Dr Ela Dedhia, Head Department of Textiles & Fashion Technology, College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan, Affiliated to University of Mumbai

National level webinar was conducted on Relationship with Your Family on 29th June 2020 by the Department of Textile and Fashion Technology of College Home Science, Nirmala Niketan, Affiliated to University of Mumbai, NAAC Accredited A Grade, in collaboration with Wholistic Care Centre (WCC). Delegates included students, alumni, teachers, professionals, and others at National and International level. The resource persons were Yogi Sakha, Wholistic Health & Happiness Coach, a partner at the WCC centre, expert on spreading happiness with his coaching mainly based on Bagwad Gita and Dr Chinmay Kulkarni, Psychiatrist, expert at  anxiety management and depression. The session was moderated by Dr Saurabh Talekar, Orthopedic Surgeon and founder of the WCC and Dr Ela Dedhia, Head of Department of Textiles and Fashion Technology.

Dr Saurabh gave his opening remarks and introduced his centre and the panel. He said that human is made of body, mind and spirit. Mind involves emotional wellbeing. He said since most people are sitting at home with family during the lockdown period, people are having good family time which can be seen on social media, however many also facing troubles related to physical space and emotional space. Each one playing a different role, maybe a parent to his child or grandparent to his grandchild, but an employee or a boss in front of the computer. An experience of taking a listening in front of his mom/dad/wife. So this is a new adaptation for all with no break emotionally or physically from spouse, children or parents.

Dr Geeta Ibrahim Principal of the college gave her remarks and emphasized that such sessions are the need of the hour for the wellbeing of students and their families.

Dr. Ela Dedhia, gave an overview of the theme. She said that this session was an outcome of students demand. She mentioned that during this tough pandemic period, while most people remain at home, many youth and their families have been facing enormous challenges of stability and security of jobs/enterprises, finances, emotional, physical and mental health etc. leading to several personal and societal issues such as depression, disharmony, violence, suicide etc. To overcome these challenges and have more peace within individuals, family and community, this session was organized.

Edfly was the Technical partner and Textile Value Chain was the Media Partner. It was conducted through online video platform and telecasted on YouTube. Video is available on YouTube.com/TFTNN.

Dr Chinmay said that it has been more than three months that everyone is at home which earlier was never the case. Problems are different with different age groups. Lot of under carpet unresolved conflicts surface out between husband and wife, teenager children and parents etc. Earlier one had to tolerate each other for few hours but now have to face each other all the time. Many find it very difficult to adjust to each other because the problems are deeper. He gave several examples to explain the same.

Unhealthy conversations have three to four aspects.

Criticism: In the lockdown period, most women do not have help from husband or grown up children, either because they do not know how to help or maybe do not want to do that kind of work. Women in frustration would not even realize how she is talking to the family members, maybe criticizing all the while which is not a good way of communication. Better to change the words and give the same message in a better way rather than criticizing.

Defensive: Further defending ones own way of unhealthy conversation and blaming the family member with whom the controversy is going on, will result in further disputes. It is better to accept ones fault in the way of communication one was indulged in and express softly what exactly is the cause of the trouble.

Contempt: This is the worst. It actually means you are insulting someone. Person on receiving end is extremely hurt, maybe a child, or a parent, or a spouse. It is more worthwhile to find something good in the other and talk about that. It will help changing own perspective. Talking in contempt means you are at a higher pedestrian and the listener is at a much lower pedestrian and is not worth. So this is not good communication at all in any relationship.

Humour: Normal humour is very good for relationship but when humour is sarcastic, it is not good at all, as it hurts people.  Many people do not like it, best is to avoid it if one realizes that the person is not liking it.

It is important not to go by outward behaviour of others, the reality may be different, as it could be the result of a long historical past. Getting to the base of the problem is more relevant than only reacting to the outward behaviour. It is important to use the right communication such that the message is communicated to the person without hurting him/her. Words are remembered for years so avoid negative communication.

Yogi Sakha started by saying that we keep reacting to others because the focus is only on ourselves and that causes disharmony knowingly or unknowingly. Samvad is communication with each other and vad is argument. During the lock down period, its more sedentary activities, stress increases, hormonal changes happen and much more. It is important to understand oneself physically, emotionally, mentally and in every perspective because in these situations stress is not because of others but because of self.

Experience of happiness is important for oneself. There are scientific tools to do so. It can come with Yoga, with nutrition, control on food and control in language, etc. Controlling tongue is important while eating or talking. If we control tongue, we can win the world. One’s thoughts only are reflected in words we speak. Mind and body are connected therefore we have to work on both. Even if we work on mind, the body is worked at automatically and vice versa. Body, mind, spirit all three are important. Body and mind are the instruments, so if we get over-involved only in that, we can miss out on the main goal. Goal is not healthy body, or peace of mind but it is a means to know and understand ourselves. Peace is also a means to know and understand ourselves.

Harmony in relationships is important. How strong is our mind within us that is important. Anything in excess is not good. If we look at the world and nature, waves go higher it results in tsunami, earthquake can come, fire takes place, so any natural disaster can happen when harmony is imbalanced in nature. Similarly blood sugar, blood pressure, respiration etc need to be in a specific limit, but if limit exceeds, problems arise in physical health and it needs to be worked upon, similarly is the mental health.  One mind is used in so many places and with so many persons, like family, friends, workplace etc., therefore brain/mind should be worked upon as it is used most frequently.

Unresolved emotions, experiences, memories, if gathered can cause further trouble. Yoga, meditation are hygiene for the mind just like physical exercise and bathing are hygiene for body. In relationship, everything is energy. From our brain, heart, body, etc. electromagnetic waves keep coming and this is the energy and motion, we are sharing when we are interacting with others. Resonating vibrations between two is more powerful than of one, is studied in physics also. So we have to bring resonance in a relationship. Understanding opposite person helps creating resonance of energy in both persons. So understanding the need in the other person is important in our manner of interaction with the person. So we need to evaluate what energies we are investing in our interactions with others. Whatever energy we will  invest, we will get that much resonance in return.

Happiness, love etc. are positive emotions, vibrates most and better to experience but we adopt negative emotions like anger, anxiety, disgust, resentment, etc since childhood and so that is filled in our body as cellular particles. Our mind is conditioned to experience negativity more faster so we give undue importance to negative emotions. We need to concentrate on that through yoga and meditation so that transformations happen. We have three brains, small, medium, big. Small brain thinks of food, water, clothing and shelter all the while. The middle brain needs relations, emotions, passion to do something, excitement. Big brain needs thinking, planning etc. So we have to see which brain we use with whom in our relationships. We are generally stuck in negative emotions, food, water etc. Relationship is important for that part of brain called mammal brain. Animals feel most, same is with human. What we feed from childhood that gets increasing in ourselves. Everyone in nature shares and contributes with each other and that’s how creation happens and harmony is established.

Animal species, even the sun, moon, plants, rivers etc. in nature, and all other existences in nature follow it by sharing, distributing etc. Like sun gives rise to cloud which in-turn gives water, which in-turn gives plants, which give animals, and so on. However only Man has lost this relationship and culture of sharing and therefore lost harmony. Only human mind is busy and therefore has no time for sharing and caring. We need to ask ourselves, what can be done to bring harmony, what is the need of the opposite person that I can share/distribute?. So only human mind/brain is in disharmony with natures cycle and natures fundaments. So we have to choose between happiness and disharmony of mind. Words were quoted from Bhagvad Gita which also say that not sharing leads to destruction. We need to Think on….Who am I. We need to bring in gratitude and empathy. We have to constantly passionately learn and grow, for which we need to use our big brain for thinking, wondering, experiencing.

Example of iceberg, Only 5 % of it is seen in an iceberg on the tip, that is what we see but lots is below it and underground, same is the case for human behaviour, actions, expressions, words spoken etc. We try to fix what we see on the surface. Behaviour manifested is only an iceberg, but deep down is much more. Deep inside is our own culture, attitudes, values, ego etc. which needs to be understood and needs to be worked upon. Deep down is personal reality and on tip is personality. Change in personal reality leads to development of personality. We do-not have to change ourselves but change our perspectives.

Peace is most important for experience of happiness and Power of communication is huge ie. Samvad which must be given importance. Communication with others must be such that I am wholesome and others are also wholesome. So the order in any communication should be POWER – Pause (think and listen), Orient (I want to understand and help, not advise), Witness  (our energies), Empathize (which emotion the opposite person is talking from), then Respond so that there is harmony. If we react immediately, there is no harmony. Most important for parents not to talk to children as if they are their property.

Words were quoted from Khalil Gibran and further explained – Children belong to nature and parents/elders are caretakers. As parents, we don’t possess them. Give them your love and not your thoughts. Connecting with nature is important. Generation gap must be there, as it is healthy for growth and progress of mankind. So parents/elders need to give the younger generation the space to think and adapt to change/be the change. To the youth the message was that rather than moving into western philosophy of consumerism and greed,  analyse and lead a thoughtful life with Indian philosophy which is very rich.

Sleep well, eat more better, see others in a better way, harmony comes from within. Youth need to understand the intention behind the behaviour of parents/elders. Use of social media must be curtailed if one wants to be positive and progressive. Develop good habits like body exercises and activities, eating of nourishing food, avoiding refined food and preservatives which are not good for health, sleep plays a big role in mental health and so sleeping well helps.Questions from YouTube and video conferencing were addressed by both the speakers.Vote of thanks was proposed by students.