Experiencing disaster, trauma, or distressing psychological issues leads to grief as well as a range of negative emotions. Although such experiences deeply impact our lives, they can be vital for personal growth. In the past few years, Positive Psychology has caught a lot of attention in the psychological well-being sector. To discuss this topic, Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro and Allied Sciences (VIMHANS) organised a talk show on Positive Psychology at the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life really worth living. The goal of Positive Psychology is to make normal life more fulfilling. It does not deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but it does assert that strength is as important as weakness to build the best possible life.
Ms Naina Sharma, key speaker and consultant psychologist, VIMHANS, focused mainly on how cultivating resilience helps us cope with a psychological crisis. She said, “Although psychological and physical trauma are strong enough to break us and manifest psychological conditions, if we can manage ourselves by developing resilience then our probability to thrive and excel under such circumstances would be much higher.”
She threw light on how nutrition, physical health and restoration, and a good amount of sleep can help us live a healthy life. Explaining how our social life affects our mental well-being, she said, “One can ease psychological issues by being more socially connected to family, friends, and community. It’s not the number but the quality of close relationships that matters,” she added.
In today’s competitive world, we often get entangled in high self-expectations, which leads to us being too hard on ourselves. This tendency prevents us from learning from our mistakes, which, in turn, hinders our mental growth. Citing ‘realistic optimist’ as one of the important aspects of Positive Psychology, Ms Sharma said, “A positive and ‘go-getter’ attitude is important, but it is even more important to realise your own limits. Having multiple backup plans is essential, just in case your first choice doesn’t work out.”
For everyone, well-being is a journey, and the secret is to be committed to that journey by taking those first steps with hope and belief in yourself.
A true friend of the earth
If someone can be defined as ‘totally’ organic, it is 73-year-old Solar Suresh who has built a mind-boggling house that satisfies all his needs, from air and water, to food and gas.
When I heard about the impending water crisis in Bangalore, the city I shall soon be settling down in, I started exploring positive stories of sustainable living. In my quest, I found much more than what I had expected. A mission-oriented, globe-trotting man from Chennai who promised to help me after I settled down in Bangalore.
While it is difficult for Suresh to determine exactly when he got the idea to build a ‘self-sufficient home,’ he says that the seed was planted during his travels to Germany as a manufacturer about 20 years ago. He witnessed many rooftop solar plants in Germany during his visits. He thought if a country with a lot less sunshine could install them, why not India, which has solar energy in abundance? This thought compelled him to find a vendor who could install an electricity-generating, rooftop solar-plant in his home.
By January 2012, Suresh had installed his 1 kW (Kilowatt) plant and, had officially started generating rooftop solar electricity. The installation simply requires a shadow-free area of about 80sqft per kW, preferably on a rooftop. No separate wiring is required within the home, for this equipment.
Riding on the success of his solar plant, Suresh decided to address his cooking gas needs by installing a domestic biogas plant.
He busted the myth of bio-gas being a smelly installation by ensuring that no odour was generated by his plant. The plant consumes organic waste such as cooked and uncooked food, spoilt food, and vegetable and fruit peels. The only thing to be mindful about is not feeding it citric items such as limes, oranges, onions, eggshells, bones or ordinary leaves into it.
He has even identified some vegetable vendors in his locality who otherwise used to spend money to dispose of their waste, but now happily drop it daily at his biogas plant.
Suresh’s home forest is a subject of great admiration. As a novice with limited knowledge, he started this kitchen garden by planting okra and tomato. Today, he organically grows about 15-20 types of vegetables. Most of the household cooking needs are now taken care of by their kitchen garden.
Suresh has pledged to take this revolution to as many households, organisations and institutions as possible through education and persuasion, on a pro-bono basis.
– Jamuna Rangachari
“Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow,” said L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
Born in 1911, Hubbard, the author of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which was published in 1950, discovered that the innate power and ability of the mind can be regained and enforced by getting rid of unwanted behavioural patterns, an idea that gave birth to Scientology.
Founded by him, this movement is based on the premise that people are immortal alien beings who have forgotten their true nature and are trapped on earth in a human body. Referred to as a religion, Scientology addresses the spirit and understands man as more than merely a product of his environment. Scientologists follow a practical and scientific approach to life helping them reach their higher potential through self-actualisation. The Church of Scientology has many popular and celebrated followers like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
In a recently-held session at the Delhi Centre of Dynamics and Scientology, Satvinder Chawla, a counsellor and Scientology trainer, said, “Our mind records its surroundings 24x7 in 57 perceptions, taking inputs from the outside. You may not be aware of it, but whatever decision we make is based on the data our mind has collected throughout the years. And more often than not, it is this data that links us to the problems that we face today. Scientology offers a method of ‘auditing’ the memories or previously stored data, thereby nullifying the negative impact of that particular situation while keeping intact the memory itself.”
American stand-up comedian Emo Philips once said, “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.” Since it is our own experiences and observations that make our own truth and reality, Scientology does not aim to teach you. It only reminds you of the information that is already available in the first place and aids in living a fulfilling life.
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