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Catharsis: Expressing Our Way Out Of Mental Stress

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Catharsis is the process of releasing and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions. It is the process of purification and purgation of emotions, particularly pity and fear, which brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension. It is an emotional release which is linked to a need to relieve unconscious conflicts.

Suppose a person doesn’t give a proper vent to these conflicts. In that case, the feelings may burst out in the form of anger or remain inside in the form of depression which may ultimately result in some psychological disease and even suicidal tendencies. When we are unable to express our feelings and emotions on different occasions, we get mentally stressed because these unexpressed feelings get stored in our subconscious mind.

Catharsis can take place in different ways in a different type of people. Everybody expresses their feelings and inner thoughts in their own ways. Some write poetry and some prose to express their feelings. Painting and sculpting are other ways to express our feelings. Some express their feelings through anger and some prefer silence. We often see some people talking to themselves or sometimes tears come out of their eyes unconsciously. Some people like loneliness and prefer to stay alone. They hate congestions and noisy places. Sometimes these inner conflicts may result in hating ourselves.

These are the different ways of catharsis and it depends upon an individual how they may express their inner feelings and relieve themselves from stress and tension.

It is ironical that most people don’t know how to express their inner conflicts and relieve stress. When a person can alleviate their inner stress through catharsis, it feels like their heavy heart slowly lightens. They feel the stress fading away and inner happiness. Hope gets renewed. They start to love life and their surroundings, enjoy the beauty of nature and live life with a living heart.

mental stress
Whenever we need any help, we should openly request for it and whenever somebody helps us, we should thank them.

We need to take care of our mental health because it directly affects our physical health. Catharsis is essential for mental health. We should learn to live life fully and enjoy the moments of happiness wholeheartedly.

Whenever we feel grief or sorrow, we should never hide it inside us. Instead, we should express it and share it with our nearest. Whenever we feel bad or get hurt by the actions or words of others, we should complain positively rather than storing those hurt sentiments inside us. Whenever we need any help, we should openly request for it and whenever somebody helps us, we should thank them.

If we find goodness in a person, we should openly praise them. Whomever we like to talk to we should interact with. We should prefer the profession we love rather than forcefully involving ourselves in work we are not interested in. Positive thinking is necessary to live a stress-free, happy life. We should never indulge ourselves in negative thoughts.

When we bury our positive and negative feelings and carry them inside our subconscious mind, it results in mental stress and uneasiness in life. When we live with unsaid sorrows, complaints, hate, love, littleness, affection, faults and many other likely things from time immemorial inside our mind, these things become a burden on us and snatch our happiness and comfort. We need to give time to ourselves to get clean from this burden and come out of depression. Some ways catharsis can take place and how we can live a happy life include:

  • Always express your feelings fully with an open heart. We can express both our good and bad feelings in a positive way.
  • We can share our feelings towards others with someone whom we trust and who is worth listening to and understands us.
  • We can write poetry, prose, novels, etc. to express ourselves before people. There are different platforms where we can express ourselves, like Facebook, etc.
  • We can depict our thoughts through painting and sculpting.
  • Sometimes we can relieve our stress through sports activities we are interested in.
  • We can enjoy the reading of our choice or we can watch some useful videos. There are many such talk shows, interview programs on TV sets/YouTube, which can be beneficial to us.
  • We can take part in some social work. We can benefit our society by our capabilities and in turn, get mentally relaxed.
  • Prayer is the best way to get out of depression. Mediation is most beneficial to fight mental stress. When we talk to our creator in our mediation with a clear heart, we get an answer to our queries.
  • Always forgive people before sleeping; it gives mental peace.

If a person feels any difficulty in performing all the activities mentioned above, they need psychological counselling. They should consult a psychiatrist and express their feelings buried inside to regain mental health and live life to their capabilities.

Our mental stress doesn’t affect only us but indirectly affects the people related to us in our life affairs. And in the long run, affects the whole society and a society with mentally depressed people can seldom progress. 

The author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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