remember, you have to do your best job. As for your colleagues, it is natural for some ego issues to crop up, as they are older than you. Try to get them involved by asking for their advice (even if u don’t follow it later). By doing this you’re acknowledging their experience and also showing that you have no problem asking them for help.


Ipshita asked, I am in research field. I get tensed easily due to a bad environment in office. Kindly suggest.
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Ipshita, what exactly do you mean by “bad environment”? Is it your colleagues, working conditions or job profile? If it is colleagues then try to understand them and establish a rapport. You can discreetly approach your superiors to report any abuse. If its working conditions, try to see if everybody feels the same way. If not, try to adjust. Have patience. It will all work out.


Mann asked, Hi, I’m 23, unmarried. I’ve lot of inferior complex in me. I want to stand first in all the fields but unable to stand first. My parents have lot of expectations from me but every time I disappoint them …Pls suggest me for this probs…
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Dear Mann, first understand that nobody is perfect. Parents have their expectations, but do not feel guilty if you cannot fulfil all of them. Write down all your positive points on paper and compare it with your parents’ expectations. You could keep abreast on the latest technology and events to boost your confidence.


RAJ asked, Hi…there is a lot of stress around. I cannot concentrate on anything. Work demands more time and so do the family. I want to start my business but scared of failure. I don’t know how to focus on one thing and cannot work out the details. What should I do?
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Hi Raj. Failures are bound to happen. In fact, failure gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. You cannot shy away from trying something because you fear failure. Just treat each failure as an opportunity to learn. Also, practice time management and try organising your activities so that you can attend to both work and family.


Sudha asked, When we were doing college we were outgoing and busy in work but after marriage staying at home as housewife decreases the outgoing personality and courage to explore the things out. Why this happens to most of the women?…They feel dependent on others to do the outside (travelling to other city etc…) work alone.
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Dear Sudha, I completely agree with you. The blame goes to the way we bring up the girl child in our society. Gradually, however, the trend is changing and we now see more and more independent women doing their own thing. You can work from home, as there are a lot of opportunities these days. Read the local newspapers and try picking up new hobbies. This will help build up your confidence.


Yamini asked, Hi I’m Yamini working in software firm. Due to office pressure, I get tensed very easily……….Please suggest how to overcome!!!
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Dear Yamini, whenever you feel pressure building up, close your eyes, take deep breaths and count to ten. You can also listen to soothing music on your cell phone, MP3 player or walkman. Take a short walk once every hour. Also try some stretching exercises. Munch on dry fruits for instant energy.


Kaps asked, Hi, I changed my job to overcome the internal politics in my last job. I tried to get all information of the new company that I can, but the scenario is completely different than what I had assumed from my research. Now I think my earlier job was ok. I cannot go back to my last job and fear about the new companies if I had to join any. It’s really frustrating when things go out of your hands. Because of this, my personal life is becoming a big problem as I keep on getting disturbed by even small things. Please advice.
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Hi Kaps. Well, you failed to mention why the new company is not good. But let me tell you that every company has its own politics. You cannot keep running away from jobs like this. Try making a goal for yourself. For example, decide on a company and give it eight months to see if it works out. Refrain from office politics and try to befriend colleagues who are more like you. Concentrate on doing your job well, and the praises would be incentive enough for you to stay on!


Sbt asked, Hi, I am 47, married with a son and a daughter. My wife is 37 and diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). She is refusing to take any treatment. This is causing lot of tension at home for me as well as kids. How to handle this situation? Thanks for your feedback in advance.
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Dear Sbt, you must convince your wife that OCD is a fairly common problem and encourage her to see a psychiatrist. If she does not want to be treated, you must record all her activities, rituals and hours, and present your findings to a psychiatrist. Any prescribed medicines should be dissolved in food or juices and given to her.


Kumar asked, Hi, I am Kumar, working in s/w company. I get angry and frustrated quite often when any of my team members do not complete the work. This will affect my personal life too. Can u suggest me on this?
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Hi Kumar, it’s is natural to get angry or frustrated when someone fails to complete their task. However, remember that they are also human. . Try to find out the reason for the delay and if it’s a genuine problem, then sort it out by having a discussion with the concerned person.


Shyam asked, I have many types of work at the same time. What should I do?
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Hi Shyam. You will have to learn techniques of multi-tasking. First organise your space and time by prioritising all tasks. Then tackle them accordingly. Try to keep some time aside for relaxation. Alternatively, you can update yourself with the latest techniques, software and gadgets to simplify your tasks. Further, delegate tasks among your colleagues.


Rupinder asked, Ways to do away with anxiety
Mrs. Prachi Vaish answers, Dear Rupinder, first identify what causes you anxiety. Knowing the reason will make it easier to deal with them. Try meditation and calming exercises. Also take up sports like table tennis, badminton or tennis to deal with frustration. You can also listen to music or pick up a new hobby.


Bust stress with tribal meditation

oga, meditation, natural healing — you may have experienced it all.

Now you have another option as a new form of relaxation technique promises to check the rampaging stress levels among the urban population.

Based on the lifestyle practices of three primitive tribes in Orissa, Ahemadabad meditation expert Murli Menon claims to have come up with a new way of dealing with stress.

“There are several primitive tribes in India who live in close proximity with Nature. Their unique lifestyle practices can be an inspiration to the urban folks to deal with stress effectively. My method seeks to provide relief to the urban folks utilising the knowledge of the tribes that they have gained over centuries through close affiliation with Nature,” he says.

The new ‘relaxation method’ is the result of research, says Menon.

The research covered the Kadia, Mankadia and Kohl tribes of Orissa. These tribes live in the protected forest areas in Mayurbhanj district of the state.

“People usually have the notion that tribal people have a very simple life and they do not have any stress in life. But their life is full of challenges and stressful situations. But they have their own ways of handling the stress,” says Menon.

After observing the lives of the three tribes closely for nine years, Menon has come up with a complete ‘package’, which he thinks will be able to deal with stress.

There are a few vital components in the way the tribals live, says Menon. They are:

Harmonised day-to-day activities.
“All put together, it can work wonders as a stress buster,” says Menon.

Unlike most other tribes, the tribes Menon observed are vegetarian. He says their food habits can prove to be beneficial to the urban people.

“They are completely vegetarian. They even abstain from taking milk and milk products. They survive on different fruits naturally available in the forest area. They also consume a lot of fluid in the form of black tea, which enables them to beat the heat and humid weather,” he says.

“Dreams are another vital component in Tribal Meditation, which can be used to predict the natural phenomenon if analysed properly,” says Menon.

The Kadia, Mankadia and Kohl tribes discuss their dreams together.

People of these tribes assemble in their respective villages during the mornings to discuss their dreams.

Another stress-busting measure they practise is to dance together. The young and old get together during the evenings to shake a leg to the rhythmic beats of the drum.

“Synchronised body movements to well composed music helps do away with the stress. Tribal Meditation requires practitioners to dance in the evening for a some time,” says Menon.

They sleep early, for eight hours a day usually, and rise early. Laughter and clapping are two important practices in their lives. They have rituals where they clap with both hands and laugh out loud.

Tribal Meditation combines all such practices to give a healing touch to stressed people.

Is stress destroying your sex life?

With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, many things tend to take a back seat. Quality time with family and friends, personal free time for oneself, etc. For couples, the casualty is often sexual desire.

After spending most of their waking hours at work, many are too tired to do anything but sleep. And for those who like to party, even sleep is not an option.

Navin*, an architect from Mumbai says, “My wife and I both lead very hectic lives. We not only have to work, we also need to have an active social life to increase business contacts. On an average, we realise we are working and partying for almost 14 hours a day.”

This, he says, has resulted in a non-existent sex life. “We get so stressed out that we don’t even look at each other when we crash for the night,” he sighs. “We fight a lot and have gone to sleep many times on a sour note.” While he mourns the lack of closeness that comes with intimacy, he says they both are willing to sacrifice their sex life for the sake of their careers, at least for a few years.

A common problem

Dr Mahesh Nawal, a qualified sex therapist and counsellor for many years, says this is not unusual. His online consultancy receives 40 to 50 queries everyday, most of them relating to decrease in sexual activity.

“Men are more affected by this than women because the demands and expectations from them are very high,” he warns, adding that a diminishing libido can cause a whole lot of problems in a relationship. “Constant pressure and a failure to perform can lead to frustration and depression. For some couples, separation seems to be the only way out.”

A case in point is 23-year-old Ashwini, who is dating a 28-year-old workaholic businessman. “He is on the phone all the time, day and night,” she wails. “Initially, I tolerated it thinking his work is critical. Now I am getting frustrated.”

Their sexual chemistry, which was very strong, initially has dwindled. “We don’t even hold hands now,” she says.

Top culprits

What causes a diminishing libido? Stress arising from having to juggling work and home seems to be the main culprit. Lack of time, communication, perfomance anxieties and increasing competition at work all contribute to stress.

The solution

Identify the problem and then address it, instead of indulging in a blame game. According to sexologists, it is the brain and not your hormones that control your emotions and moods. So, put that brain into use by sitting down with your partner and discussing the situation till a compromise can be reached. Take the help of a therapist if necessary.

Compromise worked for Sachin Kumar, a project manager from Mumbai. “Things came to a head with my partner due to my long working hours. I realised that, to save the relationship, something had to give,” he says.

Sachin negotiated with his clients over deadlines and cut back on his hours. He has also joined a yoga class. “I am home at a decent time. I feel like a new person and it has already improved my overall performance,” he grins.

Tips for a rocking twosome

Laugh aloud and a lot. Laughter releases hormones that go a long way to ease stress.
Take up a hobby. The amount of time you spend on it is irrelevant. You could take up hobbies like gardening, cooking, drawing, painting, embroidery, dress designing… the list is endless.
Lovemaking isn’t just about intercourse. Try doing things that help you connect. It could be something as simple as cuddling and touching.
Make lovemaking interesting. Experiment with positions. Many people have found that very beneficial.
Indulge in an impulsive act once in a while. Surprise your partner by coming home early with takeout, some wine and a small gift.
Take out old albums and reminisce on fond memories.
Rekindle the romance. Take a weekend trip to a new place. Relive your courtship days by re-reading old letters and cards.
Useful links

Dr Mahesh Nawal’s web site:

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

January 29, 2007 at 8:35 am

Posted in Psychology

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