Usha and Mercy
Kisumu - Kenya

Mind Matters

No 1

One of the most common attacks to our mind is disappointment. Everyone of us has been disappointed at some time or other � we may have expected good marks in our exams and discovered that actually we failed, or wanted a particular gift for our birthday only to receive something else��. the list of disappointments is endless.

Disappointment gives us a sharp pain in our hearts. Sometimes we find it difficult to breathe; our mind becomes numb; we just want to lie down and not get up again. We find it difficult to face people and just want to be left alone. Disappointment can also make us angry. When we are angry, we tend to lash out at those closest to us. This is where the strength of our mind is needed.


    DO ::
  • Take a good look at what happened. Were you in some way responsible for it? If so, tell yourself, � Next time I will do better,� and work towards it.
  • Talk to someone { your mother, teacher, friend} They will encourage you and help you see where you went wrong.
  • Think about what you can learn from this experience. Do remember that disappointments are an opportunity to grow emotionally and spiritually.
  • Do look up the internet and read the stories of famous people who have dealt with disappointment and learn from their lives.
  • Pray for strength to go through this difficult time.
    DON'T ::
  • Don�t keep anger buried inside you. It will only hurt you. Talk to someone you trust.
  • Don�t give up and say, � That�s it. I�m not going to do it any more.�
  • Don't judge yourself. One disappointment or failure does not mean that you are useless.
  • Don�t blame God or your parents.

No 2

Each of us deals with anger differently. One person may use harsh words, another might just walk away. Sometimes we express anger in a way that feels good for the moment, but causes problems afterwards. Sometimes we keep our anger within us because we don�t know how to deal with it or because we are afraid of what we may say or do.

First of all, be aware of some of the situations that make you angry. List them down so that you are familiar with them. {You can do this with your friends} What makes you angry might not make another person angry, and it is good for you to know this.

Next time you get angry, pay attention to what happens to your body. You may breathe faster, become hot and change colour. Your chest tightens; you can�t think straight; your mouth becomes dry; your hands close into fists and you begin to sweat.

What you have to learn at this point is that there are right and wrong ways of releasing anger. The right ways allow you to let go of stress, and move away from your anger in a peaceful way. The wrong ways cause stress, can give you a head ache, and hurt you and others close to you.


Walk away,


Count to ten,

Punch a pillow,

Drink a glass of water,

Do something physical � exercise, clean up your room or shelves

Listen to music

Talk to someone

Do yoga

Put your fists in your pockets or fold your arms.


Hitting or slapping the person you are angry with.

Swearing or using bad language.

Throwing things around the room.

Breaking or damaging furniture.

Looking for ways to retaliate.

No 3

Do you bite your nails? Chew your lips? Or play with your hair because you are worried? Do you get stomach pains or a headache before an exam or an important event? Do you perspire heavily, find it difficult to breathe or go to the toilet many times before a special function? Then you are a worrier.

Worry is a kind of irrational fear. We imagine the worst even before it has happened - an exam failed, a project presentation gone wrong, a ruined business deal. Like a cow chewing its cud, we ruminate our imaginative fears in our mind, until it destroys our self confidence. Worry is a habit �like all bad habits we can learn to stop it if we practice hard enough.

Worry affects the way we think and feel. It affects our behaviour, relationships and health. Worry focuses our attention on what we do not have. So we miss out enjoying the many things we have. If you are a worrier, list the things that you worry about. How many of these situations are under your control? It they are, there is no point in worrying about them, as you can do something constructive - so cross it out.


    DO ::
  • If you bite your nails, or have some other worry habit, try and be aware of it and stop it.
  • Take positive steps to ensure whatever you are worrying about doesn�t happen.
  • Revise harder, prepare thoroughly.
  • Learn to relax ; practice deep breathing skills.
  • Read something inspiring that calms you.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Talk to someone your trust.
  • Look at your worry in the perspective of a larger picture.
  • Pray for confidence.
    DON'T ::
  • Don�t think about the same thing again and again.
  • Don�t have too much coffee, fizzy drinks or alcohol. {These stimulants will make you feel worse.}
  • Don�t take up smoking or chewing gum - these habits encourage worry.
  • Don�t have an empty stomach.

No 4

Most of us have had experience of failure at some time. Whether it is in exams, an interview, a project, or relationships, failure hurts deeply. It reduces us from competent, confident people, to anxious wrecks, with little self - confidence. Failure makes us sad and lonely. Embarrassment makes us avoid those who care for us and we become withdrawn and depressed.

Those who have faced failure will tell you that it can be a route to success. It depends on how you react to it. Negative, pessimistic, angry attitudes can lead to more failure. Positive attitudes and inputs can lead to eventual success.

Instead of thinking of failure as a personal defeat, think of it as an opportunity to learn something about yourself, in the area concerned, and as a time to gain new experience.

Think seriously about the reason for your failure. Once you know the reason, think of ways in which you can turn the failure into success.

Failure can also be a creative time as you look for new ways to learn, do projects and relate to others.

  • Take responsibility for your failure.
  • Turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
  • Stop procrastinating - start working towards success from day one.
  • Talk to someone who has failed and succeeded.
  • Remember that success needs motivation and dedication.
  • Put in the extra effort needed.
  • Be disciplined - with your time, sleep and leisure activities.
  • Don�t listen to your ego, which may lead you the wrong way.
  • Change your perspective if necessary.
  • Many have walked the road of failure to success � read about them and be inspired.

No 5

A girl from the rural areas came to a city college the first day wearing a long pavadai and printed blouse. The others smirked. In their minds they saw her as �uncool� and did not draw her into their circles of friendship.

Prejudices are stereotyped images and feelings which build barriers and destroy relationships. Almost all of us have been the victim of someone�s prejudice. We are judged constantly on our size, shape, colour, belief systems, family and educational backgrounds. Most of us think that we keep an open mind about other people and situations. Yet, it is surprising how deep-seated many of our prejudices are. In any one day, we spend an enormous amount of time making up our minds about other people. � She�s fat, so she must be lazy.� �He�s wearing a earring, so he can�t be a good student��..�

Our mind is set even before we begin a conversation or discussion�.. � He looks troublesome� ��� She seems a difficult person� ��.. When we think like this, there is little room for acceptance or understanding, or the growth of a friendship.

Prejudice makes us exclude those we are prejudiced against. It makes us judge them in a way that we would not like to be judged. This causes deep hurt and the desire to hurt back. Prejudice can kill��look at the disharmony prejudice has caused our country.

Breaking down prejudice is done by both the mind and the heart.

Break down the walls of prejudice by:

Realising who and what you are prejudiced against � list them down and think about the reasons for your prejudice. Are they fair?

Talk to the person you are prejudiced against, as you would like to be spoken to.

See their point of view with an open mind.

Put yourself in their shoes for a while.

No 6

We all crave for unity in our families, friendships and work places. Without it our lives are fragmented; with it, we live in harmony and peace.

Being individualistic and wanting to be exclusive does not foster unity. Neither does expecting everyone to think and behave like we do. Fear, suspicion, selfishness and greed destroy unity and ultimately destroy relationships. Fear that someone else is better than we are, or is getting more, or will take away what we have; suspicion of someone else�s motives; wanting more than our share of good things and preventing others from receiving theirs. These feelings arise from a basic insecurity that we do not matter to anyone; that we need to look out for ourselves first; that we are the only ones who deserve good things.

The opposite of these negative qualities is trust. Trust builds unity. Trust in those we live or work with. Trust that the other person�s motives are as honourable as ours; that someone will stand up for us just as we do for others and that we matter to other people, just as they matter to us.


Have confidence in someone. This begins with being open, consistent and unselfish in our own actions, words and attitudes. When people near us begin to realize that we genuinely care about them and that we work for the common good and not just for our own benefits, they begin to trust us.

To take time to embrace differences.

To recognize, that despite our differences of character, status or wealth, we have gifts to bring each other.

To rid ourselves of the need to excel and to prove that we are the best.

To enable those weaker or less fortunate than ourselves to also stand beside us and taste the fruits of success.

No 7

Trust is the basis for all good relationships and absolutely essential in family, college and work life. For most of us trust does not come easily. We think, � Will he take advantage of me?� � Will she let me down?� Will he misunderstand me?� Will she steal my ideas� We even send body language signals that say ,� Keep away from me, I don�t trust you � Fear eats away trust. When we live trusting each other, we move from superficial relationships to deeper more satisfying ones. We are able to be honest with each other. Trust breaks down fear. When fear is removed, we are able to share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and anxieties more easily.

When we trust someone, he or she too will trust us. But because we are human, we often �break� someone�s trust in us by not keeping our word, betraying a confidence, letting down those who depend on us, misunderstanding someone�s words, or not standing up for someone when they need us to.

When trust is broken we feel betrayed and violated. We become suspicious of those who let us down and avoid them. It becomes easy to withdraw into ourselves and nurse our wounds quietly, or look for ways to get even. Often anger and violence creeps into us.

To regain trust :

  • Forgive, look for reconciliation and the healing of painful memories and hurts.
  • Be generous and give the other person another chance. We all make mistakes.
  • Put yourselves in the other person�s shoes and try to see why they broke your trust.
  • Get to know the person better and find out what makes the other person tick. Learn about the other person�s habits, ways, culture and background and find a common ground for real friendship.
  • Work for a common cause that is bigger than you and become friends again.
    Don�t :
  • Be a victim and give up on all relationships.
  • Don�t seek revenge.

If you need help, email the writer [email protected]


No 8

Good manners are not considered important by many today. This is evident in the way we see people snap an answer rudely when we ask a question, slam a door in our face, or take something we did for granted. Yet, we know that in every situation, having good manners makes you a winner.

Having good manners helps us to relate to other people with consideration. When we greet someone or ask, �How are you today?� we make them feel a little special by showing that we care. When we say, � I�m sorry,� or �Would you mind if I do this?� we are taking care not to hurt their feelings.

How you express yourself shows the kind of person you are - rude or considerate, selfish or generous. Treating others the way you would like to be treated is the easiest rule to follow and encourages others to treat you in the same way. Even the most well mannered people in the world can occasionally say the wrong thing or make mistakes, but being kind, considerate, and generous on a daily basis shows true manners.

    Do remember to ::
  • Say, �Please,� or �Excuse me� . When you use these words, you are treating the other person with respect.
  • Say �Thank you,� to show how grateful you are for their kindness.
  • Respect someone�s privacy, their space and property.
  • Say, � I beg your pardon,� when you don�t understand something.
  • Give up your seat on a bus to a person much older than you.
  • Write �thank you� notes.
    Don�t ::
  • Read another person�s mail, rifle through their desks when they are not looking, or borrow things without permission.
  • Interrupt when someone else is talking.
  • Speak loudly on your mobile phone and disturb others.
  • Look bored, or roll your eyes upwards when someone is speaking to you.

No 9

As a young person, the range of relationships in your life is varied. You have relationships with parents, relatives, teachers, etc. But you spend the most time with your friends. Just as much as you need friends, your friends also need you. So being a good friend and expressing friendship is important.

Many people tend to take friendships lightly as our consumer disposable lifestyle has encroached even into the realms of friendship. Often you meet someone who becomes a friend, asks for a favour, or wants your help in some way. Once the favour has been granted, you are forgotten. Such experiences of being used and abused puts one off making friends. Today there are many casual acquaintances to whom you can say �Hi , how are you? Great to see you,� and move on to saying,� Bye.� You may often mistake these superficial relationships for friendship.

A real friend is someone who is a source of strength, support and companionship. A good friend accepts you as you are and allows space for you grow in your own way � not become like him / her. The best part of friendship is not just being together, but also the strength of discovering that someone believes in you and is willing to trust you. That gives you spiritual strength.

  • Be the first to reach out in friendship.
  • Do be positive and bring our the best in your friend.
  • Be loyal to your friends. Stand up for them when they are unfairly gossiped about.
  • Keep confidences.
  • Let your friends know how special they are to you.
  • Share time, thoughts and good things with your friends.
  • Respect that your friend may want to have other friends too.
  • Poison your friendship with gossip.
  • Expect more than what you give.
  • Be selfish and put yourself first.
  • Be possessive or jealous of your friends.

Toxic Friendships

It is also important to remember that you can have more than one close friend. I�ve heard young people explain to others that �so-and-so is my �first-best� friend and this other person is my �next-best� friend.� Many people seem to think that having one �best� friend is the way it has to be. But you can have a wide variety of friends, all of whom offer something different and unique that makes them special to you.


Devised & Designed by :: merlinbee