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Other links:

Beyond the norm: Embracing Authentic Friendship in Varied Forms

Photo Courtesy: https://tacanow.org/family-resources/facilitating-friendships 

Have you ever experienced one of those effortless kind​s of friendships? Usually in the beginning, when you realize you have the same taste in music, books, movies and have had similar experiences. Gosh! It feels great, doesn’t it?

What you’re experiencing is a connection. As humans, we all desire and need connections and these connections are vital threads in the fabric of our lives. However, connections are so much more nuanced than sharing commonalities of interests or perspectives.

In the context of friendships, especially in a university setting, the polished and packaged narrative is often one dimensional- a group of people having constant fun and banter, throwing in a few songs perhaps, all arm in arm sailing into the sunset. That looks like a good movie we wouldn’t want to miss, right?

University life is commonly portrayed as the golden era of making lifelong friends, filled with endless fun and camaraderie that mirrors the movies or the nostalgic tales shared by elders. It’s a period when we’re led to believe that friendships will flourish effortlessly, and every day will be a montage of laughter, songs, and unwavering support. This idealized notion can be both inspiring and, at times​… ​even daunting (*introverts nodding*). It’s essential to question whether the desire for a large, harmonious BFF group is a genuine aspiration or simply a construct influenced by societal expectations.

The reality​ is much richer in complexity​. Just as each person possesses a unique personality and set of preferences that make them distinct, so too does our social life and the friendships we cultivate during this phase vary greatly. It’s vital to embark on this journey with an open mind and a willingness to explore the intricacies of our own desires and expectations.

Truth be told, we allocate different levels of our energy to various circles of people. Some individuals thrive with a small, tight-knit circle, content with the depth of connection it offers, without any urge to expand their social horizons. They may be friendly to many but reserve the term “friend” for the select few who have earned their trust and camaraderie. On the other hand, others revel in the energy of a bustling social scene, surrounded by a multitude of friends. And yet, some amongst such individuals might still find a certain solace in having an inner circle, a smaller group of individuals with whom they share a deeper connection amidst the larger social sphere.

Friendship takes on diverse forms, much like the myriad personalities and preferences that make up our world. The permutations and combinations of friendship styles are endless, and what works best for one person may not necessarily be suitable for another. It’s an exploration of these connections that becomes crucial during university life, and it’s perfectly acceptable for these preferences to evolve with time. What matters most is that we don’t hesitate to begin the journey of forming and nurturing connections. The intention is not to conform to an external ideal but to foster authentic, meaningful relationships that resonate with our true selves.

It’s important to reflect what you bring to the table in friendships also and not just how others are adding to your life. A certain lightness and playfulness is an essential part of friendships and if you experience that in a group or with a select few, nourish those relationship(s). These are safe spaces where you feel equally open to the validations that come your way and the necessary challenging and accountability that may occur. Use these values as placeholders for the compass that can help you along the way.

​S​o what does a friendship mean to you? It’s time to discover not only the world around us but also the intricate landscape of our inner selves. In the end, the friendships we cultivate, in whatever form they may come, are a reflection of our authentic selves and a testament to the connections we hold dear.

PTSD AWARENESS MONTH - JUNE 2022

June is PTSD awareness month. To mark this month, ACWB will be sharing a #didyouknow series to talk a few facts about PTSD.

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event which is terrifying emotionally and/or physically. It may occur in response to a single distressing event or after a prolonged traumatic experience.

Symptoms of PTSD are most often seen within 3 months of experiencing the traumatic event but sometimes they may show up weeks, months or even years after the actual event took place. This may happen because research shows that unprocessed trauma is not just stored in our memories but also in our physical bodies.  Symptoms can vary over time and from person to person. Symptoms may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted and distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress caused by these memories
  • Avoiding places, people or activities that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about yourself and the world
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating

We all have a window of tolerance, which is a zone of arousal within which one can function most effectively. This concept was originally developed by Dr. Dan Siegel. When one is within their window of tolerance, they can process information effectively and regulate their emotions, enabling them to make decisions without feeling overwhelmed or withdrawn.

Experiencing a traumatic event can narrow a person’s window of tolerance, where one may feel dysregulated in the face of stressful or triggering stimuli. One may experience anxiety, anger, depression, feelings of numbness or dissociation in response to even seemingly minor stressors.

Below is an infographic created by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICAMB), USA to understand how the window of tolerance works.

 

Animals can be observed shaking after a shocking or stressful event. You may have seen a dog do this. Why do you think they shake? As shared in our previous post, there has been research to indicate that trauma is actually physically stored in our bodies. Thus, shaking the body to release the tension and trauma can help to regulate the nervous system.

When our bodies experience a traumatic event, our bodily functions can get affected as the autonomic nervous system (ANS) elevates in response to it. For example, in the face of a traumatic event, the ANS releases adrenaline and cortisol, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure. Thus, deregulation of the nervous system can help reset the bodily functions and calm the body. This is where shaking the body comes in. It can help release the muscular tension, bring the nervous system to its neutral state and thus manage the stress levels in the body.

Many practitioners now use somatic experiencing or shaking therapy to work with unprocessed trauma.

PTSD AWARENESS Day 27 June 2022

Pride Month June 2022

Creating conversations around Queer/LGBTQI+ Mental Health and Well-Being

Marking the Pride month 2022, ACWB acknowledges that open conversations about the mental health and well-being of Queer/LGBTQI+ folx can immensely help in creating safe spaces and building inclusive communities.

The community, despite being accepted by the law, continues to face stigmatisation, social rejection, victimisation, homophobia and transphobia. Such experiences continued over time without any support can cause long-term mental health issues and distress. The pandemic has also further widened the distress and inequalities in access to mental health support for them.

Creating discourses, both public and private, where the mental health difficulties faced by Queer/LGBTQI+ folx are recognised and spoken to and supportive mechanisms are re-imagined is imperative to building healthy communities.

Mental health matters. And it matters that we create spaces and conversations around well-being and mental health for all.

Help is around the Corner!

ACWB Welcomes Conversations.

Reach out to us –

Email: well.being@ashoka.edu.in

On Campus: AC04, 3rd Floor, Near LR310, New Library Building.

 

 

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