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Tips On How To Manage And Channelise Emotions And Lead A Healthy Life

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Emotions make us human. The higher-order process of understanding, rationalising, judging, choosing, forgiving etc. function because we have emotions. Emotions function as a tool of self-expression. This is a gift to mankind. Most of our survival depends on emotions. They guide our behaviour. Our social networks are based out of it. Emotions fulfil our basic needs, support us and help us survive. However, with time, we have come to focus very much on negative emotions, or have given an outlet to such emotions in ways that harm us.

To channelise this force of emotions, ’emotional management’ comes into the picture. It is defined as the ability to recognise one’s emotion, label it, accept it, and henceforth try to control it. A better coping mechanism would help us develop emotional maturity, make us calm, enhance our social skills, and help us deal with life situations in a better way.

But how do these emotions come to us? Is it because we are biologically programmed to evoke them when needed? Or are they triggered or facilitated by others, their situations or our actions? Well, this is like a debate that asks who came first, the chicken or the egg? But these triggers, or rather emotional cues, have this huge capacity of putting people in their worst times. Have you ever wondered what these cues are like?

Let me give you some examples: ignoring, cutting off sentences, putting someone down, taunting, being passive aggressive, cornering, bullying, verbally abusing, threatening etc., all these sound very familiar, right? That is because we all have been through them at least once in our lives.

To add to the current situation, the lockdown has created a lot of havoc not only economically, but also on the emotional aspect of the individuals. As we are stuck in our homes, people are finding it hard to manage themselves and have the chance of getting addicted to their phones or TV. A big thanks to the internet that has made things even worse. Binge-watching is very common and so is bullying or sexual harassment in times like these. Everybody has their own struggles and fights to win! Therefore, it is even more important to focus on our emotional and mental well-being, as it not only affects us but also those in our environment.

When there are emotional cues that negatively affect us, they can make us angry, upset, sad, revengeful, shocked, scared, anxious, underwhelmed, overwhelmed, frozen, discriminated, lonely, shameful, guilty etc. However, we can take some small steps to help us maintain ourselves. Here are a few of those small measures:

1) Address your feelings: Addressing means ‘accepting’. Accepting that we feel a certain way can help us deal with it. Non-acceptance or shaking it off will lead to piling up of feelings, which can result in toxic relationships. Due to emotional burden, unhappiness, and an unhealthy physical and mental state may burst out or make us go into our shells.

2) Practice pro-action: There is some time gap between our feelings and reactions. Use that time to think about the best response to be given. Make a “choice” of response to be given. There are different kinds of responses that suit the situation. But, not all can give similar responses to the same situation. We need to use our discretion before giving our response.

  •  Some cases might require assertiveness — putting out our point confidently without compromising. For instance, people working from home may require telling their family members that they need privacy while doing work. This can be said in a very assertive way.
  • Sometimes, we may not be able to have a healthy conversation about it. So, we may find alternatives, such as using quiet spaces of our homes or using different gadgets, if possible, to do our tasks.

3) Writing it down: If you feel people aren’t able to understand you, you can journal your feelings or watch Tedx Talks for help. Watching motivational talks may also help.

4)Using positive speech: We may have people who are constantly rattling, disappointed in us, verbally abusive, or passive-aggressive. We may initiate conversations if we feel safe and confident about doing it. Or we may try to engage ourselves and come in contact with them as less as possible. Or we can try the method of ‘Positive Speech’ — saying positive things like “I love myself”, “I’m enough”, “I’m important”, etc. to ourselves in our mind. Or we may just write down whatever we feel.

5) Setting emotional boundaries:  Try setting emotional boundaries. It doesn’t necessarily have to lead to preaching or speaking down to others. We can just try to avoid people who create trouble for us by practising gratitude, self-love, mirror talking, communicating, not abusing back, not transferring anger onto things or others, deep breathing, relaxing, meditating, pursuing music, arts, etc.

6) Cutting off: Not all emotional cues come from people. Some may be triggered by news or social media. Cutting down time for watching the news or social media, unfollowing certain pages, changing settings of notifications or posts, etc. might help. Emotional boundaries will also include not taking comments personally or not taking the responsibility for others’ feelings on yourself. Using the ‘questioning method’ can be beneficial in such cases.

Though these techniques sound simple while reading, they are a little tricky to follow in real life. But it is even more important to start somewhere. If you struggle, then reach out to Yo Zindagi for help.

7) Cognitive Change: It involves how a person appraises a situation so as to alter its emotional meaning. It involves reappraisal, to give a new meaning, or simply interpret a situation in new light or with a different perspective. For example, instead of cursing the lockdown, we can look at its bright side. We can interpret it in new light, that now we are getting plenty of free time and can do things, activities that we weren’t able to do in our busy schedule, like reading a book, drawing, painting, taking that new online course on English Literature.

(This article is a joint effort by Manasi Baindur, Murali Krishna and Muskan Mehta, who are currently providing online counselling support in our Mental Health Internship Program.) 

About the author: Yo Zindagi is a campaign to Promote Mental Health and Emotional Maturity by engaging individuals in conversations and workshops. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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