Improve Thyself

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Watching unpleasant news on TV, late at night, is detrimental to one’s health and well-being. It wobbles our sleep and causes disagreeable side- and after-effects on one’s psyche. This is akin to our frenzied response when we lose something valuable. It brings negative, unhelpful primary emotions.

A loss of something which was dear to us — be it a job, a house, a loved one, a prized car, or even something like a mobile phone — is an invite to disappointment, frustration, and also feelings of isolation. It relates to worry, anguish and exasperation too — a mirror-reflection of gloom. It slows us down rather than help us to get over it, unless one thinks of such a loss as ‘no loss’ at all.

In its extreme presentation, most contextual miseries of life take the form of more than just momentary grief — this envelops disgust, derision, guilt, objection and hopelessness. These emotions are not universal — they differ from person to person, or from time to time. It all depends upon which side of the fence you would like to sit, if not stand. In like manner, not everyone who experiences loss will necessarily reflect common processes in equal order, or over the same period of time.

This holds good to the idea of happiness, joy, ecstasy and rapture too — these emotions seem to be as varied as the theme, or framework, of living is from one person to the other. Happiness, like grief, or loss, is a difficult emotion to restrain, because it can have as many connotations as you have gadgets at the electronic store. Just think of the weird fusion of happiness and misery in reminiscence, and you have a plethora of conditions that bring about reactions, or a supposed change in circumstances. Agreed that some people may be more contented than others, but a state of happiness, or grief, cannot go on for ever. Things change, just as time changes. Change is a constant. Nothing is always the same — most of all, our emotional responses to situations that we know, or do not know yet.

This brings us to yet another notable emotion — disgust. Put simply, disgust is about discarding anything that is awful, damaging, or toxic, from possible assimilation, or acceptance, into, or even in close proximity to our mind, body, or soul. Disgust holds an enduring significance — because, in its proximal, or complete form, it embraces diverse attributes. From how we respond to the fine arts, or treat a stray dog on the street. You could call such responses as self-conscious emotions — because, they hold a ‘connect’ to the self in some way, or the other — more so, as to how the self is conducting itself in a certain situation. Yet, the fact remains that our emotions depend on the assessment made of us by other people, and not ourselves, either in a given, or not given, time-frame, or a generalised context, if not a situational perspective.

It is rightly believed, and also articulated, that most self-conscious emotions do not develop until we understand the ‘hypothesis of our mind’ at some point in our childhood. This is the time when a child identifies that there are other children and people around — and, that they have their own minds with their own particular points-of-view that might well be different from one’s own. The earlier our children develop this understanding, the better it is when they grow up, or when others around them express a contradictory viewpoint. As philosopher Aldous Huxley said, “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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