7 Steps to Beat Exam Anxiety once and for all

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Exam is not something everyone enjoys. Even if you think you are fully prepared, exams often turn out stressful. Do you find yourself jittery at the very mention of exams? Do you feel your heart pounding against your ribs the night before the exam? Do you wake up in the middle of the night with exam fright even when there is no exam the next day? If you are nodding yes to at least one of the above questions, you are facing exam anxiety.

Do not worry if you have exam anxiety. It is human to feel exam fright and it is perfectly normal. Though the title says “beat exam anxiety”, you must make peace with the fact that you cannot really beat it, but you can manage it constructively with a few mind tools that we are going to show you here: –

 

  1. Identify your needs

Make a list of your daily needs and prepare a daily routine that meets all your needs and allocates time for exam preparation. When you have your needs met as much as possible in a timely manner, you will have more energy and time to prepare for going into exam mode.

  1. Discover a Pre-Exam Routine

Experiment different learning strategies and variations in your daily routine and discover one configuration that works for you. Find a combination of activities that gives you maximum time and energy to prepare for exams.

  1. Segregate your consciousness into normal and exam-day configurations

To write your exam efficiently, you need to be in the zone, a consciousness level that is different from that of your normal day routine. You must separate and prepare your consciousness into normal day and exam-day performance configurations weeks before the exams and train yourself getting in and out of each mode.

  1. Enact the Writing of Exam physically on the morning of the examination

On the morning of exam day, enact writing the exam physically before a mirror to warm up your mind to go into exam mode.

  1. Check your Exam Equipment and ensure it’s all there

On the day before the exam, make sure you have all your exam equipment in place, like hall ticket, pen, pencils, refills, and other tools required to write the exam. Doing so will free your mind to focus on preparing your mind for the exam in the next day.

  1. Take Deep breaths

Try deep breathing techniques to relax your body and mind on the day of exam. Take a deep breath, hold it for 10 seconds and release slowly. This will relax your nerves and regulate your heartbeats. Deep breathing techniques can help you go into exam mode quicker.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a way of living in which you focus on everything in the present, keeping all your worries at a distance and looking at them rationally. Practice living at the moment, and you will realize you have much more energy than you thought you had. You will now have more energy to invest in your exam preparation.

Hope these steps help you in managing your exam stress. Let us know your experience in the comments section below. Tell us if there are any other mind tricks that worked for you. All the best for your exams!

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Do you have the habit of putting things off for later?

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Laundry, unwashed utensils, exercise routine, homework…

I decided to watch a movie first. It wouldn’t hurt if those things are done a bit later. Honestly, I don’t feel like doing any of it now.”

This line of thought is not strange. Because many people tend to procrastinate some or the other time, or all the time. ‘Lazy’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘no discipline’ are some of the labels that are tagged to such people.

We know it’s bad and are guilty about pending tasks, be it studies, work, relationship, family, health. We get temporary relief when we successfully avoid stuff that we don’t want to do. There’s always the last minute to manage them.

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Last minute productivity aside, deferring what we ought to do today amounts to deferring living itself. The prick of conscience gives unnecessary anguish and anxiety when we try to avoid doing it. And the task seems intimidating than what it actually is. Last minute outputs often do not employ the full extent of our capabilities, resulting in mediocre performance.

As I was saying, I watched a movie instead, because I have a passion to appreciate them. Incidentally, this movie was about a young boy in primary school who vehemently disliked doing Math homework and regularly received caning at school. He habitually postponed calculations to enjoy other interesting pursuits and slept off without even trying, wilfully forgetting.

That sounds so much like ourselves, doesn’t it? That fetched me some psychological expert opinions in the net. No, I’m not beginning on how to manage your time effectively, how to achieve self-discipline and the like. We would want some deeper and lasting answers.

  • We put off doing things when we lack the desire to do it. Agreeable, right? If you do not have a driving force, a motivation to begin something and keep going till the end, you don’t like bothering. The reason why I ended up watching the movie. I love music as it energises me. Got a speaker and created a playlist of my favourite peppy songs. I didn’t know how time went as all the clothes, plates, homework were done in less than three hours, and I made up for the exercise by moving around and doing some smart rhythmic moves in between my chores. I’m a perfectionist, hence didn’t compromise on the quality of cleanliness and order while completing my tasks.

The resolution: Do what you love to do, what’s exciting for you. Or else, infuse love in what you have to do. Consider the values you uphold as a person and act accordingly.

  • We put off doing things when we have a fear of something. Fear is subjective and can appear in many forms, like fear of uncertainty, pain, lacking self-worth, failure, rejection, hardship etc. To know your fear, you need to ask yourselves why you don’t like doing something. Usually fear sets in on account of misconceptions we are conditioned to believe from a younger age.

In the movie, God asks the boy why he didn’t like Math. Surface reasons/excuses like he is dumb at math, his math teacher hates him, he has to keep up to his reputation as a lousy classmate who is thrown out of class, math is mentally challenging, his parents can’t find time to do homework for him, he is too mischievous to care etc. are overlooked by God. Finally he thinks it over and confesses that once when his teacher ridiculed him for doing a sum wrong on the blackboard, he got scared and pissed through his pants in class. Every time math homework reminded him of this early humiliating experience and suffers from mental block.

Who knows, all of us would have some deep-seated fears like this that make us procrastinate. Realizing what’s at the root of our fear helps resolve the habit. Uncovering subconscious fears is enough to realise that they are baseless and can be worked upon. Knowing yourself is the best knowledge.

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3 Easy Steps to Strengthen your Mind

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You have that manuscript to complete, but words are not flowing as usual. Your mind wanders and you find yourself in the middle of a thousand unrelated thoughts. You wonder if only you had a way to focus your mind on the task at hand. Don’t be daunted by the impasse for there is a way to fortify your mind against the torrent of random thoughts.

Follow these 3 steps to strengthen your mind and train it to bend to your will: –

  1. Detach yourself from your Thoughts

As the first step, you must acknowledge the stream of thoughts to be discrete and identifiable. Now, stand back and observe each of them as a third person, without getting involved in it. Just sit back and watch them pass not letting them have anything do with you.

  1. Identify and Name your Thoughts

When you are “witnessing” your thoughts, name each of them for what they do to you, like “sadness ball”, “fear thorn bush”, etc. When you give a name to each of your feelings, you process them more rationally than otherwise. When you identify and recognize negative memories, you reduce its emotional impact significantly.

  1. Clear away the Negative Thoughts

Once you have named and classified your thoughts, the final step is to let go of the negative ones. Keep the lessons learnt, but let the memory never haunt you again. Just let the memory just pass by like a dry leaf whenever it returns, not affecting you in any way.

Make sure you spend a little time every day to practice this 3 step ritual. The rewards can be life changing. Imagine a calm and clear head a day before an exam or a presentation. What more would you need than a functioning mind that is in your complete control. Let us know how this 3 step formula has worked for you. You can type in your messages into the comment box below. We would love to hear from you.

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Respecting Individuality: Be an Ally of Alternate Sexualities

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All of us want to be accepted for who we are and to be able to love whoever we want. That’s exactly what those who are labelled as LGBTQ fight for. Even if you are sure you are not one, it is a sign of open-mindedness and humanity to accept and respect alternate sexual orientations. They are people just like us who deserve equal rights and fair treatment. Such people were around in all cultures at all times.

It is going to be tough experience when someone you love (a child, sibling or friend) comes out to you declaring his/her difference. You may go through mixed emotions.

As the current generation, we can bring changes to anti-LGBT attitudes that we are accustomed to and show our support by being an ally to their cause. Ultimately it is your personal call. Read on to find a better footing before you decide how to respond.

Not a mental illness or disorder

One’s sexual identity and orientation are not something you could or should try to change. It is as much a human variation as being left-handed. Don’t assume that a professional counsellor or reparative therapy will help be ‘normal’.

Not a phase one goes through

Sexual orientation is not an either/or situation. One may “feel different” or find one’s gender identity not matching parental and social expectations, as early as a kid or when an adolescent or as an adult. One need not be sexually active to know who one is attracted to.

Coming to terms

Realise that you are responsible for your negative reaction, because that’s how we are conditioned to think. So don’t tease or criticise for being different. Don’t try to brainwash to conform to your notions of proper sexual behaviour.

On their shore

An LGBTQ person goes through different stages of accepting of his/her own self before confiding in another person. Talk to someone who has been through this directly, or to their parents/friends or seek information from literature. Understanding from their point-of-view makes it less perverted.

Rights

As otherwise normal beings, they deserve to live openly free from violence and discrimination. Defend them against prejudice, rejection and bullying. They have the right to pursue individual goals and to form committed and loving relationships.

Morality

One’s gender identity and orientation have no effect on one’s ability to be moral and spiritual. Coming out implies such a person sharing a part of his/her identity to you. He/she is being honest with themselves and holding onto who they are.

Who is Gay/Lesbian?

You can’t assume anyone to be LGBTQ. They don’t look a certain way nor confine to stereotypes. There is no test or questionnaire to give a definite answer to your identity.alt

Friendly atmosphere

Create a safe space for them by showing support so a loved one can come out when they feel ready without fear of negative consequences. Openly discuss matters like same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in workplace.

Self-doubt

It is okay to sometimes feel attracted to someone you’re close to or admire, be it a close friend or teacher; it doesn’t mean you are homosexual.

Trust

Whatever your sexuality, be honest with your partner about your feelings and attractions to other people.

 

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How to ensure your Teenager’s Emotional Well-being?

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Teenage years can be really challenging for both the child and the parents. Adolescence can be a struggle for your little one, who is confused between the desire to become independent and being attached to parents. Added to this agony, the emotional and physical changes they experience can often become unbearable. Another challenge most adolescents face is fitting in the peer groups at school, while at the same time building their own individuality.

How can I help in ensuring my Teenager’s Emotional Security?

The first and foremost thing you can do as a parent is reassuring your child of your constant emotional and moral support. Teenagers rely a lot on parental feedback in calculating their response to the changing environment. During this time you must make sure that your child feels secure and confident to adapt to the new situation.

However, do not neglect your responsibility to communicate your expectations and restrictions. When you promise them total support, make sure that you insist on moral values like honesty, respect for one another, and self-control, so that while they build their own personality, they adhere to these values.

Provide constructive feedback for your kids, instead of constantly criticising them for every little mistake. It is found that positive feedback inspires better response from the children, and it helps them grow more confident and successful.

Teach your child how to be responsible with one’s privileges by defining the limits or boundaries. Teach them to make peace with the limits to help them grow into law-abiding citizens. Make sure that you encourage your child to talk openly with you when faced with any kind of problem. Create an environment free from the fears of judgement or punishment, so that your children may feel safe and secure at home and maintain a healthy relationship with you, founded on trust and honesty.

How to find out if your Teenager is going through an Emotional problem

Children in their teenage years are more susceptible to self-destructive behaviour. Reasons can vary from sexuality and low self-esteem to social acceptance issues arising from peer pressure. The typical symptoms include anger and restlessness, drastic changes in weight, a drop in academic performance, chronic gloominess, and a complete lack of motivation. When you notice these signs, make sure that your child is able to confide in you about what is bothering him or her.

Most parents are puzzled at these drastic changes in their children’s behaviour and often end up reprimanding them aggressively. This can do more harm than good. Maintain an open communication with your children, and be patient when they express their frustrations. Ignoring even a seemingly silly problem can lead to larger implications in your child’s emotional growth. If you feel you aren’t able to provide a complete solution to the problems, do not hesitate to seek help. There are a number reputed online mental health networks like Insighte.in who provide the expert services of highly experienced counsellors and psychotherapists. Help is just a phone call away.

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Not everything you hear about Autism is necessarily true

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autism

There are tons of information online on autism and related disabilities, but not everything you read about it is necessarily true. You can find several websites connecting the rising prevalence of autism in children to immunization or pesticides, but in reality the cause of autism is still elusive. The first step in understanding autism is to know that not everything you hear about autism is necessarily true.

Lifestyle Changes and Autism

One of the most commonly heard notion about autism is that it is a new disease caused by lifestyle changes. However, it is found that the earliest reports of autism in children date back to 1799. More than a disease, autism is a neurological disorder caused by some genetic anomaly. Though there are no conclusive proofs, lifestyle changes and food practices may be one of the many factors causing the rise in the number autism cases these days. Still, no direct evidence could be found to connect lifestyle changes as the sole cause of rising autism in children.

Immunization and Autism

Once there was also a widespread allegation that child immunization was the cause of autism in children. There was an extensively researched article published supporting this claim in 1998, but it was promptly invalidated and branded “fraudulent” by leading medical journals. The reason behind the publicity of such a study was that most of its test subjects started showing symptoms of autism after administering MMR vaccines, but the truth is that it is at the prescribed age for immunization that autism symptoms naturally manifest. Thus there is no conclusive proof that immunization has caused autism in these children.

Are All Autistic Children are Geniuses like in the Movie Rain Man?

There have been reports about autistic savants with exceptional intellect or mathematical skills. It is true that autism doesn’t necessarily come with mental retardation often most of them have higher than average IQ, but you cannot rule it out entirely. Since, autism is a spectrum disorder, the characteristics change from person to person. It is important to make early psychological assessments and seek assistance to train the child to cope with his or her environment.

Autism and Parenting

Once, there was a popular belief that autism was caused due to lack of proper parental care or emotional support. However, no scientific study could ascertain the cause of autism in children, and thus this theory too was promptly refuted and retracted. Autism is a genetic disorder, and has nothing to do with parenting. Yet, for children suffering from autism, parenting is highly important and all the more challenging duty for the parents.

Let us know if you feel we have missed something. Tell us from your experience the different theories that you hear about autism. Post your messages in the comments section below.

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Scoot before Shoot: Are you Camera-shy?

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Even though the whole wide world poses like crazy to capture nearly all moments of life and to cast a photogenic extension of its personality out there, a distinct category of people exists who are painfully shy of the camera. As soon as someone takes out a camera, they flinch and at the smallest opportunity, run away from the scene or hide. Under the lens view, they become nervous and self-conscious.

shy

Sounds familiar? Read our tips to confidently face the cam.

  • Know that it’s alright to feel uneasy before camera. Don’t think of yourself as a killjoy or social misfit if you are camera-shy today.
  • Always take the effort to look, well, like you. Being comfortable with your outfit and hairstyle gives self-confidence.
  • Develop the habit of clicking photos. Begin with more of surroundings, then warm up to the idea of putting you in them.
  • Get tons of practice with selfies and video recordings by yourself. Gives a better idea of good/bad camera angles and focus. You learn that you can actually look good in the right photograph.
  • Tell yourself that you are beautiful in your unique way and you deserve to show off your inner glow, with or without the camera.
  • Invest on a real photoshoot with a professional photographer who can coach you to pose well and feel good about it. Out of the hundreds of images of yourself in different poses, looks, outfits, makeup, lighting and background, you can see yourself at your best in some 10-30 quality shots. Cherish them.
  • To look photogenic, improve your posing. A genuine smile will do for starters. Realise that though it seems fake while posing, it will be perfect and natural in the photograph.
  • Look long at the very many avatars and expressions of yourself in photos you’ve taken. Helps you to accept yourself just as you are.
  • For those pics you think are bad, play with them in Microsoft Paint or some other online picture editing tool to make them look funny or simply, different. Get used to not looking good in some photos. And stop worrying about looks.
  • Focus not on the act of being captured in all your embarrassment. Remind yourself of the intention – somebody wants you to be part of their memories. Incidentally, won’t you like to preserve your memories of the best of life and people?
  • Face your fear, look straight at the camera lens. Smile more and you’ll relax and look natural. Remember something funny or pleasing. Ask the photographer or a friend to make you laugh. Shoot with someone you are comfortable with, or talk to the photographer to ease your nerves.
  • Review your pics and think about what you liked in each. It could be a smile, company of buddies, a nice memory? You weren’t hiding behind someone or something nor making awkward faces? The ones you liked are the ones where you enjoyed the shoot.
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How effective is Online Counselling?

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Traditionally, people make appointments to visit a psychotherapist to discuss their problems in person. However, with the coming of the internet, we now have online counselling, in which an individual can interact with the counsellor at the comfort of their home through internet services like email, chats, IMs, and web camera. There is an on-going debate regarding the effectiveness of online counselling with respect to the traditional way of consulting a counsellor in person.

Most of those who are sceptical about online counselling are of the belief that the counsellors or psychotherapist cannot observe the body language of the patient through an online medium like email or a video chat. However, such assumptions are irrational, because counselling is not limited to psychoanalysis, in which the analysis of the body language might be important. There are a number of counsellors, who believe in helping their clients find their own solutions to problems rather than imposing one upon them.

Again, an online session has the potential for a more focused discussion of the problem, as it is devoid of distractions such as being aware of the presence of a second person, and the resulting consciousness of one’s appearance and body language. With increased attention to language and thought organization in the comfort of one’s familiar environment, one can help in converging on the core of the problem faster and more effectively.

However, online counselling can never entirely replace the traditional, face-to-face psychotherapy sessions. It is just another way of providing immediate care to those seeking it. Of all the disadvantages of online counselling, the most talked about is the lack of verbal and non-verbal cues. Such cues are considered vital for assessing how the patient is feeling, and analyse his or her behavioural patterns. Online counselling denies the therapist access to such cues to observe and interpret the issues the client is facing. However, video chatting offers a means to counter this shortcoming, even though it may not be as effective as a face-to-face consultation.

Another disadvantage that the critics of online counselling assert is that of privacy and confidentiality. It is part of the ethical responsibilities of a mental health practitioner to maintain the confidentiality of their patients’ mental health issues. With therapy being conducted via Internet services like email, Instant Messaging and chat rooms, the sensitive information regarding the client’s mental health can be prone to confidentiality breach. However, with the latest security systems implemented, one can avoid such jeopardy and ensure the confidentiality of patient details.

Social stigma is the most problematic disadvantage of traditional counselling. The very fear of being seen by others, especially those in the waiting room, can discourage a client from seeking an appointment with a psychotherapist. This is where online therapy gets involved. Online counselling lets the client share their problems in private, with a veil of anonymity, which enables them to make honest confessions and revelations that can help the therapist arrive at a solution faster and more effectively.

Insighte, connected to the best psychotherapists in India, offers a wide range of online counselling and psychotherapy services to individuals in need of help. Just send in your details, choose your preferred mode of care, and leave the rest to us. We will connect you to the best psychotherapist in your locality who can help you.

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Did you forget something?

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A certain degree of forgetfulness is normal in every individual (except in the case of senility or memory loss). But when it occurs frequently and for ordinary or really important stuff, and when it leads you to embarrassing situations, it’s time to take a step or two, concerning improvement of your memory.

Habits

  • Have definite storage spaces for stuff you tend to misplace, like umbrella, pens, comb, purse etc. Make it a point to put them back in the same place after usefor3.
  • Vehicles may be parked at a usual spot, so it becomes a habit.
  • Carry a day planner to note down things to remember. Make use of sticky notes in readily viewable places, set alarms, Microsoft Outlook reminders and calendar apps.
  • Jot down new names in a handbook and review this often.
  • Pay attention to what’s happening. Familiarity and distractions also lead to absent mindedness.
  • In scenarios like when you enter a room and forget why, say what you want to do beforehand and visualise doing it.
  • To remember to do something at the right time, incorporate it into daily routine. E.g. take medicine right after food, switch off light and fan before leaving a room etc.
  • Do not put off doing something when you remember it.

Mnemonics

  • To remember names of people, try the Name-Face method.
  1. Get the name correctly. Ask to repeat or spell if you didn’t hear properly. Repeat back and try using the name few times in conversation.
  2. Make the name memorable for you. Done by asking for the literal meaning, finding substitute words in your head, splitting the syllables etc. (E.g. Ankita – that which is inscribed; Alvin = All + Win)
  3. Associate the name with a memorable facial feature that is not changeable, like a dimple, long nose.
  4. Review the name and feature once in a while.for2
  • To remember big numbers and spellings, chunk into small groups using dash or space. (E.g. cell phone number 994-636-9351)
  • To memorize list, find a link between two items which is then linked to a third and so on.
  • To by-heart a passage, locate the key words and associate meaning with mental image. Make an index card out of them. Key words help remember the description and simplifies the content.

Assistance

  • If you forget a train of thought while speaking, ask listener directly to remind you.
  • Seek help from a companion to remind you of something at a specific time.
  • Take your forgetfulness in a lighter vein among friends and laugh it off.

Power Boostfor1

  • Give workout for the mind by engaging in memory exercises and brain games. Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, board games and numeric puzzles like Sudoku will do.
  • Take brain foods such as nuts, coloured vegetables, fish, spinach, milk, apple, banana, turmeric, chocolate, whole grains.
  • Get enough sleep, eat breakfast, exercise (brisk walking, jogging, cycling)
  • Sharpen mind with activities like learning to play a musical instrument, outdoor games.
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A Psychological Perspective on the Rising Elder Abuse in India

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Traditionally, the joint family setup in the Indian society has protected the social, financial and emotional security of the elderly in the country. However, with the emergence of nuclear families, there has been a steady rise in the number of cases of elder abuses in the country. Most of such cases go unreported, as the victims tend to be protective of their children in spite of the abuse.

There are a number of interesting insights on the psychology behind elder abuse typical to Indian families. The first typical situation is where the youngest son in the family inherits the hard earned shelter and property of the parent. Once head of the family, the father expects the same respect and care from his children as it was before handing over the baton. However, he waits endlessly for his meals to be served, and his requests and wishes are almost always ignored. This causes severe emotional distress in the elder and it often manifests in the form of depression and deteriorating health.

In a survey, two thirds of the adults encumbered with taking care of the aged parents blame their parents for not understanding their everyday problems and struggles, and almost justifies the abuse. The influence of liquor and the resulting financial and psychological crises faced by the care giver can worsen the situation further. The poor quality of living and job security issues faced by the current generation can be contributing factors to elder abuse.

The elderly, once retired from their position of being the head of the family are at the mercy of their children to whom they have handed over the responsibility. With the widening generation gap, there is little understanding between the elderly and the care givers, and the difference in views and opinions further weakens their relationships. Most often, the elders in the family are cornered and isolated in the household. With no one to talk to or share their anxiety, their physical and mental health deteriorates drastically. It is not uncommon to find ageing people talking to the walls in many households across the country.

The concern and anxiety over having to undergo the financial and physical hardship of taking care of the invalid elders, forces the sons, daughters and daughters-in-law alike to seek an escape from such responsibilities. The main factor responsible for this perspective is the lack of adequate Government policies on providing social and financial security to the ageing. Another factor is the lack of any initiative in sensitising the public about elder care, and re-instilling the traditional joint-family values in the increasingly nuclear family culture.

More than just a crime, elder abuse is also a psychological problem, and with prompt counselling, the abusive tendencies of the care giver can be resolved. There are a number of emergency helplines for the elderly, but very few initiatives to cater to the psychological and emotional well-being of the ageing population in the country. What the country needs is a governmental initiative to make psychological counselling accessible and affordable for the elderly in the country. However, there are a number of online initiatives like Insighte, which aims at connecting those requiring psychological help with the best psychotherapists and counsellors in the country.

 

 

 

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