It is very easy to find a husband. But very difficult to find a husband who is a soulmate. To whom, ur connected not by hymns and rituals but by the fire inside you. To whom ur married not in front of thousands of people but in front of your own eyes. To whom ur attracted not just on the first night but on every night and day and every time in between. Not a husband. A soulmate. That’s what you need.

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NOT SO BORING..!

You are sitting in a math class. You hear the teacher’s slow and low toned words. All the words seem the same. You stare and look beyond the wall. You are utterly bored. You might be waiting at a doctor’s office or standing in a long queue for groceries or stranded in a traffic jam or marking envelopes. The state you are in is just the same – BOREDOM..! People have written articles about boredom. There are about 3000+ quotes on being bored in Goodreads. And I am right here trying to write about it. Now what can be so interesting about being bored? The psychologists are here to explain just that..!

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I won’t tell you the definition of boredom. Come on, the definition will make you get bored..! But I can tell you what actually happens when we are bored.

Boredom is traced to the lack of the feel-good hormone of our brain, Dopamine. It’s a reward system of the brain and is secreted every time you feel happy. It has been argued that boredom-prone individuals may have a naturally lower level of dopamine. This may mean that they require a heightened sense of novelty to stimulate their brains-to feel good.

Jennifer Schuessler writes in her essay, ‘Our Boredom, Ourselves’– researchers have discovered that when people are conscious but doing nothing, the brain is in fact firing away, with greater activity in regions responsible for recalling autobiographical memory, imagining the thoughts and feelings of others, and conjuring hypothetical events: the literary areas of the brain, you might say. When this so-called default mode network is activated, the brain uses only about 5 percent less energy than it does when engaged in basic tasks.

As a pressure to move and get past boredom, we engage ourselves in things like writing, listening to music, and solving puzzles.

So, that’s it? What is so great about it? Isn’t it very trivial and very common to get bored and get past it?

National Centre on Drug Abuse and Addiction reports that one of the top three factors for teenage substance abuse is boredom.

Our brains fear boredom (called thaasophobia) and have their own coping methods for it. They make up their own stimulations like day dreaming and hallucination. For example, there is Ganzfeld effect-when exposed to random noise devoid of any other sensory perception (vision or olfactory or gustatory or tactile), brains freak out and induce hallucinations. People see bizarre visions like horses dancing in the clouds. Some even see their dead grandmother.

Our brains begin with boredom and if left unchecked, lead to something worse. A live example of such isolation was Genie. This little girl was a victim of severe abuse, neglect and social isolation. She was locked alone in a room from the age of 20 months to 13 years, 7 months, usually strapped to a child’s toilet or bound in a crib with her arms and legs completely immobilized. During this time she was almost never exposed to any speech, and as a result she did not acquire a first language. When authorities found her at 13, she had not yet acquired a language and had a mental age of a 15 month old baby.

Those are worse case scenarios. The normal boredom we experience acts as a good friend and pushes us away from monotonous mind-numbing tasks. It compels us to do new fascinating things. And remember, the greatest poems were written probably when the poets were just bored. So the next time you get bored, remember it’s not just as boring anymore..!

Signing off…

The Story of a “Happily ever after”-Part 2

Your McDreamy is not so dreamy after all. You realize that its his hair and not silk..! Its oily and undressed most of the time. You start thinking, “Why can’t he have simple black eyes like me? Why does it have to be brown..!” The same jokes that made you laugh once are just irritating now. His gentle care-giving attitude, although impressive, is annoying you. You are just bored out of your mind to look at the same face every day.

Thus we enter the third phase which has the most cliched name, the reality phase. Its the phase that punctures that wall of idealization that you have been building beforehand. It is when you start thinking whether you really like this person and whether you two could work. You think of your possibilities together and start rating your relationship on a balance of success and failure. If the relationship blossoms, there are greater rewards. Of course, you need to be “uncomfortably” honest with each other to reach there. And the odds are never in your favor. It is said that it is hard to get through this phase.

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The next phase is a serious phase and the name itself makes you get serious – the commitment phase. You decide that he or she is the one.  You decide what things to do together and what things to do without them. You leave every thought aside and try to think about making this work. You start to unconsciously negotiate. You start hearing things like, “you are clogging my space” or “I need some space please”.

Understood properly, the commitment phase is said to be your last chance to really see what you are getting into. You have gotten away from McDreamy and you know how different you two are. You also know where your wavelengths match. So, its all about setting a balance and reminding yourself about your individual differences. What components of your personality are working and what are troubling can be identified.

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And finally we reach the last phase most of us are familiar with – the marriage phase. It is said to be the most troubling relationship phase of all. No wonder you can find lots of jokes on married couples 😉 If you do want to know what goes on in this stage, its very easy really. Don’t think I am gonna ask you to marry. You just need to hear the jokes on them. I am sure you would get a fair idea.

So the next time you find a “happily ever after”, you know what you’re dealing with (I hope).

Signing off…

“Don’t be self – centered. Learn to be compassionate”, people say. And all your life, you try to care for ‘YOUR’ family, ‘YOUR’ friends, ‘YOUR’ friend’s friends, people who come to ‘YOU’ for help, ‘YOUR’ society, ‘YOUR’ country and finally ‘YOUR’ world. You look at everything from your eyes. So where is selflessness?
Written by ‘Self’

“Its always good to keep your options open. It’s good to have more than one to choose from. Apple or pineapple? Pasta or pizza? Infosys or TCS? Girlfriend or her sister? Our elders have taught us to be good at more than one thing at a time. The only thing they haven’t taught us is how to choose. You can be great lawyers and argue both sides of a case. But its never easy to be a judge.”
Written by Self

Everyday I thought to myself, why do I stay awake? Why is it that my eyes await him automatically? Its like this switch which doesn’t flip out till I hear from him. And when I heard that tonight I would be on my own, I was very happy. That I could savour the night on my own. I flipped the light off and went to bed.  All dark and alone. I flipped the light on. All dark and alone.

The Story of a “Happily ever after”-Part 1

You watch a classic. The hero and the heroine lock eyes across the hall and fall in love. They can’t live without each other and decide to get married. They fight the villains and the unsupportive families. Ultimately they get married and live happily ever after.Wow! Such a fairy tale right? So what actually happens in this “happy forever” phase? Well, psychology explains this in stages. So, grab your popcorn and coke to listen to its story.

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The first stage is where it all begins-locking of her eyes and his eyes..attraction phase!

From the eyes of a girl– I suddenly observe a tall and handsome man enter the hall. He has a broad chest and a well built body. His hair, brown in color is silky smooth and almost touches his collar bone. His dark locks which make him all the more appealing. His eyes are brown and dreamy and I feel lost in them. He wears a black silk suit and has a golden rose emblazoned on the upper left sleeve. I could look at him all day long.

Yes. The most important factor in the law of attraction is the physical attractiveness of the person.

Also, people are more likely to become friends with people who are close-geographically, relatively, etc. Psychologists call it proximity.

The next two are the common ones-similarity and reciprocity. We look for commonalities in them and see if they reciprocate our liking.

The next phase (which I find as the most interesting phase) is called the honeymoon phase. Don’t be fooled by its name. It has nothing to offer in *those* lines.

The guy and the girl go on a date. Prior date preparations are something like this.

The first thing that crosses a girl’s mind is, “What am I gonna wear???” She spends almost 2 hours of her time trying to find an answer to this question. She tries on dress after dress rejecting the previous one thinking, “I want to look perfect there. And this is not even close”

The guy too tries to look his best, brings his best game on. He tries some good perfumes and deodorants, probably Axe 😉

This entire date would be about showing that you are the best-funny, smart, intelligent, broad-minded and sexy of course.

Psychologists say that honeymoon phase is the key phase where one builds up a good head of steam which would hopefully get him or her through all the other stages. The real term for it is “idealized positive transference.” Idealized, that’s easy – that’s your image of the perfect person for you. Positive, well that’s a very positive image; it’s all good things. Transference: you take that from inside of you and you put it onto the other person. This is when you see the person not for who they are but for who you really in your deepest dreams hope they will be.

Up until here, it is all about “McDreamy”. So what is next then? What would happen when the dream breaks? What will happen when you are confronted with reality? What will happen when all the greater questions of life come into picture? What will happen when you just get bored of playing Mister or Miss Perfect? Stay tuned to know more.

Signing off…

What “If”

What if our lives were mere computer programs wherein we could express our feelings with “printf” statements and read other minds with “scanf” statements?

We could permanently erase memories by formatting our hard-wired brains.

We could actually understand what others would be going through by just downloading his or her “metadata”. Empathy and sympathy would not be in the dictionary.

Google Maps would help us choose career paths. What path to choose in life would not be the question of the year. If we are on wrong paths, we could just re-program ourselves and start afresh in a matter of minutes.

We would have super smart assistant, Siri to help us plan and schedule the events of our life.

Our mistakes could be corrected by fixing software bugs.

We could reboot when necessary and would just be a “power button” away from bursting into life.

Our values and beliefs would be input to decision making algorithms which would improvise dynamically to suit an ever-changing lifestyle. Fights and conflicts would be resolved similarly.

All we have to spend will be on software updates periodically.

Have you ever imagined how would such a life be? Would it be just sufficient and satisfactory to have such a life? Or do you think what we all have now is a gift?

Do tell me your views.

Signing off..

I KNEW IT ALL ALONG..!

You are studying a chapter from a book. You read it once and feel, “This is so obvious and simple. I am going to nail this. Yay!!”. So now you take up a test on this chapter. The moment you see the first question, you go blank and you don’t know the answers to any of the questions.

Your friend comes to you and tells, “My girlfriend dumped me”, and you say, “I am so sorry for you” and think in your mind, “Oh I knew it. I knew she would ditch you..!”

Has any of this happened to you?

If it has, then you were experiencing the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon, also termed as Hindsight Bias.

As the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard put it, “Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards”.

Psychologists say that in everyday life, we often do not expect something to happen until it does. Then we suddenly backtrack and see clearly the forces which caused the event to happen. Sometimes, these forces may be a product of our own stereotypes, prejudices, values and perceptions.

Once we get the cause, the result seems unsurprising so much so that we forget that the result was actually surprising when we did not know the cause.

You want more proof? Well, so did a group of psychologists who conducted an experiment to demonstrate the same.

They divided students from a University into two groups. Both groups were given proverbs and were asked to provide an explanation as to what they thought about it.

The first group was told,

Social psychologists have found that, whether choosing friends or falling in love, we are most attracted to people whose traits are different from our own. There seems to be wisdom in the old saying “Opposites attract.”

The second group was told,

Social psychologists have found that, whether choosing friends or falling in love, we are most attracted to people whose traits are similar to our own. There seems to be wisdom in the old saying “Birds of a feather flock together.”

It was seen that both the groups found equally good explanations and found it “unsurprising” and “obvious”.

Still don’t believe it? Well, neither did I. I mean come-on both proverbs hold good depending on the situation right? In the beginning of the article, I have quoted what a Danish philosopher once said. I gave a glance (thought I remembered it) and tried to type it here, but I had to go back to look at the quote thrice before I could type the entire thing here..!

If hindsight bias is pervasive, you may now be feeling that you already knew about this phenomenon and just did not know that it was called so 😀

Signing off…