BHX Challenges | Emotions v/s Practicality : Why do we think the way we do?
Why do you feel the way you do: Emotions and the Practical
(This section draws upon challenges that were highlighted tremendously during the projects and talks to the tribe about how they meander around it)
Talking to Cheelu- a practicing psychotherapist for the last 20 years, it was evident that the stigma surrounding mental health issues was far more crippling than the issues themselves. It is but a constant confrontation between befuddling emotions and a reasonable need to keep both our feet on the ground. So, emotions or practicality?
Starting with talking about the way we see emotions and practicality pitted against each other on a daily basis- take unrequited love, a decision to move to another city- Cheelu drives the conversation around quirky corners to tell you, ”Emotions and Practicality are seen as distinct processes that don’t go hand in hand whereas emotions themselves are extremely practical because we live and work with them every day.” Building up on anecdotes from her own life, she continues, “Why do you feel the way you do? “. Cheelu, quite impressionably, shines light on common emotional narratives and how to navigate around them better; how emotions are such a driving force in decision making that it’s funny how we still haven’t made it a part of the conversation. I mean, why after all does the doctor need to know about your emotions, right? Spoiler alert- s/he does.
1. How important is mental health and wellness today?
Simply put- it’s the key, a basis, a foundation for everything. Putting it in context, India is not alien to its challenges either. The population: a huge chunk of them being teenagers, are struggling to make sense of the world they are about to get into, probably dealing with other emotional and personal changes, need to be duly assured, ‘It is okay if you are not okay ‘. Talking about her tryst with her own daughter and how they sail those waters with ease and lightness she adds: unless parents truly acknowledge these issues, give due recognition to days when you feel okay and when you don’t, these concepts stand relevant. “It’s not an invisible force not to reckon, it’s not a phase, it’s not going to be all right if you don’t pay attention to it and it’s definitely in our heads and it deserves its outstanding scrutiny. When it comes to wellness, I am reminded of the time I had a stroke and pretty much lost my life to it.” It was in those grey hours that she befriended nutrition and stands by to strongly advocate wellness as a skill that every individual should work towards every day. Now having experimented with multiple diet patterns, Cheelu proposes a ketogenic diet and keeping a strict tab on the unnecessary calories. Concluding she weighs in, “It’s important to realize the relationship between mental health and physical health and carefully nurture it.”
2. What are some of the measures you have taken to improve mental health and fitness?
Coming from the field of counselling now for over 20 years, Cheelu shares a rich relationship with it. Having bared a lot personally, she understands, condoles and legitimizes the concern in a very unique way. There is no doctor-patient distinction when it comes to her- she’s just a person lending an honest ear. “The way I handle it first is acceptance”, she says, stressing on how it’s important to communicate to the other person that she comes within a safe space. “People can talk the way they want, get angry, get sad- albeit objectively- no harm. I am not trying to change your life. All I can do is hold your hand and help you build the bridge together. I don’t bother with suggestions- the power is always in the hands of the person. Walking the talk helps- I lead an unconventional lifestyle, I don’t not use cuss words, I don’t have a strict body language, I want to come off approachable. Pyjamas are okay too*chuckles*”. These are things that get lost in our jargon a lot. She strongly champions how long a way little things go. Fitness on the other hand is more closely related to mental health than we usually attribute. Daily life ends up making an endless loop between your brain and body.
Exercising is a powerful method to break this loop. And also discharging endorphins in the mind, physical movement loosens up the muscles and alleviates pressure in the body. Since the body and psyche are so firmly connected, when your body feels good, so will your brain.
3. As a creative professional, it’s usually difficult to stick to a routine. How do you tackle issues then?
When it comes to Cheelu, routines sometimes work and sometimes don’t. She isn’t afraid to take breaks- “It’s okay to say fuck this, I want to lie in bed and eat ice-cream today”. The conversation smoothly moved on to emotions coming in the way of routine on one end. It was interesting to notice how it incorporates the premise of the challenge- there’s guilt for not sticking to your routine. But the mind is a monkey. Feel everything you are feeling- stick to your comfort zone. It’s important to create spaces for individuals, not oust them and. “Sit back, lie down, that break is necessary. Whatever you are feeling right now, feel it to the fullest. It’s like a child throwing a tantrum, these emotions just need acknowledgement. Practically managing emotions is allowing yourself to experience them. What’s the need to contain, cover, question or resist it?”, I quiver with delight.
4. How do you create a gap between emotions and practicality when it comes to work and daily life?
We constantly misinterpret: emotions are not to be dealt with or managed. They need to be felt and understood. It’s imperative to make them work with you. Let’s take a corporate environment, most common of our daily life monotonicity. It’s post lunch and you can barely take it anymore. Write it down and take it up when you go home.” Penning it down takes it out of your head, and that’s not the end game. Sometimes the delayed gratification about emotions really help put things into perspective. Telling yourself it’s okay. I need 5 things done through the day and I will get it to it once I am done with them”. I cackle, “It’s either too trivial or I am too tired for it by then” and why not she adds, “Just 20 minutes of acknowledgement triggers a kind of objective response to what you feel. It’s too clouded in there sometimes. You might not even be angry anymore. I am not dealing with it; I am feeling it”
This may appear to be ridiculous, in light of the fact that the attempt to maintain a strategic distance from negative feelings has all the earmarks of being a sensible thing. In addition, we are for the most part comfortable with the feeling that avoidance provides. It’s best not to thwart emotions in the benefit of practicality, however. Life today is loaded with enthusiastic challenges and difficulties, nothing new. It brews to bring out unpredictable mixes of feelings. Who wants to be an internal pressure cooker, anyway?
About the Author
Cheelu Chandran has been a practitioning psychotherapist for the last 20 years. With a life journey that has been full of ups and downs, she has been a combat warrior of all things that have driven her to take decisions practically and emotionally. She is also a ketogenic diet advisor and loves all things soulful. Also, she defies age like a boss!
Connect with Cheelu and know more about what this bosswoman does : https://www.cheeluchandran.com/