Why Embracing Uncertainty is Critical to your Success: Try to Push Open the Envelope … bit by bit

Undoubtedly, we all live in uncertain times. Pandemic and its varied challenges made it amply clear that uncertainty is a constant companion of our life world. The newspaper headlines tell us about economic instability, climate change, political strife and its implications. Uncertainty has been and will continue to be a part of our life. We yearn for the good old times of pre-Covid. Ah! To be free to meet our friends, be out in the open gardens, hold our loved ones closely to us, and enjoy our freedom. In other words, the choice/s we have to manage and control our environment. Familiarity with our daily routine is essential for our health and well-being.

The previously set ways of thinking and behaving are known to us; hence, we find comfort in them. The continuity between the past and the future brings stability to our lives, but at the same time, as some might say, it sets a monotonous tone. On the other hand, while changes are scary in nature, they make us think differently, challenge our actions, and bring newness and adventure. In short, change and some amount of uncertainty makes us feel alive and kicking.

Hence, how do we plan and map our path through uncharted waters? For example, transitioning from school to college or, in other words, from being an adolescent to becoming a young adult may make you feel excited yet frightened and scared. The heady mixture of wanting to go forward towards the uncertainty that possibly invites and repels you too! So do you leave the confines of your comfort and the familiar? Or retreat into your shell and close your eyes and ear to the cacophony of noise hammering in your mind!

I, too, have been in such situations where I have had to submit to the guarantees of what I had and become accustomed to. I left home at the age of 5 to join a hostel in the hills and learned to not give in to tears when I left home for boarding. Who I am today is possibly because I had to give up the security of a mother’s lap, taking up the new opportunities that came my way. Each step required strength and resolve. Yes, I did waver often, felt tired, alone and lost. Yet, life taught me to accept the uncertainties that come up in life and attempt to turn some of them into personal growth, confidence and a transformation.

We can succeed in our work, relationships, career, and in life when we push the envelope bit by bit to open up new horizons. When we willingly attempt to hug the unknown and try to be open to the new experiences that come our way. Risk-taking, within limits, means pushing yourself to achieve new heights. From this perspective, the uncertainties are a vital part of exploring ourselves and the social environment in which we are embedded.

Rather than resisting the uncertainties, let us draw upon the following inputs to sustain ourselves.

Uncertainty is a part of our life. We cannot control everything. At times we have to just let go. Let us ease ourselves into slowly and gradually accepting that uncertainty is and will be a part of our life. If we panic all is likely to be lost. Let us take a deep breath. Accept that we will lose some battles and win others. Life need not be perfect.

Try to accept the overwhelming emotions of anger, frustration, disgust, fear, anxiety, grief, and loss. Each emotion, negative or positive, plays a vital role. Our feelings convey a message that all is not well! If emotions are acknowledged and felt, they will motivate us to take the necessary steps to accept the situation and the accompanying thoughts and feelings. Please take the message from your emotion and not shoot the messenger!

Take a reality check. Does the issue or situation call for alarm? Are you possibly overreacting? Or can you take a step back and objectively try to reassess the issue/situation? Perhaps something can be done and salvaged? If we let our feelings overtake us, then our thinking too gets disturbed. Fear and anxiety impact the way we think. Recall when you have been angry and you have been unable to express your thoughts. You are so angry that you may stammer or even say things you later regret.

Focus on what you can accomplish and succeed. Instead of overthinking about issues that you cannot manage or attain, recognise your limitations, particularly during times of stress and strain. Attempt new challenges, or push the envelope when you have identified and understood your strengths and limitations. Self-awareness is the key to success. Hence, tread softly and take firm steps towards self-knowledge.

Finally, uncertainty can bring disappointment. Students across the globe could not attend university and missed out on the experience of friends, excitement, and learning. Of having to stay at home, the inability to go abroad for further studies, your plans for the future were at a standstill. At such times give yourself the space to contemplate as to what this means to you. Talk to people you trust and who will help you unravel fear, anxiety and angst. The more you share and discuss your thoughts and feelings will untangle to provide a deeper understanding of your issue/situation.

Throughout our lives, we must reflect upon whether we are letting the fear of uncertainty grip us. Do not be afraid to fall, for we often judge ourselves for falling down, or are we allowing ourselves the bandwidth to grow and move forward ourselves a failure. Remember falling down and not getting up is more likely to be a failure. If you fall, get up, dust yourself and stand up, albeit a little shakily. This act will lead us toward the path of accomplishment and success.

“Bouncing Back: Swim but don’t Sink, Bend but don’t Break”

Ms. Megha Kochhar and Dr. Kriti Vyas

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology

29th March 2022     10 mins Read

Resilience has often been referred to as “ordinary magic” while it looks like an extraordinary act. It is more than once thought. It’s a human trait inhibited by all, but only used by some.

Research by Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, suggests that no matter how extreme the difficulty may seem, people will bounce back to their happiness baseline in what seems like a short time. Rather, it surprises us how fast a huge majority of people who experience any kind of tragedy or trauma get back to their daily routine, as Gilbert notes “We don’t recognize that we are as resilient a species as we turn out to be.”

I don’t remember someone teaching me to be resilient nor telling me that trouble and turmoil would be an inevitable part of my life. That, someday I would face really tough times with disappointment, fear, and the occasional carpet pull (when life pulls the ground beneath your feet.) I always grew up thinking life was a fairy tale, all rosy and that staying safe and secure was the best strategy to survive. Over the years I have realized I have become much more resilient by challenging my own limits, facing my fears and enduring through my perceived limitations. After surviving near to death situations in my life, I started to face more challenges in life.

The secret to resilience is not stopping, it is to keep trying hard, then falling, getting up then recovering, again trying, then falling, then getting up again and keep trying again. It’s more like climbing a mountain without a route map. Yes, it undoubtedly requires time, effort, and support. One may face setbacks and roadblocks along the way. However, you will eventually reach the top and will feel proud of your journey. It’s all about becoming aware of and then building the endurance levels residing within you.

You are stronger than your beliefs, this is the affirmation you need to give yourself every moment. Build your stamina. It’s all about your self-belief, hope and optimism. Stress is an internal process and our emotional reaction that we add meaning to based on external events in our life.

Dr. Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology writes “Talk to yourself. Give yourself a cognitive intervention and counter defeatist thinking with an optimistic attitude. Challenge your downbeat thinking. And replace it with positive outlook.”

The bestseller author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goldman also opines that changing our self-talk makes us more resilient. This is the key to resilience, and we overcome from our self-induced stress. Positive conversations with our self, give our lives a perspective that opens new windows of hope and belief. We have heard of the flight-or-flight response. So, the way we fight back and regain our control over our self helps us to talk to our inner self in a compassionate and gentle way. Being mindful of your internal states helps us to become generative, positive and more pragmatic.

So, step one is to take care of physical body, love yourself, and eat healthy, foods that have all colors of the rainbow. Get quality sleep. Install a habit tracking app. Make self-care your second nature. Finally, rather than blaming yourself about what all that’s happening in you life world treat yourself, with love, compassion, and empathy.

Practice accepting life’s impermanence, nothing stays forever not even your pains. This shall also pass. Ask yourself “How can I mould myself to life’s changes.”

Get curious to deal with uncomfortable emotions like embarrassment, disappointment, failure, comparisons as they arise. Our ability to be comfortable in uncomfortable emotions builds our resilience. There are various forms of meditation like sound, water, light self-guided meditation, practice what resonates best with you.

Build a supportive network of friends, family, health care professionals whom you can reach out to, not all challenges in life re meant to be faced alone.

How about creating a set of Calm Cards, pick a card in the morning that will help you reflect on the intention of the day. Pick a card on Sunday to set an intention for the week. Pick a card when you are struggling with another person, explore his good qualities and ease your relationship. Send a card to someone who needs some inspiration in life.

Adopt a Furry friend, don’t know about you but, my dog Raja was one of my strengths during my tough times, fostering him and getting greeted by him with those extra cuddles was so therapeutic.

Self-Reflection works the best –

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. When you are facing tough time just ask yourself “What can I learn here” or “How can I add meaning to this situation of my life?”
  • Which part of me is tender and needs special attention?
  • Journaling really helps to get your stream of consciousness going.
  • Ask yourself “Am I taking anything for granted”
  • Am I letting matters that are out of control, stress me out?
  • Make a list of 21 things that make you smile. When was the last you followed them?

We all are aware that setbacks are a part of our lives. What matters is how quickly we learn to bounce back from adversity and negative events. In the words of Angela Duckworth that has inspired me “As much as talent counts, efforts count twice.”

Let us take a step forward and make our time worth it.

Share your experiences with us on megha.kochhar@iilm.edu / kriti.vyas@iilm.edu


What is Toxic Empathy and How to Emotionally Protect Yourself?

What is Toxic Empathy?

Toxic empathy is when a person over-identifies with someone emotions, feelings and takes them on as their own personal. Although, if the other individual’s anxiety and stress keep you from your current tasks and responsibilities, it is called toxic empathy.

Toxic empathy is when you do not just replicate and reflect another person’s emotions or feelings, you also experience and consume them. Consuming someone else’s problems can cause you to become equally overwhelmed or even more so. When you replicate another person’s emotions as your own, you make them your emotions too even though you are only empathizing or putting yourself in that person’s shoes.

People who are overly-empathetic or hyper-empathetic may gradually lose their own wants, needs as the feeling when overshadowed by another person’s emotions. These people experience others’ emotions to an extent where they lose themselves and feel the pain or negativity and in some cases positivity of another person. This diverts them from their own path and their life and onto someone else’s.

Regular over empathizing can lead to a reduced capacity of making one’s own decisions as per their best interest. They may also experience draining feelings physically and mentally since they draw away from their own feelings. People who give greater importance to others’ lives and needs above their own experience general anxiety and even mild depression at times. They don’t think of themselves often and are fully consumed by others’ sentiments they report feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness. They mostly look at situations from another person’s perspective rather than their own.

Some signs you may be experiencing toxic empathy are:

  1. Pitying others’ situations often and use it as a justification if they are mean and unpleasant towards you.
  2. Giving in to others’ demands easily and find it hard to say no or refuse.
  3. Unintentionally physically replicate another person’s stress i.e, feeling like you have a knot in your stomach, clammy hands, etc.
  4. Emotionally mirroring another individual’s pain and feeling persistent emotions of sadness and suffering for a prolonged period of time.
  5. Feeling exhausted physically and psychologically after interacting with people.
  6. Being unable to complete or fulfil your own responsibilities because you feel overwhelmed by your feelings.

Managing toxic empathy

Emotional Hijacking

Emotional hijacking is when another person’s thoughts and feelings have control over your emotions and feelings. People who have a high empathic quotient and are prone to toxic empathy may experience emotional hijacking during a process like venting. They can absorb the other’s frustrations and replicate them. To prevent this, you must observe what emotions you feel when someone is expressing their feeling to you and remain calm, relax. Composing yourself later on and relaxing gradually will allow you to release the other individual’s emotions and empathise in a healthy way.

Healthy relationships

In mutually healthy relations both parties’ emotional needs are given proportionate importance. It uses the give and take method where both parties act as listeners and speakers as well. Every healthy relationship has a well defined boundary where everyone’s needs are met and an equal amount of support is given to both individuals. Communication is key and is necessary in order to fully express and let go or relive yourself from some of the negative emotions you are feeling. Communication in a healthy relationship would make you feel heard, lighten your mood and deepen your connection with the other individual.

In a healthy relationship, boundaries are extremely important since they help you distinguish between your own needs and the other person’s needs which allows you to shield yourself from toxic empathy.

Psychologists near me

If you feel that you are always overwhelmed with your emotions, listening to others’ problems causes you to stress, seek the help of distinguished Psychologists at IILM would be happy to guide and counsel you. Our faculties can help you understand the causes and help you balance empathizing with others, managing your own emotions and forming healthy relationships.

Please feel free to write to us at megha.pushkarna@iilm.edu The distinguished Psychologists at IILM would be happy to guide and counsel you.





Personality Traits in Mahabharata and the Ocean Model


While going about our usual day we interact with people, judge their personality as to how they are different from us and at times compromise  with the changing facets of their personalities without even thinking. We unknowingly almost like an automatic response form opinion about people depending on their overt behavioural responses.

Why we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment aWhy we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment and the people we live with. Like when we notice someone at a party surrounded by a large group of people, obviously the centre of attention, chatting and laughing; we may conclude that person is an extrovert.

So, how do we understand personality?

While studying personality we assume that personality characteristics are relatively stable over time and that traits show stability across situations. For example, someone who is described as an extrovert may be very outgoing and chatty at a party but less so in a conference. In both situations, they are likely to be more sociable than an introvert person. We also assume that personality traits influence behaviour. The person is outgoing and chatty because they are an extrovert.

At IILM, we offer courses in personality to undergraduate courses to help them discover themselves as well as understand our basic individual differences.

Personality and its spectrum

Cattell (1965) defined personality as being the characteristics of the individual that allows prediction of how they will behave in a given situation. Psychologists increasingly agree that five super traits may adequately describe the structure of personality.

Costa and McCrae (1992), who measured personality with their OCEAN model represents a continuum along which individuals can be explained in terms of their traits.  For a better understanding of these traits, the following is my explanation of how characters and their personalities were depicted from Mahabharat.

Characters from Mahabharat to explain OCEAN Model:

At IILM the curriculum is an interesting blend of science and mythology. I will explain how we teach traits to our Psychology students with the help of characters from Mahabharat.

OPENNESS – This factor refers to the individual having an openness to new experiences and an active imagination.

Karna was seen to be high on this scale as throughout the epic he justified his never-say-die attitude and courageously confronted all the odds of his destiny. His character in Mahabharata has everlasting fame because he teaches how can one present himself better than the destiny and accomplish everything with shatterproof determination. Bhima was seen low on this scale as he was conventionally oriented towards a particular goal that is of being the mightiest warrior.

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS– This factor describes our degree of self-discipline and control. Yudhishthira was high on this scale; was hard-working, organized, goal-driven whereas Shakuni was seen to be low on this scale as he is the person who poisoned the mind of his explosive nephew Duryodhana and fuelled-up the destructive war of Mahabharata, thus becoming the cause of the destruction of the Kauravas.

EXTRAVERSION – This factor is a measure of the individual’s sociability, energetic, optimistic, friendly and assertive.

Krishna was high on this scale as he attempted to navigate negotiations between the Pandavas and Kurus before the Kurukshetra war even happened. He convinced Balarama to not partake in the war itself. He even tried to get Karna to fight for the Pandavas as well. Sahadeva was shown to be low on extroversion, even though as the wisest of all the Pandava brothers he mostly kept to himself reading Vedas, spoke less and followed mostly what his elder brothers decided upon him.

AGREEABLENESS – This factor relates to the characteristics of social interaction. Individuals with high scores are trusting, helpful, soft-hearted and sympathetic.

Bhishma was high on this scale as his peerless statesmanship to be the mediator between the Kauravas and Pandavas and other impeccable characteristics still inspire his ardent followers across the world. Dronacharya was low on this scale as he discriminated against Karna and Eklavya on the basis of their caste. He did not voice out any objection in the court during Draupadi’s assault.

NEUROTICISM – This factor measures an individual’s emotional stability and personal adjustment. Duryodhana is seen to be high on this scale as he is motivated by greed, jealously, and a desire for retribution. Yudhishthira was low on this scale as he is calm, even-tempered, secure and happy.

Is there a situational difference when we portray our personality?

Psychologists explain this by segregating personality into a private and public persona. Private being the ‘real’ inner person, while public is the way that the individual presents themselves to the outside world. We may be confident and outgoing in some situations and less sure of ourselves and more retiring in other situations. A case where a shy reserved person joins an organisation but eventually becomes an arrogant and stubborn boss. This fits the explanation of how our personalities differ situationally.


As much as individuals behave differently in different situations, our behavioural reactions can be clubbed into traits as similar reactions across age and cultures. To conclude, we can say that each one us is uniquely different yet distinctively similar as well.


“Personality is a mask we believe in”

Dr White


Relevance of Soft Skills for Personality Development among Students

INTRODUCTION: Soft skill, sometimes known as “people skills” are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interaction with others, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills or technical or occupational skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type or task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable. There are two broad classifications of soft skills viz. personal attributes and interpersonal attributes.

Soft skills broken down under personal attributes comprise of the following:

  1. Optimism
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Responsibility
  4. A sense of humor
  5. Integrity
  6. Time management
  7. Motivation
  8. Creativity

Soft skills under interpersonal abilities are as follows:

  1. Empathy
  2. Leadership
  3. Communication
  4. Good manners and etiquette
  5. Sociability
  6. The ability to teach
  7. Problem solving

See A comprehensive Guide for GD Preparation:

It is often said that hard skills will get an interview but one needs soft skills to get and keep going with the job. In the initial years of one’s career, individuals need technical abilities or occupational skills may be important to get an assignment one seeks. However, when it comes to growing in an organization, it is the personality trait that matters. And this would apply more aptly in a setting where several people with similar technical expertise will compete for a position or a promotion.

Training of soft skills in our country becomes all the more relevant where the education system does not always delve into coordinated personality development. There is a lot of contradiction and argument in the industry as to whether it is possible to enhance soft skills through different modes of training and workshops especially when we already know that the person has lived with those traits all their lives. The answer to this question seems harsh although real. A student who wants to do well in his career and does not really have a choice, a reorientation of lifestyle and personal priorities becomes essential.

The concept of soft skill is not a recent concept, instead, it is a concept discussed since ancient times. Our Vedas and Upanishads enunciate how Vedantic prescriptions cab be an effective instrument for the personal transformation that automatically enhances soft skills necessary for growth.

A desire in a young professional to create a strong positive impression about the self in intellectual and social circles is paramount. Soft skills for university students should come with the intention of an all round development of their personality and not only focus on academics but train them professionally also. Inculcation of soft skills among students would ensure greater success for them across all the spheres of life. Today’s organizations and companies look for individuals who are flexible to adapt to the organization’s culture and are apt enough to establish meaningful interactions with people around.

Relevance of soft skills among students:

  1. For creating a healthy and productive work environment: We have to develop interpersonal skills like listening and writing that can ensure the flow of smooth and accurate instructions and information. This can guarantee a cooperative work environment with minimum levels of manageable conflicts.
  2. Efficiency in dealing with challenges: Hard skills help you with technical knowledge and skill building whereas soft skills as they include communication skills, etiquette and leadership skills make your adjustment better at the workplace. They make an individual capable enough to deal with challenges and problems at the workplace.
  3. For overall personality development: All round personality development can only be guaranteed if both the hard and soft skills go hand in hand. Thus as mentioned earlier, hard skills are not enough to bring the best in you and ensure success. Pairing technical expertise with the process involved in the implementation of the technical expertise would lead to over all personality building and growth.
  4. Demand of today’s time:  In today’s time, the strength of an individual is assessed on both the hard and soft skill parameters.  The one who lacks soft skills would not be able to compete with the demands of today’s time. Thus there should be a strong focus of the course curriculum on building and strengthening of personality by inculcating soft skills.

Conclusion: All round personality development of individuals should emphasize on the mastering of soft skills. At IILM University, there is a lot of stress on developing soft skills as a part of the course structure.  There are diverse facilities initiated by the University to delve upon such skills. Some of these facilities are:

  1. IILM center for Emotional Intelligence: This is one of the centers that cater to provide an idea as to the significance of emotional intelligence in our lives. How relevant this is for ensuring the future success of individuals and how can we make ourselves happy and satisfied thus adding quality to our lives.
  2. Course curriculum: The courses offered by IILM University just do not focus on the academic growth and learning of the students. Rather it also tends to inculcate applications based learning that can be implemented and utilized when our students enter the professional world.

We offer papers like communications skills, emotional intelligence inter group relations personality growth and development that gives them an idea about the corporate setup. These courses, apart from adding on to their knowledge reservoir add on to the other aspects required for personality development example a course on communication skills makes them apt to use the power of communication during meaningful interactions. It helps them lay their point of view much more comprehensively thus ensuring them success whether it is about cracking an interview or cracking a good deal at the workplace. Similarly, the course on emotional intelligence tends to tap competencies like self-regulation, nurturing relationships etc. that helps accomplish higher order goals that one can set in life, a course on inter group relations also tends to make them understand the relevance of dynamic interactions between two or more individuals or big groups. It makes them understand the complexities of group functioning thus avoiding conflicts and ensuring teamwork while personality growth and development, make them explore, introspect and evaluate their personality strengths and virtues. It gives them an accurate understanding of themselves thus making them understand their potentialities and abilities. Thus, the emphasis on soft skills development among the student lot is the need of the hour.


Govind Singh Kushwaha, Role of Soft Skill and Personality Development, Research Gate, February 2012

Barbara Cimatti, Definition, Development, Assessment of Soft Skills and their role for the Quality of Organizations and Enterprises, International Journal for Quality Research 10(1) 97–130, 2016

Barun K. Mitra, Personality Development and Soft Skills, Oxford University Press

Personality Development Video, The Economic Times and The TIMES Multimedia, 2009.

TIME magazine, Vol. 172, No. 2, 2008.

A Psychologist’s Guide to Coping in Uncertain Times

“Always Expect the Unexpected Because the Only Certainty Is Uncertainty”

Uncertainty in life has many forms. Changes at workplaces, change in priorities, change in rules and regulations. Even if things are safe right now you never know when they would change and you need to be ready to handle that change.

Change is usually not the problem; it’s the discomfort that often bothers us as we are so strongly attached to a particular outcome in life.

When certainty is questioned we usually have a fight or flight reaction and try to safeguard ourselves. Our brain prefers to find a sure shot outcome to the uncertainty we are experiencing. Research proves that anticipating pain soothes us to be calm than anticipating uncertainty only because we know that pain is certain. For example, uncertainty about getting a job is more stressful than actually losing a job.

Now, the question arises what should we do to tackle uncertainty in a way that it doesn’t impact our overall health and well-being.

This is very important for students aspiring to work with multinationals, professionals struggling with changing roles, people disheartened with their job.

  1. Firstly, don’t panic, remain calm and level headed. Living in uncertain times can be discomforting but you can control how to respond to such situations.
  2. Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. Try changing the habit of ruminating on negative events of life. Why only visualize worst case scenarios. If there is a fear of not getting a job think of ways to enhance your skills. Think positive and believe in yourself. Remember it’s your life and you have the potential to change it.
  3. Add Value to your skills. It’s important to align your skill set to what is currently the need of the industry. Make sure you have those skills that the current time is demanding. Act upon it. Visualize possibilities.
  4. Market Yourself. Do not think I am asking you to boast about yourself; but how would people know your calibre if you don’t tell them about yourself. Get the recognition you deserve. Go for it.
  5. Ensure your profile is updated. Have an eye-catching LinkedIn profile. Express your interest in companies that you aspire to work with. What you post on your profile should be interesting in content and original in nature to attract organizations towards you.
  6. Focus on Financial Well-Being. One tip for life is always having a financial saving of at least six months worth your livelihood. This will be your support during rainy days and you’ll always have time to choose the best opportunity and will never settle for something less in life. Savings are very essential.
  1. Engage in Self care. Healthy routines are magical. Eat well, exercise regularly, just like body needs stimulation so does our mind and thoughts. So feed your intellect with good literature. Practice mindfulness, it makes life a better place and opens doors that you thought were closed.
  1. Risk is real and Fear is optional. Risk assessed is risk management. Understand the uncertainty take calculated risks and overcome your fears to innovate the new you.
  2. Control what you can. We often run for things that are beyond our control. Try making a slight change by focusing on stuff that is within your control. It can be as basic as setting your clothes a night before a strenuous day. Try comforting your days.

If you see your Today. Job insecurity is the “New Reality,” why respond or perceive it as Negative. It might offer better opportunities for your growth and career enhancement.

Take that Extra Mile and prove your worth. Show the world your True Potential. Don’t Stress and rather Invest in this time to uplift your skills and embrace the new shift that the Industries are offering.

This is the only way you can see the New Positive and Let go the doubt and uncertainty around. Be prepared to change with the times instead of resisting to a change. Life’s most treasured moments come unannounced. Instead of being threatened by unexpected outcomes we should learn that they can be hidden seeds of opportunities.

For best professional practices and how to deal with professional challenges follow my blogs on IILM Blogs and LinkedIn or write to me at megha.kochhar@iilm.edu

We at IILM train students to handle complex situations and be proactive professionals in every situation by focusing on multiple skill development, developing emotional intelligence. There is a Center for Emotional Intelligence at IILM University where training programs help students build self awareness, emotional regulation that helps them deal with uncertainty in personal and professional life.


Good mental health and wellbeing mean different things to different people. Each one of us has to pave their way to a life that is relevant, consequential, and rewarding. COVID’19 has taken the world by storm in the last 3 months. These are unprecedented times and the most common emotion that all of us are experiencing fear followed by anxiety, and these could make people behave in a manner, which are otherwise inappropriate.

The next challenge was facing a complete lockdown. This was of course done to safeguard people and stop the spread of infection. Staying at home for some time may be relaxing but for prolonged periods it may become taxing and frustrating for many. However, such situations have become the norm today and people need to understand the importance of confinement and maintain good mental, physical, social health and wellbeing.

Despite the strict measures of confinement, some people got infected with the coronavirus. We need to understand that people infected with coronavirus have to be handled with care, empathy and kindness. This condition should not be stigmatized to the extent of isolation and rejection by the family, friends and society. The people who have recovered from the coronavirus will go on to lead a normal life with their families and also continue to do their jobs. Hence, linking the people with their former medical condition will only stigmatize people more strongly.

This disorder has instilled a lot of long-lasting fear anxiety and distress in the individual and society. To minimize this impact, it is advised not to read and listen to constant news and progress of the disease. Additionally, developing a positive attitude with a spirit to overcome stressful times is important.  Protecting oneself first to protect others is the first foot forward and being actively involved and giving assistance to others who are needing it will benefit both; the people receiving help and those who are helping.

When it comes to children, they need special care and attention. Positive ways of expressing their fear and sadness can be through creative activity such as dance and drawing which is a safe and familiar platform for expression and hence catharsis through this can alleviate their anxiety.

Therefore, well-being is necessary for a  holistic healthy existence. The three areas that are covered under this are Mental, Physical and Social Well Being.


  • Mindfulness – The surroundings are constantly flooded with constant stimuli, both positive and negative. For people to keep positive and healthy a need to Practice Mindfulness, which asks people to be aware of all that is going on in and around them but bring all the attention to the “present and to now”. One can learn to live for the moment one is in and be aware of each passing thought and feeling. Studies show that mindfulness helps people in coping with traumatic events and emotional states that lead to reducing anxiety and stress.
  • Breathing – When tense and anxious take a deep breath to relax. In the present times all are all familiar with Pranayam, also referred to as Mindful Breathing, which helps to regulate emotions and manage stress and, in the process, mentally separate self from negativity.
  • Meditation promotes reducing negative emotions through relaxation and helps deal with stress, build mental and emotional resilience, thus leading towards relaxation and a positive mindset.


  • Routine – During this period of confinement to the house setting, following a routine is very important for well-being. It is important to prioritize work and set designated slots for tasks that need to be completed.
  • Set up a workstation – It helps to set-up a workstation for yourself. It gives a feeling of going to work and separates home and work life. Moving around for a minute every hour while working to keep the body system active for good physical health and better focus on work and productivity can be achieved. Scheduling time outside of work with family and friends regularly helps to avoid emotional inertia and loneliness which is needed for physical well-being.
  • Regular meals and exercise patterns – A healthy diet and exercise are important for good mental health as the mind and body are intrinsically related. Hence, during confinement, the regularity of meal and exercise/yoga patterns are important for a healthy physical and mental balance.
  • Sleep – A regular sleep pattern is important to maintain as sleep is a very important aspect of physical and mental wellness. During this confined period, one tends to lose the sense of time and can forget that one has to follow a regularity for sleep also. Studies have proved that sleep irregularity can contribute to the malfunction of the brain and body and also leads to physical and mental illnesses. A good sleep of 8 hours can lead to improved mental and physical health during confinement.
  • Hobby – This is also a perfect time to try out a new hobby, which one wanted to take up but could not due to pressing times. This will give a sense of mental freedom and growth and hence physical confinement will not feel so oppressive; stress anxiety and depression will reduce; cognition and creativity will improve immensely.


To be positive in such times of confinement one has to shed the feeling of helplessness and adopt an optimistic approach. This can move people towards contributing to society with a helping hand creating a sense of purpose. It further enhances self-worth which gives a good mental and physical health. Acts of kindness increase happiness positivity and reduce negativity.

Sharing positive news articles and items to help spread positivity and also be sensitive to children and elders and how they should be explained the situation in an age-appropriate manner is very important for emotional security and well-being. Volunteering to be part of community drives for giving a helping hand, imparting information, tele counselling or guidance through various social media which will serve as a respite for many, gives a sense of being part of the community and the feeling of isolation and depression can be countered.

Connected with Family and Friends

Virtual connectivity is the new normal since people cannot physically meet and socialize. The socialization process is as important as our basic needs for survival and lack of it can make people go into depression and loneliness which will further lead to poor mental and physical health. So, staying connected virtually with family and friends is imperative for overall well-being using all modes of communication. Speaking and listening is a double-bind relationship which helps both. Reducing screen time is also recommended as too much screen time can lead to too much information on the same issue and leave you with emotions of fear and anxiety.


To sum up, people should try to maintain a routine which can include all family and work demands with special attention to children and the elderly. During confinement, some emotions in family members become exaggerated e.g. anxiety, anger, stress, agitation and fear. Practical and emotional support needs to be provided through informal and health professionals. Any underlying health conditions need to be constantly addressed with access to medication and active socialization and connectivity for any assistance when needed physically and emotionally is very reassuring. Simple exercises, regular sleep, healthy diet, need to be regularly maintained for good physical and mental health during confinement as is proven through research.

As a community people will follow new practices and extend support in such times of confinement and new relationships and bonding will emerge from this experience with the learning of how to develop a healthy lifestyle and feeling of well-being.

Please contact us at neeru.singh@iilm.edu for free counseling by our reputed Psychologists.

Anxiety in the times of COVID 19 pandemic: Surrender, Accept, Trust, and take the right Action

I don’t measure a man’s success by how he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom”.

                                       (George S. Patton)

Anxious and worried !!! are the common symptoms in the times of COVID’19.

Fear of an uncertain future and a sense of not being in control is prevalent across nations. Most religious institutions remain closed to the public, with no option for people to turn to the traditional means of solace in prayer, perhaps people are even losing faith in the religious zones of comfort to some extent. Not surprisingly, people are turning to science for rescue from the grip of this virus but despite all ongoing efforts, scientists all over the world have little to offer. They are focused more on the preventive measures to stay out of the grip of this virus as it is going to take quite some time to develop a vaccine for this unique virus, which probably is evolving and adapting itself to the weather of different countries and continents.

The future is uncertain and unpredictable, scientists are suggesting that we may have to learn to live with it and need to make many changes in our habits and ways of life. We need to live accordingly maybe for many more years to come, maybe even permanently.

So now the question that arises is, how do we deal with the anxiety in these stressful times while maintaining the quality and pace of life?

We always need to invent answers to the new questions that life comes up with. The Sanskrit word for “human” is “Manushya” which means “a being with the mind”. The mind is the most important aspect of the existence of “Manushya”. Understanding of any phenomena takes place at the level of mind. This whole meaning-making process is going to determine how you are going to feel and emotionally react to a phenomenon. Therefore, the process of meaning-making is going to make a great difference in the psychological experience of any situation, event, or incident as a whole. Without any gap in this simple equation about the degree of experience for COVID anxiety, logically and mathematically depends on our meaning-making process regarding events and incidents happening around us. In this situation, one cannot be blind optimistic, as the future is uncertain; realistic optimism is the only relevant requirement here. So, in the present scenario, it is the most appropriate question for each one of us to answer, how to maintain and restore mental peace and holistic wellbeing in the times of COVID 19?

Maintaining sound mental health and wellbeing is important, as it will surely affect our physical health, immune system, and our likelihood to deal with the situation in an adaptive manner.  The ones who adapt will survive and the ones who cannot vanish.

How to maintain and restore mental peace in the times of COVID 19?

 Gaining psychological strength through surrender and acceptance

  • We have to accept what we are going through, and we have to be adaptive to this new challenge ahead of us. Cognitive restructuring is important at this point. We must go with the flow of life with a greater level of surrender, acceptance, and trust at the same time being in the mode of performing the right action to deal with this situation.
  • Practising meditation and mindfulness can increase our capability of acceptance, resulting in a greater level of mental calm and peace.

“Surrender is the simple and profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life” (Eckhart Tole)

Being realistic and taking the right action

  • In the present situation, this approach is extremely valuable and relevant. Right after surrender and acceptance of the situation, we must be realistic and trust our ability to take the right action. This can bring a lot of clarity and strength to move on the path of becoming a victor and not a victim as the human race overall. Rightly said by Toni Morrison “If you surrender to the wind. You can ride it” We need to understand the nature of the problem and use this understanding wisely to ride it.
  • We need to understand the new norms of social distancing, personal hygiene, and important guidelines to move and function in public spaces.
  • We need to keep ourselves physically and mentally healthy by proper exercise, the right nutrition, and the right attitude.

Nurturing determination, vision and resilience

The path ahead of us may not be easy but we have to walk on it with determination and a vision for future because ultimately resilience is going to be the only quality, which can help us survive, thrive, and flourish for sure.

Here I would like to share one of my dream reflecting my sense of emergency, worry, and anxiety for the future, which is so unpredictable as far as the wellbeing of the whole humanity concerned. Dreams reflect our inner states mental equilibrium and compositions in the realm of our psyche. Being a psychologist, I have had an opportunity to look into the dreams of many of my clients in the process of helping and guiding them to a better understanding of their psyche and to achieve a better sense of control leading a more meaningful life. Sometimes dreams give us insights and guidance contributing to new understandings into our waking lives too. This one dream made me smile with a sense of insight into the future to be achieved, carrying a profound meaning.

I saw a train bogie crowded with people on an Indian railway station. There are noise, heat, and chaos. One old couple is sitting there. Somebody asked the old man, where are you going? The old man replied, “How it really matters where we want to go? We will be surely going where our youth will take us”.

I saw somebody cleaning a lot of settled dust from the floor of the bogie and many young people sitting there busy and preoccupied discussing their petty matters in a group.

I woke with the image of that scene in the morning and realized how it is important to let our youth find a sense of direction and meaning in the current situation because the future of the nation and the whole world dwellings is in the hands and senses of the wisdom of our youth for sure. The whole world will be moving in the direction where they will take us.

Many institutions have been building capacities to shape, nurture and build the mind’s thought process in a positive direction. At IILM we have “Centre of Emotional Intelligence” which is a step forward towards the same. Here students come with their stress-related issues and the psychologist renders them help for holistic well-being. The centre even does outreach programmes for society during this time of mental and physical crisis.

 Importance of Education Sector in Shaping the Future

Education is one especially important sector, which carries the responsibility to shape and prepare these young and potent minds for the future. Therefore, a huge responsibility sets there for this sector to be carried out. How teaching and learning will take place? How things will move positively for the maximum benefit of our youth? Answers to these questions will define how nation-building will take place and where the world will move from here. I believe the answer rests there “we need to surrender, accept trust and take the right action”. Nurturing determination, vision and resilience are surely going to be the key factors to survive, thrive, and flourish in a brighter future of hopes

To connect on knowing more about anxiety management, relaxation techniques and mindfulness write to me on archana.singh@iilmgsm.ac.in.

Please give your suggestions in the comment box below


“Mirror is a reflection of our faces and Art of our Souls”

Art has the ability to change and transform lives, in profound ways. When words fail, we turn to images and symbols to narrate our stories. Through art we can reach out to people with our stories and find a path towards transformation and healing.

As they say there is a lot between the heaven and earth than just dreams. Art therapy has a therapeutic way of rooting the idea of creative expression that fosters healing our soul and leading us towards mental well-being. For years art has been a very communicative way to express our feelings. When we were young we would instinctively use painting, drawing, sketching to communicate and express our emotions, but as we grow, and maturity hits us we often forget the beautiful impact art had on our lives.

Through Art Therapy patients are provided with a safe place where they can explore not very pleasant feelings like fear, anger, aggression, unfulfilled expectations. Feelings that they would otherwise avoid to talk about. Rightly said “Art speaks where words end.”  The field of Art and artistic people has always intrigued me. It feels like artistic people see life through a very different lens. They have immense waves of creativity within and so they life seems so sorted and calm. I wonder how various forms of art give them so much of peace. I guess the only reason why their life is so peaceful is that it’s not humans, but a form of art that is communicated as a Peacemaker and Healer adding the Art Therapy to experience the solace within.

Going back to Ancient history, art has been one of the oldest ways to communicate through wall carvings, sculptures, and paintings right from the Indus valley civilization. It is seen that when a person is unable to speak about his pain, they resort to expressing their feelings through Art.

Healing is totally an internal process which has a lot to do with a sense of positivity and inner strength. Ask an artist and they will enlighten you about the therapeutic impact Art has on them. Art Therapy is a type of expressive therapy that enhances a person’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being through the process of creativity. By art we mean everything that stirs our consciousness and inner strength to challenge our mind. This is the process where artistic expression helps lots of people to develop positive feelings, solve problems, change attitudes, boost their self-concept and be more content with themselves.

Art is like a life saving jacket in a world that’s growing crazy. Art keeps you grounded in your roots. It has a meditative impact to develop patience in life. We have to make a choice today either “let Art enter your world or you enter into the World of Art.” Choice is yours to discover the artist in you.

Remember friends Art is not a skill, but an expression and it really does not matter if you think you cannot draw or create. It’s an outlook towards life, which can be seen in the form of a new hobby, learning music, anything that keeps you occupied and for which you feel the desire to create time and it’s  so becoming a part of your life in spite of the busy schedules you have as it heals you from all the stress that you’ve been carrying  as a baggage of life.

It’s practically applicable and as a life skill trainer and therapist, I have seen my students experiencing the magic of art therapy in their lives.  A group of IILM students took this initiative to apply this therapy for the first two weeks and shared such positive results in their level of expression, understanding of situations. One common response was that they learnt to respond rather than react in stressful situations.

Art Therapy gives people medium to express their feelings and problems and tread a happier life that is real and serene in nature. Art as a therapy has proved to be a powerful weapon to combat illness and spread well-being. It allows you to be yourself with no Form and that’s the Beauty. So let’s join hands together to inhale positivity and exhale creativity.

To connect on knowing more about the profound value and benefits of art, colors and visualization therapy write to me on megha.kochhar@iilm.edu

How to stay positive during Isolation or quarantine by Spirituality?

“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.”

I am sure if you will involve spirituality in your lifestyle, it will definitely increase your productivity. Especially, while many of us take the option of work from home. Staying with family, roommates, their behavior sometimes irritates us and both parties lose the temper. Some of us stay alone, loneliness according to Indian Journal of Psychiatry may lead to physical and mental diseases.

So, before we go further let us understand about isolation and quarantine.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says isolation is separating a sick person from healthy people to stop communicable diseases, and quarantine is restricting the movement of citizens so that communicable diseases will not spread to other people.

Now, what is spirituality?

Indian history is full of famous philosophers. Adi Shankracharya, Swami Vivekanand and Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan. They guided the world towards spirituality. In his work, “Indian Religious Thoughts” S. Radhakrishnan gave the definition of spirituality as the goal of an individual as “establishing a relationship with the supreme power.” He further quoted Plato’s thought that is parallel to Indian philosophy when he said, “spirituality is irresistible harmony with the reality of the world.” Same quoted by the Gautam Buddha that the world is full of sorrow. Every human searches way to minimize his grief all over the world but the way to get rid of this grief is somewhere inside us.

Dr. Radhakrishnan further quoted Brihadranyaka Upanishad practicing spirituality by three simple steps-

Step 1# “Shravan” (listening)

You can listen if you let someone speak and one needs to listen quietly. Listening makes your thought focused.

Step 2# “Manana” (thinking)

Thinking let you understand and analyze the multiple courses of actions you can take in a specific situation

Step3#“Nididhyasana” (Meditation)

Mediation is the result of listening and thinking leads to concentrated action. A concentrated effort increase the productivity of an individual in comparison to the one whose mind is bombarded my several types of thoughts.

The final output of following the above three steps is “Atma darshan” (self-vision or self-knowledge). An individual thinks critical his/her judgments do not get the effect from the biases.

Philip Sheldrake a religious historian, a theologian with a background of philosophy and political theory says in “Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction” that spirituality is now a personal and tailored to everyone it does not matter that there is any religious affiliation of one’s spirituality or not. Some will say it is spirituality vs. religion. No, it is not.

Spirituality is more than worship. It is about spreading positivity and doing social good.


In the end, now its time to bring theories of spirituality into action. Yes, it is next to impossible not to react. It is true every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But by practicing a spiritual lifestyle we can change it to “Every action can have a more positive reaction”. In addition, even you are staying alone you will find you are too much busy doing things that you do not have time to think negatively.

You can feel spiritual while planting a tree or taking care of a plant in your house, animal nearby your house. So the people who are quarantine can do all above. The people who stay in isolation can give time to their hobbies that they can do in available space.

The Guardian has reported an increase of 20% in domestic violence been increased during global lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic. It can be controlled and minimise by the help of spirituality during this tuff time. No matter which religion you follow, you can be a change agent, you can change the lives of others too.