IntroductionIn the recent past, I got to chat for a full hour with a gentleman, now 85 plus and in good health. Based as he is in a village near a town called Kumbakonam, where the agricultural activities have not really stopped and he has a few acres of land. His two sons are now in the USA and he was then just a post-master with a meager monthly income. I knew that he had indeed borrowed money to merely educate his son's in those tough times.
He was candid when he spoke. Many of his ideas are relevant even today. He had the guts to brave it out admirably. His wife was not educated. But she supported him admiringly. Even though his son's invite him to stay in their country for a long time, he and his wife have just been there twice and each trip was less than even three months. Yet, he has had a happy time in his village. He takes care of those who work in his farm. He has fed them with a free lunch for decades. He would treat them well and has even arranged for scholarships for their children.
It thus turns out that overcoming depression and related feelings would include a) Increasing reading habits in a big way b) Asking what next questions as a routine c) Avoiding excess viewing of television movies d) Helping others to the extent possible and e) Making others as cheerful as possible.
Increasing reading habits in a big wayDuring every summer vacation, the aforesaid gentleman would read a couple of books written by famous poets like Subramaniya Bharathiyar, Bharadhadasan and the like and would form a small group of school children to whom he would impart the main ideas. He did this for free and had a good number of friends among bankers and Government servants who would come to him for advice on personal matters. His teachings were always positive and he did not watch television or go to the movie halls. He did not interfere in the personal habits of his wife and children.
We need to do just this. The local libraries or the ones of many local teachers would have many such books. We can borrow them and seriously read them. The thoughts and ideas, particularly those that border on spirituality, is very much welcome. We will always get good ideas and thoughts from the books written by famous poets and scholars, in all languages. Of course, books such as "Seven habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey can be useful too. This book has been translated into many Indian languages and is a must-read book for all.
Asking what next questions as a routineMany of us have writing abilities. There are plenty of blogs floating around. We could write in each of them. Playing chess with near and dear can be considered. Local walks, within the gated community, are particularly important. Early morning walks, in isolated spots, are important too.
Catching up with all friends over the cell phones is another sure way of spending lighter moments. If the discussion is all about those good old days, of innocent fun and joy, that itself would relieve us of all our present tensions. Yes. The possible reduction in salaries and allowances and the big rise in prices of spices, for instance, will worry us. But by merely worrying about these things, we will only bring more misery to ourselves and others we talk to. The aforesaid gentleman and his entire family would manage with spinach and curd rice for days on end, particularly when the going was tough. It was an economic depression. But the father showed no signs of it at all. While one went to the famous IIT, Madras for further studies, the other trained himself as an economist and obtained a doctorate from the US. He never came back. He was elder of the two sons.
Even today, the proud father would recall his tough times and talk about how he managed. Yes. He did believe that one day, his children would do well. And that happened. He was too good at asking the "what next? question. His own relatives would make fun of him. He did not bother one inch in those days. He would keep quiet and motivate his children. Once we ask the vital question, of what next, we will see many answers emerging.
Avoiding excess viewing of television moviesThis is crucial. Just to kill time, we should not excessively watch the movies shown on television. Almost every movie is a masala movie and does have a terrific amount of violence. And too many twists and turns. None of these are relevant to our present times.
Instead, we could even consider roof gardening as a new hobby. There are many success stories and ideas now available on Youtube. These lessons can be easily implemented, with minimum expense.
Helping others to the extent possibleLeft with no other alternative, a few youngsters walked all the way from their place of work in Maharashtra. They arrived at Tiruchirapalli. Immediately, the local police called up a good samaritan, who not only gave them food and water but also arranged for their transportation to their village near Nagapattinam, at least two hours from Tiruchirapalli.
Such stories abound. We should also consider doing something for those who are not as lucky as we are., Even arranging a meal for a poor family in our vicinity is one such good gesture. Helping someone to find his or her own feet is also welcome. A good number of youngsters are now in the business of selling vegetables and fruits in the remotest of areas, particularly in the villages. A few spices are also being sold door to door. The rural folks have their own coping mechanisms. We need to implement simple ideas to help people in these tough times. We can motivate anyone to start some trading, particularly of some stuff that they can sell door to door, till the curfew is relaxed.
Making others as cheerful as possibleIt does not cost us anything to smile at people. It does not cost us anything to crack some jokes with neighbors. These jokes need not be about any one of us. They could even relate to something that happened at work. Or something from society. The scope for fun is always good. When people laugh, they tend to forget everything.
Laughter is always good medicine and can drive away depression. The more fun we have, the better it is for not only ourselves but for others too.
ConclusionIrrespective of our social or economic position, it is vital to remain positive and come out of our present depression, or depressive thoughts, if we have them. We have to remember that the virus will also end at some point in time and will simply go away. We may have to wait for months together, but the wait will be for the good of all humanity. Let us remember that we have had similar tough times. We just need to overcome this present tough time. None of the aforesaid ideas is original or something radical. These are simple ideas from observing others and from my own experience.
The author has mentioned some very good tips to keep away the depression especially in such dreadful times when biological threats are looming on our head. Depression is a state of mind but in certain adverse situations, it goes beyond proportions to create problem in the routine life. How to avoid depression is always a big question though psychologists and counsellors try to answer this in their best of capabilities. While going through literature on depression I found that many causes are said to be associated with it and they range from hereditary to the present adverse situation in one's life. Varied solutions are advised by the experts to deal with the depressive personalities but if one solution might work with one patient it may fail with another. So the psychiatrists would suggest measures after the complete study of the patient and after enquiring about his past and family relationships.
Depression which is emerging due to the present pandemic situation is a bit different as it can be assumed to be of temporary nature as if the situation improves it might go by itself without any treatment. So, the main thing which comes to the mind is that the time in hand has to be properly used in constructive and positive activities and if the mind is occupied in those territories the chances of depression setting in would be remote. So the family members or senior persons in a family should keep this in their mind that people are engaged in activities preferably positive and constructive and at times games and fun activities would also help to quite some extent.
To tackle the depression of the people, it would be better not to use such words that may aggravate the negative emotions. With the application of little common-sense, we could be in a position to restore happiness in our day to day activities. As far as possible, one should try to be cheerful and the appearance of such a face could impact the surroundings taking away their depression for the time being. To listen to the other party is also a good step in lessening the tension of that party. It would require a little patience to hear the entire episode one is uttering but such an act would definitely help in alleviating his depression. The present situation is due to pandemic phase with which we are passing and this phase is transitory in nature and the brighter phase is in store.
keeping ourselves busy always in one or the other activity is the first and the foremost point all should keep in mind since it will keep us happy and depression will be away from us. When there is no work for us, our mind starts thinking about unnecessary issues which will make us depressed. My grandfather in his eighties used to sit and go on reading some books or write some Telugu poems. He never used to sit without a book in his hand. He has no depression and he used to be very happy with whatever he is having. He never hesitated to donate whatever he has in his pocket for a needful person. He never had any specific desire.
Playing with small kids and seeing their innocent actions and moments will make us cheerful and depression will run away from us. Positive thinking will give you a lot of good impressions and you will find yourself in a good mood. This is my personal experience.
As mentioned by the author many of us will be happy when we help others. When you give a note of Rs.10/- to a beggar in front of the temple, it will make her happy. We will also feel very happy when we see the smile on her face. Such small acts can make us happy when we really understand the beauty of those things.