Be Your Own Godmother: Hack the ‘Happy Ever After’ Part 2

Be Your Own Godmother: Hack the ‘Happy Ever After’ Part 2

[This is part 2 of the series of four articles. Part 1 is published here. Stay tuned and subscribe to read the upcoming part 3 and part 4]

D.O.S.E of “O”. Hack the ‘happy ever after’.

Oxytocin is a powerful neurotransmitter that controls everything from our reproductive system to human interaction. To jump-start it, try some of the following:

1) Hug someone. Pet an animal. Belong.

via GIPHY

Touch and warmth stimulate oxytocin, which helps reduce fear and isolation. Release this cuddle chemical that makes you trust and feel cherished. Hold someone, and feel the stress seep away. Feel your breathing become even.

2) Kiss

via GIPHY

3) Have sex

via GIPHY

4) Don’t feel like doing any of the above? Get a massage.

I’m hearing good things about acupuncture and acupressure. Magnet therapy, anyone?

Touch is healing (although not for someone with sensory processing, or trauma issues). Apply lotion on your face and body in soothing, gentle circles. Take your time. Feels too self-indulgent? So what? Get someone to give you a hair massage.

via GIPHY

My daughter is not a hugger and can be touch-averse. But she loves a good head massage with coconut oil—that is the only time when she’ll let me touch her long enough; we’ve both come to secretly relish this contact. Soak in a hot tub.

5) Spin your cocoon

via GIPHY

Not much for touch? Find a cozy corner or space that is comforting and rejuvenating. A favorite window seat or reading chair? Channel that inner child and build a fort in your living room. Invest in a calming weighted blanket if you can—this is known to help with chronic pain and anxiety to some extent.

6) Text someone. Reach out.

via GIPHY

No kidding—oxytocin is also called the love and empathy hormone. There’s a reason why women secrete this during pregnancy, childbirth and lactation.

HOLD SOMEONE, AND FEEL THE STRESS SEEP AWAY.

7) Sharing is caring

via GIPHY

Remember Irrfan Khan saying this in Hindi Medium? We laughed but there’s some truth to it. Sharing is also a means of self-caring. Share not just things, but ideas, knowledge, resources, hopes, fears, and anxieties too. Crowdsource. One, it’s empowering. You’ll realize that others are facing their own crises even as you gain a trustworthy listener and collaborator. Listen. Two, verbalizing the head stuff, putting it out there in the universe, reduces its power over us.

8) If you feel up to it, volunteer

At a library, if you want quiet time. An animal shelter? Give someone a gift. Random. Small. It doesn’t matter. What matters, is the smile you put on their face and the joy you’ll radiate.

via GIPHY

9) Talk to whomever you trust.

via GIPHY

Eventually, let people around you know about your off days or when you need a time-out. When you’re able to, be more open about your struggles. There is no need to pretend you’re superhuman. None of us are. Even the smartest person deal with complex issues of self-worth.

10) Cry

via GIPHY

Ironic (I haven’t cried in 30 years). But crying is powerful therapy, experts say. It washes away rancor, guilt, self-pity, anguish, and so much more. Who knew it regulated your mood, blood pressure, and body temperature? Try it and let me know how it goes.

11) Mine your Memories

Old photos or albums make us smile. Look closely at yourself in these photos. You look pretty good (even though you avoided taking photographs for a decade), right? And you had a good time too, as you connected with favorite family members and friends.

via GIPHY

Surround yourself with these memories. Switch out and rotate pictures in your frames if you have the energy for it. Even one is OK. Digital frames are a great investment in random smiles as you walk by to raid the kitchen for chakli or chips.

12) Self-Compassion Matters

There are some excellent therapists on social media. Thanks to Twitter, I stumbled upon Martha Crawford (@shrinkthinks) and Guilaine Kinouani (@KGuilaine). Their blogs and Twitter feeds are immensely empathetic resources for women of color as they advocate for diversity in therapy.

For ladies out there… you might have your own go-to people. Find your mentors and godmothers, real or virtual. Follow strong and powerful women on social media. Don’t fall for the patriarchal bullshit that taught us to mistrust women. We are our best allies.

Having a shitty day? Here’s Beth McColl, an advice columnist, walking us through a particularly low-functioning time. Gurprriet Singh’s Twitter thread on depression is especially compassionate.

Here’s a crowdsourced list of trusted mental professionals, and a counseling service run by the School of Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences: iCallHelpline.

Not comfortable with Savarna Hindu and/or White counselors? Check out @DivyaKandukuri_ and @avipshadas who are launching a mental health wellness network for marginalized groups. Persons from vulnerable communities face a particular kind of day-to-day trauma navigating bigotry, discrimination, and gaslighting.

Then there’s the shame associated with mental health within our communities: “Stop airing your dirty laundry!” or “You’re making us look bad,” are common shushing strategies that ransom women’s rights. But there is hope. And help. Mental health is key to human development and must be a part of any civil rights manifesto.

13) Orgasm

Ah yes. You owe yourself multiple orgasms. If you have a loving and attentive partner, great. If not, you really don’t need anyone else. Find your position, safe spot, props, toys, lube—any oil will do in a pinch—and explore what pleases you. Need a Magic Wand? Amazon delivers.

via GIPHY

Screw the stigma and shame—that’s all made up. And ladies, YOU OWE YOURSELF MULTIPLE ORGASMS. Take charge: our bodies, ourselves, remember! Smash the patriarchy one orgasm at a time. 😀

14) Write

Try writing about a happy memory, or even a beloved photograph. Forget about grammar and spelling—this is for your eyes only. Journal the clutter and clamor out of your system—writing still remains one of the best ways to organize thoughts and emotions.

via GIPHY

Feeling fierce? Try the Bullet Journal—for free. I like this idea a lot, but can’t find the energy to commit—my stock pattern of “starting with a bang and quitting with a whimper” makes me wary.

But is my reluctance really due to some super self-awareness, or am I just buying into the conventional wisdom that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Because behavioral experts say that you can indeed learn new things no matter your age or personality. Users do attest that the Bullet Journal system is a simple and productive way to stay organized. We’ll see.

Take the next step when you’re ready: There is power in articulating gratitude. Thank whatever, whoever. On the other hand, if you can’t seem to get past negative thoughts, then write those down too. Burn, shred or rip this piece of paper once you’re done. No one else has to see this.

Transferring these thoughts from mind to paper does reduce their intensity—some of the toxicity is flushed away with the mental litter. This leaves more room in your brain to think clearly and more room in your lungs to breathe deeply.

15) Dance

O nachle nachle, mere yaar tu nachle”

via GIPHY

Friedrich Nietzsche said: “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” Science proves him right. And c’mon, Bollywood’s right here at your service! Dancing lowers stress and anxiety levels. I promise you cannot hate yourself while you’re dancing. Ask a partner or friend. Or do it alone. Be your own choreographer. Heed David Bowie’s advice: Put on your red shoes and dance the blues…”

Featured image: natural health star

Disclaimer: This article has earlier been published in feminisminindia.com

US India Politics Culture Literature Art Teaching Sustainability Writing Feminism Wellness Dogs Cats Science Naps…in no particular order. Enthusiastic retweeter.

Facebookgoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Be Your Own Godmother: Hack the ‘Happy Ever After’ Part 2"

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jaya Dubey
Guest

Dear readers, I am sharing a TED talk here by Dixon Chibanda. He is a psychiatrist — only 1 of 12 in all of Zimbabwe which has a population of 14 million. How to support and help the mental health interests of a community that is so underserved? Chibanda came up with an incredibly compassionate solution:

https://www.ted.com/talks/dixon_chibanda_why_i_train_grandmothers_to_treat_depression

Trigger warning: suicide, trauma.

%d bloggers like this: