Shahin S

Shahin S

Hi! I'm Shahin. I'm a doctor by profession but an artist, writer and traveller by soul. I have been interested in alternative therapies and psychological approaches to wellness for a while now and look forward to being a holistic healer and a wellness coach someday. I love to read, write, meditate, doodle, dance and generally have lots of fun.

What is Bioluminescence and Why are they appearing on Indian Shores lately?

What is Bioluminescence and Why are they appearing on Indian Shores lately?

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It is a form of chemiluminescence, light produced by a chemical reaction within a living organism. How beautiful is that? Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, microorganisms including some bioluminescent bacteria (glowing bacteria) and of course the terrestrial arthropods like fireflies. The uses of bioluminescence by animals include counter-illumination camouflage, mimicry of other animals, for example to lure prey, and signalling to other individuals of the same species, such as to attract mates. The principal chemical reaction in bioluminescence involves some light-emitting molecule and an enzyme, generally called the luciferin and the luciferase, respectively. In the laboratory, luciferase-based systems are used in genetic engineering and for biomedical research. Other researchers are investigating the possibility of using bioluminescent systems for street and decorative lighting, and a bioluminescent plant has been created for the same. Recent appearances of bioluminescent creatures on seashores Bioluminescence seems to have caught the attention of many when it showed up on the shores of Maldives and Bali where honeymooners and tourists were seen to take pictures and sharing them over the internet causing the world to go gaga over this beautifully magical effect of the bluish glowing waves that caught the hearts of travellers and photographers alike. It even made me wish I could travel to the other side of the world to experience the same. But I didn't have to because surprisingly just a month later I was told that the beach near my house in Kerala was showing bioluminescent activity at midnight. I was thrilled. It was around the same time that these started appearing around beaches in south India like Chennai and Pondicherry causing people to come out in droves to witness this miracle of nature. But my excitement at the curious fact that it seems to be appearing and have in the recent past appeared a lot in many of the beaches of India was dampened by a fact that many aren't aware of; that this appearance of bioluminescence is not natural and is attributed by marine experts to climate change. Scientists claim that global warming is the culprit behind the recent growths of bioluminescent algae on Indian shores. A year-long study by scientists at the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently found that global warming may be fueling the growth of a bioluminescent marine plankton called Noctiluca scintillans that is harmful to the fish population. Fish were found to be dying in large numbers in the northern Arabian Sea. “Less dense water comes to the surface because of the warming of oceans, encouraging these intense blooms, which has an adverse impact on fisheries. Currently, the western coast, the Persian Gulf and Oman are largely affected, but if it keeps on increasing, it will have drastic effects on fisheries along the Indian coast. That could be alarming,” S.C. Shenoi, director of INCOIS, told the Mint. Other scientists have also linked the appearance of the neon-blue waves to the dumping of fertilizers and waste along India’s western coast, which caused the death of fish and other wildlife. As beautiful and exciting it is that these blue lighted creatures have lately been seen to occupy the seashores, it is a sad indicator of our deteriorating climate change and India needs to recognize this and take action to fight climate change and to reduce polluting the oceans and seas now and in the future.

Rewiring Your Subconscious Mind To Recreate Your Reality

Rewiring Your Subconscious Mind To Recreate Your Reality

In the introduction to his book - 'The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind' Dr.Joseph Murphy says how he believes that this book will be a turning point in your life and I believe it was for me. I discovered this book 5 years ago and still love to return to it to understand the principals better and apply it to bring about major changes in my life. The book tells you how your own subconscious thoughts shape your life, your environment, and most importantly, YOU. Dr. Murphy combines scientific research and spiritual wisdom to explain how your subconscious mind influences every single aspect of your life. What is the subconscious mind? Mind power is one of the strongest and most useful powers you possess. This power consists of your thoughts and these thoughts that pass through your mind are responsible for everything that happens in your life. Your predominant thoughts influence your behavior and attitude and control your actions and reactions. The mind is also said to be dual in nature. This can also be referred to as the objective and the subjective mind, the conscious and the subconscious mind (or unconscious-which is the term preferred by psychoanalysts) or the waking mind and the sleeping mind. Your conscious mind is the one that is aware of your surroundings, your current thoughts and emotions, the physical sensations in your body, whether or not you’re hungry etc. Your subconscious or unconscious mind is any information that is below the threshold of your current awareness. It is the powerful secondary system that runs everything in your life. You may not realize it, but the mind is very powerful. It is unlimited in potential. You can create anything you desire just by letting the mind do what it was created by God to do. But in the average person, only 10% of the mind is used, which results in 90% not being utilized. Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently. It merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Your conscious mind can be thought of as the gardener, planting seeds. Your subconscious mind is the fertile ground upon which you plant these seeds. And you can choose the kind of seeds you want to plant like those of peace, love, health, happiness and harmony, as it is what you sow that you reap. How does the subconscious mind affect behavior? According to Freud, the unconscious continues to influence our behavior and experiences, even though we are unaware of these underlying influences. The unconscious can include repressed feelings, hidden memories, habits, thoughts, desires, and reactions. Dr. Joseph Murphy says that all your experiences, events, conditions and acts are produced by your subconscious mind in reaction to your thoughts. He also goes on to relate many real-life stories on how people have used their subconscious mind power to heal themselves of ailments and diseases that even doctors had given up on. He himself had healed his body of a sarcoma (a malignancy) that he had and this reminded me of Louise Hay, a psychologist, who has also healed herself of cancer by using her subconscious mind. She used affirmations for the same and went on to write a book called 'You can heal your life' which has become a bestseller and a go-to for many looking to heal themselves beyond the usual medical scopes. This just goes to show how it is possible to reprogram your subconscious mind to bring about rewarding and fulfilling changes in your life. How long does it take to reprogram your subconscious mind? You can reprogram your subconscious mind in 6 weeks, but if you have poor habits, limiting success, it can take up to 1 year or longer to reprogram your mind completely. But either way, it is possible to reprogram your subconscious mind and change the way you think and thus change the course of your life. How do I reprogram or rewire my subconscious mind? Your first step in harnessing the power of the subconscious mind is to eliminate negative thoughts and thoughts that are loaded with negative emotions. These include anger, fear, envy or anything that you feel brings down your vibration or stresses you out. You also need to stop the negative self-talk or at least make sure that it is not loaded with emotions. Your subconscious mind is your faithful servant. It will create whatever you ask it to. So tackling fear and negative emotions is the first step to positive thought building. One way to achieve this is through meditation. This is by far the most important step to start gaining control over your thoughts. Learning how to meditate could be the best thing you can do for yourself and your body. If you haven't meditated before, this could be a good time to start. There are various sites, articles and youtube tutorials as well as guided meditations to help you get started on this beautiful inner journey. Another way to tackle negative thoughts is to practice counter technique. Whenever you find yourself having a negative thought, attack it with an oppositive extremely positive thought. For example, if you are at a job interview and you find yourself telling yourself that "you are gonna screw it up", immediately counter that with "I'm going to rock this interview and blow their mind with my brilliance" and even if you don't blow their minds with your brilliance, this will help bring about some balance to the situation as the truth may lie between both these statements. But regularly practicing positive thinking and speaking will bring about a situation where you will truly blow their mind with your brilliance. You could also practice the delete button technique whereby you delete the negative thought that you catch yourself having. You can delete it by either hitting the delete button on it in your mind, punching it with your fist and watching it break into a million tiny pieces, or just seeing it written on a paper and watch it burn. This helps a lot in tackling those unwelcome negative thoughts. Next step is visualization. This is the process by which you see in your mind's eye, that which you want to manifest in your life or the change you want to bring about. Visualizing your desired scenario as if it has already happened can and will help bring it about to reality. Set aside some time in your daily life to sit in quiet contemplation and visualize your ideal scenario. Try to bring in as many details as you can. Think about where you are, what you are wearing, what you might be drinking or eating, how you are acting and what your speaking about etc. The more the details the better. If you cant see yourself doing this in your mind, you could try visualizing it as if you are watching yourself on a movie screen. If you still find visualizing difficult, you could try YouTube guided creative visualizing audios to help you get started. People have reported on visualizing their desired house and finding that it shows up or desiring their perfect body or partner or anything that you want to bring about in your life and finding it happen. Visualization is one of the most talked-about manifestation tools and it plays a huge role in getting your subconscious mind to see what it is that you want, so that it can go about creating it for you and creating the perfect circumstances for you to achieve what you want. Remember that you need to detach from the outcome as too much attachment to the outcome may delay the process as it signifies the feeling of not having it and also be open to the fact that whatever is coming your way may be better than you expected and will come along in the right way and at the right time. Belief is the key here along with consistent visualization. Next is my favorite part - positive affirmations. These are positive words and thoughts that are repeated often. These get stronger by repetition and sink into the subconscious mind thereby affecting the behavior, actions and reactions of the person involved. If you consciously choose the thoughts, phrases and words that you repeat in your mind, your life will start to change. Examples of affirmations include : "I am a confident powerful being" or "I am healthy" or" I now choose to heal myself" etc. It is important to always talk to your subconscious in the present tense. Don't focus on the problem you want to release, instead focus on the outcome you are looking to create. Also remember - repetition is key. Here's something I came across that can show you better how the subconscious mind works. There is a story about the guardian angel that always follows you. When you say to yourself “my life is awful”, it writes down awful life. When you say “my job is boring”, it writes down boring job. And when you say “my body is ugly”, it write down ugly body. And then it goes on and grants you all those wishes, because they are filled with strong emotions (sadness, disappointment, regret, self-loathing). That angel is your subconscious mind. So this goes to show how important it is to talk to yourself in a gentle positive manner and to turn your negative thoughts to positive thoughts and to repeat these thoughts often so as to bring about your desired changes. There are a lot of videos and books out there that can help you achieve your goals by using the power of your subconscious mind. Many successful people like Deepak Chopra and Vishen Lakhiani talk a lot about these techniques and have a lot of resources to learn from. Increasing your knowledge on these will help you overcome any challenge and easily create the dream life that you always wanted but never thought you could have, because anything is possible. Just believe in yourself and use your subconscious mind to help you achieve anything that you put your mind to.

Make your immune system your best friend this pandemic

Make your immune system your best friend this pandemic

As cases of COVID 19 rises across the world and the current lack of a cure or a vaccination, the only way to keep ourselves safe and fight the infection is to take care of our own immune system. Ever since the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-Cov-2), has taken hold of the world by it's wide and fast spread and almost fatal symptoms, everyone is being pushed to learn about the immune system as it is now our best bet at defeating the virus. What is an immune system? The immune system is a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. The main purpose of your immune system is to protect your body from viruses and bacteria. Your immune system works by recognising the difference between your body's cells and alien cells, allowing it to destroy anything that could be potentially harmful. When a virus attacks the body cells, the immune system releases cytotoxic cells to warn the body as well as kill the infected cells to stop the virus from spreading, interferons which prevent the replication of the virus and then antibodies that attack or neutralise the virus. The immune system also has a way to remember the virus and can respond faster the next time it is attacked by the same virus. How having a healthy immune system helps It is seen that the same virus that produces fatal symptoms in one person may produce only mild or no symptoms in another person. What does that indicate? Having a healthy immune system plays a major role in protecting one from the disease. It also helps in recovering from the disease if contracted. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues and other immune diseases are at a higher risk of having COVID 19 complications. it also aggravates with age as the general immunity reduces as you get older. In the younger generation with no underlying illnesses, COVID 19 can result in a minor infection provided they are not smokers or have other unhealthy habits. How to build immunity? One of the most important things to consider in building immunity is taking care of basic needs like getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and not getting stressed. *Getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night is crucial in developing a healthy immune system. It also helps to go to bed early and rise early as the quality of sleep is as important as the amount of sleep you get. A lack of sleep is seen to impair bodily functions and have a direct effect on your immunity. *Make sure to eat a balanced diet which is high in fruits and vegetables. It is better to eat a low carb and high protein food at this time. Add more greens to your daily diet. You could also consider getting supplements rich in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and natural immunity supplements like ginger, gooseberries (amla) and turmeric. *Make sure you are staying hydrated during this time. Drink up to 8-10 glasses daily as water helps to flush out toxins and keep you healthy. Try to include fruit juices or coconut water as well. *Regular exercise is essential in keeping you fit and building longevity by improving your immune system. It also helps beat stress. Yoga can be a very relaxing and immune building activity at this time. If you haven't been exercising or practising yoga, this would be a good time to start. You could start by watching YouTube tutorials for the same. *Smokers should consider quitting as this habit can prove quite harmful to your health, especially during these trying times. Alcohol drinkers are also asked to quit drinking or drink in moderation as this affects your body and its ability to fight off the infection. *Try to distress by avoiding news and negative information on social media. Practise mindfulness by doing meditation which goes a long way in keeping your stress levels and anxiety in check. Take time out to journal or do hobbies, which can distract you from stressing out and keep your mind in check. *Some common themes rampaging the internet during the pandemic is the immune-boosting benefits of taking vitamin supplements like Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Vitamin C has always been known to help keep the common cold away or fight it when contracted. Though there isn't enough evidence to prove its efficacy in the current COVID-19, doctors and experts say Vitamin D seems to have some beneficial effects. Vitamin C is found in citric fruits like oranges, lemons and vegetables like broccoli, capsicum, spinach and other green leafy vegetables. It needs to be taken as a supplement only if you are not getting it in your usual diet. Zinc is also seen to be advocated as a beneficial supplement. *Adding probiotics to your usual diet like yogurt or kombucha (fermented green tea) is another way to keep your gut healthy and this may in turn indirectly provide immunity-boosting benefits. Honey with black seed oil is also seen to work wonders in boosting immunity. Ayurvedic options in boosting immunity Ayurveda offers a wide range of immunity-boosting options such as taking Chyavanprash (1tsp daily) which was recommended by the Ayush Ministry during this time. They also recommend drinking herbal tea made from tulsi (Basil), cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger and raisin - once or twice a day. Add jaggery (natural sugar) and / or fresh lemon juice if needed. Golden milk made with half tea spoon turmeric powder added to 150 ml hot milk is another option. They also suggest drinking warm water throughout the day and to use spices like turmeric, garlic, cumin and coriander while cooking. Sanchit Sharma, executive director of herbal products-manufacturer AIMIL Pharma, offers immunity enhancer herbal drug Fifatrol, a multi-drug combination of ayurvedic classical medicines and herbs like mrityunjay rasa, sanjeevani vati, tulsi and giloe. These herbs are said to help increase the production of interferons and antibodies to generate immune response against viruses. Note: It is also very important to prevent infection by washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, especially if you have travelled by public transport or gone out to get groceries. In case you are travelling use an alcohol sanitizer to disinfect your hands and wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth. Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes to prevent spreading the virus or contracting the virus.

Déjà vu – Interesting aspects of an unusual phenomenon

Déjà vu – Interesting aspects of an unusual phenomenon

Déjà vu is a French word that literally means, "already seen." Those who have experienced this feeling describe it as an overwhelming sense of familiarity with something that shouldn't be familiar at all. For example, you are sitting with a group of friends having a conversation and suddenly you feel like you have been here before having the same conversation with the same bunch of people in this very same place, sometimes even accompanied with an overwhelming feeling of knowing or almost knowing what's going to be said next or what's going to happen next. This can also happen when you are visiting a place that you have never visited before and you suddenly feel like you have been there before. Déjà vu is said to be experienced on random occasions by 60-80% of the population. It is a very surreal feeling to have and I have personally experienced déjà vu several times in my life and it never fails to surprise me when it happens. This is because déjà vu puts the observer in a state of cognitive dissonance as they simultaneously experience something to be both new and old. People have been fascinated by this phenomenon for a very long time and have been trying to uncover what it means. Here are some of the possible explanations that have been put out over the years. Déjà vu in science Déjà vu is a difficult thing to study, as the incident is usually fleeting, occurs randomly and only to one person, therefore leaving no tangible evidence or witnesses to examine. Déjà vu was once attributed to be an indication of mental illness, such as schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder. However since most of the population experience déjà vu at one time or another, this theory did not hold up, as they were not all not of course mentally ill. One thing that can be scientifically held valid is that déjà vu has been firmly associated with temporal-lobe epilepsy. Reportedly, déjà vu can occur just prior to a temporal-lobe seizure. People suffering a seizure of this kind can experience déjà vu during the actual seizure activity or in the moments between convulsions. So keeping this in mind, a theory was made regarding brain synapses misfiring or the brain having an overload of electrical activity which evokes the strange sensation of déjà vu. Some researchers believe that an electrical malfunction of the brain may occur causing some memory neurons to fire. This misfiring in the memory part of the brain is said to cause the person to feel like they have had this experience before. Another theory is that Déjà vu is an experience that one has already had which had been recorded in the subconscious as a memory but was forgotten about. This is termed as cryptomnesia. So when the current experience triggers déjà vu, especially in the memory part of the brain, to feel like a new experience, it is actually an experience that you have had before but had forgotten and hence causing you to feel like it is actually a new experience. But since people usually experience déjà vu when they visit new countries that they know that they haven't visited before, this theory doesn't hold much water. But the current leading theory is that when a situation resembles another similar past situation, our brain simply believes that we have already done that thing or been in that situation before. Déjà vu in spirituality Déjà vu has not just fascinated scientists or psychologists, but philosophers and psychics exploring the realms of spirituality who have also been deeply interested in this phenomenon and have come up with many theories of their own. One of such theories to be put out was that of precognition. This theory is based on the idea that your subconscious mind is not confined by time or space, and déjà vu is explained as something your mind psychically foresaw before you experienced it. It is as if you saw into the future. So, when you have the moment of déjà vu, your mind treats it as a memory, hence the familiar feeling you get. Another one is the precognitive dream theory, whereby déjà vu is a replay of a dream you’ve already had hence appearing familiar to you. Some spiritualists see déjà vu as a message from the universe, granting a hidden meaning to the moment meant for only you. This coincides with themes like synchronicities and other strange phenomena that are said to be a way for the universe to communicate with you. Some believe it to means that you are in the right place at the right time. But one of the most common explanations regarding déjà vu has to be the past-life theory. This theory sees déjà vu as an experience that you have had before in a past lifetime. Perhaps you are now visiting somewhere that you have been in another life, or are having a similar experience to the one you had as someone else. This explains the déjà vu feeling of having 'been there, done that'. Another theory similar to the past-life theory is the parallel life theory. While the concept of parallel universes and parallel lives may seem too far fetched and difficult for an ordinary person to understand or grasp, it is quite common in the current world of spirituality as more and more people start understanding theoretical physics, such as quantum mechanics and string theory. In this view, there are an infinite number of possibilities to life experience and each possibility plays out a separate life apart from the one you know. It states that there a number of you playing out different scenarios in the universe (but you are aware of only this one as your focus is currently on this). So according to this theory, Déjà vu is said to occur when your parallel self is coincidentally doing the same thing as you are and both realities overlap causing you to feel déjà vu. Another over the top explanation is from simulation believers. For those familiar with the movie Matrix, there are many who believe this world to be a simulation (or Maya) and they believe that déjà vu happens when there is a glitch in the system. This may sound pretty crazy but it is nonetheless very interesting. So what exactly is déjà vu? The trouble is that each theory was formed through the biased knowledge and belief system of its creator. So there is no way to know for sure what exactly déjà vu is or why it happens. Whether déjà vu is a harmless blip in the brain which causes us to feel strange sensations for a millisecond with its effects lasting for some moments thereafter or whether we are living our past life experience again, we have no conclusive evidences to prove any of these theories and hence déjà vu will continue to be a mystery to baffle many for years to come. Whether or not we can solve this mystery in the future, only time will tell.

Procrastinators- Heres How to Achieve Your Dream Goal

Procrastinators- Heres How to Achieve Your Dream Goal

"The ability to concentrate single-handedly on your most important task, to do it well, and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status and happiness in life," says Brian Tracy in his book- 'Eat that frog- 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time.' Why Do People Procrastinate? One of the main reasons people procrastinate is that they think they have time to do it later, or they view the task as distressing or unpleasant to do. But ironically this causes more distress in the long run as the tasks get built up or you end up not achieving that particular goal that you have always wanted to achieve, thus leading to more stress and other psychological problems. Procrastinators tend to have more sleep issues and experience greater regret than non-procrastinators. But if you have been procrastinating, don't be too hard on yourself, as guilt and regret are draining emotions and can affect your mental and emotional well being. Forgive yourself and promise yourself to do better henceforth. Here's how you can overcome procrastination. Step 1 : Think When you feel like a task is too boring or unpleasant for you and put it off, try to think of the long term consequence of putting it off. Think of how that is going to cause more stress for you later on, and get yourself to work on your tasks now. Think of how bad you are going to feel in the future if you keep putting off things. This works for many, as negative emotions can be used as a fuel to get you going. But this may be counter-productive in some cases, in which case, get yourself to focus on the benefits of putting off procrastination ('procrastinate procrastination' as Jim Kwik, founder and ceo of Kwik learning, says) and ask yourself "what are the benefits of me doing this task on time and working on my project on a daily basis?". Really get yourself to think about the benefits of completing this and try to visualise how you would feel if you completed this task on time. Step 2 : Gain Clarity Another reason people tend to procrastinate on their long term goals or life dreams, is their lack of clarity on what they want to achieve. So one of the main steps in overcoming procrastination is to gain clarity. People can be very confused about their goals or the task they need to get done. This tends to make them lazy in putting in any effort towards something that they aren't clear or sure about. So the number one step is to get crystal clear on what it is that you need to do. It doesn't matter how huge or daunting your goal, your work project or anything that you are trying to achieve looks like. The act of thinking about it and making plans triggers creativity and unlocks your mental powers. Step 3 : Write Sitting down with a pen and paper to write down your goals or your tasks is one of the best ways to gain clarity. Writing down things have proven to help organize your thoughts and help you understand better what it is that you are trying to achieve. It also gives you a boost of confidence to see your goals written down on paper, be it in your notebook or a cool journal. This makes your goals more tangible and you can come back to it any time you want. Step 4 : Set A Deadline The next thing to do is to set a deadline. Give yourself a time period within which you will complete this task. This will help you stay on track and give it a sense of urgency, without which you might continue procrastinating. Be realistic about your goals and the time period you assign to it and hold yourself accountable for completing it before the deadline. You could decide to reward yourself with something after completing a task towards achieving it. You could also ask a friend to hold you accountable and keep you on track. Step 4 : Organize Next, make a list of everything that you can think of which is going to help you achieve your goal. Keep adding to the list every time you have an idea. Keep building on this list and watch your plan get more solid and doable. There is a higher chance of you achieving your goal, no matter how huge or how absurd you think it is, if it is organized on paper. Keep working on it. Alec Mackenzie, the author of Time Trap, a time management book, wrote "Taking action without thinking things through is a prime source of problems." Take time to organize this list. Sit with it for a while and break into sub-plans and decide which task has to be done when and assign mini-deadlines to these plans. Breaking down your list and organizing it into tables or flow charts or however it works for you, as everyone's brain processes things differently, can help you achieve your goal more easily. It's not always about how much time you put into doing something but about how well you do it. You can save a lot of time organizing things beforehand rather than jump directly into something and then leaving it unfinished. If you do have a project lying unfinished and want to get back to it and pick it up, you can do so by following these same methods of gaining clarity by writing it down, setting a deadline, making a list and organizing it. This will help you feel more effective and powerful. You will think better and more creatively, and will get more insights that help you work faster. Step 5 : Take action Next is the most important step. Take action on your goals. Start today. No matter how small, take one step to making your dream a reality. For the chronic procrastinators who are thinking this is easier said than done, here's something that will help you. The Japanese often talk about a way of continuous improvement called Kaizen. A business philosophy based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements. It talks about taking baby steps and can be practiced by giving just five minutes of your time every single day to your goal which adds up to a huge amount over time. How simple is that? All you need to do is just spend a mere five minutes each day on your tasks, and who doesn't have five minutes to spare? The idea behind it is one of continuous, deliberate action that aims for one percent improvement every day. Consistent action, no matter how small, over time, reaps huge rewards. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Once you get the hang of doing it or focusing on your task for five minutes daily, start increasing the time to ten minutes and then twenty minutes daily, and then you'll see yourself working on your dreams for a longer time each day as they start materializing in front of your eyes and you start seeing results. It is this sense of momentum that helps you overcome procrastination. Step 6 : Keep Away From Distractions Remember to focus on your task or goals by keeping away from distractions like social media,youtube, television, gaming or anything else that might seem like a fun way to get your mind off things, but is actually, very unproductive and stops you from focusing on the most important things in your life - your goals and your dreams. These are the main things in this modern age, that causes you to keep procrastinating, as these deliver instant dopamine to your brain. making you crave it more and thus causing you to ignore the more important task at hand. This is quite unhealthy; as dopamine, which is released from the reward function part of your brain from when you achieve something in life (like completing a task or getting a promotion), is being released for the wrong reasons (like getting likes from friends or getting to the next level of your game); thus causing an unhealthy addiction which keeps you from actually being productive and achieving more important things in your life, ie, your goals and your dreams. Either get off social media completely or allocate a time period for when you can use it. Train yourself to use it only during that time. By practicing these tips you can easily overcome your procrastination and achieve anything you set your mind to. Nothing is impossible. Just believe in yourself and get going.

practice mindfullness

Meditation – What, Why, How?

If you've been wondering what meditation is and whether this is a good time for you to start practicing this ancient method of connecting to your soul and healing your mind, you're on the right track. Modern healthcare has recognized and started emphasizing that meditation has huge health benefits, and people ranging from successful businessmen to celebrtities to health care professionals are all seen to endorse meditation as a daily routine. Meditation is for the mind what exercise is for the body. Since your mind plays a huge role in how you perceive your reality, meditating is the best tool in your hands to shape your own reality. What is Meditation? To meditate means to focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. Wikipedia states meditation as a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Why do I need to meditate? I started meditating five years ago, and as anyone who actively meditates will tell you, its a game-changer and a lifesaver. You are able to make better decisions as it cuts down the negative mind chatter, also known as the monkey mind. Brain studies have found, among other things, that meditation can deactivate the area of the brain that’s thought to be responsible for mind chatter—the default mode network (DMN). This comes from the fact that meditation plays a huge role in altering brain waves and in quieting down the negative mind chatter and help you see clearer on what needs to be done, leading you to make better choices in life. It also helps you cope with stress and reduces your anxiety to a large extent. There is a huge difference in the way you respond to any intense situation, which may or may or not be negative, before and after you've been actively practicing meditation. For example, a person who gets overwhelmed at an unexpected event that would normally cause huge stress or anxiety, would find that he or she copes and responds better to the same situation if they have incorporated meditation into their routine lifestyle. Other benefits of meditation include promoting emotional health, reducing depression, lowering BP and heart rate, enhancing self-awareness, reducing age-related memory loss, generating kindness, improving skin health and it helps in fighting addictions. It also improves attention and concentration. A study from Harvard found that when people went through 8 weeks of meditation, critical areas of the brain that associate with awareness, stress, and empathy change. Types of meditation Scientifically speaking, meditation is of two types - Focused Attention (FA) and Open Monitoring (OM). In FA, one focuses on a thing, usually your breath. You could also focus on a single word, mantra or an object like a candle flame. You sit comfortably, focus on your breath and on your body sensations while breathing. When you find your mind wandering, you bring it back to the breath, again and again. So the practice isn’t about sitting there with a blank mind but it is about bringing your focus back to its object repeatedly. In the other, more advanced form, OM (also called mindfulness meditation), you watch your thoughts non-judgmentally, acknowledge them, and then (theoretically) let them go. Rather than reacting to a thought, you just observe it curiously and then watch it subside. Both these methods have proven highly efficacious in helping psychological problems in many patients. How to meditate? Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed for a while. Get yourself comfortable. Sit in an upright position with legs crossed, either on the ground or your bed, or on a chair with your feet on the ground, whichever you find comfortable. You may also lie down. Close your eyes. Beginners may find sitting with their eyes closed, without doing anything disturbing, but don't give up. You can start doing this for 2-5 minutes a day for a week and then increase the time. It gets better and easier over time. I initially started with a guided meditation on youtube and used it for a week. Once I got the hang of it, I started practicing by myself. As you first settle into your meditation session try to be aware of your surroundings. Is the fan whirring, are there cars honking outside, birds chirping? All these are a part of your surroundings and just embrace them as it is. Next, try to be aware of the state of your body and how you are feeling in general. Is your mind busy, sad or anxious? Is your body tired or lethargic or energised? Do you have any pain or discomfort anywhere? How fast is your heart beating? Accept whatever you are feeling just as it is. It is completely ok to be feeling whatever you are feeling. Now that you’re settled in, turn your focus on to your breath. Breathe naturally. Observe your breath as it is. Feel your breath as it comes in, and flows through your nose down into your lungs. And observe it flowing out. Don't force your body to breathe in any particular way. Just merely observe and focus. Whenever you find your mind wandering, which is bound to happen, bring your focus back to your breath. You might find yourself getting a little frustrated when you find your mind wandering but know that this is completely normal and happens to all of us. Keep practising as practice makes perfect. The next thing you can do is notice the thoughts and feelings that arise during meditation. Don't judge these and learn to observe them with love and kindness. Return to your breath, but after a week or two, or even a month of practicing focused attention meditation, you can gradually move on to opened monitoring meditation where you bring your focus to your thoughts rather than your breath. Many people wrongly believe that meditation is about clearing your mind and keeping it blank, an almost impossible task, but rather, it's more about learning to be a gentle observer of what is going on inside your head. So stay with whatever feelings or thoughts arise arises. Don't push away any feeling that you think or judge as negative like anger, anxiety, frustration or sadness. Stay with these feelings and see if you can get yourself into a different mindset of being curious about this feeling. This will help you not judge the thoughts, but rather simply observe. Do not be critical of yourself, instead, have a friendly attitude towards yourself and yourself. This is also pivotal in learning to love yourself. All this gives you a chance to learn more about yourself and be aware of how your mind works. You understand yourself better and that is actually one of the main goals of meditation. Relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is the result of meditation. Another main thing to remember is to make this a daily habit. Commit yourself to meditation. It doesn't matter where you are, this is something you can practice every day. If you have a busy schedule with work or with family and kids, make sure to at least put in five minutes to meditate, as meditation is something that gives you rewards in the long run. There's an old zen saying - “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day - unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” All in all, meditation is going to largely improve the quality of your life and make you see yourself, your life and everything around you a whole lot differently.

Pets During Quarantine and Social distancing

Pets During Quarantine and Social distancing

Whether your country has implemented a lockdown, or you are self-isolating or you are in quarantine, it is likely that you are worried about your pets and how to care for them during this time. Firstly think about stocking up on pet supplies, especially if there's a chance that you may not be able to leave home for a while. These supplies include pet food, medication, cat litter, doggy treats, toys and games. If you own animals like hamsters or rabbits that eat vegetables, be sure to have enough fresh produce available, either in your backyard garden or through online delivery or the local community farm. Also remember to stock up on cleaning supplies. This would also be a good time to take your pet to the vet to get all vaccinations, if you haven't been quarantined yet. Use this time to connect with your pets Remember that this quarantine may be tough on your pets and can trigger stress or anxiety in them to be in quarantine with you. If you live in an apartment and don't have an enclosed backyard that they can safely roam about in, then being stuck inside may cause some distress. Use this time to cuddle with them and spend quality time with them. Find creative ways to connect with your pet and arrange games for them to play. USA.today has some great ideas to entertain and keep your pets engaged like a DIY scavenger hunt where you can hide treats around the house, or in a fenced yard and let them hunt for it. You can also drop a cat treat inside a small cup or vessel which your cat can't get their face into and they have to paw at it for a while to get it out. You can also give your cats big empty boxes to play in. You could also play fetch with your dog and get them to fetch things for you like rolled-up socks or empty toilet rolls. You can also use an old towel or any thick cloth you don't need to strike up a game of tug of war which dogs love. Walking your dog while social distancing As all pet owners know, walking your dog is one of the most essential ways to keep them healthy. Unless you are in complete lockdown or quarantined, take time out to walk your dog by maintaining the CDC-recommended six feet of distance from others. Don’t stay out for longer than is necessary and be sure not to let anyone pet your dog. Be sure to wear a mask while going outside. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your dog’s paws and snout with some cruelty-free wipes after walks. Going for walks will help raise your spirits and your dogs too. Worried about your pets getting infected? A tiger was recently found to have tested positive for Sars-Cov-2 in Bronx and last month a dog in China was quarantined after testing a weak positive for coronavirus, causing many to worry. Many are following an unhealthy trend of dropping off their pets at the shelter which is completely unnecessary. Another unhealthy trend is seen with picture circulating on the internet of pets wearing masks. This is only a waste of the mask which is in a valuable commodity at this time and should not be used unnecessarily. Experts say currently there are no clear evidence that dogs can get infected, get sick or spread the disease. The owner of the dog was infected, and the tiger had a caretaker who was infected and hence it is considered that it was a human to animal infection. All the positive tested cases happened only in the rare case where the owner is infected and have had close contact with the pets like kissing them etc. The risk of a pet contracting the virus is low and are unlikely to carry the virus around infecting other humans. Globally, only two dogs and two cats have tested positive for the virus, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). “Over 1 million human cases at this point worldwide and we’ve only seen four domestic animals test positive so far worldwide, so the risk is very minimal to get to pets,” says William Sander, assistant professor of preventive medicine and public health, also at the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine. How to be careful If your family is healthy, and your pets are at home and and don't often come into contact with other animals, they are unlikely to be at risk. Follow the same protocols with them as you would do with humans during quarantine. Wash your hands with soap and water after contact to minimize risk of spreading any disease and not just novel coronavirus. This should by default be practised by anyone handling or playing with their pets. The only risk of spreading is if someone who is infected sneezes or coughs on them and somebody immediatley touches them. Experts say the fur being porous and fibrous wont allow the virus to stay long like on other smooth surfaces and transmission is low. If you are showing symptoms then quarantine yourself and make sure you have someone take care of your pet as It wouldn't do good to get them sick as well. All in all, use this time to deepen your bond with your pets as they are comforting companions to get your through this time. Look after them and make sure they are well exercised and happy. Content source : https://time.com/5816383/pets-coronavirus/ ,https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/03/19/how-keep-your-pets-safe-and-happy-during-coronavirus-pandemic/2878041001/

Mother Earth Heals As The World Stays In Quarantine

Mother Earth Heals As The World Stays In Quarantine

It comes as a surprise to many how astonishingly fast the earth is responding to the unprecedented lockdown being implemented all over the world. It started with how quickly the atmosphere around China has cleared with drastic drops in pollution during the initial lockdown in December, as the economy slowed down and factories were closed. It was reported that just a few days after the city of Venice was locked down, the water turned clearer and swans were seen swimming along beautifying the whole area. Dolphins were spotted in some shores of Italy which used to be dominated by cruise ships earlier. Dolphins were also spotted in Mumbai's marine drive, playfully jumping about, just happy to be back in their playground with no humans around. Deers are seen roaming the streets of Japan freely and several peacocks were spotted making beautiful appearances in some streets of Kerala. A rare Civet was also recorded crossing an empty road. However what enthralled people the most was the return of the Olive ridley turtles, which posed a magnificent view, as thousands of them occupied the empty shores of Odisha for nesting. Camels were seen jumping about the gulf shores as beaches lay abandoned by human beings and were being used to full glory by these local animals. Nature presses the reset button It is of no doubt that the skies have turned clearer as pollution goes down and people realize that they can see far off mountains that have not been visible to them for such a long time. This has reportedly happened in many states all over the world. Delhi, which was one of the most polluted cities in the world, has shown major drops in pollution levels. Pollution levels in New York have reduced by nearly 50 percent compared to this time last year and according to the BBC, smog has declined in London, and views became clearer. Studies have also shown that the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful UV rays, which have been gradually depleting over time, have also started showing signs of recovery and this is indeed great news for the planet. Earth-observing satellites have also detected a significant decrease in the concentration of nitrogen dioxide, a common air pollutant, which enters the atmosphere through emissions from vehicles and power plants and plays havoc with human health. The streets around the world have gone quiet and birds can be heard chirping louder than ever, bringing much joy to many people who probably hadn't paused to listen to them amidst their busy lives. The shores are tranquil as humans stay inside while nature heals outside. Seeing the amazing ways in which nature is responding, many have questioned whether this pandemic was mother earth's way of retaliating for all the transgressions that have been happening on her land for eons. Will humans think about this? Humans have been dominating this planet for so long and behaving as if they own it. We have been building buildings and factories, carelessly polluting the environment with our transportation, plastic and chemical waste. We have been encroaching upon natural habitats and deforesting entire jungles to keep up with the consumerism that has become the norm of our society, with total disregard for the other species on this planet whom we are supposed to co-exist with. This lockdown has shown us how they have been living in fear of us for so long and have been hiding out while we went about our lives with no second thoughts about them. It has also shown us how beautifully and magically mother earth and nature starts to heal when it is left untouched by human hands. Hopefully, this will make people really think and push humanity as a whole to make changes to their careless ways once all this passes over and we return to our life, hopefully, to a new way of life, where we remember that we share this planet with other beautiful creatures and are meant to co-habitat and live in harmony with them for us to be able to thrive in the future as a conscious society.

Rapid Antibody Test Kits Developed By Kerala Awaits Validation

Rapid Antibody Test Kits Developed By Kerala Awaits Validation

The Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology had recently received real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT -PCR) test or PCR testing kits for COVID testing from Pune based Mylab thus being the first state to receive them which can test as many as 3000 samples in 24 hours. But they have gone further by developing their own rapid antibody testing kits as well which are different from PCR testing kits. PCR testing kits are used to diagnose the active infection (presence of the virus currently) in patients who show clinical symptoms of COVID whereas antibody testing kits are used to detect previous infection in people who may have been exposed to the virus. In this article we're going to attempt to break down the different ways of testing currently being used There are two kinds of tests necessary to get a complete picture of SARS-CoV-2 or the COVID-19 virus infection status in your body. Molecular tests (genetic or genomic detection-based) which look for evidence of active infectionSerology tests (immunoglobulin detection based) which look for previous infection by detecting antibodies The first and most prevalent method to detect the virus in individuals is based on detecting genetic material specific to SARS-CoV-2 viruses in a person’s nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) secretions. This is called PCR testing. In some cases upper or lower respiratory specimens are used as well. Results from this test can show whether the person is infected with SARS-COV-2. A positive gene test means the person is actively shedding the virus and is contagious and a negative test means the person is not shedding the virus. But this test doesn't show whether the person has had a previous infection or has developed any sort of immunity to the infection. The second test is used to detect previous infection in people who may have been exposed to the virus. This is done by testing the blood/serum or plasma by taking 2-3 drops of blood and detecting antibodies in these samples. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body’s immune system to attack and kill the virus. Hence these are called antibody tests. Two kinds of antibodies also called immunoglobulins are produced in case of Coronavirus. These are Immunoglubin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG). Why rapid antibody testing kits are needed Immunoglobulin M or IgM appears on the third day of the infection whereas the immunoglobulin G or IgG appears later to replace the IgM as your body starts fighting the infection. Depending on the presence of these antibodies doctors might be able to determine which stage of infection you might be at and act accordingly. But it is to be noted that Immunoglobulin tests for COVID-19 cannot confirm the presence of the virus in your system and if either of these antibodies is present, a PCR test needs to be done immediately as this is considered the gold standard. Rapid antibody tests are also largely being used for surveillance or investigational purposes and scientists have stressed that these tests will be most useful for gauging whether the population has acquired resistance to coronavirus. These tests also help a large number of the community like medical personnel who are eager to know if they have been exposed to the virus or have developed any sort of immunity to the same. These tests can help scientists research whether or not one exposed to the virus develop any sort of immunity to the virus. This can be of huge relief during a crisis of this magnitude. The test could help scientists fight the pandemic in several ways. It can give researchers a more accurate measure of how many people had the new coronavirus. It would also let health care workers who were ill with COVID-19 symptoms, but were never tested for the disease, return to work -- confident that they are now immune. The test might also help with an experimental treatment for COVID-19 called convalescent plasma. In this therapy, doctors collect blood from people who have recovered from the disease. Researchers hope antibodies in the blood can treat people with COVID-19. The test could help identify people with antibodies who might be able to donate their blood. It was Dr.Radhakrishnan's team at the Rajiv Gandhi Center for biotechnology who developed rapid testing kits with a processing time of 30-45 minutes as compared to microbial PCR tests which can take upto 24 hours. The preliminary testing has been done and is incubated by a company called Ubio based in Kochi. Serology tests are now approved to be used as screening tests in Covid-19 hotspots by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The team had received production license from the Government of India but they await validation from the National Institue of Virology (NIV) in Pune to begin mass production. Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases, Medcinenet.com

Pregnant During the COVID pandemic?

Pregnant During the COVID pandemic?

While being pregnant may be one of the best things to happen to you and the most exciting time of your life, being pregnant during COVID times can be scary. But it doesn't have to be if you choose to follow protocols and keep faith in your medical team. Firstly, talk to your Ob/Gynec and have a pre-plan on what needs to be done and how to be prepared and what to do in case you do develop any symptoms. Educate yourself on the sypmtoms but do not get scared if you do develop a cough or a runny nose as it could very well turn out to be the common cold or flu. Keep in touch with your physician and gynec in case you develop any symptoms and they will guide you accordingly. Importance of social distancing Christopher Whitty; physician, epidemiologist and Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government; says "Over 70’s and those with health conditions must take greater care not to fuel this epidemic. Health conditions such as chronic heart disease or kidney disease and women who are pregnant. These people need to take particular care." There aren't enough tests on how coronavirus (COVID-19) affect mothers or babies, but since pregnancy is considered to be an immunocompromised state, it is advised that pregnant women stay in social isolation and avoid all non-essential contact. However the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said: “We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result." But as a general rule it is best to stay in strict social isolation and maintain social and personal hygiene during this crucial time. Importance of social connections As crucial as it is right now to practice physical social distancing, it's just as important to make sure you are connected to people through telephone or video chat. Make sure to have your own personal team of caretakers and cheerleaders to get you through this uncertain period. This could be your friends, family members, online friends or anyone who can help you stay high vibed during this time. Take time to talk to your partner about how you feel and plan to do fun activities together to make you both feel better. Talk to your close friends often and stay in touch with your family. Don't let isolation or loneliness get the better of you, in case you are living alone during this time. Remember to reach out anytime you find yourself fretting or getting depressed. Being socially connected can help a lot right now. Importance of staying healthy and mindful Stay healthy during this time with healthy eating habits and light excercise. Make sure you are taking your vitamins, iron and anything else prescribed by your doctor on time. Incorporate more greens into your diet and try to rely on fresh fruits and vegetables now instead of reaching out for unhealthy options. Practise light yoga and meditation everyday which will help you in the long run. Youtube has a lot of safe pregnancy exercise videos as well as guided meditations designed for pregnancy. These will help keep you mentally and physically fit and boost your immunity as well as chances of a healthier delivery. Stay clear of the news or social media that may trigger anxiety and increase stress levels. Make sure to keep yourself occupied by taking up a new hobby or reviving an old one. Journaling is an amazing way to keep your thoughts in check and also have your beautiful journey recorded despite everything happening around you. You could write funny anecdotes for your child to read for when he or she grows up, so try and challenge yourself to find humor in the situation you're in. This will largely help in shifting your mindset and help in staying positive. Is home birth an option? Even though doctors say that it's not necessary to change your current delivery plan, these unprecedented times have got many women reconsidering their birthing plans. Many women are seen to be opting for home births at this time and this could be an option for you if you have no other complications or health issues. Unless you are scheduled for a c-section, carrying twins or having any other health conditions, you could consider this option. Enquire if your locality has a homebirth facility and connect to the doctor and mid-wife to plan ahead. Talk to your own gynecologist beforehand though before making any drastic changes to your plans. COVID shouldn't be a reason for changing your plans. Most hospitals are making sure to keep their delivery wards open at this time and are handling cases efficiently. But if you live someplace where the hospitals are struggling with overload of COVID cases or may not be able to handle deliveries currently or in the future, you could plan ahead for a home birth as a back up option. All in all, keep yourself positive through this period of uncertainty by practicing social distancing without letting things get to you. Stay safe and keep in touch with your doctor.

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