Dr. Jenny and I were extremely lucky and honored to have been invited by the GSB Sabha Mumbai to give a talk on staying positive in these times of the corona virus pandemic. The talk ended with some very thought provoking questions. All these were recorded by the GSB Sabha volunteers and duly posted on Facebook.
We had promised the viewers of the presentation that we will have one place to go to and find the tools we had listed. As a bonus, we have not only included the tools, but also added a rough transcript of our presentation.
Hello everyone, thank you to GSB Sabha Mumbai for hosting this event and giving us this platform. We are a husband and wife team that were about to embark on setting up a wellness clinic in Mumbai in March, but obviously due to the covid issue, we’re waiting to finally land and start our endeavor. Being confined in your home can lead to feeling negative and even depressed. We hope that this will help to break you out of that proverbial rut that covid has created and stay positive and even thrive!
Multiple studies have shown (particularly in cancer patients, but it’s applicable to all diseases) that positivity significantly improves one’s clinical outcome – meaning the more positive you are, the better are your chances of getting better or preventing disease all together!
We have a very simple outline that we’d like to share with you all.
At the end of the talk, we’ll give you some tips for trying to stay on track such as apps and as a refresher, a place where you can always find the topics to go look up again.
SLIDE 1: INTRO
Our presentation expands upon four parts→ spiritual, emotional, mental and physical.
SLIDE 2: SPIRITUALITY
Let’s start with spirituality.
SLIDE 3: MEDITATION
We understand that meditation may not be easy for some, and especially more difficult considering the current close proximity of other family members. But, we feel that taking just 5-10 minutes a day can make a huge impact in improving your overall well-being.
In our case, we take turns moving to another, quiet room (away from our two sons), and we use headphones to ensure that we’re completely in the moment. We also make use of a pre-recorded mobile app to make the experience even more effortless/no planning needed. At the end of our presentation today, we’ll share links to these apps
SLIDE 4: BHAJAN
As most of you know, bhakti is yet another way of connecting with the divine, and there is a good reason why we do bhajan, kirtan. For those moments, you are completely immersed in singing/listening and ultimately forget your worries and stress.
SLIDE 5: HOLY BOOKS
Very much like the bhajans, reading holy books is also quite engrossing, and you tend to get lost in the stories and lessons that they impart. Again, the idea is to think of something other than your daily, monotonous actions and plans.
SLIDE 6: SEVA
Thinking of something greater than yourself and giving without expectations- as they say, “Karmanye Vadikaraste…”, makes you feel better, and there is a very solid scientific body of evidence behind the act of charity as a means of mood improvement. It actually has been shown to increase the body’s ‘happy hormones (serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine).
SLIDE 7: EMOTIONAL
Let’s move on to the next level out, which is emotional.
SLIDE 8: MUSIC
Listening to music has been repeatedly shown to be particularly therapeutic. There are a few famous cases: in the first, cows produced more milk when they listened to soothing music. Similarly, plants have been shown to grow faster and give more flowers. It certainly therefore goes without saying that music will improve the mood. We feel that if you give yourself some alone time, and listen to music on a set of headphones, whether in your room or outside in nature, it is even more beneficial.
SLIDE 9: WRITE
I”m sure by now, you see where we’re going with our suggestions. Writing also captivates the mind, more so than you may think. Have you considered writing in a daily journal or even starting an online blog if you are so technically inclined? You could even write a note (a REAL note) to your friend using pen and paper. We, in fact, encourage you to take even a brief return to the pre-computer times and dig out your writing utensils. We actually were reminded of this idea learned long ago, from our seven year old – he has started (of his own accord) writing short ‘books’ about his daily discoveries (birds, iguanas, etc). This has been a huge mood booster for him.
SLIDE 10: CONFIDE
A very key component of emotional health is being able to confide in someone who will not pass judgement quickly. In addition to your spouse, try to have at least 1 or 2 other confidants (we make use of this during our inevitable spats, which, like others, have probably increased during quarantine!). Again, many studies have shown that just the act of getting your concerns/worries out in the open relieves stress. To top that, the feedback is an additional bonus. Sometimes just having someone quietly listen is enough.
SLIDE 11: CALL A DOCTOR
In the same line, you or your confidant, or someone else might notice that you need additional help. This is where a trained medical professional can come into the picture. I am certainly not as qualified in this area, and therefore all I can suggest is reaching out to your family physician or to local helplines (that we’ll provide you with). If all else fails, Jenny is always available through our telemedicine or whatsapp platforms.
At this point, i would like to hand over the floor to Jenny.
Dr. Jenny’s section–
SLIDE 12: MENTAL
Hello everyone- let’s continue our journey and move on to the mental aspect of staying positive
SLIDE 13: GAMES
Games aren’t just for kids. They actually wake up the left side of your brain and get blood and oxygen moving in that area. Consider picking up games that you haven’t thought of in years- now is the time! Chess, Ludo, cards, antakshari, charades, even have a quiz contest with your family! Games can be played individually of course (like solitaire and puzzles), but we encourage you to involve your kids, friends and family (even if it’s virtually- we have had zoom meeting game nights with friends!).
SLIDE 14: HOBBIES
If you already have a hobby, now is a great opportunity to give more attention and practice to it. Or if you don’t have one, why not use this time to learn? Hobbies are so important that in our practice’s electronic medical record system, there is a specific area dedicated to listing a patient’s hobbies. If someone tells me they have no hobbies at all, in fact, I worry that they may have some underlying depression. Hobbies give one a chance for ‘me-time’ and studies have proven this to be very therapeutic. In US hospitals there are even specific services that inquire about a patient’s specific hobbies and attempt to provide it for them while they’re hospitalized. Some (indoor-specific) hobbies to consider, if you don’t have one- painting, taking care of plants, sewing, baking, photography, etc.
SLIDE 15: PHYSICAL
And finally, moving (literally) on to boosting your positivity using physical means
SLIDE 16: YOGA
Yoga is known internationally to be beneficial to both the mind and body (in fact- today is actually International Yoga Day!). Stretching awakens the muscles and bones/ligaments in that specific moment, and as an added benefit, over time, strength develops. Specifically, studies have shown improvements in chronic diseases like diabetes, high BP, arthritis, acidity, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, etc. I’ve actually noticed in my own yoga practice, that I tend to crave to do yoga, especially when I’m feeling more stressed. Must be my body telling me what it needs!
SLIDE 17: AEROBICS
Just as yoga wakes up your body, aerobic exercise further invigorates you. You don’t necessarily have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits. Even practicing pranayam or a brisk walk around your living room will have long term effects. (we’ll be showing you some videos of simple exercises that can be done in the home during quarantine!). Again, using myself as an example, if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I make sure to go for a jog (my preferred aerobic exercise), and can feel almost instant relief of my stress as the blood starts to move. One more way to tie physical and emotional health is to make aerobic exercise a social activity- whether you pick an exercise buddy to keep each other motivated or you join an online group exercise program!
*Here is a 3 minute clip of some of the exercises that I just mentioned. If you want to revisit this video in the future, it will be available on our website as well as our youtube channel that we’ve just started*
Some free apps that we personally use and recommend to our patients. For meditation we recommend:
- Simple Habit: https://www.simplehabit.com
- Headspace: https://www.headspace.com
- Muse: https://www.muse.com
- Myfitnesspal: https://www.myfitnesspal.com
- Couch-2-5K: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appsymphony.run5
All these are available on Apple App store or Google Play store.
SLIDE: PHONE HELP
…and finally a list of local phone numbers to be used in case you feel that you or a loved one is in need of urgent help. We’ve also included our own personal whatsapp numbers- we are always here if needed! You will also find this slide deck on our website – www.drprabhu.net
Again, thank you GSB Sabha Mumbai for this opportunity. We hope that we have been able to impart some of our knowledge to help you be more positive in daily life, regardless of the current situation.