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Friday, January 15, 2010

Article in Mid-day includes a bit on Aasra, 'How to be a shiny happy person'

How to be a shiny, happy person
By: Fiona Fernandez Date: 2010-01-12 Place: Mumbai

Against a backdrop of depression-related suicides, Active focuses on smart ways to stay happy. It's all doctor-recommended and doesn't hurt

When Bobby McFerrin got the world to hum his multiple-Grammy Award winning track, Don't Worry, Be Happy, therapists must've silently rejoiced that playlists were finally sounding upbeat. After all, you don't need a shrink to tell you that listening to music (the easy-on-the-mind kind) works well to lift your spirits. But what is it that ups the Happiness Quotient? Is there a set formula or a carefully cultivated state of mind? There might be more questions than answers to counter the big depression.

Have Bananas, not Maida
Dr Nirmala S Rao, practicing psychiatrist and founder of Aavishkar Centre of Self Enrichment, says there's no specific mantra to stay happy; it's more about maintaining moderation in every sphere. "Identify what returns you strive for. Justify if it's actually worth it. It boils down to a work-life balance."

There's great news beyond the couch. Naini Setalvad, Mumbai-based dietician confirms that your intake is directly linked to being upbeat. There are two "feel-good" hormones in your body -- serotonin and dopamine. "Eating bananas, brown bread, potatoes, Omega 3 fatty acids, cocoa (the cocoa content in chocolate gives you a high) and Vitamin B12 helps regulate these hormones," she says.

Making a regular routine of what you enjoy doing can play de-stressor, reveals Yogacharya Anandji, Founder-Proprietor of The Yoga Training Centre. "Follow it, for at least 30 minutes daily." Of course, tomes have been written of how yoga and meditation helps chase the blues away.

Demand is the culprit
Dr Rao believes professional lives are centred on the growth-rewards cycle. "Our growth is weighed by the rewards secured. Unknowingly, we assume that sadness is linked with expectations at work/ school, when in reality, it is the demand," says Dr Rao. We crave for immediate rewards, which our professional/ academic life provides. Meanwhile, our personal lives get marginalised; while we harbour similar expectations here too. Slowly, depression creeps in and could get serious."

Johnson Thomas, Director, Aasra Helpline, suggests that a suicidal streak is thanks to a rapidly changing value system. "Family systems that provide us with emotional stability are diminishing. Hopelessness emerges from a breakdown of support systems." Aasra dealt with an average of 50 suicide calls every day, last week. "The caller is someone who hasn't experienced a great deal of pain/ rejection/ difficulty and is suddenly faced with numerous demands from people and society. Those between 15 to 25 years are most prone," he shares.

4 quick ways to beat melancholia
Smile more. Studies show how simply smiling can send serotonin levels soaring, making you feel better, physically. Avoid booze. Alcohol is actually a central nervous system depressant. Have 100-200 belly laughs a day: the equivalent of a high impact workout, it helps burn up to 500 calories. Ask for a hug. A 40-year-old study on child rearing practices conducted at Harvard University says, those kids who were hugged and cuddled more grew up to be the happiest.
Japan refused to be happy
The only country that Bobby McFerrin's chart topper wasn't No. 1 was in Japan, because (Emperor) Hirohito was dying at the time and the Japanese felt it was inappropriate to be humming along to Don't Worry, Be Happy.
Depression as a defence mechanism
It's common knowledge that depression attacks people in their most productive years. Dr Rao says most professionals use work as an escape route from depression. "Work is an antidepressant; that's why people push themselves into the rat race. Work becomes their identity."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Funky things that our bodies do

Whether uncomfortable, embarrassing or just plain weird, there are some pretty funky things that our bodies do.

Curious about the causes of such reactions as hiccups, goose bumps and eye twitches, we spoke with Eric Plasker, DC,

author of The 100 Year Lifestyle, to get the real scoop. Read on to discover the common reasons for 14 peculiar bodily functions.


If your body is low on oxygen, your mouth opens wide and tries to suck more in.

Yawning is a way to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood. Unfortunately, yawns are nearly impossible to stifle.

Eye Twitches

Serious eye twitches can be a symptom of neurological disorders, but often there is a more mundane explanation.

Common causes for eye twitches include stress, lack of sleep, extended staring or eye strain. Before you get frantic,

try reducing your stress level, cutting back on caffeine and catching up on sleep.


According to Dr. Plasker, our skin most often gets itchy because of dryness associated with the environment

or over-washing—water and soap can strip skin of its natural oils, thus sapping moisture.

Face or body lotion should be able to keep these types of itches under control; also look for body washes and soaps labeled “moisturizing..”

If you still have itchy patches, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction to a chemical, plant, food, animal or drug.

See an allergist if the itching is persistent.


If you’ve frequently got a case of the hiccups, try slowing down when you eat and drink, suggests Dr. Plasker.

Doing either too quickly causes your stomach to swell; this irritates your diaphragm, which contracts and causes hiccups.

You may also get hiccups in emotional situations or if your body experiences a sudden temperature change.

In both of these cases, the hiccups are a result of a glitch in your nerve pathways, which is why a sudden scare—

which might shake up and reset your nerves—can sometimes end an episode.

Goose Bumps

Those tiny bumps that cover your skin when you’re cold or scared are actually a defense mechanism.

Goose bumps occur when the arrector pili, a tiny muscle that connects the hair follicle with skin,

contracts and makes the hair stand on end. If you had more hair—like cavemen did—the upright hair

would trap air to keep you warm or make you look bushier and therefore more threatening to predators.


Sneezes happen when your body is trying to expel an irritant from the nasal cavity.

If you have allergies, pollen or pet dander is usually to blame. If you have a cold,

your body makes mucus to trap the virus, and sneezing helps force it (and the sickness) out of your body.

An over-the-counter allergy or cold medicine helps suppress your reaction to allergens or reduce mucus production,

which should prevent sneezing fits.


A cough is another mechanism your body uses to get rid of irritants. There are special cells along your air passage,

says Dr. Plasker, that recognize irritants and force them out. Common colds,

sinus infections and pneumonia all increase your body’s mucus production,

which triggers coughing. Smoking and asthma also tend to irritate the cells. To help cut down on chronic coughing,

exercise regularly and practice good posture to keep your air passage open.

Charley Horses

These sudden, super-painful muscle spasms can be blamed on several things,

including dehydration or electrolyte imbalances—often from strenuous exercise.

After a demanding workout or an extra-long run, sip a sports drink to keep your system running smoothly.

If you experience this type of cramping, walk around to help relieve the pain.


Shivering, says Dr. Plasker, is full-body muscle twitching. When your temperature drops too low,

your body shakes all over in an attempt to generate heat.

The only way to cure these kind of shivers is to get your temperature back to 98.6°F.

Ear Ringing

Ear ringing, or tinnitus, can happen for two reasons. If you have fluid or an infection in your middle ear, you may hear a constant buzz. However, the more common cause is damage to the microscopic ends of your hearing nerves, which often happens when you’re exposed to loud noises. To prevent permanent damage (and preserve your hearing), wear earplugs at concerts and sporting events—or even when you mow the lawn.

Stomach Rumbles

As food, liquid and gas move through your digestive tract, your stomach muscles and intestines contract and cause rumbling noises—

borborygmi is the scientific name. Everyone’s stomach makes noise during digestion, but if you have extra-loud rumbles,

a teaspoon of olive oil or a cup of herbal tea with lemon may help ease them, says Dr. Plasker.

Limbs Falling Asleep

When there’s consistent pressure on part of a limb—like when you sit on your feet or rest your head on an arm—

the pressure squeezes your nerve pathways and scrambles messages sent to your brain.

The mixed messages make you lose feeling in the squished body part because your brain has trouble telling it what to do.

To prevent a case of pins and needles, avoid sitting or lying in positions that compress your nerves.

Seeing Stars

If you stand too quickly, suffer a blow to the head or are stricken by a migraine,

there’s a good chance you’ll see stars as blood surges to different parts of your body.

Generally these tiny flashes of light will fade in a few seconds. If you see stars for more than a few moments,

you could have a tear or tiny clot in your retina, and you should consult a physician immediately.

Ear Popping

The Eustachian tube in your inner ear is responsible for maintaining equal pressure on both sides of your eardrum.

When you experience a rapid change in altitude—during takeoff in an airplane or when riding an elevator in an extra-tall building—

the Eustachian tube opens to release pressure, and you hear a pop. To force the tube open (and “pop” your ears),

squeeze your nostrils closed while exhaling forcefully through your nose!

In Response to Anil Thakraney's piece - Captain Johann

Re: Anil Thakraney on Parenting and Suicides
Posted by: "captainjohann" bjsamuhanand
Fri Jan 8, 2010 11:55 pm (PST)

If the Father has scolded Anil for poor marks, the son would have committed suicide.
If the parents ask their son/daughter to do well in TV programme or LIve TV show, the child will commit suicide if the TV host rejects the child.Again the parent is the scum
If a Child of 12 wants to take part in Boogie woggie without studying, the parents must allow or the child will commit suicide.Again the culprit is the parent.
Anil's father is a great man who patted his son for failure and so saved his son from suicide.
All this pseudo analysis is like the Psychology/Psychiatry lessons which our students of psychology/Psychiatry learn during their PG courses from the likes of LIDZ, MOSHER, REICHMANN etc etc. No double blind trial for this pseudo theories and they just have to get 20 patients and ask them to blabber their own thinking and a PHd is born.
Anil is lucky he survived because his father was out of the ordinary.But he is a looser who survived by luck.
I know my friend committed suicide when he tripped a girl and she complained to the school teacher who scolded him.
I tried to commit suicide when my father whose pay was rupees 105/- per month could not afford to send me to a picnic which costed rupees 80/-I tried this trick because my child hood crush was also going in that picnic which i could not tell my father and so tried suicide trick.My father gave me a rope and asked me to do it.I tried but could not succeed and came back with tail at back. may be if i succeeded, one less spineless Indian and this doesnot matter in a land where 50,000 farmers commit suicde due to social reasons while 50 IT professionals suicide becomes a psychology and work related stress problem!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

6 steps away from living your passion

You’re only 6 steps away from living your passion

by Stephanie Frank

Living with Authenticity, Happiness and Fulfillment

Have you seen the movie “Up In The Air?” I went to see it recently and found the main character’s passion interesting.

In case you haven’t seen it, the movie is about a guy who travels the country, 300 days per year, and fires people for a living. He loves every aspect of traveling, especially the parts that require him not to commit to any relationships – not family, not friends and certainly not a love interest. He just doesn’t have time.

Then he meets someone and his life gets turned upside down.

Suddenly his heart is hooked on a love interest. He decides to go to his sister’s wedding, even though the family has written him off. After successfully facilitating a discussion with a very cold-footed groom-to-be who doesn’t think he wants to get married anymore, it became obvious to me that this guy’s major strength was the very thing he’d been trying to avoid. Relationships. Communication. He’s actually very masterful at it.

And so realizing his strength and starting to use it, things begin to change in his life. First, he gets grounded due to some new technology that allows the company to fire people via the internet. (not such a great idea). He strengthens his relationship with family and his love interest and his co-workers. Suddenly, life has meaning. All because external forces forced him to really realize his strengths.

It is this way with many people – not working or living in your strengths. Finding struggle at every turn. Not admitting that maybe the work you’re doing just isn’t for you. Making the changes necessary to “right” your life.

I’ve been making massive changes in my life lately to accommodate some big new ways to help you be more passionate and purposeful in your career. In order to go to the next level, I’ve had to say goodbye to certain things I thought I wanted, and really being honest about my own personal blueprint has helped me to shed the things that were not my strengths and find new ways to get things done.

There are 6 things that you need to address to be able to move to the next level. I’m going to be teaching you those 6 things in our upcoming Manifest Change Now! teleseminar series and helping you to find your own personal blueprint for success. It’s an uber-affordable series to help you be your passionate, purposeful self starting out this new decade.

I know many of you have been going through things that have seemed difficult lately. Isn’t it time to do something different?

10 myths about Schizophrenia

10 Myths About Schizophrenia

Of all the mental illnesses on the planet, few remain as heavily and tragically misunderstood as schizophrenia.Educating society on the true concepts, nuances, and machinations behind schizophrenia is the best way to ensure that its victims learn how to chip away at the symptoms and go on to lead full, enjoyable, and productive lives with the proper care and guidance from a mental health professional.

1. Schizophrenia involves multiple personalities.
One of the most prevailing misconceptions regarding schizophrenia revolves around confusing it with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Not only do they have very little in common, but they belong to entirely different classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision. DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, falls under the label of a dissociative disorder.

2. Schizophrenics are inherently dangerous people.
As with most mental illnesses, many people falsely adhere to the believe that all victims suffering from any such symptoms pose an immediate and non-negotiable threat to themselves and others. Schizophrenia is no different.
In reality, those with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders only comprise anywhere between 1% to 5% of violent crimes against other individuals. 10%, tragically, end up committing suicide – making those with schizophrenia more likely to stand as a danger to themselves rather than others. Many of them feel pushed to the brink of killing themselves due to extreme levels of marginalization and misunderstanding courtesy of mainstream society.

3. There is no reason for schizophrenics to receive psychotherapeutic treatment – they’ll just keep relapsing.
Treatment for schizophrenia usually involves psychosocial therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, self-help groups, family therapy, antipsychotic medications, or some combination thereof. By learning how to take control of their illness, schizophrenics may very well end up leading happy, productive lives once the proper blend of therapy and/or medication has been established.

4. Schizophrenics are generally too far gone to work, and the ones who can rarely rise above the menial level.
In reality, schizophrenics run the gamut from a complete inability to work to highly functioning in an impressively accomplished career. Nobel Prize-winning mathematician and academically esteemed professor at Princeton and MIT John Forbes Nash, Jr. battles paranoid schizophrenia, as does bestselling author Robert M. Pirsig. All individuals – regardless of their mental health status – possess an individualized aptitude and capability for certain jobs, and schizophrenics are no different than anyone else in that matter.

5. Schizophrenia is just a clinical term for a character defect.
Along with most other mental illnesses such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders, one of the most common misconceptions about schizophrenia revolves around its status as a personal flaw instead of a serious medical condition. Due to its inclusion in the DSM-IV, TR, an official diagnostic manual in the psychology community, schizophrenia and all its subtypes are considered something far more serious than a mere chip in an individual’s character. It is a mental illness and must be approached and treated as such by the doctors, friends, and family surrounding the afflicted.

6. Symptoms of schizophrenia are relatively homogeneous.
Because medical professionals recognize 5 different subtypes of the disorder (7 in Europe, the actual symptoms of schizophrenia remain far more diverse than many people think. All of them share at least 3 diagnostic criteria, with variances between the subtypes and some individuals. In order to be considered schizophrenic, a patient must display two or more of the following symptoms: auditory or visual hallucinations, delusions, a thought disorder, disorganized speech and behavior, catatonia, avolition, affective flattening, or alogia. He or she must also suffer from a social and/or career disruption, and all symptoms must persist for a minimum of 6 months. It must also be determined that the patient does not suffer from a mood disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, a medical condition or medication which may artificially create the symptoms in an otherwise psychologically stable individual, or chronic substance abuse.

7. Schizophrenia is an extremely rare disorder.
Approximately 1.1% of Americans over the age of 18 receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia every year. However, due to mainstream society shaming and stigmatizing the mentally ill and the psychotherapeutic avenues they need to get better, it is sadly possible that many more suffer from the disease and never seek out professional guidance. As with many mental health conflicts, schizophrenia remains entirely blind when it comes to gender, sexual/gender orientation, ethnicity, or nation of origin. Symptoms begin their onset between the ages of 16 and 30, with males developing them earlier than females and delusions generally appearing first.

8. The most defining characteristic of schizophrenia involves hearing voices in one’s head.
Thanks to media stereotyping, the most “iconic” (as it were element of schizophrenia involves auditory hallucinations. While they certainly one of the many possible diagnostic criteria of the illness, not all cases of schizophrenia involve the clich├ęd voices in the head. Typically, paranoid schizophrenics suffer the most frequently and the most intensely from auditory hallucinations. Other types may experience them, though in the cases where they are present it is typically more sporadic and significantly less severe. Schizophrenia encompasses a diverse set of symptoms – only few of which genuinely unite all 5 recognized subtypes in the United States, and auditory hallucinations do not even stand among them.

9. A schizophrenic may only undergo rehabilitation upon attaining stability.
Once an individual has received a formal diagnosis of schizophrenia, rehabilitation must begin immediately in order to infuse him or her with all the tools necessary for the simultaneously most effective and swift method of treatment. Waiting too long for a patient to achieve stability prior to initiating the rehabilitation process may mean the difference between a recovery and merely doing better. Blending rehab with psychotherapy has proven a far more successful method of treatment than stabilizing the patient first.

10. Schizophrenics have to be medicated for the rest of their lives.
For schizophrenia patients who find a psychotherapy and medication regimen that efficiently quells their symptoms, the recovery rate remains startlingly high. Some professionals estimate between 25% and 50% of the schizophrenic population cease to display signs of the disorder upon responsible long-term cessation of their medications. However, whether or not they achieve a full recovery hinges on a number of different factors. First, a suitable combination of one or more types of therapy as well as medication must be found. Second, the victim must never waiver on taking medication as directed. With some antipsychotic medications, symptoms may disappear within days of beginning – but just because they seem gone does not mean they have completely disappeared. The patient absolutely needs to stick with his or her doctor’s orders, as the medications used to treat schizophrenia are highly volatile and may cause irreparable physiological damage if abused. Third, once the schizophrenic and his or her doctor determine that the time is right to end medicated treatment, it must be done so with progressively smaller doses over time.

Suzanne Smith
For further and detailed information visit

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How to Identify the Threat of Suicide

How to Identify the Threat of Suicide

The death of a loved one is hard to handle even in the best of circumstances, but when it comes in the form of a suicide, you find yourself with questions that you have no answers to. You rant at God when a loved one is taken from you by an accident or an illness or in any other unnatural way, but who can you rave at when you don’t understand why your loved one wanted to take their life? While we have no control over accidental death, suicide is preventable if you are perceptive and know how to read the signs. If you think a loved one is prone to suicidal tendencies, here’s how you can identify the threat and get them help before it’s too late:

* Take what they say seriously: People who intend to commit suicide tend to tell others in some way or the other of their decision. At times it could be that they want someone to stop them; at others, it could slip out inadvertently. Whatever the reason and method they use to tell you, be observant and pay attention when you know that a loved one is depressed, moody and/or not behaving as they do normally.
* Monitor them closely: It may be difficult to monitor them continuously, but you must try your best if you want to save their life. Get other friends and family members to help you out in your endeavor, and at the slightest threat of self-inflicted violence, get them to seek professional help.
* Talk to them: Some people just need someone to talk to; once they get some support and encouragement, they feel better and the suicidal tendency goes away. The feeling of despondency lasts only as long as they feel alone and lonely. So spend some time getting them to open up and tell you what’s wrong or what they think is wrong with their lives.
* Get them professional help: Coax, cajole or just plain trick them into seeing a qualified professional. If they suffer from some mental affliction that is more than just mere depression, the right medication could do wonders to improve their mood and disposition. Also, if they’re really suicidal, you would be saving their life by getting them to see a psychiatrist or equally qualified medical professional.

Even if you’re not sure about the intentions of your loved one, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So if you so much as suspect the threat of suicide, get them professional help and don’t leave them alone for any amount of time. There’s no use regretting their death or feeling guilty after it has happened, so be prepared and prevent the suicide from happening.


This post is written by Susan White, who writes on the topic of Becoming a Radiologist Technician .
She welcomes your comments at her email id:

Important Philosophy on Life

When things in your life seem, Almost too much to handle, When 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
Remember the story of the empty jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students, If the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.

He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open Areas between the golf balls.
He then asked The students again If the jar was full..

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced Two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents Into the jar, effectively
Filling the Empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, As the laughter subsided,
'I want you to recognize that This jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions – things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained, Your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter Like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else -- The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' He continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Don’t be under impression that u don’t have time, u have to manage time that is the key for your success.


Pay attention to the things That are critical to your happiness.
talk to your friends.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time
To clean the house and fix the disposal.

'Take care of the golf balls first -- The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.
'I'm glad you asked'.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.