Washing hands, wearing masks and using sanitizer can protect us to fight Corona Virus physically. But, what about the mental trauma caused by the lock down? In these hard times of isolation and social distancing, books can save our day and help us to stay positive. Books have always been a man’s best friend. From telling us stories to guiding us in our lives, books heal us. It’s like a magical wand that helps us to solve our problems, if not, reading books at least gives us the strength to deal with it. Isn’t it? During this lock down, it’s essential that we look after our and our loved one’s mental health. So here is a list of seven books to read in this quarantine for mental health-
- 1 Psychiatry of Pandemics: A Mental Health Response to Infection Outbreak
- 2 400 Friends and No one to Call: Breaking Through Isolation and building Community
- 3 Let’s Be Calm: The Moral Health Handbook for Surviving and Thriving During a Pandemic
- 4 My age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the search for Peace of Mind
- 5 The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It
- 6 Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
- 7 Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy
Psychiatry of Pandemics: A Mental Health Response to Infection Outbreak
by Damir Huremovic
Pandemics not only have a severe impact on our physical health but also on our mental health. It’s important that we learn how to deal with a pandemic mentally. This book is a combination of emergency mental health response utilized by disaster psychiatry with clinical aspects and expertise on infectious diseases mental health which is developed by consultation- liaison psychiatry. It discusses about various pandemics ranging from Plagues of ancient times to the recent ones like HIV and Ebola. It not only deals with the mental health aspects of such catastrophes but also speaks about quarantine and isolation related trauma, survivor mental health, community and cultural responses, emotional epidemiology, and mental health concerns in the aftermath of disasters. It would act as a guide for all the medical professionals who are the warriors in this fight with Covid 19.
400 Friends and No one to Call: Breaking Through Isolation and building Community
By Val Walker
As humans we are social animals and it’s difficult to live in isolation. Isn’t it? While we stuck at our homes, few of us are lucky to have friends and family with us, but there are people who are alone. Perhaps this book could be a ray of hope for them. In Isolating times, we are not only lonely, we are also ashamed because our society stigmatizes people who appear to be without support. Val Walkers lonely experience after a major surgery teaches her to befriend loneliness and move out from it. While recovering, she found her voice and developed a plan for people who lack social support, not only to heal from the pain of isolation, but to create a solid strategy for rebuilding a sense of community. This book helps us to open our hearts and minds to others who are trapped in isolation. It is an insightful book teaching us to befriend our wider community, building a safety net, and fostering our sense of belonging. Indeed, it could be a survival guide in these difficult times.
Let’s Be Calm: The Moral Health Handbook for Surviving and Thriving During a Pandemic
by Alex Bruce
Wouldn’t we all be at a better place if we had a handbook with tools to remain positive and hopeful? This 75- page handbook is an easy read which includes skills to meditate and has certain tips for resilience. In these unprecedented times, it’s a reminder for good health and overall well-being. One should definitely read it during the lock down to remain hopeful.
My age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the search for Peace of Mind
by Scott Stossel
Anxiety is disturbing, it might be even more in this period of isolation. In this book, Scott Stossel bravely writes about his own long-standing battle with anxiety and helps the reader to walk with him without horrifying them. One can learn about the medical, cultural, philosophical, and experimental perspectives of anxiety through this. It throws light on various psychotherapies, medications, and other treatments that have been developed over a period of time to counteract it. It is a learned, humorous, empathetic and inspirational read about a delicate subject.
The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It
by David Carbonell
David Carbonell is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. With this book, he will assist us to deal with anxiety and break the cycle of worry. The Worry Trick comprises of techniques that will help us to trick what underlies our anxious thoughts, instead of, avoiding or resisting them. This book is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). It is a resourceful book which helps us to trick our anxiety and remain calm.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David Burns
Don’t we want to wake up and feel good about ourselves every day? We all want to have high self esteem and get rid of the guilt that holds us back. Don’t we? Well, if your answers are yes, then this book is definitely for you. Apart from showing the importance of our thoughts, it enlightens the readers to cure depression without drugs. Besides, it consists of several exercises that will help us in introspection. Furthermore, it answers numerous questions like what causes the mood swings and how to overcome addiction to love and approval. It also contains several exercises for reader’s introspection.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy
by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
We have lost many lives due to Corona virus. Though we can’t get our loved ones back, we can definitely learn to move on. Right? Sheryl lost her husband, Dave Goldberg in 2015, at the age of forty two. She was left alone with her two children. The book is combined with Sheryl’s grief and Grant’s research on resilience. Additionally, it includes feature stories of people who have recovered from personal and professional hardship. One should read this book to learn how to be compassionate,communicate with people who are under extreme stress, how to support them the way they want.
Sheryl writes, “ Dave’s death changed me in very profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface and breathe again.” Eventually this book acts as a practical guide for anyone trying to build resilience in their own lives, communities and companies. It is definitely a book that one shouldn’t miss.
An overview on why Cricket is popular in India
The Indians played their first official Test match at the Mecca of Cricket, Lord’s in 1932 under the leadership of Col C.K Nayudu. The seeds were sown then and there as the Indians got to know more about the game under the British rule. Subsequently, slowly but surely the Indians started to learn the nitty gritties of the game from the English.
Players like Col C.K Nayudu gathered the headlines for his hard-hitting whereas in the 1940s Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare scored tons of runs. Players like Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi gave a shot in the arm to the team and made them believe that they can win in overseas conditions.
Subsequently, India went on to win in West Indies and England under the leadership of Ajit Wadekar and it was a big boost for the Indian team. However, the big impact was made when the Indian team won the 1983 Prudential World Cup under the captaincy of Kapil Dev.
India had achieved such a big accomplishment and the triumph in the World Cup led to a turnaround as the aficionados started following the game with great zest.
In fact, India was considered an underdog as they had won a solitary match in the first two World Cups and when Kapil Dev’s side had to face West Indies in the final, nobody had put their money on the minnows. Furthermore, when India were dismissed for a paltry 183, everybody had written them off. However, the team pulled off a miraculous win and it led to the beginning of a new era in Indian cricket.
The game started reaching to the Indian houses through Television and the love affair with the fans started. Players also started getting the recognition they deserved and the young generation started dreaming to be the next Sunil Gavaskar or the next Kapil Dev. India also hosted the 1987 World Cup and it also added to the popularity of the game.
Moreover, in the 1990s a young boy named Sachin Tendulkar announced himself at the International level and the sport grew more popular in India as Tendulkar will leave everyone awestruck by his abilities and skills. Tendulkar carried the millions of hope on his shoulders and his success was directly proportional to the success of the team.
The popularity of the game took giant strides when Sachin Tendulkar consistently scored runs in almost every conditions and against every opposition. The young boys now wanted to be the next Sachin and cricket started becoming the most important thing for Indian fans. The Indian stadiums would be jam packed when Sachin was playing during his heydays.
Sachin grew in stature and as he gained experience, he also helped his teammates with the cricket tips. The legendary batsman never looked in his career.
Ergo, it would be prudent to say that the 1983 World Cup and Sachin Tendulkar were the two main reasons why cricket is so popular in India.
Meanwhile, with cricket action slowly returning now after a long hiatus, fans can place Cricket Betting odds for the upcoming matches.
Lessons to Learn from ‘The Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
What do you do when a good book is lying on your bookshelf? You read and learn. Recently, I got an opportunity to read ‘ The Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. While Bollywood is still trying to make films with a female protagonist, this book’s protagonist is a female, a significant character of the epic Mahabharata- Draupadi. Undoubtedly, the great epic teaches many lessons that stay with the reader for their lifetime. Besides, getting a glimpse of Draupadi’s struggle and happiness, I learned a lot from her charismatic personality. Here are a few lines from the book that I loved and will stay with me for a long time.
- 1 Everyone you meet plays a role in your journey
- 2 ‘Ability is more important than the accident of birth’
- 3 ‘A problem is a problem only if you believe it to be so’
- 4 ‘The force of a person’s believing seeps into those around him- into the very earth and air and water- until there’s nothing else’
- 5 ‘Expectations are like hidden rocks in your path- all they do is trip you’
- 6 ‘If Lokas existed at all, good women would surely go to one where men were not allowed so that they could finally be free’
- 7 ‘You no longer care what people think of you, and that has given you great freedom’
- 8 ‘By your own act, you bound yourself. Therefore, you alone can set yourself free’
Everyone you meet plays a role in your journey
Mahabharat has an end number of characters. While we are immersed in the great fight between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, our brain overlooks the tertiary characters. In this book, I felt that minor characters like Draupadi’s Dhai Ma added a lot of value to the story. She was like a mother Draupadi never had. It gave insight into the everyday life of the enigmatic Panchaali. The mention of the minute, everyday figures in the book made me wonder about the small characters of my life. There are people whom we meet once and remember them vividly, then there are those whom we encounter throughout our lives, yet can’t remember their name. However, in the end, both kinds of people play a role in our life.
‘Ability is more important than the accident of birth’
Draupadi was born from fire and a prophecy was made that she would change history. Later, she did play her part in changing the course of the world but her birth solely wasn’t responsible for it. She was a princess yet she felt caged. The world remembers her as a queen because of her courage and abilities. So, you know it doesn’t matter where or how you are born, what matters is how much are you willing to believe and live by the privileges or discomforts of your family.
‘A problem is a problem only if you believe it to be so’
When Krishna says this to Draupadi, it seems like he is telling it to the entire world. We all have problems, but guess what, we all have solutions too. The solution is pretty simple if we stop focusing on the problem and start thinking about the solution and working towards it, we will realize that there was no problem in the first place.
‘The force of a person’s believing seeps into those around him- into the very earth and air and water- until there’s nothing else’
This is something related to Point 3. These were Krishna’s wise words yet again. The world looks at us the way we look at ourselves. How many times people have reminded you about the things that have always been in your mind? Thoughts that are deeply woven in your brain, didn’t you find everyone believing that? It could be an idea, a dream, or a problem. If you keep believing it, the people around you will start to believe in that as well.
‘Expectations hurt.’ ‘I hadn’t expected this from you.’ (Does this ring a bell?). What I learned from this is that not all expectations hurt you. It’s natural for us to have expectations from ourselves and others but we shouldn’t be rigid about it. We should learn to embrace uncertainty as well. Didn’t unexpected events make you stronger and happier?
‘If Lokas existed at all, good women would surely go to one where men were not allowed so that they could finally be free’
This line from the book had my heart. I do believe that not all men are the same but I can’t deny that such men are rare. The kind of men who respects women, treat them as humans, let them enjoy their freedom (Irony!), motivate them to grow, and believe in equality. It’s the twenty-first century and yet gender inequality exists. It’s so painful to see the crimes against women increasing every day. This patriarchy society spares no one. Draupadi had to undergo injustices and harassment just like a twenty-first-century woman does. Probably, heaven for women is a world where no men existed.
‘You no longer care what people think of you, and that has given you great freedom’
Indeed, not thinking about others gives us immense freedom. We all, or at least most of us have the fear of being judged. We miss out on so many things because we are worried about society’s opinion. we don’t chase that dream of ours because someone told us that it was stupid. Imagine a judgment-free day, now tell me, what would you do on that day? We should stop thinking about others and live our life the way we want. That’s the freedom we should give ourselves.
‘By your own act, you bound yourself. Therefore, you alone can set yourself free’
You are responsible for your own actions. It’s your own actions that make you happy or sad. We often try to blame others for our circumstances, but it’s not them, it’s us to blame. If you are unhappy in a relationship or with your boss, you can’t blame them. You are letting that happen to yourself. If you want to get out of the darkroom of your mind, you need to let yourself free. No one can do that for you.
‘The Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a fascinating book. The wife of the Pandavas was a warrior behind the Kurukshetra’s battlefield. She was larger than life character. I remember listening to examples of Arjun’s valor, Bhima’s strength, and Yudhishthira’s virtue but now I will add Draupadi’s endurance and strength in the list. Her thoughts, anger, regret, and most importantly her journey will stay with me. What about you? What did Draupadi teach you?
Life Lessons I Learnt from ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini
Have you ever felt a deep connection with a book? The kind of connection where you are vulnerable yet strong. Have you ever stayed up all night reading a book, even when your eyes were screaming for sleep? Did it ever happen that you took some time to come out of the fictional world created by the writer? Didn’t the reel world feel more real? Last summer, I came across such a book- ‘The Kite Runner’. I vividly remember wiping the slow stream of tears flowing from my eyes throughout the book. I felt a deep void in my heart as I read the climax and pure ecstasy in the end. While reading the last sentence of the last page, I knew something inside me had changed. I felt that I knew the people, culture, and the city I had never visited. Books do this to people. Right? A well- written book makes the reader fall in love with it. These books are about ordinary people and their stories which are somewhere lost in this ever-changing world. It’s about you and me. Apart from all this, a good book teaches you great lessons. So here are a few life lessons that I have learned from ‘The Kite Runner’ –
1. Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.
If life were the sky and you were a bird then childhood would be your wings. Humans have a lot of expectations from themselves as well as from others. They tend to project their expectations even on an unborn child. Society and parents’ expectations begin to build up as an infant grows into a kid. The original dreams of the children are dissolved in fulfilling these envisioned dreams. The child is not their parent. It’s completely okay if children don’t fit in the large shoes of their parents. Perhaps, they were meant for another pair! If every child got the freedom to do what (s)he wants to do, the world would have been a different place. In the early and innocent days of life, it’s important that the children get to fill their choice of colors. We need to learn to accept people as they are.
2. There is always a way to be good again.
Amir carried the guilt of his wrongdoings for the most part of his life but he was free like the wind after he did a good deed for his friend, perhaps the right one. He took some time to accept it and muster up the courage, but, eventually, he fought for his friend. In fact, in the end, all the characters in the book found a way to be good again. ‘The Kite Runner’ is a gentle reminder that one can always be a good human. We all make mistakes. There’s a way to redeem our wrong actions. Today is a new day, a new opportunity. You can choose to be good today.
3. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.
Broken Relationships, shattered trust, ruined homes, and frustrated humans. Why does all this happen? Maybe, because of one lie. Lies play a subtle role in this book. A lie by Amir’s father changed Hassan’s life. Lying is not a reason for any action. We can always tell the truth. Being honest is difficult but remember that by lying we are stealing someone’s right and we don’t have any right to do that.
4. A child who doesn’t stand up for himself/ herself becomes a person who can’t stand up for anything.
When corruption and crimes are increasing in the world, when people choose blandishments over courageous actions, these words are like hope. I hope that someone out there has the nerve to stand against the miscreant. As the strong roots hold the tree, the morals sown in childhood builds up an individual’s personality. If a child fails to learn to stand up for himself/ herself, (s)he will never stand up for others. They will never learn to stand for their beliefs.
5. Mean every word of the promises you make.
We don’t see many people who stand by their words today. Isn’t it? Little Hassan teaches us to be kind and believes in what we say. He meant with his heart when he said, ‘For you a thousand times over’. Such people are not only rare, but they also love us for what we are. It’s difficult to be as forgiving as Hassan but we can try. Can’t we?
6. We wallow too much in self-pity and give in to loss, to suffering, accept it as a fact of life, even see it as a necessity.
When I saw Amir wallowing in self-pity, I knew what he was going through. A few years ago, even I pitied myself and now, I think that’s the worst thing I have done to myself. If we stop pitying ourselves, we can do anything, literally ANYTHING. We experience what we think. Our thoughts drive our life. None of us would want to live a life full of loss and suffering. Would we? Self- pity doesn’t do any good to us. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we need to look at the bigger picture and get out of the box that we have created.
7. Zindagi Migzara – life goes on.
Zindagi Migzara, they say, life goes on. This is, indeed, an unraveling lesson of ‘The Kite Runner’. The ups and downs of Hassan and Amir’s life are riveting. From running behind a kite to running away for their life, theirs was a roller-coaster journey. Life doesn’t come to a halt on the worst or the best of the days. We all cry and fall down, that’s okay, but then, what matters is if we bloomed again when the sun came out. That’s life! Unmindful of beginning, end, success, crisis, moving forward is important. Life continues to move on, so should we.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a story about two Afghan boys living in the 1970s. Amir, a twelve-year-old boy who is engrossed in books is desperate to gain his father’s approval. He decides to win the local kite- fighting tournament. Hassan, his loyal friend, and a low caste servant who is jeered at in the street promises to help him win. Their friendship, childhood, and ultimately their lives change due to an incident that occurs in the afternoon of the tournament. Amir is forced to flee to America with his family due to the Russian invasion. One fine day, a letter makes him realize that he needs to go back to his home to gain redemption. It’s a story about two children whose childhood shattered because of the politics of their region.
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