This is a great analogy

(Edited and Reproduced)

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and shoves you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee?
"Well because someone bumped into me, of course!"
Wrong answer.
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
If you had tea in your cup, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.
When life comes along and shakes you (which will happen), whatever is inside of you will come out. It's easy to fake it until you get rattled.
      So we have to ask ourselves....what is in my cup?
      When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, sadness, gratefulness, anger, peace, anxiety and humility, insecurity?
You choose!

Train your mind!!!

‘Parental pressure can be at the root of childhood depression’

(Edited Reproduction)

Sanjana (not her real name) was a bright and sincere primary school student who aspired to become a pilot when she grew up. She passed with flying colours in all her examinations. Her parents were indeed proud of her and encouraged her to improve further. Sadly, they couldn’t see the fine line between helpful encouragement and harmful pressure. Once Sanjana started slipping, she continued to derail despite having a lot of potential.

There came a time during her teenage years when her parents were tired of her attitude towards her studies. She would wake up every morning to increasing pressure from her parents and her confidence came crashing down each time, and ultimately stayed at the rock bottom. Her parents wanted the best for her, but they were unknowingly burying her potential; and what is worse is that the parental pressure was the main cause of her depression.

According to the World Health Organization, one in every four children between the age group of 13 and 15 in India is depressed.

In most families in India, children are unable to cope with the high demands set by parents with regard to their academic performance. Before the child is even born, they are expected to become the best engineers, doctors, lawyers, or government servants among others. As they grow, the pressure, fuelled by such expectations, becomes unbearable for them. Our children are being brought to a world which is driven by hyper competition and perfectionism where success means the highest status, performance and appearance.

These unreasonable standards weigh heavy on children whose mental tolerance is still immature. This pressure to perform well academically is so strong that every hour a student commits suicide. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorders, disruptive behaviour disorders and several other mental health problems are severely affecting children’s development

Parental pressure is like a hurricane that never leaves and can take other forms such as pressure to perform well in sports, music, drama, and even socializing. It takes a severe toll on the children’s confidence and approach towards life. It helps if parents understand that their children are living in a world where they may face racial, sexual, or religious discrimination, body shaming, hormonal challenges, family or financial problems, violence, etc. in addition to academic pressures. All these concerns contribute to poor academic performance, lack of motivation, social interaction problems, and even self-harm.

On top of this, the stigma behind mental ill health in our country is another major obstacle. Therefore, instead of admitting that their child may be suffering from a mental disturbance and thus getting help, parents go into denial. They resort to statements such as, "My child has no such problems", "This is just a slump. He/she will get over it". But how will the child "get over it" if the pressure continues to build or no help is sought to make things easier for the child? Depression cannot be cured with a band-aid. It requires months and sometimes even years to heal through constant emotional and psychotherapeutic support.

Parents could begin by taking responsibility for the pressure they have caused, and then seek help before the damage becomes permanent. They must understand the fragile state of children’s mental well-being and assess it proactively. Children look up to their parents, and seek their love and support. Parents can therefore bring a turnaround in their child’s emotional and mental state. They must also confide in and consult with teachers, counselors and psychotherapists who can help in identifying symptoms and patterns of mental issues. It must also be understood that every child’s coping mechanism is different and works at a different pace

Demanding parents can alter their entire approach towards depressed children and hold their hand in every step of the way. They can first talk to their child and work towards becoming their confidants. They must find out what their children want instead of focusing on what they themselves want, how they as parents can be better, whether the child requires counseling or other professional help, whether they want to talk to someone else in the family. If pressure hasn’t worked during early adolescence, it probably never will, so putting pressure on the child is the wrong method to get results. All focus should be on providing emotional and mental support.

Theatre is important in all walks of life

Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I will remember,
Involve me and I will understand.

In earlier days, besides being a principal form of entertainment, Theatre was used to teach morals, improve the quality of human life and teach right from wrong. In countries all over the world, small bands of actors would enact scenes from epics, put up performances based on religious themes, and spread messages of goodwill, good moral and social conduct, across the land.

Even today, both governmental as well as non-governmental organizations are using the medium of Theater in remote areas to spread information about proper health care, influence public opinion against social evils such as dowry and female infanticide, and drum up support for the need for education and self-sufficiency.

In the cities, where the system of education is fast becoming extremely competitive, complicated and stressful, it has been found that when curriculum subjects are taught in conjunction with aspects of Theatre, there is greater depth of understanding and better retention.

I will now focus on some of the skills which can be developed through Theater, skills which, without exception, are essential for success in any area of life.

Theatre encourages the ability of Problem Solving. A widely used medium in corporate as well as lifestyle skills training, Theater enables individuals to deal with a variety of problems in a controlled situation and formulate a number of solutions to try and seek the best possible outcomes. Problem Solving calls for good Analytical Thinking. By turning a problem ‘on its head’, so to speak, through various permutations and combinations, and visually presenting each scenario, Theatre boosts the individual’s analytical capabilities.

Reading is fast becoming a lost habit as more and more people turn to television and films. Theatre encourages individuals to read, to go through the written script, memorize and perform from memory. This process of activation of the brain is still considered to be a good form of mental development as the whole edifice of our education system is based on this principle.

Creative thinking is a strong cornerstone of Theatre. It is not possible to do Theatre without the ability to put oneself into another person’s shoes. The ability to empathize, to see problems from a different viewpoint and ‘relive’ somebody else’s experiences and feelings is an essential outcome of learning through the Theatre. This again, calls for excellent Creative Thinking skills.

Theater requires the ability to Plan and Set realistic Goals, both long-term as well as short-term. A Theater project is like any other project which requires the ability to garner resources, allocate a budget, plan in a step by step manner, meet goals within a stipulated time frame, trouble shoot, and work with flexibility and creativity while staying in touch with realistic problems and obstacles that one must deal with on a continuous basis.

Then again Theatre is a powerful medium for enhancing and developing Communication Skills, correct Body Language as well as building Self-Confidence. Theater encourages clear and precise speech habits, voice modulation and projection, proper synchronization of Body Language, Facial Expression and Voice Emphasis which is crucial for Congruent Communication. All these together help create impressive personality traits which in turn encourages Self-Confidence.

Last but not the least; Theatre inculcates Discipline and the Team Bonding and Building abilities, which are essential aspects of the modern workplace scenario. Good Theatre requires Perseverance, Persistence and Self-Discipline and ability to work with and integrate one’s interests, views and contributions with those of others. Theatre is always a team effort, and can never be successful in isolation.

It is therefore amply evident that the Soft Skills, or People Skills as I prefer to call them, skills necessary in the modern workplace as well as personal life can be competently developed through the medium of Theatre. Your technical and academic qualities help you get your foot in at the door, but it is these other skills which help you to climb the ladder to success.

Here, Theatre can play a crucial role. However, its potential still remains largely untapped and unrecognized in our country.

Nivedita Bhattacharya