In The News: Department of Social and Behavioral Health

India Currents

Arjun (name changed on request), a 45-year old businessman who has been living in the Bay area for the past 20 years has been struggling with the problem of excessive anger in his life. He gets into uncontrolled rage and is unable to snap out of it. Arjun has been married for the past 15 years, and his spouse, Neerja, is an accountant.

The Daily Guardian

We all know that excess (atishaya in Sanskrit) of anything is bad, yet we indulge in excessive pursuits of pleasurable activities. For example, excessive eating at a buffet, excessive accumulation of wealth, excessive work to get fame, excessive gossiping, and so on. What happens with excess? Eventually, it leads to pain either in the short term or the long term. For example, if we overeat, we may, in the short term, have abdominal discomfort. If we continue excessive eating, in the long term, it can lead to us becoming overweight and obese. Hence, all this excess is a barrier on the path of living a harmonious life with nature and thus in our spiritual journey. It ultimately robs us of peace of mind and causes dissatisfaction. Excess of anything leads to raga (likes) and dvesha (dislikes) which are detrimental to the path of the development of our consciousness. How to avoid excess in our actions?

Indica News

In 1988, a classic double-blind randomized controlled study of aspirin and carotene was conducted among 22,000 American male physicians of the ages 40-84 years. The study provided evidence for a 44% drop in heart attacks for participants who took aspirin. As a result, aspirin was taken by many people over the age of 40 years around the world for primary prevention of heart attacks, many of whom were not even prescribed this drug by their healthcare providers. However, 20 years later, in 2018, many studies reversed this recommendation and only advocated it for secondary prevention or for those who have had a heart attack or stroke.  This message needs to be conveyed to people who have not had a heart attack or stroke and still think that daily intake of aspirin is beneficial.

Broadway World

Social Issues Theatre has unveiled the Enable Me Theatre Pilot Program, a pioneering initiative aimed at revolutionizing dementia care. By employing innovative techniques such as role reversal, this program empowers caregivers and cultivates stronger connections between caregivers and dementia patients.

The Daily Guardian

Possessiveness (or parigraha in Sanskrit) has three dimensions. First, is the ownership of objects, things, money, and other materials. Second, is the controllability in relationships particularly close ones such as with spouse, children, friends, and so on. Third, is the controllability that also extends to possessiveness about power by those in positions of power. There is a rich literature in Indian philosophy on possessiveness and how to transcend it (aparigraha). It entails keeping the desire for possessions just appropriate to one’s life stage. It involves self-restraint so as not to harm others and developing a sense of charity (dana).

India Currents

Dr. Manoj Sharma, a Professor of Social and Behavioral Health answers queries on sleeplessness, its possible reasons and the ways to combat it.

The Daily Guardian

Self-condemnation (swa-ninda in Sanskrit) is a state that is linked to the emotions of guilt, shame, anger, regret, disappointment, and distress. It entails being reproachful of one’s behavior to the extent of despising it. It can happen because of indulging in a behavior that one does not approve of and upon reflection finds that it cannot be justified. It involves doing something contrary to one’s personality. It violates one’s value system and challenges the existing beliefs and attitudes about self.

The Daily Guardian

Hatred (ghrna in Sanskrit) or an intention of malaise against someone is a huge barrier in our spiritual journey toward perfection and among the most difficult emotions to eliminate. Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887-1963, a renowned yoga teacher) has described three stages of hatred. This emotion usually starts with prejudice or forming a negative opinion about someone without having accurate facts or reasonable reasoning.

Indica News

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun thus casting a shadow. A complete solar eclipse will be occurring on April 8, 2024, that will be visible in North America. This will turn the day into darkness because the Moon’s angular diameter will be larger to prevent sunlight from reaching the Earth. The eclipse will start to appear in Mexico, moving through Texas and then the Midwest and sliding onto Canada. Several people want to watch the solar eclipse, but some precautions need to be kept in mind.

The Daily Guardian

Guilt (atyaya in Sanskrit) is an emotion that arises when someone does or believes they are committing something wrong. In legal parlance, guilty refers to having been found to have committed an offense or crime. Guilt is focused on the past, unlike fears that are future-oriented.

Indica News

Last year a study done by a major insurance company in India, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, reported that 77% of Indians are experiencing at least one symptom of stress regularly. World Health Organization defines stress as, “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.” In simpler terms, stress is how our body, mind, and behaviors respond to outside events by interpreting them, and making judgments about controlling or influencing them.

The Daily Guardian

Selfishness (matsara or swartha) is an action in which one is concerned exclusively or overly with one’s profit, pleasure, or gain without regard for the welfare of others and often at the expense of others. Selflessness, on the other hand, is placing the welfare of others before one’s own. One cannot be completely selfless to the extent of neglecting one’s priorities or purpose in life. At the same time, one should not be completely selfish, so much so that one completely neglects the needs and wants of others in fulfilling one’s objectives. What is needed is a happy balance between selfishness and selflessness.