Hema Mutreja is a very well-experienced counselling psychologist with 15 years of experience in the field of guidance and counselling. She has done her M.A in Psychology and MSc in Family Therapy, with a specialization in Marital Counselling.

Her educational qualification also includes the highly esteemed Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from NCERT, Delhi along with a Diploma in Community Mental Health from NIMHANS, Bangalore.

She is a certified NCERT counsellor who has also had the privilege of being on the panel of NCERT for their exam helpline as well as a TV Program called Sahyog, a live interaction on mental health and well-being. 

The MHRD, Govt of India selected her to be a part of Manodarpan, a helpline for psychosocial support for citizens of India during the corona pandemic.

We were very glad that she agreed to host a live session for our amazing mentees.

The session was extremely insightful and she made sure to answer every question that we received. To say that it was an overwhelming response, would not do the session justice.

What does a counselling psychologist do?

A counselling psychologist helps people deal with emotional, physical or mental health issues. Through the course of the direct sessions, they can provide assessments, diagnoses and treatments for severe psychological problems.

A glimpse into the session.

Our wonderful guest, Hema Mutreja, started the session with a 3 min meditation video while asking all the attendees to close their eyes and to focus on their breathing. We can’t explain how the entire vibe in the room changed after that short video, it was like a feeling of calmness had swept over all of us in attendance.

It was an excellent way to calm our bodies and minds down after a day of hard work or school. Can’t help but wonder how many of us are using that video after realising how the video helped soothe our nerves.

After a brief meditation session, we were taken on a journey of understanding and learning to cope with anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear about what’s going to happen or the future. Getting ready for the first day of school, going to a job interview, or giving a speech can bring about feelings of anxiousness.

But if feelings of anxiety are extreme and are interfering with daily life, it may be an anxiety disorder.

How to cope with anxiety?

There are many ways to calm anxiety, some of the ways we were taught are by following the 3 A’s.

The 3 A’s are:

  1. Adjust:

Learn to adjust your standards. You don’t have to be perfect and it’s normal for people to have bad days. Focus on yourself and take care of what you think is important.

  1. Avoid:

             Avoid situations that are going to cause you stress. If being late to an event causes your anxiety to flare, you can leave earlier than you had planned to make sure you’re either ahead of schedule or on time.

  1. Accept:

You must learn to accept the things you cannot change. There’s no point in sitting and thinking about the future if all you think about are problems you might face. Instead, try to change what can be changed and learn to accept that some things are just inevitable.

Some other coping mechanisms that you can use are, 

Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises like the butterfly hug can help calm you down during an anxious episode. All you need to do is cross your hands across your chest while resting your middle fingers on your collarbones. Raise your elbows to create your butterfly wings and slowly tap hands on your chest, alternating between left and right. While tapping, breathe in through your nose and exhale through your nose until you start to feel some relief.

Journal writing

Journaling can help reduce anxiety, lessen feelings of distress, and increase well-being. It’s not just a simple technique; it’s an enjoyable one as well. Writing down your feelings or emotions at the end of the day can help clear those thoughts from your mind.

Self-awareness while coping with anxiety.

Self-awareness is a form of stepping back and observing your thoughts and feelings as they come forward. It is simple as noticing what emotions you feel when you’re around certain people or the thoughts that run through your head when you feel scared about something.

3 Ps of self-awareness:

  1. Purpose : Set clear goals for yourself to define your purpose of being self aware. What do you want to gain from it?
  1. Practice : Keep practicing the goals and routines you’ve set. Practice makes perfect so, keep your hopes up and keep trying.
  1. Patience : A change can’t be made overnight, so have patience and you will start to see the progress you’ve made.                    

Once we heard about ways to cope with stress and anxiety, it was time for the Q&A session.

All the questions were answered. The audience seemed to love that they could ask questions about their own state of mind and were given answers that could help them cope with the stress and struggles they faced.

Overall, it was an amazing session that helped all of us in attendance understand ways to control anxiety as well as taught us ways to cope with obstacles that we face in our everyday lives.