Teen Space

Build your defences

Young girl comforting her upset best friend
Photo: © Vadim Guzhva / 123RF Stock Photo

Often enough, life’s troubles seem to be agonizing and insurmountable. And that commonly adopted façade of ‘I am fine’ doesn’t hold up. As human beings, we all have marvellous tolerance, and yet one fine day it seems like we can’t take it anymore. There seem to be deadbolts everywhere with no keys to unlock our door to freedom. Studies, home, friends, health, sport, tuitions, extracurricular activities; it is a ravenous sea, constantly demanding more and more from you. How then do you protect yourself?

Defences are coping mechanisms we use to fight our daily battles. Everyone needs his or her defences to be strong in order to hold up during demanding times. But some do it smartly, while others use inappropriate techniques that set one up for failure and pain. If you are well protected, you can steer safely away from troubles. An understanding of these wrong and right strategies is imperative to make the advantageous choice in self-protection.

WRONG defences

These are wrong because they get you into trouble. Sometimes we use them too often and they become a way of life. But their commonality and frequency of occurrence doesn’t make them justifiable, acceptable or appropriate to adapt.

Worry: Worry is a usual and everyday negative emotion that makes you believe in the worst. One often (rather always) is weary of the unknown. However, baseless worry and excess apprehension deviates you from the focus. Be it exams or assignments or projects or competitive sport, worry doesn’t get you anywhere. Those who use this defence often, and know themselves well, recognize that they are ‘worriers’. Worriers never win battles; ‘warriors’ do.

Rage: Anger is our personal enemy. We commonly use it to challenge our opponent, not realizing that it is self-defeating. When things don’t go your way, getting upset and yelling at someone lets off steam but doesn’t help you resolve problems, build relationships, win respect or invite friendships. It can make you tremble, makes your heart pound harder, shortens your breath and clouds brainpower. If that isn’t enough damage, it antagonizes people, and makes them disregard you. It’s better to get a hold of anger before it takes you over.

Oppression: A common modification of anger expression is suppressing it. It may appear like a better move but is still wrong. Preventing an outburst is great, but replacing it with sarcasm is bad yes, but engulfing and not processing it is worse. Rage lingers, and its residue makes way for resentment that plagues you from the inside and makes you bitter from the exterior. By far, this defence is one of the worst.

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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.