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What is Attitude?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/internal-orientation-of-a-person-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

What is Attitude?

The word is originally derived from the Latin “aptitudo, meaning “fitness” i.e. something that makes a person fit to engage in performing a particular task. It also indicates an internal orientation of a person to give specific responses to situations.

The simplest way I can describe Attitude would be:

“The in-built orientation of the mind to respond in a particular way to situations, and the willingness to take up any specific activity, tasks, or responsibilities.”

Since I have used the word “in-built”, it gives an impression that it is final and cannot be changed. That is not so. In fact, behavioral scientists themselves have a diversity of attitudes about whether and how attitude can be changed. Change of attitude is possible, but it is slow and requires not only a commitment on the part of the individual, but also consistent hard work till results are achieved.

Over the years there have been many debates whether one’s attitude can be changed, and if so, how? Often we hear people saying in exasperation, “he has such a bad attitude towards _____, its impossible to deal with him.” But fact is that attitude can indeed be changed. Only thing is that it takes so much of time and perseverance that most of us give up. Many of us are not even aware of our own attitudes, and focus so much on trying to change others, that we lose out on good relationships and lead lives of frustrations.

Psychologists have developed many scales to assess a person’s attitudes, but there is a doubt whether they would actually reflect in reality how a person would behave or perform. Personally I would go by patient observation, systematic analysis, and even intuition if I wish to gauge a person’s attitude in any area.

More important is for the individual to be aware of his own attitudes, and to be able to recognize which are positive and negative. Periodically review and list down your opinion on various issues of your life. Reflect whether those opinions seem to be encouraging and motivating, or the other way round. For those that are negative, question whether they are just your opinions, or whether they are factually correct. This exercise will help you train your mind to become more aware of how your opinions form your attitudes, and to correct them whenever and wherever required.

If you are confused in doing the above, select a known person and check out his attitude towards the same issue. Talk to him and take his opinion if you are not sure. An example could be that you feel youngsters of today are into indecent fashion. Take the views of another person of the same age and background as you. If there is a significant difference between his attitude and yours, do some introspection whether you are being carried away by your own thoughts.

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Depression -The Most Common Disorder

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/in-the-grip-of-depression-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Depression -The Most Common Disorder

Depression is the most common mental disorder and is rated No.1 in the top ten factors that create disability in a person. Various estimates record its incidence at between 15 to 30% of the entire population, at any given time. Yet it is not taken seriously by most people, since its intensity cannot be measured, and most of us are not aware when we fall prey to it.

Unlike in areas of physical health, there is no thermometer to measure how depressed a person is, leave alone finding out what caused it. The range is very wide, from simple momentary depression on not being able to get a cinema ticket, to an intense and unending “blackness” that pervades all dimensions of our life. Depression is serious, but it is treatable. Hence I feel sad when I see so many people unnecessarily suffering from the “blues”, when they can improve their quality of life.

At the outset I would like to congratulate you for having picked up this booklet, because it shows that you are open to probing and understanding this topic, and are not running away from it saying “How am I concerned with it?” By understanding some basic facets, you can not only help your acquaintances whenever they suffer from depression, but can also fortify yourself from this debilitating condition.

It is recorded that even in an advanced country like UK, at least one third of those suffering from depression are not aware of their condition. You can imagine how the situation is in India.

What exactly is it?

In its simplest terms depression can be described as a condition of being in a psychological black tunnel, with no light visible at the end. The famous writer and traveler Mark Twain described the sense of hopelessness felt in the grip of depression as “a time when one’s spirit is subdued and sad, one knows not why; when the past seems a storm-swept desolation, life a vanity and the future but a way to death.”

 

Physical pain always has emotional overtones, and we know that emotional distress can be physically painful. Depressed people suffer three times their share of chronic pain, according to recent studies, and people in pain are at high risk of depression. Some studies suggest that if physicians tested all patients suffering with pain for mood problems, they might discover 60 percent of all have undiagnosed depression. If you’re struggling with either problem, there’s good chance you’re suffering from both of them.

The link between sensory pain and emotional pain is rooted in the nervous system. Both are governed by the same neurotransmitters, and both are processed in the same parts of the brain. When the circuitry is working properly, pain and anguish are self-limiting: we recoil from unpleasant experiences, the feelings fade and life goes on. But if a problem persists, or the circuitry malfunctions, the brains distress signals stay switched on, with devastating consequences. One study found that over a two-year period, a person with a history of migraine was five times more likely than average to have a first episode of depression.

Reactive depression inevitably has
a triggering factor that sets it off, and when it occurs, if the person feels isolated
and cannot vent out or communicate,
the effect can be much stronger.

There are many factors that lead to depression. Broadly, depression can be classified into Endogenous and Reactive types. The former is one that comes from within. It can be genetically inherited. It occurs both as unipolar (being depressed all the time) or bipolar (alternating between manic or hyperactive and low or depressed states) types. In its extreme form it is referred to as Manic-Depressive Psychosis, a major mental illness which can make a person dysfunctional, but which is treatable.

Endogenous depression is also found due to endocrinology disorders such as thyroid, or due to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It can occur in women as Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS) or even Post-natal, i.e. after child birth or abortion. Menopause is another time when women may go through unexplained depression. There are other less common disorders such as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Endogenous depression reacts very well to medication, but more of that later.

Reactive depression, as the word suggests, is a reaction to circumstances or happenings that may lead a person to feel low. It could be one single incident or a chain of unconnected incidents, whose cumulative effect over a period of time may lead to eventual depression. Reactive depression inevitably has a triggering factor that sets it off, and when it occurs, if the person feels isolated and cannot vent out or communicate, the effect can be much stronger. Though reactive depression also responds to medication, it is essential that the root cause needs to be resolved or worked out for the recovery to be permanent. Otherwise the person may slip back into depression when medication is stopped.

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Factors Leading to Depression

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/categories-or-circumstances-leading-into-depression-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Though basically anyone can get into a depression, there are some categories or circumstances where the chances become higher. Some of them are:

  • Those who have a history of depression in the family, and have lived with elders who have been depressed for long periods of time.
  • People who have high expectations in life or from others
  • Persons with low tolerance, rigid attitude, or the inability to express their feelings.
  • Those who are socially withdrawn due to loss or conflict
  • People who have developed a pessimistic attitude towards life and society in general.
  • Alcoholism may cause depression or depression may lead a person towards alcoholism, both sequences are possible
  • Creative persons are more prone to depression due to their sensitivity.
This list is in addition to the parameters that cause endogenous depression, as mentioned earlier.

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Myths About Depression

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/myths-and-wrong-attitudes-about-depression-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Since depression is not well understood, and due to the lack of investigative procedures to certify depression, many people look upon the depressed person without any empathy. The common attitudes developed by even well-meaning near and dear include:

  • “He has become lazy, and he does not want to take responsibility”.
  • “Control your thoughts & you'll be okay. Don’t just sit around doing nothing and brooding.”
  • “Anti depressants are addictive, and should never be taken. They are taken only by people with weak minds, or those who are mad.”
  • “This state is due to witchcraft that has been done on the person by his enemies. He is under a spell, and needs to be relieved from it.”
  • “I have more tension & yet I am not depressed, so how can he act so silly?”.
There is a tremendous need to motivate a person to seek help. Sometimes making his loved ones understand that he needs help is even more difficult. Unfortunately many people continue to suffer for long periods of time, even life long, because of these myths and wrong attitudes.

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Symptoms of Depression

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/signs-and-symptoms-associated-with-persons-suffering-from-depression-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

There are no symptoms that are common to all persons suffering from depression. Some of the more obvious ones to look out for are:

  1. Hopelessness or worthlessness.
  2. Irritability.
  3. loss of interest in usual activities.
  4. Loss of weight, unexplained fatigue.
  5. middle insomnia i.e., getting up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep for a long time.
  6. Loss of interest in personal grooming or eating, lack of sex drive, becoming asocial, losing one's sense of humor.
  7. Breathing may become shallow and difficult at times.
  8. A feeling of letting go, not wanting to fight back - at times even leading to breakdowns or suicidal thoughts.
Those who cannot express their feelings easily are the ones more likely to go into more severe forms of depression. This includes those who suffer from what is termed as “Masked” or “Smiling” depression i.e. they put on a demeanor of liveliness, happiness and are socially quite active.

Unfortunately many doctors generally go only by obvious symptoms, and fail to recognize those who are not appearing to be pulled down. Yet there are many people who do not show obvious signs but nevertheless are suffering from severe depression.

Children and Adolescents

More and more children are being identified with depression, particularly because of a sense of isolation from family and society, peer pressure, or failure to come up to expectations and competition.

It has been found that counselling helps children most, and some of the new anti-depressants are quite safe for children from 12 years upwards. For smaller children, play therapy is an effective medium. Depressed children are more responsive to environment – mixing with peers and going out with their friends helps. Depressed teenagers generally tend to fall out from peers and their problem gets compounded. Untreated depression in early years may also lead to recurrence in adult life.

Warning signs: clinging behavior, no inclination to leisure activities, anti-social behavior, constantly putting oneself down, bedwetting, frequent nightmares, sudden fall in grades – are some of the symptoms typical of adolescent depression. At the same time one needs to watch out for genetic element – e.g. parent having gone through a depressive phase.

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What is Clinical Depression?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/definition-of-clinical-depression-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Clinical Depression is a state where the intensity of the depression may be so much that the person requires professional or medical help in order to recover. In non-medical terms, it can be described as a condition that makes a person dysfunctional for a duration that may cause irreversible damage to his lifestyle or relationships. Someone who cannot maintain his daily routine regardless of all his will power and efforts, is deemed to have become dysfunctional. And if this dysfunctionality is such that he may lose his job, or permanently spoil his relationship with his family, then he is headed towards irreversible damage.

It has been found that

Those who can fight depression well are:

  1. Persons who have realistic goals from time to time.
  2. Who do not neglect their pleasure activities.
  3. Have good reading habits, and read positive material.
  4. Have faith or strong belief in the supernatural.
  5. Maintain their sleeping and eating routine regularly.
  6. Are aware of their mood changes and are in touch with their emotions.
  7. Do not keep going back to the past all the time.
  8. Do not take responsibility for others unnecessarily.

Difference between stress and depression: Stress is consequence of being put under strong pressure and not being able to either avoid or fight it. This may or may not lead to a state of despair or fatalism, when the desire to struggle is lost or considerably reduced, leading to depression. Thus depression can be viewed as an outcome of unresolved stress.

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Our Childhood, Gone Too Soon

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/how-much-of-the-child-in-you-is-still-active-and-living-inside-you-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Our Childhood, Gone Too Soon

You were a child once upon a time, whether it was just a few years back, or many decades ago. The beauty of life is that we never become adults without having gone through childhood. Childhood, the beautiful part of our life when we were free birds, when innocence protected us from all evil, and when we thought that running up to our parents could solve the worst problems on earth.

All too soon that childhood is gone. When you were a child, you couldn’t wait to grow up. You thought adults have all the fun, because they are not controlled. You were waiting for the day when you could drive your own vehicle, return home whenever you wanted to, and spend money the way you wished. Probably you were also waiting for the Prince in shining armor or the beautiful Princess to sweep you off your feet.

If you are reading this, then probably you have already lost your childhood. But have you gained what you thought you would? How is life as an adult, and how many of your childhood dreams have come true? Do you even remember what those dreams were? I often ask this question to someone who seeks my help to improve quality of life, and many a time I get very fuzzy and unclear answers. Memories of childhood have faded; dreams have disappeared with the shadows when the bright light of adulthood hit you from all sides. Today it is worth looking into how life is treating you .... Or, how you are treating life? And this “looking into” is not an analysis of how much salary you earn, what savings you have, how big is the house you live in, how good your fitness levels and health is. It does not even require you to total up how many friends you have, what qualifications or skills you have acquired, or what is your status in society. It requires you to analyze how much of the “child” in you is still active and living inside you.

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Why Are We Scared of Being Childlike?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/how-much-of-the-child-in-you-is-still-active-and-living-inside-you-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Haven’t you heard people saying things like, “he still hasn’t got out of his childhood, see how silly he is behaving”? Sometimes a person is told, “Act your age, and don’t be so childish.” What we forget is that there is a lot of difference between being

Childish

and

Child-like

What I am talking about is being child-like, bringing back the simplicity and the innocence that were gifted to us at birth, and were thrown away by us in the process of “growing up”.

Society expects us to “conform” to its norms, even if they are thoroughly illogical and outdated. We are expected to do what everyone else is doing – and that is something we never did when we were children, unless we wanted to. “Civilized” society does not accept anyone who is different, or does not follow the beaten track. Every day it is the people around us who dictate when we get up, what we wear, what we eat, how, when, where and with whom we talk. Some of its norms are quite nice – others are ridiculous. Some I am not comfortable with and they do not make me happy, but I have to conform We are expected to follow all of them.

Here is a practical Exercise to see how “adult-like” you have become. Check it out for yourself:
  • When was the last time you wore a dress only for your comfort even if it did not suit the gathering or occasion you were in?
  • When did you go skipping in the rain after a spell of many hot days, just enjoying the raindrops and feeling the cool water on your body?
  • Did you ever sing loudly just for your own pleasure when people were around?
  • Did you ever give in the temptation to join a child on a sand heap, put your hands into the cool sand particles, and create awesome shapes out of it?
  • When did you last sit on a giant wheel or merry-go-round (without a child accompanying you)?
  • How often do you just let go and laugh at a joke (current or an old one you suddenly remembered) without being conscious of what others will think?
  • When did you last eat fluffy pink-candy and get the entire red colour on your lips and cheeks?
  • Do you recall ever walking up to an interesting looking stranger (maybe of the opposite gender) and saying, “I want to make friends with you”?
  • When did you .............................................. (fill it up yourself)
If you have not done much of the above, ask yourself what were you afraid of, and what held you back? Why have you given up the simplicity of child-like behavior just because “people” will call it childish? Deep down inside most of us are yearning to do something to get away from the stifling stiff-collar atmosphere of our day to day adult life. But very few of us have the guts to do so. See if you can break the barriers of fear and apprehension, and do as many of the above as possible.

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Awaken Your Inner Child

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/do-you-want-to-discover-the-child-in-you-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Let’s go deep into your mind and heart, maybe to the depths of your soul, and hunt out that hidden inner child. Firstly relax, close your eyes, and allow your thoughts to wander freely. Gently take your thoughts into your past, and keep going further and further back. Try and recall some pleasant memories of your early childhood, and try to re-live them.

Slowly try to get away from this mundane adult life and its responsibilities, and try to enjoy the innocence and freedom of childhood. Surround yourself by your loved ones, your pets, your toys and dolls. Feel the taste of your favorite chocolate, or Granny’s most delicious meal. Visualize yourself running free from all shackles, with no one to call you back, and no destination to reach.

Have you been able to reach and touch your childhood? If no, then you need to do more rigorous work on yourself, probably with the help of a guide or counsellor. Not being able to reach your inner child or inability to recall a happy childhood is a serious issue, and is probably affecting your adult life. There may be unresolved emotions or issues that you have to work on. Do it before it pulls you down further or hinders your future happiness.

If you could do the visualization, then hearty congrats! You have taken a good step forward. Now try and recall the following in any part of your life before you reached your seventh or eighth birthday:

Exercise

  1. My ambition as a small child
  2. My favourite toy or possession
  3. The person who loved me most, and how (s)he loved me
  4. The best compliment or praise I received
  5. What hurt me most (one single incident)
  6. What hurt me most (on a continuous basis for a long time)
  7. What made me feel most ashamed of myself, and for how long
  8. What made me happiest (one single incident)v
  9. What made me continuously happy for a long time
  10. What I consider as my greatest achievement in those years.
If you were able to answer in detail most of the above questions, then my second level congratulations to you. You have kept in touch with your past, and you have no regrets about it. After reading this paragraph if you recall some bad memory from the past and get upset, you can and should make efforts to get over it.

Now compare the answers of the ten questions above to what you would answer if the same questions were asked of you regarding your current (adult) life. See how today’s answers will be miles away from those of your childhood. This gives you an idea of how you have treated life, and where you have drifted. Ask yourself which phase of your life was better, and then ask yourself a crucial question, “Do you want to discover the child in you?”

Now you may protest and say, “Easy to say that, but ...............” Stop there. Just STOP! I know what you will say after your “but” ..... And I want you to know that “but” is only in the dictionary of adults. If there is any part of the child remaining inside you, you will give up the “buts” and take the plunge. It is difficult. It is very difficult. But it is not impossible. And the benefits are immense, permanent, (even recession-proof) and freely available.

Let me give you great good news:

Discover the child in you and you have found your best friend

When you were a child, learning to write was difficult, doing arithmetic sums was difficult, riding a bicycle was difficult – but did you not do all that? You know why you managed to do it? Because you were a child. Not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Today you have an opportunity to go back to those good old days. It is up to you whether you take that step, or put away this book in your shelf for gathering dust.

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Take This Journey to Discover Your Inner Child

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/identify-your-inner-child-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Exercise:

In order to identify your "Inner Child,'' get into a relaxed state and close your eyes. Spend thirty minutes picturing yourself as a child between three and eight years of age. See yourself as this little child and watch yourself interacting with members of your family of origin. Observe how you react to your family members as a little child.

Watch yourself with your playmates in the neighborhood or at school. Notice how you get along with your friends and playmates. Notice the fun you have at play and the type of play activities you enjoyed. Watch yourself in the classroom and notice how you get along with your teacher and how you react to the school environment.

Finally, picture yourself in a family setting. Are you happy, frivolous, joyful, energetic, excited, and enjoying life? Are you serious, solemn, down, sad, unhappy, scared, disappointed, being miserable with life?

If you see only an unhappy, serious little child, try to recollect your last happy experience as a child. This will help you to develop a more positive attitude towards your past, and hence make life better for you today.

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What or Who is a Child?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/do-we-have-to-become-children-again-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

A child is not just someone who was born within the last eighteen years. It is not someone who is smaller in stature and lesser in education than the adult. It is not even someone who is less knowledgeable and dependent on adults. It is a person who refuses to grow up, refuses to be part of the rat race that adults have got themselves into.

Do you remember the story of the “Emperor’s New Coat?” The whole city with thousands of wise and knowledgeable adults were tricked by the man who made them believe that the king is wearing a coat made of gold, which only the wise can see and the stupid cannot. It took a small child to speak out and exclaim, “but the king is not wearing any coat,” and all the adults woke up. This is what a child is.

True spirituality: A small town dependent entirely on agriculture was reeling under a drought, and people were on the verge of starvation. One particular year they were waiting for the rains to come, and that was their last hope of redeeming their food. The rains were playing truant. Having no other alternative, the village elders announced that one morning they will have a massive prayer meeting where all citizens should gather. Being a town of different faiths, they requested each person to come with a symbol of his own faith in God, and then they will all pray collectively.

People were trickling in since early morning. There were some carrying their holy books, others with idols of their family deities, some with prayer beads and others with a Cross or an Om symbol. In the midst of all this someone noticed a small girl happily walking in with an umbrella in her hand! When inquired what she meant by bringing an umbrella, she happily replied, “You asked me to bring a symbol of my faith in God. I have faith that when we all pray God will send down rain to us. And I don’t want to get wet going home.” Need I say more?

A child is one who always thinks of tomorrow, because he has no yesterday. We adults have many yesterdays, but it is up to us to bury our past and look ahead. And for that we have to become children again.

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Pamper Yourself

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/on-the-right-track-to-becoming-a-child-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

One of the first steps is to discovering your childhood is to pamper yourself. Spend time doing small, silly, even stupid things that only children can do happily. I have a friend who is almost a grandmother, but she cannot resist the temptation, whenever she goes to a posh restaurant, to play with the fork and spoon, and make ting-ting noises on the glasses. Her family members are thoroughly embarrassed, and very angry with her. But, waiting patiently for the food to arrive (as you know, the more posh the restaurant, the more time they take to serve), she keeps herself busy playing her little music, or making different shapes out of the stiffly starched napkins. Most other adults sit with a grim face, getting restless, maybe even shouting at the waiters for the delay in food – that is accepted from an adult, making music from a fork and glass is not.

Can you think of ways to pamper yourself the way you would pamper your child?

As children we wanted to grow up fast. Now we realize that “incomplete homework and broken toys” were better than unfulfilled dreams and broken relationships.

Let’s make a fun list of ways by which you can pamper yourself. I am letting my imagination run wild and you too (if you really let your mind free to soar in the skies) can make a much more imaginative list than the one given here:

Exercise

Put on Bermudas, multi-coloured T-shirt, a Top Hat, Kolhapuri chappals, & walk down the road. Or better still – with this exotic attire, walk into a marriage hall.

Go hunting from the footpaths to the malls, and buy yourself the cutest possible stuffed toy, teddy bear, and doll. For yourself, not for a child. And carry it around proudly. See how people feel jealous because they don’t have the guts to do something like that.

Invite your friends over for your sixth birthday party, which you could not celebrate properly when you were 6 years old. Set up the room and organize games as you would for 6 year- olds.

Put on your most casual clothes and go and sit on the curb-stone of a busy road, enjoying your favourite ice cream leisurely while the whole world rushes past. If possible do it when it is drizzling.

Are you getting an idea of what I am talking about? If you have the guts to do the above (and so many more imaginative things you can conjure up if you allow the child in you to give you suggestions), you know that you are on the right track to becoming a child.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grown up.

– Pablo Picasso

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Some More Whacky Ideas to Explore Lost Childhood

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/retry-at-least-some-of-the-things-you-loved-doing-as-a-kid-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Exercise

  • Retry at least some of the things you loved doing as a kid. Go to a playground (if one still exists in your locality), the toy shop or to the theatre for a cartoon movie.
  • Stop obsessing over the small things. Kids are carefree! Let go of worries and see if the world around you tumbles. You'll be surprised that it doesn't. And maybe you'll regain some clarity and perspective.
  • Kids are able to feel something intensely and then move on quickly from it. Try it. Feel what you feel without judging the feeling (“I shouldn't feel this way”) so that you can move on from that feeling without holding on to it. It works!
  • If you have kids, do the stuff they like to do. Swing with them or spend time with them.

Look at the world through their eyes. Build castles and mud pies with them. Get dirty, blow bubbles, toss balls over the neighbour's fence and fetch them back sheepishly. Jump rope and eat sticky chocolate. And doing this only with the intention of keeping your child company does not count unless you are also enjoying it personally.

Never say the phrase "I'm too old, or I’m in my mid-life". Try telling yourself "I'm in my middle childhood or adolescence" instead.

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Turn Everyday Activities Into Something Fun

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/learn-from-the-fun-that-childhood-teaches-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Exercise

  • Doing the laundry? Lie in the laundry basket and blow bubbles.
  • If you have a garden or just some open space, dig holes, and play in the mud. Follow the line of ants and explore how they live.
  • Cleaning your room? Dance to some music, make sailboats out of useless paper, or pin up something most ridiculous on the wall for everyone to see.
  • Decorating? Paint funny words or figures on the wall before you hang pictures over or under them.
  • Cooking for dinner? Gather some creativity, imagination, and inspiration. Mix weird tastes for a different culinary delight. Make a meal entirely of desserts -- the dream of every child.

Once you have had your fun, come back to the present gently. Sure, you will eventually have to return to responsible adulthood. But learn from the fun that childhood teaches. Learn to always cast back your memory to fun-filled childhood times and the things that made you feel safe, fulfilled and happy. Build on those memories in a way that allows you to be the responsible adult influenced for the better by the carefree child inside. This will not only help you go back to childhood, but will also prevent your aging. There is a famous proverb that says ....

You don't stop having fun when you get old; you get old when you stop having fun.

At the same time, beware of those who scold your "immaturity" and "childishness." They are possibly jealous of your newfound wisdom, and they're also likely to be afraid of change - yours, theirs or anyone's. Let them continue to grow old mourning and groaning. But if you yourself have succumbed to that dignity, self-respect, etiquette and appropriate mannerisms, then you are on your way to a sad, lonely and pessimistic old age.

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  • Are you stressed about your education?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by anxiety and fear?

Just mail your counsellor now, sharing your problems, your worries, your anxieties, your fears. Your counsellor will reply to you, and be there for you until you need her to help you cope and get going.

Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja

 

This website was initially conceived and designed by the late Sitaram N
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Except where otherwise noted, the Content of the Website of Banjara Academy - the text, the audios, the videos, the images - contributed by Dr Ali Khwaja and his team of volunteers at Banjara Academy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.