As Rust is to iron tobacco is to health

As Rust is to iron: tobacco is to health

“As Rust is to iron: tobacco is to health”

The usage of tobacco is among one of the biggest public health issue which have killed up to half of its users. According to WHO, more than 6 million of the deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is the smoke that fills nearby surrounding when people use tobacco such as cigarettes, bidis and hookah. There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer. People who smoke believes that it is only them who are taking in the tobacco but they are unaware of the fact that others around them are also taking the smoke with them which is equally affecting others around them.

Some interesting facts

  • In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious diseases like coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
  • In infants, it causes sudden death. In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight of foetus.

People who smoke give several reasons as to why they smoke. An Interesting conversation between a daughter and her father will help you understand why most men smoke.

A girl named Riya (name changed) asked her father one day, “papa why do you smoke?” To which the father replied “Beta go and do your work!”
The daughter was determined that day that she will get answer to that question. She again persuaded her father to know what makes him smoke. The father told then he has lot of pressure on him and he can’t concentrate without smoking and he has to submit his project on time. She asked her father then; she has an assignment to be submitted in her school which she is not able to complete as she is having difficulty in concentration. So she should also smoke along with him as it would help her complete her assignment. His father was surprised to hear that from her daughter and was pondering what to say to her daughter.

We often see people who smoke say they can’t concentrate if they don’t smoke. Few would say smoking act as a stress buster for them. Others would say it helps them in getting fresh in morning. So People began taking drugs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • to feel good — feeling of pleasure, “high”
  • to feel better — e.g., relieve stress.
  • to do better — improve performance”
  • curiosity and peer pressure

It’s a myth that smoking is a stress buster. Smoking is like rust which is damaging the health of smokers from inside. They are also unaware of the fact that the long-term use causes changes in brain chemical systems and circuits and affecting various functions which include:

  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Stress
  • Memory

Quitting tobacco is a difficult task. As, the absence of nicotine in your brain will make you feel uncomfortable and cause certain symptoms. You will experience certain physical and mental changes, like headache, coughing, cravings, increased appetite or weight gain, mood changes such as sadness, irritability, and frustration, or anger, restless, decreased heart rate. However, these symptoms are normally temporary for 2-4 weeks and will subside.

Many smokers may find it difficult to quit, but evidence-based support are available which can help one to increase their chance of quitting smoking successfully. Cognitive-behavioral therapies and pharmacological therapies can effectively help smokers alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Remember, quitting now, or making efforts to quit, will greatly decrease your chances of the long term health risks. Quitting has immediate and long term benefits. Quitting adds years to your life.
It is never too late to quit!!

Work- life balance as a couple

Work- life balance as a couple

In today’s time and age, with technology, social obligations, need for personal space, and pressures from work, couples have somehow been drawn apart. Managing and multitasking, work with personal affairs is the need today, where most couples struggle. In this article we look into certain tricks and tips that co- habiting and married couple can use, where either of the partner is working. Couple can apply these tools and change their relationship dynamics for the better. The intent is to help you as a couple in maintaining an effective and sustained work life balance.

1. Expectations

Expectations help us grow in life and become better. But, when the expectations become rigid demands from your spouse and you intend that s/he behaves the way you wish them to, problems arise. It’s important to look at how the other person is. Their personality, their value system (which may be different than yours), and most importantly the skills they possess. Not everyone is equipped to do everything. Assess what each of what you are good at and let yourself enjoy the best of each other.

2. Communication

A lot has been said and written about communication between partners. And yes a lot more will be said simply because healthy and effective communication can help build foundations of a strong , respectful and loving relationship. With both having their responsibilities at home and work, its important that your love, acceptance, genuine regard and warmth is communicated through words and body language. Little gestures like, a peck on the cheek, a warm hug or a genuine smile can go a long way in helping the other relax and bring joy. Keep your communication open and focused on solutions rather than problems.

3. Schedules

Nothing can work better for you than being on a schedule. How you manage your time and schedule work at office and home, between the two of you, can help reduce a lot of your stress. It helps you manage your life better in turn leaving enough room for you as a couple to have your time. Leave room for some surprises too. Helping each other with chores, and surprising with gifts, gestures and voluntarily taking on a responsibility can go a long way in building mutual respect and acceptance.

4. Win some lose some

One cannot have it all. Prioritising and compromising are the key to have sustained balance. Its important to work around the need of the hour and being able to shift responsibilities effectively. Take on the responsibility or delegate work/jobs to the one who can fulfil it in the last minute depending on whats more urgent and important. It not only helps the job getting done, but builds trust between partners.

5. Choose your battles

If at the end of the day you wish to come to a happy home and have a great time with each other its important that you learn to choose what you wish to fight about and fight for. Avoid and let go of things that are unimportant and spark unnecessary tension between the two.

6. Spark

Marriage or partnership is constant work. There are different phases in your relationship and each phase brings certain changes. During courtship, a half hour phone call in the middle of the night could do the trick and may be now, a good relaxed meal at home or outside can help you have a good time together. Recognise and learn what works for you and give yourself the chance to build on that spark. Have the “US” time. If you have children, understand that the children came after you became a couple and they will eventually leave. You are a couple first and a parent later, no matter how big a responsibility the child may be. Take help of neighbours friends and family.

Most importantly, know, that two individuals with different personalities have come together. There will always be differences, and some parts of you will rub off of each other. That’s what it’s about. Ultimately no one really wants to be in a relationship to be unhappy and struggle. However, If you are unhappy and find yourself struggling, couples counselling can help you learn skills to build a happier relationship.

Signs that you are in an abusive relationship

Signs that you are in an abusive relationship

Abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, spiritual and/or religious in nature. All forms of abuse occur as a combination. Example, financial abuse may be about controlling your finances but it’s also emotional or verbal in nature. However, physical abuse may be easier to notice as compared to other forms, because of its apparent nature. Let’s discuss today certain markers, which must raise red flags of abuse, other than physical, in your relationship. One important aspect to understand is that the need for love, respect, acceptance and support remain common across cultures with all genders.

You will be able to notice the following in your relationship for it to be termed abusive. Look at it as a pattern and not one- off incident.

DISCLAIMER: Abuse is not gender specific.

1. Control vs Autonomy

Abusers look for control in a relationship. S/he, may strictly control your finances, irrespective of your financial independence or dependence on them. Indulge in, or demand sexual acts as per their wish and be forceful during sex. Force their religious and spiritual belief on you and stop you from practicing your faith. Control your social movements.

2. Criticism vs Support

You may notice your partner almost always being critical of you. Being indifferent to showing no support at all , even at times when you most need it. Small mistakes will be blown out of proportion, with rigid demands of adhering to their standards of perfectionism. Be it your job, dressing style, life choices, simple everyday tasks or you as a person. They will point out flaws and be critical of your shortcomings almost always in a demeaning manner, showing no regard for your achievements and accomplishments.

3. Blame vs Responsibility

They may never take responsibility for things gone wrong. You will always be at fault and the one to blame for the unhappiness, mistakes and problems in life for them. They will never show remorse for their behaviour and/or acknowledge it as inappropriate, often blaming you for being stupid, childish, and irresponsible and /or over sensitive.

4. Possessive vs Protective

You may often see them being extra demanding of your time. Over monitoring you and neglecting your need for social engagements. They will control your social movements and who you meet, often stopping you from meeting your friends and family alone or not at all.

You must notice , that for an abuser it’s always a demand for things happening their way, else there may be a fit of anger , verbal or physical abuse, sulking , withdrawing sex, communication and/or finances for certain period, till “you mend your ways” or “fall in line”.

Please note that none of the above are one off incidents that have happened occasionally. It is a pattern of behaviour which is manipulative and self- serving in nature, ranging between extreme withdrawals to volatility. Sometimes, a Mental Illness such as a Personality Disorder can be the cause of such behaviour in people.

There may be multiple reasons for you choosing to stay in an abusive relationship. Financial, familial, cultural, or simply not knowing what to do. There are various organisations that can help you with legal, financial and emotional counselling to plan your next steps. You can seek help from a Psychotherapist, to assist you in managing your situation/issues. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Take charge and seek support. You never know what might work or change to make things better.

Hosting a pity party

Hosting a pity party image

Even injustice has its good points. It gives me the challenge of being, as happy as I can in an unfair world.

We all experience unfortunate situations and undergo sorrow in life. In a bad situation, its normal and healthy to feel upset. However, dwelling on misfortune and sorrow most of the time keeps you trapped in a cycle of self destruction.

Do you see yourself doing the following?
You often say:

  • Why does this happen to me all the time
  • The world and/ or people are there to get me
  • I am always the only one this happens to

Find yourself:
*Complaining about your day most often
*Find faults in your life and how bad it is
*find it difficult to be grateful for things in life
If you’ve said Yes to most if the statements above, your’e hosting yourself a pity party. You are suffering from “the poor- me syndrome”.

You tend to feel awful about the the situation more than it actually is, making yourself feel worse. You delude yourself into inaction by constantly dwelling on how bad you feel rather than accepting the situation.It may induce and keep you in the loop of anger. resentment jealousy or envy. Its a cycle where you’re unlikely to perform to your optimum and when you experience challenges your’e likely to have failures thus feeling more pitiful. Its like , telling yourself, ‘I know nothing can happen so whats the point of doing anything’, and proving the same over an over to yourself. You focus only on the negatives, choosing to overlook things in life to be grateful for.

You allow yourself to become grumpy and grouchy. Someone who complains all time doesn’t make for a good company and it doesn’t help you solve problems or move closer to solutions for sure.

The way out

In order to stop feeling pitiful, you need to stop indulging in pitiful behavior but proactive problem solving and mindfully alter your pity unducing thoughts.

Being Mindful

Even when you cant change the situation, you can change how you feel by changing your attitude about it. When you catch yourself hosting your pity party re-frame the way you’re thinking currently about the situation, ask yourself:

*Whats another way of looking at the situations
How will my role model look at the situation and what would he say. Take inspiration for someone you look up to establish an alternate view of the problem situation.

*What would I tell my friend stuck in a similar situation?
We may often tend to be more encouraging, emphatic and supportive of others than ourselves. Advice yourself exactly what you’d tell a friend in your situation and apply it.

*Whats the evidence that I can manage o get through this?
Look for past instances of your wins. Recognize your skills that will help you manage or come out of the problem.

Seek external support and guidance if you need.

Proactive Behavior

Self pity is often accompanied by inaction and avoidance of problem solving behaviors. Practice Gratitude. Find at least one thing each day to be grateful for. It can be something as small as a good, filling meal or comfortable air conditioning at home. Practicing gratitude is one of the best things you can do to actively shift focus on what good persists in your life.

*Be Kind / Volunteer
I’ve often given lunch money to a bunch of kids outside a coffee shop I visit regularly. Random acts of kindness can fill your regular day with a sense of purpose.

*Actively adopt behaviors that enable problem solving or bring you closer to feeling better.
As soon as you notice yourself pitying yourself or building your helpless story, stop. Look for what you can do and bring to the table to empower yourself. Whats your role in the situation. ASK: Do I want to give my power away by playing helpless or I am willing to write my own story my way?