Celebrate International Day of Happiness and Spread Joy

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It is International Day of Happiness, the feeling of happiness brings joy, and people look best when they smile and laugh. Everybody wants to be happy, but there are those who are not satisfied. It is true that life is full of challenges, and it is not possible to remain happy at all times. There is however a need to reach out and show appreciation.

Along with attaining inner peace and happiness it is important to spread joy and not hurt and criticism, because we live in a world where nobody is perfect. There are negative happenings in the world with a lot of crime, bullying and criticism. This is true even considering the fact that humans are social beings.

It is important to remember that being happy makes you a healthier person, let us explore.

Happiness gives you a good immune system:

It reduces risk of chest infections and cold, in an experiment conducted with more than three hundred healthy individuals, the result showed happier people are less likely to contract cold compared to the extremely unhappy ones. The result also showed the chances of infecting a cold in unhappy people is three times higher than happy people. Scientists have also discovered that happier people have stronger antibody response.

Improved lifestyle:

Happy people are more prone to eating healthy foods such as vegetables, whole grain and fruits, and they have more energy for regular physical activity.

Reduced stress:

When a person is extremely stressed there is an increase in hormone cortisol and it contributes to high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, weight gain and irregular sleep. An experiment was conducted in more than 200 adults on how being happy can fight stress. The result showed 32% of individuals who were happy had lesser levels of stress hormone cortisol.

Extended longevity:

If you want to live a long and productive life, find ways to be happy, studies have shown unhappier people have 14% chances of short life compared to happy people.

Good for heart health:

Being happy is good for the heart and blood pressure, in a study conducted in more than 6,500 people above 65 years of age, the result showed those who are happy had 9% reduced risk of blood pressure. Happy people are 13 to 26 percent less prone to suffer from heart disease.

There are health benefits from being happy, but yet there are many cases of depression. There are over 300 million individuals who have depression, a rise of over 18 percent between the years of 2005 and 2015. It is essential to help one another and make each other feel comfortable.

The significance of International Day of Happiness is to spread joy, kindness and laughter and this can be done by helping one another. Think about how as a society we can eliminate hurting and criticizing other people for no reason.

On International Day of Happiness let us think of spreading cheer and joy, not just on this day but on all days.

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Togetherness in the classroom and beyond

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The concept of team work should be well understood from a young age, there should be a sense of inclusion. Everyone should be treated equally and there should be emphasis on understanding different kinds of people. From the school environment to work atmosphere, there is the experience of meeting various kinds of people.

A topic that needs to be discussed is how people at school and university adapt to their surroundings and school bullying is a concern. It is a kind of bullying that exists in an educational setting. It is an aggression shown by students to harm another person. It affects the mental and physical well-being of the victim, and to really understand what bullying is all about, there are categories in which it is classified, let us explore.

Physical bullying:

Here the perpetrator will use physical means such as kicking, hitting and sending out violence threats.

Cyber bullying:

This involves teasing and sending threat messages via electronic means through social media, phone, chat or email. It is not easy to identify the perpetrator because they can pose as anonymous or use other accounts to hack the victim’s account.

Relational aggression:

Here the perpetrator will resort to gossip, start a rumor or exclude someone from a group.

School bullying is a serious matter, 70.6% of young people have said that they have been bullied and 70.4% of school staff have witnessed bullying. The impact of bullying can result in the victim suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorder, substance abuse and other mental health disorders such as social anxiety and anti-social personality disorder. The victim can also resort to self-harm, and they do not perform well in academics.

What can be done to prevent bullying?

From a young age students should be taught about inclusion about respecting and appreciating different cultures and ethnicity. They should be taught to not discriminate based on color, gender and religion.

They should be taught to understand the importance of team work from a young age and how to identify various kinds of personalities. They should be given training on how to respect one another and not differentiate based on learning abilities and physical appearance.

School teachers and counselors should educate students on understanding sexuality and they should be taught to respect the LGBT community. A topic on gender equality should be introduced as well.

Students who are newly introduced to electronic means will be intrigued and curious, and teachers  and school counselors should educate them on the harmful effects of cyber bullying and what a serious crime it is.

It is essential for teachers and school counselor to evaluate the family background of students. There is possibility that a student will have a parent who has committed a crime, and he/she is prone to bully other students. School counselors should intervene with parents and student and stress on the importance of good behavior. Such students should not be excluded.

In a classroom there are different kinds of students from various backgrounds, some will be from normal families and others from broken families. Teachers and school counselors should educate students on how to treat everyone equally, show empathy and understand each other.

Counseling sessions should be conducted for everyone and also for students who have eating disorder and who abuse drugs and alcohol.

When the concept of bullying prevention and equality is taught at an early stage, students are likely to carry morals and good behavior attitudes with them that is needed in the workplace. Most importantly there will be better quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Women’s Day and demand equality

women powerIt is International Women’s day and how does it feel to be a woman? A representation of strength and femininity. A woman is an empowering figure of the modern world, and a powerful force in many spheres such as politics, fashion, technology, social work and so on. Below is the list of some of the powerful women across the globe. 

Sheryl Sandberg the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of Lean In Foundation.

Angela Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany since the year 2005. 

Christine Lagarde is a politician, lawyer and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since the 5th of July 2011.

Indra Nooyi is the Board of Director of Amazon. She is in the World’s 100 most powerful women list.

Isabelle Kocher is the COO of Engie a French multinational electric utility firm.

Miuccia Bianchi Prada is an eminent fashion designer of the well known brand Prada.

J.K Rowling is a highly acclaimed author.

Tarana Burke founded the Me Too Movement and she is a civil rights activist.

Women have been successful in multi-tasking, they are able to take care of toddlers and young children and still go to work and emerge on top of their game. Woman’s day is a day of celebration for women for being a nurturer, working professional and independent thinker. It is true that the approach towards women being successful has become positive in today’s times. However there are women related issues that need to be looked into and changes towards betterment is needed.

Difficulties faced by women even today:

Gender Inequality:

There are cases where gender inequality still exists, even in the 21st century, women are paid lesser than men. For every dollar a man earns in the U.S, women is paid only 78 cents.

Sexual and Reproductive health:

Abortion rights around the globe is an issue that needs immediate attention, Africa has the largest number of deaths caused from abortion. According to a recent study the maternal mortality rate caused from unsafe abortion worldwide is 8 to 18 percent. In the year 2014 the number of deaths from abortion is a whooping 22,500 to 44,000. There are countries where abortion is illegal and this is detrimental to the health of the mother. Also effective strategies are needed to eliminate period poverty and Female genital mutilation.

Girls’ education:

The World Bank is emphasizing on the importance of girls’ education and there are barriers preventing a female from enjoying and benefiting from the significance of education such as cultural norms and practices, violence and poor infrastructure. Women’s education will enable them to comprehend various aspects of life such as life skills and family planning resulting in healthier and well cared for children. Based on survey by UNESCO, around 130 million girls between 6 and 17 years of age drop out of school. Around 15 million primary school girls in sub Saharan Africa do not attend school.

To all women out there this is a day to celebrate and also ponder upon gender inequality and women related issues.

 

 

 

Fight test anxiety and feel victorious

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The exam season is a tense moment for parents and kids, especially during crucial years during class ten and class twelve. Everyone knows the exam period is a time of worry, but people do suffer from test anxiety. Parents and teachers do push children to study, and it is normal to feel anxious before an exam. However if the feeling of anxiety becomes extremely excessive, then the condition is called test anxiety. 

High expectations often result in test anxiety, parents dote on kids to get exceptional grades, and the school exerts a certain amount of pressure to maintain reputation. Even the bright children can feel nervous before an exam, before a sport tournament or before a stage performance. A person might look normal few days before the big exam day, but it is important for parents to talk to the child and find out if they are stressed about a particular subject, and watch out for these symptoms, feeling of faint, headache, rapid breathing, diarrhea and panic attack. If you notice symptoms of worry, panic and stress that is likely to be test anxiety then it is good to pay a visit to the psychiatrist.

There is a considerable amount of negative thoughts associated with test anxiety, the person tags the term ”I am not good enough” upon themselves resulting in lack of self-esteem, and there is a feeling of hopelessness and anger.

A student who is constantly scared of getting good grades will resort to behavioral coping mechanisms such as substance abuse and most commonly alcohol and prescription drug addiction. During an exam students with test anxiety barely remember the answer to questions which they were thoroughly prepared for before an exam, they blank out and have racing thoughts.

Test anxiety creates a toll on the physical and mental well-being and the main cause is the fear of failure, and the other reasons could be having constant fear of performance before exams that can result in not scoring to the level as expected and there is also a case of studying at the last minute.

The body has its own fighting mechanism to deal with stress before an exam, a hormone called adrenaline is released and this is called fight or flight response. Such a condition keeps the mind mentally alert helping an individual fight stress.

It is possible to fight test anxiety:

Tips for the parent:

In case of young children they prefer to play than study, hence in order to indulge them into the studying mode, tell them once they finish, it is time for fun activities such as music, going to the mall or anything that is enjoyable. Just do these activities teaching kids that life is all about learning and having a good time.

Find out your child’s interest and allow them to explore creativity, if they are into poetry or essay writing give them space to write, and praise them each time they emerge with a fantastic piece. If the child is passionate about buildings allow him/ her to design a room and show appreciation. This way they will feel more confident and less anxious to tackle an exam.

Tips for teachers and school counselor:

If you notice students who are stressed, speak to them and find out what is causing them to feel anxious. Evaluate their strengths, help them fight negative thoughts, and tell them they are extremely capable and should just enjoy the learning process.

There are students who are bullied by others and this affects their mental health. The constant realization of being unattractive and not good causes them to lack self-confidence and hence fear of performance. Counsel the student and tell them they are powerful members of the society.

Teachers and school counselors should check to see if a student has a problem with substance abuse and find ways to help them overcome the addiction. This way students will find more strength in enjoying studying and the learning process, with no room for guilt and shame.

Self-help tips:

Do not be too hard on yourself, even if you take time to learn it is fine, give yourself motivation and do your best. Remember to enjoy the learning process and think of it like watching an educational documentary.

If you enjoy group study do it, it can be fun.

It is important to be well prepared in advance before an examination, and while doing so think about what aspects of learning you enjoy and how you are going to utilize it in the future.

Anytime you feel tired take breaks in between, keep calm and then get back to studying. Tell yourself stress is not going to get the better of you.

Most importantly get good sleep for enhanced memory and concentration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quit nail biting for good

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Nail biting or onychophagia is a habit that is seen in children and adults, and people do it when they feel bored, stressed or lonely. It is considered to be a grooming disorder and pathological oral habit and a type of body focused repetitive behavior disorder. A person who bites nails will certainly not be comfortable with what they are doing, and they will feel guilty about it. If you notice anyone who bites their nails, it is essential to find out what is causing them to get into this habit, and find ways to offer care and support.

In most cases nail biting starts during childhood, and it stops in adulthood, but there are people who have not been able to stop biting their nails. There is no scientific proof to show that nail biting is genetic, but there is evidence that kids whose parents bite nails are more likely to get into the habit. This happens even when parents quit the habit before the child is born.

People bite their nails when in a crowd, and also while doing sedentary activities such as watching television, reading, listening to music, in a meeting and maybe even while eating alone. The main reason for nail biting is stress and there is tension involved in the process, the need to cope with a stressful situation.

Let us look at what might actually trigger the nail biting habit:

It is extreme stress that compels a person to bite their nails, and when they do it, they feel a sense of relief.

People do it when they experience itching or pain

Side effects:

Nail biting comes with side effects, there is a high risk of skin infection, it can result in dental problems, and there is a high susceptibility to suffer from cold and other infections that can transmit from the finger to the mouth.

Ways to beat the nail biting habit:

If you are feeling stressed about something, get into deep breathing, and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Read a book, listen to music or do anything you think is enjoyable, and while doing so train your mind to have positive thoughts, this way you are likely to not bite your nails.

If there is pain in the area around your nails wash it with warm water and use an antiseptic as per doctor’s instructions.

If you are angry about something, express yourself through writing, write your thoughts and figure out how to handle the situation. You can even get into sketching and artwork to showcase your feelings.

If your skin is dry use cream

It is essential to take care of your nails and finger, enjoy it, file it, and you can even benefit from a manicure and pedicure and feel good.

Nail art is a fun activity, you can indulge in it and have a great time.

Do not be too hard on yourself, gradually work on overcoming the nail biting habit and do not pay attention to criticism, and focus on self-determination and care.

 

 

 

Helping your child overcome thumb sucking

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Thumb sucking is a normal activity for infants and they do it when they are tired, upset or bored. This habit is common at the toddler stage, but once a child attends pre-school, there is reduction in thumb sucking. However there are cases where children suck their thumb even after five years of age, and this is a concern for parents and children who are likely to be subjected to bullying. Other children rarely want to be around kids who suck their thumb.

Finger sucking for a long period of time can lead to issues such as fingernail infection along with chapped calluses and skin. There is also occurrence of speech problems particularly with the S sound and the child could have dental problems as well. Thumb sucking is normal in babies, because they are born with a reflex to stick anything in their mouth. This behavior is seen during the first few months and after four months babies do it for inner comfort.

It is important to take note of the dental problems caused from thumb sucking such as crossbite, openbite, tipped back lower front teeth and protrusive upper front teeth.

It is a concern for parents whose children are into the thumb sucking habit, those who are five and older. It is essential for parents to know that they have not done anything wrong, and should not feel any kind of guilt. It is not connected with whether the child was breast fed or bottle fed.

The child may be anxious about something, causing them to suck their thumb to de-stress, it is important for parents to talk to the child and find out whether he/she is worried about something, or is shy to be in a crowd of people.

Talk to your child and find out if he/she is bullied, and if you find your kid to be uneasy about something talk to the teacher.

Talk to your child about thumb sucking in a place that is calm and be gentle on the kid, discuss and observe the approximate number of times in which they are sucking their thumb and reward them with praises when they don’t do it.

Spend quality time with the child when free and do fun stuff like watching television, heading to the museum, movies, meal, ice-cream and so on.

Find out if the child is experiencing any kind of phobia such as social anxiety disorder fear of the dark, fear of being alone at home or open spaces also called Agoraphobia, separation anxiety disorder and specific phobia which is fear of a particular situation or object.

Find out if the child is allergic to certain foods, if they are forced to eat something that does not agree with them, it can lead to fear that might result in thumb sucking.

Discuss with the child about certain toys that does not agree with them.

A visit to the doctor is recommended to check for the possible causes that could result in thumb sucking. Always remember that your child can beat the thumb sucking habit, and the condition should be treated with affection and care.

 

Talk to your child about bed-wetting

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It is a worrying time for parents when their child enters Preschool, they are stressed about whether their child has adapted well to toilet training. Nigh time bed-wetting is a concern also called nocturnal enuresis and this happens when a child experiences involuntary urination. It is in some cases normal to wet the bed before seven years of age, because the child is yet to develop the skill of night time bladder control.

For a child who is around seven years or older, bed-wetting isn’t a pleasant situation, they feel anxious and ashamed and it is a sign of worry for the parent too. It is important for parents to know that bed-wetting is not an indication of their efforts on toilet training failing, it just happens and a normal phase of child development.

Bed-wetting is normal before the child is seven years of age, if the condition still persists, then it would be necessary to visit the doctor and find out what is causing this condition. There are self-help methods as well such as moisture alarms, bladder training and lifestyle modifications.

Parents will stress when their child wets the bed, it is essential to not worry too much and visit a doctor, watch out for these signs, where a child wets the bed after seven years of age. Make a note when there is bed-wetting after the child has not wet the bed for few months. Talk to your child and find out if he/she experiences painful urination, snoring, unusual color of urine which is red or pink, and the need to drink water often.

There are many reasons why a child wets the bed even after the age of seven and it could be caused by mental health issues such as anxiety where a child is worried about going to school, peer pressure, bullying and being a big brother or sister. It is also known that kids with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at a higher risk of bed-wetting.

The other medical conditions that could cause bed-wetting are

Chronic constipation:

The muscles that control stool elimination also control urine, when there is constipation for a long period of time, the muscles no longer work properly and it can cause night-time bed-wetting.

Sleep Apnea:

Sleep Apnea can cause bed-wetting, it is a severe sleep disorder where there is interrupted breathing while sleeping. This happens because of adenoids, enlarged or inflamed tonsils. Also watch out for daytime drowsiness and snoring.

Urinary tract infection:

A child with urinary tract infection has difficulty in controlling urination, and one of the signs is bed-wetting. The other symptoms to watch out for is pain while passing urine, pink or red urine and the need to pee several times.

Diabetes:

If you notice bed-wetting, then it is possible the child might have diabetes. There is a need to use the toilet frequently and the urine output is large, and there is also weight loss even with healthy appetite, fatigue and excessive thirst.

Hormone imbalance:

In some children there isn’t enough ADH anti-diuretic hormone produced that can reduce urine production at night.

Night terror:

Night terror is a sleep disorder, where a child wakes up from sleep feeling extremely frightened, and will sit up and scream and cry.  This occurs during first half of sleep cycle when the child is in deep sleep. An important point to note is the child is not fully awake but partially asleep and once they wake up they don’t remember any detail of what has happened. This condition occurs in boys and girls between the age of four to twelve, and night terrors are rarely experienced in children over twelve years of age.

There are other medical conditions that could trigger bed-wetting, it is necessary to check with doctor about causes and treatment.

It is extremely uneasy on the child if he/she experiences bed-wetting, it is important for parents to be gentle on the child, and follow these guidelines

Do not punish your child, bed-wetting does not stem from being lazy or not having discretion. The child already feels guilt and shame, and hence punishing the child is not a good idea.

Show empathy and care to your child, and talk to him or her about bed-wetting and find out ways to help your child overcome bed-wetting and feel better.

Offer source of confidence and encouragement to your child, and let him/her help you in changing bed sheets and keep reminding them that they can overcome bed-wetting.

The parent and child can work together, each time your child’s sheets are dry, reward them and guide them in a way that they feel confident about not wetting the bed.

Encourage your child to have water or anything to drink during the day, it is advised to avoid fluids just before bedtime.

Make sure the child does not have drinks that contain caffeine such as cola, hot chocolate, coffee or tea because these are diuretics making the child want to pee often.

Ensure the child uses the toilet before sleeping.

It is important to send the child for counseling, it is just support, care and empathy that is needed to help children beat the bed-wetting habit for good.