Can we Cultivate positivity?



Hearing about so many young boys & girls trying out suicide as an option because of stress, of different levels, makes me feel horrible!
Hence this post has been on my mind for the longest.
What is Stress? And why do we succumb to it so easily? In today’s time have we made it difficult for ourselves to nurture & nourish our minds with positivity? Are we missing the whole point of life here? Do we know how to cultivate positivity?
It is strange but true, that we live in a world which is extremely self consuming. Be it the internet, the social media and the technology, they were all created to make our lives easy & more entertaining. But we have rather chosen to be driven by these, and depend on them heavily. Social media, mobiles and many other mediums were created to share thoughts & stay connected with people. Perhaps, today that is not the only role these mediums play.
With the increasing competition and the race of ambitions anyone is bound to feel lost and defeated. There are times when each of us fails, whether it’s the most influential person in the world you know of or your peer at work or school. There are also times when life fails us at a personal level in the form of a grave illness, death of a loved one or anything unfortunate which we are not prepared for. Eventually some are able to get over it or are able to take it in their stride, whereas there are some who just cannot come out of this zone, they get stuck in the spiral of negativity which comes with these situations. They repetitively ask themselves why me? Instead of solutions they tend to focus on the problems.
I am no guru or pandit, neither do I want to be a philanthropist. I am just a regular person in this big world, just like someone you meet at your work, school or neighbourhood. I am one of you and because of that I am sharing my experience that can apply to anyone & everyone. With all the hard times I have seen in my life, all the failures & successes, I am sharing a simple step by step guide to combat this negative process and rise above this all to enjoy a quality life. Primarily cultivate positivity!
Step 1: Accept yourself
When something unfortunate happens to you or something difficult arises in your life, Step back, sit down and accept this willingly. By accepting I mean realising that this has already happened and you can do nothing to undo it. You may have failed, or lost a loved one or been through something miserable, but remember none of us can go back in time and change it. Not you, not me, not even god.
There is a saying about Lord Ram – he was the ultimate lord of his times, people called him the best leader, the best son, the best brother, he honed all the qualities for a great ruler as well, but could he escape hardships?? No!! The day he was supposed to be crowned the emperor of his kingdom, he was awarded with a 11 year exile punishment instead. Imagine his disappointment; he was thrown out of the kingdom he was supposed to rule. Then his wife was kidnapped (by Raavan) and he went through a line of struggles get her back & to live a regular life. You must wonder if he was god, he could easily undo all of this and live a life as per his desires. But did he?? No! why?? Because there is no learning in that! He learnt a great deal with each of these hardships. He accepted them like a challenge, he found a way to come out of these and prepared himself better to not let that happen again.
Don’t waste your time in thinking Why me? That will make no difference. It was meant to happen this way, but now what you do about it going forward makes all the difference. Accept your inner strengths & weaknesses and accept the situation gracefully. As they say, with acceptance comes the learning.
Step 2: Prepare yourself
We need to accept a situation as is, prepare ourselves to develop a temperament to be able to handle hardships better. It is not a skill one is born with, it is a skill we develop and master over time.
Meditate, pray, read positive books, do gardening, yoga or do anything that infuses your mind & body with positive energy. Refrain from complaining & cribbing it does the maximum damage. Practice kindness it does wonders to our minds & souls. Help people however you can. It will undo all the good you have done so far in positive thinking. This is work but it’s worth it; after the first initial times which will be hard & unusual, for the days to follow it will become a part of your life. Like we spend time getting ready for a party or an event, or a festival at home, we must also prepare our minds for the good & the bad times that we may have to encounter in life. Nurture your inner being. It doesn’t matter how old you are it is never too early or too late to develop a positive mindset. Do this yourself and encourage others to do it too.
Step 3: Detox often both your body & mind
Every religion has a practice to abstain from things you generally like for a stipulated time, ever wondered why. Well my reasoning is it’s a simple exercise for our mind & body to function outside our comfort zone; because that is where the real learning comes from. We regularly get sucked into the mundane, routine life and become comfortable with it. Hence a slight change in this settled mindset, throws us off the hook, and this is that exact point where stress creeps in. To be able to handle stress better. Detox from things or habits you are addicted to. It is tough to first accept that you may be addicted. It can be a video game or facebook browsing or even eating junk food. Spend some time to identify what your addiction is, once identified start with a detox plan, it could be a short duration plan based on your ability to handle this detox. It helps you create a better version of yourself. After this you can go back to step 1.
I will conclude with this belief that we have one life, which is so precious, please try out all other ways to fight depression & stress before you even think of even slightly harming your life. If all the other options don’t work try them again & again & again. Because no matter what the problem is, giving up should not be an option!
My book UmeniTherapy is just a small attempt to divert your minds to positivity through creative Destress Coloring. If you are feeling low or stressed, this is something I request you to try, after all this is the least I can do to ease your troubles.
Stay blessed!

What is your emotional quotient (EQ) & how to improve it?

What is EQ?
EQ is a popularly accepted abbreviation for Emotional intelligence/Emotional quotient. It is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively using self awareness & empathy. Overall high EQ enables us to deal with people & situations in a more balanced manner, and improves the quality of our relationships. It enables us to inspire, engage & motivate people around us better.

No matter which field you are in, your journey to success will involve relationships & people. Not everyone you meet will be of a temperament or nature similar to yours. Your ability to built constructive interpersonal relationships with people at home or work is the measurement of your EQ. High EQ is gradually becoming a predominant quality of the most successful people in every walk of life. Yes, they have talent/knowledge but what makes them more successful is their EQ (70% of the credit is given to their EQ). With the worldwide growth in the business fraternity it has become imperative to have leaders & managers who are able to lead people with more EQ, primarily because human interactions drive our day to day lives, whether at work or at home.

Now emotional intelligence is not a skill one is born with, in fact it is a skill we can learn & master. This is the reason why it has made its way into school curriculum worldwide. Introducing this skill into the minds of kids early is a result of research on this subject & its positive outcomes.

If you want to check what is your EQ here is a link I found online, that can help you with it – https://www.iq-test.net/eq-test.html

Based on my knowledge & experience and reading some great people’s work in this field,
 I am sharing some of the simplest ways to improve your EQ in a jiffy(kidding) it will be some work, but totally worth it. EQ isn’t something you develop once then drop. It is like rebuilding & updating your inner software from time to time. It’s a lifetime practice, and it is possible to keep improving. Even when you feel like you’ve mastered these steps, remember to keep practicing, and you’ll reap the benefits for the rest of your life:

1.Practice Observing How You Feel & Behave:

In the process of rushing from one commitment to the next, meeting deadlines, and responding to external demands, many of us lose touch with our emotions. When we do this, we’re far more likely to act unconsciously and inappropriately too.The emotional reaction we experience might be due to the current situation, or it could be that the current situation is reminding us of a painful, unprocessed memory.
When we pay attention to how we’re feeling or become aware of our emotions, we learn to trust our emotions, and we become far more able to manage them.
While you’re practicing your emotional awareness, pay attention to your behavior too. Notice how you act when you’re experiencing certain emotions, and how that affects your day-to-day life. Does it impact your communication with others, your productivity, or your overall sense of well-being?
It could be a feeling of stress, resentment or anger, how do you react then? Make a note of these instances.

EXERCISE: Maintain a dairy, a journal of sorts, pen down the highlights of your day/week, this will help you vent out your emotions constructively and you will also be able to analyze them without jumping to conclusions.

2.Take Responsibility for Your Feelings and Behavior

This is probably the most challenging step, and it’s also the most helpful. Your emotions and behavior come from you—they don’t come from anyone else—therefore, you’re the one who’s responsible for them.
If you feel hurt in response to something someone says or does, and you lash out at them, you’re responsible for that. They didn’t “make” you lash out (they’re not controlling you with puppet strings, after all!), your reaction is your responsibility.
Once you start accepting responsibility for how you feel and how you behave, this will have a positive impact on all areas of your life.

3.Practice Responding, Rather than Reacting

There’s a subtle but important difference between responding and reacting.
Reacting is an unconscious process where we experience an emotional trigger, and behave in an unconscious way that expresses or relieves that emotion (for example, feeling irritated and snapping at the person who has just interrupted you).
Responding is a conscious process that involves noticing how you feel, then deciding how you want to behave (for example, feeling irritated, explaining to the person how you feel, why this isn’t a good time to be interrupting you, and when would be better).

4.Practice Empathy

Empathy is about understanding why someone feels or behaves in a certain way and being able to communicate that understanding to them. It applies to ourselves and other people, and practicing this ability will improve your EQ.
Start by practicing with yourself. When you notice yourself feeling or behaving in a certain way, ask “Why do I think I’m feeling like this/doing this?” At first, your response might be “I don’t know,” but keep paying attention to your feelings and behavior, and you’ll start to notice different answers coming through. Use empathy & sensitivity towards people,their reactions and yours as well.

5.Create A Positive Environment

As well as practicing the skills I’ve mentioned so far, its imperative to make time to notice what is going well and where you feel grateful in your life.
Creating a positive environment not only improves your quality of life, but it can be contagious to people around you.Your mindset will transform and you will be able to adapt to situations & learning in a better way.
EXERCISE: Maintain a dairy, a journal of sorts, pen down what you are grateful for on a daily/weekly basis. I call it the gratitude journal. It infuses our minds with the required dose of positivity. 

6.Practice mindfulness

Indulge in activities or practices that help you step away from the chaos and explore your emotions.
It could be yoga, meditation, journal-ling or even coloring. The choice is yours, choose what inspires & intriguies you and then make an effort to be consistent with it. In todays fast paced world it is so easy to get bored of doing the same thing, but this behavior only adds to our anxiety. Learn to curb this fidgety feeling & dedicate yourself to an activity that helps you relax & destress on a regular basis.
Lately, after the release of my coloring book for adults titled UmeniTherapy, I received emails from people using it as a daily ritual to engage themselves in a positive manner. Coloring is helping adults step out of their mobile crazy routines and explore their creativity, calmness, mindfulness & peace in their minds with only 15 minutes a day.
Perhaps, it is right to believe, if there is any skill we wish to learn or master we need our minds & our sanity to help us get there.
Hope this helps you be positive & improve your EQ!
Stay blessed!