Temporary tranquilisers


However adequate one’s repertoire of social skills may be —positive attitude, tolerance, emotional stability, discipline or sophisticated manners, a harmonious existence depends largely on people around us. At every step of the way an inscrutable chain of events decides on the level of happiness.

While discussing ways and means of handling difficult situations, a young friend observed that these so called ‘strategies’ are only temporary tranquilizers that sweep serious and profound issues under the carpet. Agreed. Yet, when the looming world and its people cannot be changed at will, the least that can be achieved is through alterations at the cognitive level.

Since we can be affected by the mere idea or concept of an uncertain future, it makes good sense to be prepared. Certain forms of behaviour identified and strengthened as healthy habits help building resilience.

“The physical world has to be more beautiful. Ecologists, artists, musicians and architects create beautiful things to increase the chances that living in the world will be positively reinforced,” observed B F Skinner. The trick is to simply immerse oneself in an activity that promotes and offers meaningfulness to existence. The other foolproof strategy is to look inwards and bring out the tableau of pleasant memories.

The cackle of a child’s laughter, the unmistakable fragrance of old books, especially Penguin classics, soft and tiny baby clothes, the minutes when you had your feet in a sparkling, gurgling brook, photographs imprisoned in aged plastic folders, greeting cards and letters that nurture shy compliments give the much needed strength to face any adversity. Divine voices of friends, albeit over the phone, can offer support and energy to meet cantankerous elements, both internal and external.

Tranquilisers they may be. Nevertheless they readily lend the supreme ability to laugh at oneself while tackling people or events.

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