How to Cope With Child’s Exam Stress | Tips for Parents

Children are commonly affected by exam stress, but lately cases of parents visiting the clinic for their anxiety problems due to the kid’s exam and performance has greatly increased.

It is a welcoming fact that parents are involved in their children’s exams and academic performances, but this may not always have a positive effect on their children. In some cases, they are even more worried than their kids. Seeing their parents stressed can negatively impact the child’s confidence, self esteem and performance.

Here are some parental tips to help your kid do better in exams:

Provide a comfortable space to learn.

A comfortable learning space and secure atmosphere can make a great learning environment. It can boost the productivity in learning and help in revision. Ensure that there is sufficient light, the noise levels are low, and a comfortable desk and chair with necessary stationary.

Get them to teach you

You remember and retain the information more when you “teach” the topic than when you just read or listen. Similarly, one good way to help children understand what they are learning is to ask them to “teach”you. Ask them to pretend that they are the teacher. It can be a fun too.

Be supportive and encouraging

Studying may not always be fun or that easy, esp. for those children who face special learning difficulties; so praise them when they are working hard. threatening them to study will only add to their exam stress. Listen to them, reassure them, hug them; responding in this way can help relieve their stress. You may suggest them a practical solution but only after they’ve calmed down.

Encourage healthy lifestyle and daily routine

Make sure that the children are having sufficient sleep and rest. Mental and physical rest will also help them consolidate what has been learnt during the day. Restrict the use of screens, computers, television, phones to ensure peaceful sleep.
As it is difficult to concentrate on learning for long periods of time, ensure that your child is spreading out revision by taking short breaks in between.

Incentives and rewards

After studying and exams, It is healthy to reward children through fun sports, activities and hobbies which they enjoy rather than providing material rewards like food/sweets, video games, or “prizes”.

Identifying your child’s best way of learning

It is crucial to know about your child’s method of studying that he/she enjoys the best, and plan learning strategies around that. Some are kinaesthetic learners who like to learn via p erforming skills such as note taking and writing. They enjoy movement, touch and experiences. Such learners may find it hard to sit still and just read. Kinaesthetic children are usually creative and most of them find studying difficult.

Some children feel more stressed than others, regardless of how confident they are about the topic they’re studying.

If you feel that you’re child is experiencing exam stress, it’s important to try to remind them that this is only a small part of their life and It won’t last forever.

Importantly, make your child feel that they are smart. No matter what has been said about him or her, or what the report card shows. Your kid has a very specific way of understanding the world and learning, and if you can tap into that, a whole new world can open up. Go discover the genius!

The Republic Day special, Let’s Focus on 5 ways to good mental health & wellbeing

This year India will celebrate its 70th Republic Day. It is on this day the Constitution of India came into effect. The Indian Constitution includes steps that the nation needs to take to make India a better place. So, as the nation takes step towards making the country better for all of us, let us bring a positive change within ourselves by knowing following ways to achieve good mental health and wellbeing.

Get adequate sleep.

psychiatrist in puneIndia being a rapidly growing economy, we are largely a sleep-deprived nation. Although some of us may consider lack of sleep a badge of honor, but poor sleep is an important contributing factor for mental illness like depression and anxiety disorders. Sleep is first thing to get disturbed in any mental illness. The best ways is to follow consistent bed time and awake time, restrict daytime sleep hours, stay way from screens, social media, etc especially in the late night hours, and regular moderate physical exercise. These are some simple steps to ensure sleep hygiene.

Exercise more.

psychologist in puneThe benefits of moderate exercise in depression is found to be as effective as antidepressant medications. Individual suffering from mental health problem may find it difficult to exercise. It may not be always a joining gym or training weights – but just do walk! Exercising not only improves your sleep but also helps you in staying more relaxed. It can boost your self esteem and body language.

Invest in a Hobby.

Reward yourself by doing activities which you enjoy. Hobbies not only promotes a sense of pleasure but also helps you to build mastery in something. It gives you a sense of achievement and feeling of self worth. Take up a hobby that helps you feel good about yourself. As you get better at it, your self esteem will also get a boost.

Keep away from your smartphone.

Social media feeds not only makes you feel anxious but also make you feel more depressed. You invariably tend to compare your life to those who are having wonderful times. Their life always looks better when you compare yours with them, and it makes you feel depressed. Take a social media holiday. Even it is for small times, take breaks from your smartphones. Decide to check feeds once every three to four hours instead, and stop altogether after 6 pm. Most importantly, stop constantly comparing yourself to others.

Start to plan your day.

Getting overwhelmed by work, can make you feel anxious and burnout. Plan your day or week by writing it down on paper the to do tasks. Make a log and track the time it takes. Having a plan will prevent you from constantly thinking about your day. With a planner, you are on track and have a sense of accomplishment.

Finally, help others. It is a great way to connect with other people and cultivate relationships. Be grateful. Practice gratitude by reflecting on the good things in your life. Give yourself a break, and be nicer to yourself.

Is New Year’s Eve the “most depressing day of the year”?

New Year’s Eve comes with a mixed feelings of relief and despair. People may find difficult to shake themselves of lingering sadness as they say goodbye to the passing year to remember its last moments.

Festivals and holidays are known to be mentally taxing. According to recent research the New Year’s Eve can even be considered as the “most depressing day of the year.”

Let us have a look about the possible factors that could make New Year’s Eve so hard on mental health.

Its emphasis on reflection is what sets New Year’s Eve/ Day apart from other holidays, and this can make it particularly upsetting. At the new year, it is difficult not to reassess and become self critical at least a bit.

Anytime when you reflect on past, can potentially make you feel more depressed. Especially if you feel like you don’t measure up in comparison to others. It is often the time when we are more likely to think or reflect upon our achievements or lack of it. Failure to reach certain goals, health issues, major professional set backs, etc particularly can feel very heavy at the end of year.

For those who have already been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, the winter of December end can worsen unpleasant feelings and depression. There is a pressure to socialise, party, go out that can act as a stressor as those who are depressed find leaving the house difficult. Letting social convention dictate what you do rather than doing what feels best for you can risk you for anxiety and depression.

It is the day when one focusses more on future and hopes of new year to come. With low mood and morale, those who are suffering from depression may, unfortunately, be feeling more dread than hope as they look forward to the new year.

It is important to know that It’s okay to feel depressed or anxious. Sadness and anxiety are normal human emotions, but they can become dangerous if they become extremely intense and prolonged. In such a case, it is advisable simply vocalise your feelings to close ones, or seek professional help.

What You Need to Know About Depression?

1) There may not be any reason or cause for Depression.

Depression is often misunderstood as just feeling sad, but it is a complex medical condition. Sometimes people may feel depressed due to obvious reason. Most common stressors known are Career setback, relationship breakup, losing loved ones, etc. However, in many instances there doesn’t have to be a reason for how you feel. Our mood is regulated by chemicals in brain which if gets out of balance, it can make one feel bad even though when everything is going well.

2) The cause is Multi factorial.

It can never have a single causing factor. According to research the cause for depression is always multi-factorial. It is caused by combination of factors, such as environmental factors, genetic tendency towards depression, individuals coping abilities against stress, social support, etc.

3) Sadness is not Depression!

Being sad is very normal. Sadness is a normal emotional response to pain. Depression however is an illness that comprises certain set of symptoms, and most importantly, it causes difficulties in functioning at work, home and in society.

4) Depression can happen to all age groups.

No particular age-group is immune to Depression. Depression in adults is a well known fact. However, the trend of depression in children is increasing at an alarming rate in recent times. Struggle for peer acceptance, bullying in school are some unique stresses found to result depression in children.

5) Depression is real like any other medical illness.

Depression is not a sign of weakness, but it is a clinical entity, a medical illness. It can happen to anyone. It is now scientifically proven that an underlying chemical imbalance in the brain neuronal circuitry is a direct cause for depression. These chemicals are known as Neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters regulate our mood and emotional state.

6) Can Depression be treated? Yes!

Depression is like any other medical illness. It is definitely treatable. The treatment includes medications and psychotherapy. There has been major advances in the medications with minimal side effects and larger benefits.

7) It can worsen if not treated.

Depression is a leading most cause for disability. It is most common cause for suicide. According to recent Mental Health Survey, 90 percent of those committing suicide are suffering from mental illness.

Understanding the Stigma in Mental Health

Stigma in mental health has been prevalent for centuries. Most of us within society still view the symptoms of mental health problem as unpredictable and dangerous. For decades, individuals suffering with psychiatric problems, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, are considered insane or “mad”. They often have to face exclusion either within society, workplace, and at times even within ones own family.

Anxiety, Depression, Substance use are still considered as signs of weakness and not as biological disorders of brain. These are treatable health problems like any other medical conditions to which people refuse to seek professional help due fear of exposure and stigma.

There is no denying that the society is becoming more aware than before, especially with many high profile celebrities such as Deepika Padukone or Catherine Zeta-Jones discussing openly about their illnesses in media. Yet, there are some firmly held beliefs and stigmatising attitudes that continues to prevail in our society.

The stigma can be of two types: A social stigma, which is a discriminating attitudes against those suffering from mental health problems as a result of the psychiatric diagnosis/label they have been given. The second is a perceived stigma, which is their perceptions of discrimination, internalised by mental health sufferers. It can significantly lower their self esteem, instil a feeling of shame, and most importantly leads to poor treatment outcome.

Following are some commonly held misconceptions and beliefs-

1) The common being that people suffering from mental health problems are dangerous and violent, especially those with schizophrenia or bipolar.
2) Some believe that problems of depression and anxiety are part of normal living and can be dealt with by just “being positive”and “being more social”.
3) There is a general belief that eating disorders and substance abuse are self inflicted.
4) Still many consider that people suffering from mental health problems such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar are unemployable.
5) Getting “dependent” or “addicted” to psychiatric medicine is another common misconception that is widespread, even amongst the educated.

Research suggests that significant number adolescents with mental health problems face stigma and discrimination within their own family, peers, teachers and school staffs. Surprisingly, there is a widespread stigma amongst the medical professionals as mental health is given low priority by hospitals, physicians and doctors of other specialties.

What has caused stigma?

Historically, the cause of mental health problems were believed to be due to demonic or spirit possession, such explanations would almost certainly give rise to reactions of fear and discrimination. Media too had played an important role in perpetuating stigmatising stereotypes of people with psychiatric problems. The cinematic depictions of ECT (electro convulsive therapy) or so called “Shock treatment”, or schizophrenia are often stereotypic and characterised by misinformation about mental health symptoms and its treatment. There is strong negative portrayal of schizophrenia in movies, showing the schizophrenia characters as being violent, homicidal and aggressive.

Stigma not only leads to social exclusion, low esteem, poor quality of life, but also poorer treatment outcomes and recovery from mental problems. It has been seen that people tend to hold to these stigma regardless of their age, background or education. Stigma is evident in the way laws, social services, and the justice system are structured as well as ways in which resources are allocated. The solution may not be so simple but needs to be multifaceted. Simply raising voices and providing information will not help, but their is a need to challenge the existing negative stereotypes especially as they are portrayed in general media as well.

How To Handle A Breakup: 7 Effective Ways

Going through a break-up?

Going through a relationship breakup is like getting trapped in the stormy brain chemistry of loss and rejection. The feelings include of anxiety, depression, feelings of grief and addiction, also the desperate attempts to deal with the emotional pain of rejection; this all is a result of the drops in serotonin and dopamine levels during the phase of a relationship breakup. One would often struggle to resist the temptation to stalk, plead, and make a needy fool of oneself. The ultimate goal here is to come through this ordeal in one piece and perhaps even stronger.

Following are some healthy coping ways to help you deal with a breakup:

1) Block them from your facebook/whatsapp.

Unfollow or block them; because you need space and time to heal. Seeing your ex on Facebook wall or seeing him pop up on Whats app/Instagram, can trigger flashbacks of your past memories with your ex and can send you in obsessions of stalking him/her on social media.

2) Don’t trash-talk your ex too much.

It may feel good to talk about your ex with your best friends, and hearing them bring down someone who made you feel sad, but your happiness need not be contingent on someone else’s pain.

3) Don’t consider to “stay friends’.

During this awkward breaking-up period, its very difficult to know whether you both can be friends or not. Generally, one person wants to be friends and other wants more. You gotta work this out before it can be a healthy relationship.

4) Moderate to intense physical exercise or work out does help.

Working out can be a great stress-buster. May be some intense sport like badminton, boxing, etc. It can really help you get rid of that negative tension and physical stress.

5) Spend more time outdoors.

Make a routine where you spend at least couple of hours under sun in fresh air. Create an ex- free environment by getting rid of stuff that reminds you of your ex. Donating them is one good way to do it.

6) Deal with your emotions and not avoid them.

It’s okay to feel ‘bad’. Do not try to distract yourself or escape from whatever you are feeling, but observe your feelings gently and without judgement. The more you observe, the better you’ll know that no emotion is static or permanent.

7) Finally, stop blaming yourself.

The problem wasn’t just you, but you two as a couple. It always takes two to breakup a relationship.

Spend your time with people who appreciates you. Feel confident, optimistic, and authentic, and remember that your success is the best revenge!


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