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Saturday, November 13, 2010

GenNext is not ALL About the Moolah, Times of India, 14th Nov, 2010

GenNext is not all about moolah
TNN, Nov 14, 2010, 01.44am IST

India's urban whiz kids may be quite different in reality from the picture many of us may have of spoilt brats who spend hours on the internet and the rest of their time splurging on movies and the like. They may also not be as money-obsessed in their career aspirations as they are often made out to be.

A survey of 10,000 children from classes VIII to XII or ages 12 to 18 spread across 11 cities in India has found that over 60% spend on average less than an hour a day on the net and 83% get less than Rs 1,000 a month as pocket money, about two-thirds getting less than Rs 500.

Interestingly, when it comes to career aspirations, the thing most kids wanted from their jobs was new skills, followed by an interesting workplace. A good salary came third in the list of considerations they had. So much for the much-lamented materialism of the new generation.

The choice of careers too is quite different from a generation ago. While IT and engineering were cited among the choices by about 80%, what was revealing was that medicine (39%) is now way down in the pecking order, below even government service (46%). The third preference is media & entertainment (64%).

A survey of 10,000 children from classes VIII to XII or ages 12 to 18 spread across 11 cities in India has found that the kids may not be as money-obsessed in their career aspirations as they are often made out to be. Over 60% spend on average less than an hour a day on the net and 83% get less than Rs 1,000 a month as pocket money, about two-thirds getting less than Rs 500.

The survey was conducted among children predominantly from English-medium schools in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Coimbatore and Bhubaneswar. It was conducted by TCS among those who participate in its IT Wiz quiz contest every year. To that extent, the survey reflects a particular kind of child, but the trends do perhaps tell us something about the bigger picture.

What was particularly interesting in the survey findings was the fact that the responses from those from the relatively smaller cities were almost identical to those from the bigger metros.

Over two-thirds of the students said they would like to go abroad to study at some point and here the figure (74%) was significantly higher for the mini-metros than for the metros (66%), a pointer to the growing aspirations in the smaller cities. Also, while a generation ago, most would have thought of doing their post-graduation abroad, now a majority want to do their graduation or even their high school abroad.

While the home remains the primary point of access for the internet, cyber cafes and mobile phones too are used for getting on to the net by over 50% in each case. Not surprisingly, 85% say they are on some social networking site or the other, the vast majority naming several.

As you would expect of students of this profile, about four-fifths have computers at home as well as mobile phones, but what might be less obvious is the finding that almost two-thirds also have a digital camera and an iPod or other digital music player. For those fond of stereotypes, here is one that finally seems to be true: GenNext is indeed as gizmo-crazy as all have believed it is.

Read more: GenNext is not all about moolah - The Times of India

Friday, November 12, 2010

Juice up your health

Can a fruit juice cure YOUR health problems as scientists discover beetroot juice can protect against dementia?

Pomegranate for prostate cancer, cranberry for urinary infections: The ultimate good juice guide
We all know that fruit juice is generally good for you. But every day it seems scientists are discovering new benefits for specific illnesses.

Yesterday, U.S. researchers revealed that beetroot juice can help keep dementia at bay, as it contains nitrate, which helps open blood vessels, boosting blood supply to the brain.
So, what ailments can other popular juices help to treat? Here, PETA BEE presents the ultimate good juice guide.

But a word of warning: while a couple of glasses can be good for you, too much can be bad for your teeth - and waistline...

How it works: Pomegranate contains a cocktail of chemicals which appear to reduce cell damage and potentially kill off cancer cells, according to scientists at the University of ­California.
They asked 50 men with prostate cancer to have a glass (0.24 litres) of the juice daily. They then kept track of the men’s levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein linked to prostate cancer.
Usually cancer patients’ levels double in about 15 months, but in patients who drank pomegranate juice it took an average of 54 months for their PSA levels to rise.
Also good for: Fighting heart disease and lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol — antioxidants in pomegranate juice may help reduce the formation of fatty deposits on artery walls. (Antioxidants are compounds which help to destroy free radicals, harmful molecules produced by the body and environment and which are linked to a range of diseases, including cancer.)
It is always best to have fresh juice where ­possible, but if not, go for pasteurised over ­concentrates which can be packed with sugar.
Recommended brand: Rubican Pomegranate Juice Drink, £1.49 per litre from good supermarkets
How it works: By aiding more efficient metabolism of sugars, it can be a useful aid to weight-loss programmes. A U.S. study looked at the benefits of grapefruit by dividing 100 obese people into three groups: one group was given half a grapefruit before each meal, another had a glass of grapefruit juice, while the remaining third had no grapefruit.

After 12 weeks, those eating grapefruit had lost an average of 3.6lb and those drinking grapefruit juice lost an average of 3.3lb. But those in the control group who consumed no grapefruit lost only an average of 0.5lb.
Also good for: Enhances the body’s absorption of coQ10, an energy compound vital to our cells. Boosts the anti-cancer effect of certain drugs (but can adversely interfere with other medication, so check with your doctor first).
Recommended Brand: Prince Grapefruit Juice, £1.39 for 1 Litre, and Tropicana 100pc Squeezed Grapefruit Juice, £1.94 for 1 litre from good supermarkets.

How it works: A study conducted this year showed that cranberry juice prevents the growth of the bacteria E.Coli, the most common cause of urinary infections.

Researchers who presented their findings to the American Chemical Society showed that within eight hours of drinking a glass of cranberry juice, the juice could help prevent bacteria from developing into an infection in the urinary tract.
However, contrary to popular belief, the juice will not treat cystitis if the infection has already occurred ­— indeed, because it is acidic it can actually exacerbate the discomfort.
Also good for: Raising the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol through high levels of polyphenols, the antioxidants in the fruit; reducing the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers (because of anti-bacterial benefits).
Recommended Brand: Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic Juice Drink, £1.17per litre from good supermarkets.
How it works: Drinking apple juice maintains your levels of a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which is vital for memory and brain health (low levels are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease), according to a U.S. study.

Although the research was conducted on mice, researchers suggest that two glasses (500ml in total) of apple juice a day could have similar benefits in adults,
Also good for: Aids digestion and healthy bowel function thanks to its high fibre content. Might also help to lower cholesterol.
Recommended Brand: Copella Apple Juice, £1.08 for 330ml from Tesco and other supermarkets.
How it works: Recent studies at Northumbria University have shown that runners who drank the juice of Montmorency cherries — a tart-tasting fruit that is particularly rich in antioxidants — twice a day for five days before the London Marathon recovered much more quickly and experienced less muscle pain than those who didn’t.
In addition, cherry juice can help ease the agony of gout by helping the body to excrete the uric acid linked to the painful joint condition.
Also good for: Drinking a glass of cherry juice a day offers the same health benefits as eating 23 portions of fruit and vegetables, one study found. A 250ml serving of the juice contained more antioxidants than five portions of peas, tomatoes, watermelon, carrots and banana.
Recommended Brand: CherryActive concentrated juice (add water) £14.49 for 473ml from Holland & Barrett, and Vimto Cherry Juice, £1.20 for 725ml from Tesco.
How it works: Orange juice contains an antioxidant called hesperidin, which improves blood vessel function, helping to cut your risk of heart disease.
U.S. researchers found that men who drank 500ml of orange juice (containing 292mg of hesperidin) daily had lower blood pressure than those who took an antioxidant supplement.
Also good for: Preventing kidney stones. It is known that supplements of citrate, a substance found in citrus juices, can help slow the formation of kidney stones, but some people find the acidic nature of the pills hard to tolerate. A daily glass of orange juice produces similar benefits.
Recommended Brand: Tropicana — their Smooth Orange Juice is £1.96 for 1 litre from all good supermarkets.
How it works: The enzyme bromelain, found in the flesh and juice of pineapples, helps the body digest proteins and aids digestion, but also has other major benefits.

When taken on an empty stomach, bromelain acts as an anti-inflammatory agent which has been shown to reduce arthritis joint pain and swelling. One study showed a combination of enzymes including bromelain may be a safe alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs for people with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Also good for: Helps ease symptoms of coughs and colds and thins the blood, although doctors are not yet clear why.
Recommended Brand: Del Monte Pure Gold Pineapple Juice, £1 for 1 litre from Tesco.
How it works: Acai juice, which is made from a berry found in South America, has been shown to have very high levels of antioxidants with even more than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry or blueberry. Studies by the University of Texas have found that drinking the juice daily can help prevent the development and spread of cancer cells.
Also good for: Aiding weight loss — it stabilises blood sugar levels, so preventing appetite swings.
Recommended Brand: The Berry Company Acai Juice, £1.75 for 330ml from Holland & Barrett.
How it works: A study by psychiatrists at the University of Cincinatti found that a daily drink of the juice improved patients’ memory significantly compared with a placebo. Experts think the grapes provide brain-boosting antioxidants.
Also good for: Lowers cholesterol and can be as effective as a daily aspirin in helping to prevent blood clots. The fruit contains higher levels of disease-fighting antioxidant compounds than red wine and apple juice according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Recommended Brand: Welch’s Purple Grape Juice, £1.80 for 1 litre from supermarkets.
How it works: Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow are among those who drink coconut water (taken from the centre of the fruit; coconut milk is made with the flesh) to speed up recovery after workouts.

Enthusiasts have dubbed it ‘nature’s sports drink’ because it contains everything you need — fluid for rehydration, carbohydrates for energy and electrolytes (or body salts) to replace what’s lost through sweat, but with only 46 calories per serving, and no fat.
Also good for: Offsetting hunger pangs by stabilising blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure thanks to its antioxidants.
Recommended Brand: VitaCoco 100pc Pure Coconut Water, £1.75 for 330ml from Holland & Barrett.
How it works: Researchers at Newcastle University isolated a compound in carrots that has been shown to fight cancer and found that rats fed either the compound, called falcarinol, or raw carrot juice in addition to their normal food had a one-third lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than rats not given the compound.

Falcarinol is a natural pesticide found in carrots that protects the vegetable against fungal diseases — in the human diet, carrots are its only source.
Also good for: Enhancing immunity (thanks to high levels of vitamin C), maintaining (but not improving) quality of vision (rich in vitamin A), aiding digestion (good source of fibre).
Recommended Brand: Eden Organic Carrot Juice, £1.97 for 750ml, Tesco.
How it works: Researchers have shown that lycopene, the substance that makes tomatoes red, is a great antioxident.
It has been scientifically proven to help protect skin from sun damage, perhaps by neutralising the harmful effects of UV light. In tests, people who ate more tomatoes had 33 per cent more ­protection from sunburn.

Also good for: Several studies have shown that a regular consumption of tomatoes — particularly processed, juiced or cooked — is linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Evidence is inconclusive, but Cancer Research UK says: ‘Many doctors believe the current evidence is promising enough to encourage men to eat more tomatoes.’
Recommended Brand: Popular brands include Dawtona Tomato Juice, 66p for 330ml.
How it works: Substances in blueberries may help keep the brain healthy, suggested a small study at the University of Cincinatti earlier this year.
Researchers looked at the effect of blueberry juice on memory in adults in their 70s who had age-related memory decline. Those who drank a pint of blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks performed significantly better in memory tests.
Also good for: Stabilising blood sugar levels, preventing food cravings that can lead to weight gain.
Recommended Brand: Pomegreat Blueberry Juice Drink, 99p for 1 litre from most supermarkets.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

As long as there is life, there's hope

Humans are by nature not a solitary but a social creature. Our social
nature makes us happier when we are in others' company, and less so
when confined in solitude. However, there are certain occasions, or
situations when we intentionally prefer to isolate ourselves from
others. While some isolation can awaken our creativity, others can do
just the opposite; depending on one's ability to manage the situation.

Throughout history, many great achievers from various fields tapped
their hidden potentials while in solitude. I am yet to see or learn
about a great man or woman who has not realised the importance of
solitude to the achievement of success. Even Jesus Christ, with his
divine nature, realised this fact, which was the reason he often
withdrew from everybody including his disciples before facing
difficult situations such as Satan's temptations in the wilderness,
and his arrest and his subsequent crucifixion.

All self-imposed solitudes do not arouse creativeness, because it is
not all self-isolated people that recognise the importance, and can
exploit the enormous potential of this element, to their benefit; even
some of those who understand its importance, might not have the
burning desire, and the discipline it requires to exploit it to their

Thus, quite often, isolation is very destructive instead of the
contrary, especially when negative emotions such as: fear, jealousy,
hatred, bitterness, revenge, greed, superstition, anger, bitterness
and self-blame or regret, frustration, and suspicion surround it.

Before going further, it is worth stating what 'Separation' here
means. The subject of this article refers to parting between two
lovers, either by divorce, in friendship or courting. It also concerns
separation by the death of a loved, or a closed one.

We're living in an era where separation is seen as the normal way of
life. Many people even believe that when there is a storm in a
relationship, it is better to leave instead of finding ways to remedy
the situation. Hence, either we have in one time or the other
experience this problem, or encounter those that are going through it,
of have gone through. Nobody is immune form separation from a loved
one. What is the connection between isolation and the subject of this
article, "Living Through Separation", you may wonder. The two relate
because isolation is one of the most common defence devices that
people that are going through separation often resort to. They usually
isolate themselves from their relatives, neighbours, friends, and
associates. Their solitary attitude could be attributed principally to
fear. They are often afraid of what people will say or think about
their negative emotions, because they assume that people will never
understand their feelings from their perspective.

Also they are often afr aid that people will blame them for the
collapse of their relationship. If you are passing through this
unfortunate period, and your intention is to live through it
successfully within the shortest time possible, isolation is the least
attitude that you need. Alternatively, all that you need most is the
profound comprehension of the facts governing your present experience,
and the best ammunitions to employ to combat the negative emotions


First, separation is a life-changing phenomenon. Once it occurs, your
life will change completely. It will change either positively or
negatively, depending on how you handle the situation. Regardless of
all the good intentions and efforts of your closed ones, if you
consciously or unconsciously refuse to sum-up yourself to create
happiness for yourself as soon as possible, all their efforts to help
you would be fruitless.

Creatively managed separation is a life transforming experience, for
it will awaken your latent potential. Separation will definitely bring
about life's enriching, learning experience, and personal growth. It
is important to underline here that, no matter how it happens, you
will never be the same, as it will make you stronger psychologically,
and sometimes, spiritually too, and it will make you wiser.

Third, separation as both learning and a self-awakening process could
enable you to understand yourself better; although sometimes the
process could be very painful. No matter how painful it might be, it
always has a silver lining, for it will enable you to realise both
your strengths and weaknesses, provided, at a given time, you analyse
the situation profoundly. Doing so enables you to uncover your
mistakes, and also to realise that some of your predicaments may have
been self-inflicted. Thus, it will be possible for you to make the
necessary corrections or adjustments in your subsequent relationship,
or relationships.

Fourth, having negative emotions during the process of separation is
quite normal, desirable, and even a healthy experience. Negative
emotions such as anger and bitterness, frustration, self-blame or the
feeling of guilt and fear are parts of grief's healing process.
However, they only become very destructive if you allow them to
dominate your thoughts, and harbouring them for a very long time. In
order words, the more you master them, and get rid of them as quickly
as possible, the easier and sooner you would pass through the agony

Furthermore, even if you were the cause of the collapse of your
relationship, living forever with that guilt can be very detrimental
to both your health and to your chances of overcoming the situation
successfully. One of the easiest and direct remedies to the feeling of
guilt, which could be the best thing you can do for yourself, is to
look for a person that you can trust, who is very understanding,
affectionate, and should have great patience, a good listener, and
should be capable of encouraging you to talk freely. Consequently, you
will be relieved of the heaviness in your mind; thereby getting over
the negative emotions easily and quicker. Later, the person should
remind you of all your strengths, and the reasons why you should not
allow your guilty feeling to enslave you.

Besides, allowing guilt to engulf you is an indication of your
inability to recognise the fact that no matter how intelligent and
wise one may seem, he or she is not immune from making mistakes. Life
of absolute perfection is not human, but supernatural, and nobody is a
superhuman. All that counts most is your ability to accept your
mistakes, correct them when necessary, and learn from them, and move
on with your life.

Again, it is baseless and unhelpful to be suspicious of everybody
around you when grieving separation. It is baseless because among
those around you, there are certainly those who really love and care
for you. So it is advisable to find them out, lean on them, and trust
them to help you retrieve both happiness and an inspiration, to
victoriously overcome your difficult situation.

Human nature impels us to directly or indirectly seek comfort and
support from others when we are confronting huddles of life. Under
normal circumstances, people like to help those who are open to them,
and would be receptive to their kindness. Suspicion does not only
repel people, it also wounds their feelings towards us, thereby making
it difficult, and if not impossible for them to help us when we need
their help.


Anger and bitterness as effects of separation is an indication of your
protest against your sad and lamentable experience. It is a normal,
and a necessary ingredient to the healing of your grief.

The first method of handling your anger is to talk about it as many
times as possible. This requires identifying a relative, neighbour,
friend, or associate whom you love and admire, who can understand and
respect your feeling, and encourage you to offload your bitterness by
having the patience to listen to you.

The second strategy is the easiest, and one of the most effective, yet
usually ignored. It entails putting all the reasons for your anger and
bitterness into black and white. Whenever any negative feelings spring
up, all you need to do is to pick up a pen and a paper, and write a
letter as if you are writing-pouring your heart out to your
ex-partner. Feel free to state all the reasons for your anger, and how
it has affected you. Doing this as many times as possible, and tearing
or burning them afterwards, is you so wish, will relief you

How do you feel whenever you are offended and you burst out before
your offender, pouring out all your anger to that person? I guess that
after your outburst, you are usually relieved and more relaxed. That
is exactly how you will feel after writing your letter of annoyance,
for you will have the sentiment of having talked directly to your

Another method is the one that most Therapists often use. It is known
as, "Beating the pillow". It is quite simple. It consists of locking
yourself in your bedroom, talking to your pillow-pouring out all your
anger and bitterness on it, and beating it as if your pillow is your
ex-partner. Feel free to shade tears if it comes, and continue this
process as long as necessary. After the episode, you will certainly
feel much better.

However, the ultimate solution to anger, and bitterness, regardless of
its cause is prayer-praying to the Almighty God, asking him to take
away all your anger and bitterness, and then give you peace of mind.
Perhaps you have never prayed, probably because you are not a
Believer. But that does not matter at all, because your Creator loves
and cares very much for you, irrespective of whom you are, and he is
everywhere, always listening to you. If you do not know how to pray,
simply praying using the following statement, believing with all your
heart that God will definitely grant your request will surely make a
difference. "Please God my Heavenly father, Creator of Heaven and
Earth and all therein, I ask you to forgive all my sins.

From today, I accept your son Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour,
and I invite him into my life. I pray that you fill me with you Holy
Spirit. I humbly ask you to take away all my anger and bitterness, and
replace it with joy and happiness that comes from you. I pray that you
give me the strength, wisdom, and all that I need, so that I can pass
through this situation successful, for your name to be glorified. In
Jesus mighty name I pray. Amen!" The easiest prayer is talking to God
as if he is your earthly father, and he is just beside you. Feel very
free to pour out all your agony to him. He is actually beside you, and
listening to you, and will definitely respond to your lamentation.


When relationships end, people often blame themselves for the failure.
While some guilt may be genuine; others are baseless. Your guilt is
genuine if you had knowingly or unknowingly contributed to your
separation. If the contrary is the case, then yours is unrealistic. A
lot has been written already about this subject; here our attention
would be focused on other ways of overcoming this poisonous feeling.

Quite often, when we hurt somebody, even if the victim of our action
has forgiven us, we sometimes find it difficulty to forgive ourselves.
This can sometimes apply when we hurt ourselves. Naturally, all the
inflicted wounds cannot heal while we are still torturing ourselves
with guilt and self-blame. Most unfortunately, an inability to
forgive-either others or ourselves can be very detrimental to the
realisation of our dreams and aspirations, because lack of forgiveness
brings about hatred, and the latter gives rise to negative thoughts,
which is one of the negative emotions, which obstructs imagination.
Thus, aspirations and creativity will fly away beyond grasp.

Forgiveness involves both attitude and action. If you find it
difficult to forgive yourself, just recall that you are just human,
and are subject to making mistakes. Each time you commit an error, if
you are to live with that guilt, it means, you only will live to think
about guilt and self-blame.

The easiest strategy to apply to forgive yourself for your mistakes
and shortcomings is to talk to yourself. When somebody offends you and
you wish to reconcile, what do you normally do? I guess you usually
create room for a dialogue with that person. Do the same with
yourself; state clearly the reasons why you have to forgive yourself.
You can even speak audibly. On doing this regularly, you will be very
astonished to realise how relieved you will feel.

The second principle for handling guilt is to listen and heed to the
advice of your loved ones whose opinions you cherish. Usually, their
advice and actions would be based on their sincere love for you. In
order words, their attitudes would be for your well-being.

The third technique has been mentioned already but deserves repeating
here. It is for you to recognise the existence of human limitations.
Whether you accept it or not, irrespective of how intelligent and wise
you may be, you are never, and will never be perfect in all your words
and actions. Hence, you are bound to be making mistakes. The most
important thing is that, each time it occurs, you have to analyse it,
correct it if possible, and look forward to the future.


One of the main reasons people are devastated during separation is
because they often re-picture all the wonderful moments together, and
are afraid that such opportunities will never come their way again. Is
this fear usually realistic? Fortunately, the answer is no, for what
awaits them in the future might even be better than that of the past.

The second question that is rarely asked is, in our relationships, do
we only have fantastic times? Like the first question, the answer is
no because sometimes, the black moments might have been very
dark-some, very dark indeed. Quite often, the negative moments-though
in some relationships appears less frequently than the good ones, but
when surfaced, are very distressful.

Consequently, during separation-separations that are beyond retrieval,
if people can pause a second, instead of concentrating their energy to
remember the good times, they ponder over the bad moments, the
situation would be less heartbreaking. I know that many people would
disagree with me, for they will think that it would worsen the
situation. I do not share their opinion because thinking of the bad
moments, and seeing the separation as a liberating opportunity-in some
cases they are, will surely give the feeling of relief and optimism.
Hence, instead of fear, anger and bitterness, there will be the
feeling of liberation and that of hope for the future.


As previously stated, among other things, self-isolation and neglect
generally characterised the period of separation. Very regrettably,
this can intensify our negative feelings about the dilemma, prolong
the period of suffering, and worsen the effects of the predicament.
Conversely, the yoke of the torment of separation can be broken if the
opposite attitude is adopted. In the deplorable circumstance that
might confront us, which is not always easy, with determination, it is
quite possible to overcome the trauma of this phenomenon, if the
importance of the self-caring activities is realised. Below are some
of the self-caring activities.
1. The company of good, sensitive, and caring friends-with their
discussions and advises, you can be comforted and thereby be relieved
from the negative emotions.
2. Joining a group that relates to your passion could be relaxing;
consequently, relieve you of your distress.
3. Join divorce's group, if there is one in your neighbourhood,
because listening to others' experiences could make you to see things
differently. You might even realise that your situation is better than
most others. This discovery can give you a great relief. Besides, some
advises given by the group could be priceless.
4. If you are a Christian, attending church's services regularly and
participating in church's activities can be very advantageous, because
you are likely to meet somebody who will take interest in you and in
your problem, or somebody who have gone through your experience. With
his or her advice and concern, you will realise that, there is
somebody who cares for you. This has a tremendous positive effect on
your emotion. Among other things, church fellowship is to support each
member, providing moral, material, and spiritual help whenever
5. During separation, with anger and bitterness, guilt and self-blame,
frustration, fear, and other consequences mentioned previously, a lot
of energy is consumed. The replenishing of this lost energy is very
necessary. Hence, it is important for you to recognise that eating
food of high nutritional values will enable you to achieve this
objective, thereby making you to feel better. Conversely, inadequate
or improper nourishment can intensify your emotional stress. Quite
often, people undergoing separation lost appetite. If this is your
case, just force yourself to eat, and eat well.


Birds sing of the glory, faithfulness, and the greatness of God. Ocean
Flowers smile, expressing their joy and excitement for God's majesty
and limitless love. All creatures-both great and small, except mankind
express God's supremacy and care in one way or the other.
Surprisingly, human is the only creature whose focus is directed only
to their negative perspective.
Generally, more than ninety per cent of our daily needs are granted.
Very astonishingly, we often ignore this, but concentrate our thoughts
and emotions on less than ten per cent that we lack. Does this not
indicate our ungratefulness to God? I think it does; for, considering
all that God has done for us, we suppose to always be happy and
grateful for his generosity.

This also applies to your present condition. As much as I acknowledge
the importance of a successful relationship to your life, I equally
believe that there are other spheres of your life that God has blessed
you enormously. These areas among others include: your children, your
loved ones, your career, your daily needs, and most importantly, your

Do you realise that as you are reading these lines, there are hundreds
of thousands of people in your country who are struggling with serious
sicknesses, if not death? There is equally innumerable number of
people who are anxiously praying for just some of the things that God
has blessed you with. Do you think that you are better than them? If
your answer is yes, I doubt that very much, except if you can say what
you have done to deserve it.

All that you have, or are, God graciously give them to you, or make
you who you are. As you are encountering this difficult period, or any
other, just purse a second and think of everything that God has
graciously blessed you with. Do not forget that, as long as there is
life, there is always hope. So, before you allow the distress of
separation to suppress you, and kill your dreams, just count all your
blessings, and your blessing will abound. God bless you!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Samaritans Befrienders York conference summary by Melanie, regional co-ord south asia

The York Conference.-23rd – 26th September 2010.

York is a beautiful city and the University of York is set in a picturesque part of its suburb with lakes and sprawling parklands amidst impressive buildings of the University. The organizers of the conference had seen to every detail of the 3 day conference and each delegate was accorded a very warm welcome. The accommodation provided was clean and comfortable with more than adequate heating and hot water. Liz and some of the members of the BW steering group were there to welcome me with hugs! As prearranged we met at a hall to discuss matters pertaining to BW and the way forward. It was lovely meeting up with all ten members and Vija. I was delighted to meet the out going south Asia coordinator, Mallika who had helped me no end during these past months. She is a lively bubbly person who calls a spade a spade and I felt as if I had known her all my life. She has that effect on people.
Over a thousand delegates and invitees from 300 branches worldwide were present making the event a memorable one.
The international training team gave an informal presentation to what we could expect from the Training Event scheduled for the whole of the next day. Meeting volunteers from different countries and different cultures and colours was an experience in itself. The presentation was lively and fun with the team distributing mini musical instruments of every kind and hue and the noise we made was certainly not harmonious!
The training event proper got underway on Friday 24th. The theme chosen for the event was ‘Recruitment and Retention of volunteers’. The selected resource materials were from a range of BW centres. ‘It offered a mix of materials and some extracts from ideas gathered from around the world.’
The contribution from Mawanella branch for this event sent to the head office compiled by Hema and Anula was very beneficial and was chosen as the contribution from Sri Lanka. We thank Hema and Anula for their hard work and job well done and all other centres that sent in their well prepared contributions as well. The contribution from the Indian centres for ‘Retention Material’ was selected from Pondicherry Maitreyi centre. I found the lay out original and easy to retain. I have requested for the material used for this programme and hope to get it soon to share amongst all the branches. Sabrina and Brian from Colombo attended the conference as well and we thoroughly enjoyed this programme conducted by trainers from 4 BW countries who made it interesting, absorbing and fun.
That evening at 8pm was the opening of the plenary in the central hall. To see this massive hall packed to its capacity with volunteers from around the world was something I would never forget. All the more relevant as we got into conversation with total strangers who spoke the ‘same language’ felt awesome. To feel akin to the hundreds around you is a feeling I had never felt before. Then Sophie Andrews, Chair of Samaritans welcomed us to this 50th Annual conference in York. The key note address was given so convincingly by Simon Weston who shared his personal story ‘soldiering on’. A story of how he overcame the tremendous trauma of being severely burned and yet with his face disfigured beyond recognition he strove on with the Samaritans playing a major role to come out of his dilemma to conquer the raging battle inside whether to end his life or not.
Sunday 25th- the second plenary began with Sophie speaking on ‘Caller Care, the challenge of making ourselves relevant and accessible’ to say she had a certain presence is putting it mildly. She was my favorite speaker. She could turn any subject she spoke on, into one so inspiring with dots of humour along the way! The rest of the conference continued with seminars held at different venues in the vast and beautifully laid out grounds. One set of seminars featured the experiences and opinions of past and current callers and another on the big projects underway that will help respond to callers more effectively. By far the most soul searching seminar was related by Sophie on her own horrific life where she was sexually abused by her foster father from the time she reached puberty. Her book ‘Scarred’ gives us volunteers an insight into the despair a child feels when faced with this unimaginable horror. There again the Samaritans played a pivotal role in rebuilding her distraught life into one with a will to live on. At the point when Sophie felt that death was the only way out a Samaritan telephone number pasted on a call box turned out to be her redeemer in the way of a ‘soft kindly voice asking her if she would like to come and meet them?’ This caring voice turned her world completely as she became a caller at Samaritans. Today Sophie is the Chair of Samaritans. Can we remind ourselves again to the importance of the tone of voice we use when speaking to our callers? What would have happened to her if the volunteer at the end of the line sounded uncaring?
Another moving story was ‘Michael’s story’- a powerful insight into the loss of a child and how Samaritans helped to cope with the pain and to gradually find the will to move on.
5.30pm. the atmosphere around the exhibition stands was like a Sunday Pola! (market place) there were about 30 stalls manned by Samaritan branches. I was especially interested in reading the booklets on ‘the internet and children- What’s the problem?’ ‘What we all need to know to ‘protect our children from sexual abuse. ‘What is self harm?’ ‘Common misconceptions on this subject.’ Other stalls had colorful photographs depicting various fund raisers, ‘Walk for Samaritans’ and ideas on how to get funding for Samaritans. I have left the best for last! The International stall taking centre stage which was handled with friendly efficiency by Joan our out going twinning coordinator and her husband Tony. Our grateful thanks expressed to Anura for delivering yet another gorgeous Ceylon stone bracelet and the equally gorgeous pearl necklace from the Indian centres to be part of the annual raffle draw. Our warmest thanks to Lilamani for the generous gift of specially designed canisters of tea which sold like hot cakes! A most attractive display of handy crafts and other gifts that soon caught the eye of other volunteers were given by our international BW members. The funds collected goes towards the granting of bursaries at the York conference for our BW members when ever possible. The incoming twinning coordinator, Les Rowley is as helpful and friendly as Joan and we look forward to working together.
Sunday 26th –The final day of the conference. By which time we had made so many friends. Exchanged email addresses, telephone numbers and invitations to visit the respective countries! I followed another work shop that said ‘I hate role plays’ I was intrigued and interested to know what option there was to role plays. After the initial introduction we had to get into threes and one took the role of the befriender, the second the PV and the third the observer. It was simple really. Instead of a PV and the befriender having to act a given scenario (which at times is disturbing for a PV and hard to remember all the facts on the paper for the befriender) we acted a real life scenario. In this instance the PV spoke of the experiences at York and how it affected his/her personal life and the befriender listened and discussed other relevant details making it very real and easy to relate to. We could discuss this with our trainers and perhaps try it out at our next PV intake.
Interaction at meal time was a good ice breaker and conversations floored while enjoying the excellent food provided and served by the staff at every sitting. We were grateful to our past participants for having warned us of the bitterly cold winds that seem to pierce our ears and freeze our bodies. Wearing layers of warm clothing did not suffice and we soon realized that running to our meetings or seminars was the best remedy to fight the cold weather! That may be the reason we managed to drop the kilos collected at meal time and coffee breaks!!
The closing plenary ‘Something inside so strong’ delivered again by Sophie Andrews where she stressed on the strong feelings we each have to go forward but to be aware of becoming so familiar with our befriending that it sometimes become robotic! To explain this more clearly she and two other volunteers gave an excellent demonstration on ‘leader speaking to a volunteer who was worried if she had done a good befriending’. ‘Volunteer befriending a distressed caller’. ‘Volunteer befriending a telephone caller.’
We were given a true insight as to what a conversation feels like devoid of feelings and care. It was hilarious and the thousand three hundred delegates roared with laughter. Sophie expressed her thanks to each Samaritan in the UK and Ireland for their commitment. She made special mention of the close relationship Samaritans have with BW and she thanked all the volunteers spread all over the world for their contribution and encouraged us to continue befriending those in need.

how to prevent depression related suicide, Rachel Davis

How to Prevent Depression Related Suicide
There’s not much distance between sadness and depression; the former can so easily turn into the latter if feelings of neglect, loneliness and despair are overwhelming and uncontrollable. And depression could induce suicidal thoughts even in people who would otherwise never consider taking their own lives. Suicide is the result of either a split second decision or a single thought that plagues the mind for days together – either way, it can be prevented if people around are alert and aware of the torment going through the depressed person’s mind. If a close friend or family member seems depressed for days together, it’s time to step in and pull them out of this rut before it’s too late and there are regrets all around. You can do this in many ways:
• Point out to them the many reasons they have to cheer up: No matter how bad life seems, no matter how hopeless the picture looks, there’s always a silver lining on the horizon. Open their eyes to all that is good in their lives and make them understand that they have much going for them; this helps them look on the bright side and prevents the development of suicidal tendencies.
• Help them stay active: An idle mind is definitely the devil’s workshop – it gives rise to negative feelings and emotions that torture you and plague your body and soul. The best way to avoid negativity and beat depression is to encourage them to stay busy and continue with daily life. When you take their mind off the reason for their depression, they get better soon.
• Make them laugh: It’s true that laughter is the best medicine for a panacea of ills; take them out to a comedy club or a humorous movie, or just watch favorite sitcoms on television till a smile or two creeps out of the dark depression. When you find laughter, you banish depression for good.
• Show them that people care: Most people who are suicidal get that way because they assume that no one gives a damn about them and that people don’t care at all. Show them that this assumption is false by encouraging friends and family members to spend time with them.
• Explain to them that this situation is temporary: Probably the wisest words I’ve ever heard are “This too shall pass” – it helps you put things in perspective and realize that good or bad, nothing is permanent. Situations come and go, and unless we learn to go with the flow, we’re the ones going to suffer physically and emotionally.
• Get them to exercise: Working out is one of the best ways to beat the blues and start feeling good about yourself, physically and mentally. So drag them out of the house and into the gym or the park – if they’re regular exercisers, this should be easy enough; if they’re not, start with long walks in the fresh air and move on to playing a sport that they enjoy.
• Find ways to cheer them up: Get them out of the house and show them a good time; very often, all it takes to beat depression is one single fun episode, so do what it takes to get them to cheer up.
• If necessary, get them professional help: And finally, if nothing else seems viable, get them to see a qualified psychiatrist. Professional therapy can help them get rid of feelings of depression and find meaning in their lives.

This guest post is contributed by Rachel Davis, she writes on the topic of
Radiology programs .
She welcomes your comments at her email id: racheldavis65[@]gmail[.]com.