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Are you a CYBER JUNKY? Spending a lot of time on the NET…………….social networking sites, online games, Holly-bollywood cinema, you tube videos, porn sites, yahoo-google chat, cricket, tv online, video games,…….list goes endless. No doubt, the Internet has changed the leisure habits of men and women — and even today’s kids. Too much of anything is bad, and such is the case with what we call it “Pathological.” This modern technology dependence is considered along the same lines as Schizophrenia & depression.

Spending too much time online is a daily reality. But just how much time online is overload? That’s tough to answer. Time alone is not necessarily an indicator of cyber addiction, as it has to be looked at in the context of work, school or recreational activities.

Is spending time online gets to the point that of disrupting sleep, work or domestic bliss, however, that is a clear indicator of “too much.” According to the Center For online Addiction, there are five distinct forms of cyber addiction, and identifying the particular type of addiction is central to breaking the cycle of dependence. It is a Obsessive-Compulsive phenomenon. The hidden anxiety relieved only momentarily by a compulsive action & it continues as a cycle of obsession.

Internet addiction is a new & fast growing pandemic of the 21st Century. The most well known Internet addiction is “cyber sexuals,” afflicting people who continually engaged in viewing, downloading and trading online pornography or are involved in adult fantasy role-play chat rooms.

Similarly, “cyber-relational” or “chat room” addicts become overly involved in online relationships & may engage in virtual adultery is v.common in the West. For these people, online friends quickly become more important than real-life relationships with family and friends. In many instances, this can lead to marital discord and family instability.

“Net gaming” addicts are obsessed with online gambling, games, shopping, banking, auctions or stock trading. This type of compulsive behavior can be one of the most damaging, as it often results in significant financial loss or excessive spending. Other types of basic computer addiction include endlessly habitual tweaking of settings, file management, database search and other administrative computer functions.

How & Why this addiction? Who are at risk? Many people turn to the Internet in order to manage unpleasant feelings such as stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. People who lack family / social support, teens & those in troubled unhappy relationships, other addicts – alcoholics, smokers, sex-drug-gambling addicts are all at risk. Internet is an easily accessible outlet for these people. Losing yourself online can temporarily make one’s awry feelings evaporate. But reality is that it is only short lived & vicious. There are much healthier & more effective ways to keep such inner feelings in check & may include exercise, meditation, outdoor sports & other sensory relaxation strategies. Let us look at the psychological vicious cycle of an addiction pathway -

The implications of such addiction can land one in both psychological & physical symptoms. It could be from a simple craving to use the net, feeling of wellbeing, long hours of unstoppable networking to even neglecting family, friends to even food & sleep. One can develop serious feelings of emptiness, depression or irritable while away from the net. Physically, one can land up in musculoskeletal problems of backache & arthritis, eye sight problems, sleep disturbances, losing or putting too much weight & prone for nervousness & migraines.

Tips for dealing with Internet addiction:

For many people, an important aspect of overcoming Internet and computer addiction is to find alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings. While professional guidance is always the best way to treat any psychological or physical issue, there are steps you can take to combat your own Internet abuse or the cyber addiction of a friend or loved one. Identify your weakness – develop coping skills – strengthen your support network. University of California, San Francisco lays following guidelines:

-Ask yourself, “What am I missing out on when I spend so much time on the Internet?” Write down these activities and decrease your Internet time to pursue some of them.

-To begin with, try keeping yourself busy in other activities — read a book, phone a friend, exercise, shop… or just take off from the computer friend & go outdoors for a fresh air walk. Stay connected to the offline world.

-Another way to control Internet addiction is to use the computer as part of your recovery & only as a tool. Whenever you’re online, use a productivity time tracking program to log your activity, and stick with a strict, time-limiting regimen. Take frequent breaks away from your friend & do other activities.

-Strengthen your support network – real life relationships, sports partners, library/ books, seek out friends & acquaintances to resist the urge of spending time online.

-For children/ teens – Parental control, restrictions on the use, encouraging sports & other outdoor social activities & counseling by parents are of much value

-For some people, total abstinence may be a reasonable cure, but that may not be a practical option if your work or school requires online activity. In this case, the best solution to fight cyber addiction could be a step-by-step recovery program, which may likely mean professional assistance.

Remember, the computer will always be there for you when you’re ready, and the Internet is always available, but that doesn’t mean you have to be!

 Tags: Online addiction, psychology & measures


When asked to how to deal with the stress in simplest ways, my colleague & a friend at Vivekananda Yoga Kendra simply taught me some simple fast deep breathing exercises, Kapalbathi & ended the session making me relax with a exercise of imagining a visit to a favorite relaxing place. This is otherwise termed as Relaxation Imagery.

A simple stress-management plan consists of

  1. Psychological – Thinking skills & Imagery skills
  2. Behavioral – Social support, Assertive skills & Avoiding procrastination (time management)
  3. Physical health- Exercise, Nutrition, Relaxation

A simple stress management plan should ideally start from one’s own psychological level. I had a posted a blog which disappeared from my list without any reasons, where the other aspects such as thinking & assertive skills were covered. Here I am stressing another important psychological aspect, which is about stress & its images, ways to desensitize them.

A common sense is that people are far less likely to deal successfully with a stressful or challenging situation unless prepared for it. Just imagine, giving a presentation with inadequate preparation or without a last minute brush up. Another observation worth making is that, people tend to have negative images or pictures in their mind’s eye prior to any stressful event – How am I going to Cope with the situation? ……this images of doom & gloom seldom reduce any stress levels. These images itself can make a person more & more stressed prior to the event, affecting one’s regular night sleep, eating habits to daily routines. This is because the person finds it difficult to switch himself off from that stressful image which affects one’s day & night.

Fortunately, there are a number of imagery exercises that psychologists have developed to help most people deal with these problems. These exercises were designed by Cary Cooper & Palmer Neenan (UK), world class stress pioneers. In fact, there are 4 powerful methods to put one ahead of the stress game.

 

Coping Imagery : is probably one of the most effective stress-management techniques to help people deal wit difficult situations or potential stress scenarios, & can even assist in extreme cases as Phobias (fear of height, closed space…etc). By imagining oneself coping with the feared situation, one can directly challenge the negative or catastrophic imagery that may be winding one up prior to the event. It enables one to accept that one may not be able to give that perfect presentation, be the life & soul of the event, make no errors in that viva-voce or a job interview…so on & so forth. It is a step by step approach to help one deal with adversity. It is a type of rehearsal imagery that helps to build confidence. The activity technique model is described here -

  • -Think of a future situation that you are stressed about (ex. Conference talk)
  • -Note down the aspects of situation that you are most stressed about (ex. Initiating the speech before the audience, answering Qs )
  • -Develop ways to deal with these difficulties (Adequate preparation, ways of dealing Qs from audience – like answering difficult Qs after the presentation..etc)
  • -Now carefully visualize yourself in the feared situation & find yourself coping with each anticipated difficulty as it arises. Repeat the procedure 3-4 times
  • -Practice step 4 daily until the event anticipated

 

Self-motivation Imagery: is used to help people inspire themselves to action in whatever area of life they need a quick jump-start. It was developed by Palmer & Neenan, who found that many of their clients avoided life changes because they feared they would not be able to cope with the stress created.

Motivation imagery consists, first, of visualizing spending the rest of your life Not doing what you want to do, and second, visualizing actually Doing what you want to do. Activity described provides the framework for using this technique -

Spend a few mts thinking about possible areas of your life that you could improve by taking action that you have avoided. Ex. Changing a job, returning to study, ending a relationship, challenging your supervisor, partner, in-laws about some important issue. If one is unemployed, have you ever disillusioned after receiving many rejections? Assuming that you are not too depressed about the area o life one would like to change, undertake the exercise below:

  • -Visualize the rest of your life not having undertaken the change that you would like to. To assist in this exercise, imagine the effect upon yourself, and perhaps on significant others too, for the rest of your life until the day you die if you do absolutely nothing. Think of your regrets, too. Imagine that effect year by year
  • -Now visualize yourself undertaking what you want to do, and then see the short & long term positive benefits of the change to you, & possibly others
  • -Now consider how you are going to put step 2 into action

It is important that step 1 (inaction imagery) is visualized before step 2 (action imagery), otherwise it is possible one may demotivate themselves, which is not the intention of the exercise ! Motivation imagery has helped to change people’s lives and pull them out of a boring, stressful rut into a new and exciting domain.

 

Time Projection Imagery : people often lose their perspective in relation to a stressful situation, such as becoming unemployed, failing an exam, relationship break ups or performing poorly. Becoming stressed does not usually help them to deal with the situation in a constructive manner, and they often lose sight of their goal. Time projection imagery helps to keep the event in perspective and so is a useful ‘de-awfulising too. Follow the technique in steps -

  • -Think of a current problem or situation that you are stressed about?
  • -Picture yourself 3ms in the future. Will the current problem as stressful as it is now?
  • -Picture yourself 6 ms, 12 ms, 2 yrs from now. Will you laugh at your problem when you look back at it? Can you see yourself having fun again?
  • -Picture yourself 5 yrs from now. Will the memory & significance of the problem fade into the past? If you still find it difficult to imagine a positive future, picture having a new job or career, different friends, or whatever is appropriate.

 

Relaxation Imagery: is an excellent method to help achieve a relaxed state of the body & mind. It involves picturing in your mind’s eye, one of your favorite relaxing places. The scene can be real or imaginary – sunbathing at a beach, showering under a water fall, walking through a nice flower garden etc. Follow the technique in steps -

  • -Find a quiet place where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
  • -Find a comfortable position & lie down or sit relaxed with back in rest.
  • -Close your eyes & start picturing your favorite relaxing location
  • -Focus on the colors of the nature on your way to that place, hear sounds of birds, water fall, aromas of the location as you approach the location
  • -Now start feeling the touch of something that relaxes you as showering under the water fall, feeling the thick soft grass bed on your back as if you lie down
  • Complete your relaxing location trip as you picture it mentally to ultimately open your eyes taking your own time (just like day dreaming while on a train travel, remembering a happy party spent, visiting a beautiful landscape etc)

 

In summary, imagery can help one to build confidence before an event. Coping imagery is one of the powerful techniques to help you deal with future events & reduce stress. Rehearsal in your mind’s eye of performance-related tasks can reduce stress & enhance outcomes. Motivation imagery can help to motivate. Time projection imagery can help one to de-awfulise events. Regular practice makes it much easier to use imagery techniques & methods.


As an extension of the earlier blog on Stress, many people might wonder as to what is this FREE Radical & how does it affect in fastening the process of aging. Here is a blog which digs that Science of Aging.

It is estimated that 80%-90% of all degenerative diseases involve free radical activity. Antioxidants lessen free radical damage. The list is growing daily on the studies which have identified more than 60 health conditions that may be prevented or treated with antioxidant supplementation.

Aging is a normal physiological phenomena, where ‘wear & tear’ process of the body’s cells hence the tissues & body organs age normally. Most lifestyle induced diseases from type 2 adult Diabetes, Hypertension (high b.p), Heart attacks (Ischemic Heart Disease), Stroke, Kidney disease & Renal failure, Cancer, Cataract, Macular degeneration, Joint diseases- Arthritis, Male Infertility, Obesity, Memory decline (Alzheimer’s & other Dementias, Parkinsonism, Multiple Sclerosis..) all these are accelerated aging phenomena triggered by Free Radicals which fasten the process of aging – ‘Premature Aging‘.

Most of these lifestyle induced problems can be handled by altering our lifestyles – proper, diet, exercise, meditation-yoga etc. Stress is a factor which triggers this aging, which makes one diseased, morbid & crippled soon. Stress acts by inducing hormones as described in the earlier blog which induce diabetogenic’ & hypertensive states ending in above said macro & more so micro-vascular complications, which is damaging to the body. As it is ultimately the minute blood vessels in the brain, heart, kidney which are very susceptible to become diseased- thickens & block blood flow or weaken-baloon & rupture easily resulting in Diabetic Foot- Gangrene, Brain Aneurysm & bleed, Heart attack, Paralysis of limbs, Slowing of circulation in the brain – Memory decline..etc.

Hence, Stress is considered as a slow killer. How it does it affect? What is the Science behind such aging? Wonders many people. Here to put it in simple & layman terms, an attempt to light up the readers who are interested to know. It all happens by means of generation of ‘FREE RADICALS‘.

Basic molecules such as amino acids (protein) & fatty acids (fats) are the basic & essential building blocks of any cell & its components. Normal molecules have electrons in pairs & these electrons hold molecules together. If the molecule loses one of its electrons, it becomes a free radical. Free Radicals (oxidants) are highly unstable, incomplete organic ions lacking an even no. of electrons in their outer orbits & hence are negatively charged ‘anions’. These radicals are always ‘free’ & float around in the circulation being highly appetite & electron hungry. So, they continuously are in search for that lacking electron & steal from other susceptible tissues such as blood vessel wall, cell wall proteins & fats of the vital organs in order to become ‘Stable’ & reduced. This is a natural phenomenon in the External World but not in the human body. The damage doesn’t stop there. The new molecule say a piece of a cell wall, is now also missing an electron turns into another free radical & this process keeps adding up leading to an accelerated ‘wear & tear’. This normally happens in aging but gets magnified in stress induced life style disorders. This snowball effect can wreak havoc on any healthy tissue over years. This is termed as ‘Oxidative Stress‘ or simply oxidative damage.

Radicals do play a key role in several biological processes. The common free radicals include – Hydroxyl [0H]-, Superoxide {S02–}, H202 & lipid peroxide radicals (formed from damaged cell membrane fats). They damage the cell membranes via generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) & gain entry into the cell machinery. Once inside, they can damage the DNA of the cell causing the cell to malfunction, adversely affecting future generations & possibly even turning them cancerous.

Anti-Oxidants – Our antioxidant system works in two parts: the ENZYMES and the antioxidant VITAMINS. The enzymes work pretty much inside the cell while the vitamins can work both inside and outside the cell.

There are two main antioxidant systems (GP & SOD) in our body and the dietary antioxidants work to keep them functioning. The number of free radicals we produce everyday is never the same. All the pollutants in our air, food and water dramatically increase that number & outstrip the body defences. The only way to reverse this destructive overload is to increase antioxidant nutrients to fight the free radicals. Our dietary modifications to other lifestyle changes only can fight these FREE RADICALs & slow down or prevent further damage.

Hence, the need for Anti-oxidants in our day today life. These anti-oxidants supply & feed these hungry free radicals & prevent them from attacking the susceptible tissues & slow down aging & its diseases. These include a variety of Vitamins (A,B,C, E), plant Carotenoids, Flavinoids, Polyphenols & many other naturally occurring substances. How to get them, GO NATURAL & BE NATURAL.

Lay stress on Greens,Veggies & Fruits. All these are loaded with Anti-oxidants naturally.  And always, practice a consistent Exercise Regime & try to control stress.

Abbreviations: GP- Glutathione Peroxidase, SOD- Superoxide dismutase


“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – Hamlet II

Psychology reveals by modifying our thinking enables us to deal with the inevitable stress & pressures of daily life. Stress & pressure are different. Stress occurs when our pressures exceed our perceived abilities to cope. I don’t know how much convinced was one of my friend where he asked me a trivial question about how to be mindful when one loses a dear loved one in life & not to remain stressed ? Many would have similar common question in mind, here is some psychological aspects of stress & tips to combat, which could answer my friends & is worth sharing across.

According to 2nd Century Roman Emperor & Philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, by mentally re-appraising a situation we can feel calmer & lesser stressed. This approach has received a lot of attention & research studies confirm that this method works for a range of stress related problems.

ABC model of Stress:

A- Activating event or a situation
B- Beliefs (our hidden beliefs about the stress trigger)
C- Consequences : emotional (anger or anxiety), behavioral (aggression or avoidance), physiological (sweating, palpitations, hand tremors, nervousness..)

Further,
C.Re-appraisal of the situation – D. Stress responses respond / fail to remove or modify the cause –E. If fails, illness (physical & mental).

How a person responds to stress is possibly the KEY to help him/ her to tackle the stress. It provides clues to which technique & strategies one could use to deal with it. Hereby, I shall point out the common psychological triggers of stress & a remedy approach simultaneously.

Improving Self Esteem: by Skills & Coping Imagery (picturing images of stress, develop coping ideas & practicing coping images several times) to improve Self confidence & Self- Efficacy.

Write up your ‘pros & cons’ list analysis of the stressed situation (Advantages & Disadvantages)

Avoid Procrastination ( Focusing & doing unnecessary things not related to the goal at all at the hour of need, working towards the goal). Develop TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS to avoid last minute preparation, revision & brushing.

Stress thought Record :  Write down & compare your Stress inducing thoughts (SITs) vs Stress alleviating thoughts (SATs) so as to boost SATs over SITs.

Changing Behavior : Type A behavior is always full of stress- dominating, aggression, shouting, sarcasm, overly perfectionist, timing deadlines, anger & always associated with heart problems.

Research highlights the importance of social support networks to buffer against the stress. Assuming you have chosen the right person to speak to, work colleagues, family or friends can provide guidance & support when necessary.

Altering this type of behavior to be more assertive – relaxed demeanor, smiling when pleased, collaborative & diplomatic approach, good eye contact, lack of hostility & no fidgeting/ slouching.  Assertive behavior involves being able to ask for what you want, stand up for yourself, complain appropriately, defend yourself & give constructive feedback to others when necessary. Its use should avoid such negative consequences as exploitation, resentment, misunderstanding & passiveness. (Assertive skill training)

Overcome Self Esteem trap : In the Western society, this is the main cause of stress for people of all ages is having a strong belief in the concept of self esteem. We often de-esteem ourselves when we lose a job, health, partner & conversely esteem more highly when we land in a good job, attractive partner, good physique, high I.Q. Depending on these, we brand ourselves as ‘OK’ or ‘Bad’.

Learning greater self- acceptance can reduce much stress & provides people with a new sense of personal freedom. The concept of self-acceptance acknowledges that one of the key aspects that makes us human is that we are fallible and definitely not perfect. Ups & downs are a part & parcel in the game of life, learn to accept it.

THINKING TRAITS : There are atleast 15 thinking errors that frequently contribute to stress & hinders problem solving. Based on this, one’s approach is to identify & self audit such errors which one commonly uses & then use thinking skills to help modify those errors.

Here is a summary which describes much with simple examples. We often do all or none-thinking when it comes to situations as ‘Excellent or Poor’ & never give any room for middle shades of grey like“ I want the job to be at its perfection” –> I will do my best & acceptable at the job (Relative thinking- skill). We often label ourselves or others as stupid/ idiotic. Ex. When you make a mistake, can you accept it ? Or you become ultra-critical & metaphorical beating yourself up ? Instead of ‘ That was an hopeless presentation by me —> Some areas of my presentation were v.good, I can work out the rest parts the next time (Befriend yourself – skill). It is a common trait where we discount the positive & focus on the negative side of the stress. Ex. Our child is always causing problems at the school. Child is not given any boost to grow which acts as a suppressor on the child though he is good at several other things. (Broaden the picture- skill). “My partner only tells he loves me as he feels sorry for me. He doesn’t really care”. We sideline the positive when it comes as a strength from someone close or a parent which needs to be avoided. (Broaden the picture). It is also a common trait to assume & presume things as other’s ‘mind readers’ & being ‘fortune telling’ as ‘My colleagues think that I am incapable of completing the project’, ‘I have always got only C & D grades at that Math examination, I can’t do any better’. Avoid mind reading & fortune telling —-> seek help from the family, friends, colleagues for a feed back about a talk or a personal issue (Seek evidence -skill)- ‘Avoid beating about the Bush’. It is also common that we make ‘mountains out of molehills’, we magnify & make things look like it is awful. Ex. If she leaves me, that’s the end of my world. That acts a full stop for viewing a much broader picture of the world & events in large. Do not blow out of proportion of the situations/ events, which increases stress levels. Seldom the events we face are that bad to be awful/ horrendous —>Recommend to be away from the stressful place & see the things. ‘see the world from the tree’. Always avoid ‘Hassle –>Horror‘(De-awfulising-Skill). We also, condemn ourselves for our shortcomings & make excuses for our successes or strengths (Minimization). Ex. I was lucky. The exams I passed were easy set of Qs. This equally hinders any more progress. -Blame game: Instead of taking any personal responsibility, we blame others for our problems. In such cases, it is better to draw a pie chart with % contributions of the blame to a person/s & yourself & try to rectify your part of it. It is also a common mistake that we overgeneralize things & predict outcomes Ex. I’ve got off to a bad start today, rest of my day will be pretty much out.. This acts as a big hindrance & needs to be taken care of. We also personalize situations as Ex. My partner walked out of the relationship, it’s all because of my fault. These must be avoided. Some are perfectionists & set deadlines as shoulds, musts, got tos, have to & oughts. Ex. We must perform well regardless of the lack of resources. These are unrealistic & often rigid & high expectations which needs a check. ‘I can’t stand it’ or ‘I can’t bear it anymore‘ is another common attitude of being restless & a trigger of stress. In such cases, practicing being patient to bear it & stand it helps in removing the stressor.

Thinking Skills are a way to dispute & challenge to subsequently develop new stress-coping statements along with a new effective approach to help us deal the problem. List the errors (incorrect perceptions)–> Modify thinking. Thinking skills are used to promote realistic rather than positive thinking. It is a self coach approach

Tags:  Stress, psychology & behavioral remedies


“Yoga is a life long journey elevating our consciousness by intertwining breath, mind, body & spirit with an overwhelming sense of love”

Facing tough times can be endless.……Yearly budget deficits, Raise in cost of living, High unemployment rates, Spiraling health care costs, Family on the move, Son-daughter’s wedding, Exams, Job pressures, Climate change – over which we virtually have any control. All these dynamic changes in external circumstances induce high chronic stress on large segments of our global society. We constantly ruminate & worry of how we pay our bills, maintain life’s needs & the family.
 
Chronic anxiety
& ongoing stress can have toxic impact on our physical & mental wellbeing. When we ignore & we are not mindful of our stress, these toxic effects of stress can remain invisible for years. Recent research studies confirm that such chronic stress can age our body cells & DNA, make our skin wrinkled, hair grayer soon or disappear & enlarge our bellies. It fastens the process of ageing by means of generating free radicals which mediate almost all ageing phenomena.
 
Stress is a slow killer. Each person defines in his own way with his experiences – feel uptight, helpless, sad & depressed, some explode with anger bursts. A no. of diseases from ordinary skin allergies, migraine, depression, sinusitis, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue, high b.p & heart attack have all been tied to stress levels. Each person reacts in a different way depending on their gene & hence body make up. There is steady accumulation of stress related damage. The cell & DNA damage from stress limits the amount of weight we can loose, depresses our energy levels & moods & shrinks our life span.
 
The End of stress as we know it, confirm that it is our mind which is the key to our stresses. Something that is in the head can cause such devastating physiological damage. The mind decides not only what is stressful, but also how different parts of our bodies will respond to these stressors, real or imagined.
 
Stress Response: acts in two phases, both depending on the release of hormones secreted by the endocrine glands. The first is the “Fight-or-Take Flight” response to save us from the perceived threat, mediated by Autonomic Nervous system & Adrenal Medulla (ANS) via Catecholamines. This involves breathing rapid for more oxygen, rapid heart rate, sweating, dry mouth to release of more glucose for energy to deal with the stress. ANS balances in non-stress situations too ‘to rest & digest’. It should be noted that the autonomic nervous system is always working. Rather, the autonomic nervous system acts to maintain normal internal functions and works in unison with the somatic nervous system.

In the second phase, the stressed body adapts to the new stressors by providing a boost of certain steroids (by Adrenal cortex) derived from body cholesterol (such as Cortisol). Normally, cortisol is released highest in the morning to mobilize our stored energy from glucose in order to meet the requirements of the upcoming day. Cortisol level reduces in the noon & lowest in the night helping us relax & go to sleep. Real & imagined stressors keep our stress response on, and raise our cortisol levels higher throughout the day & night making it hard to relax. This adversely affects our immune systems to fight any infections, our hearts to even digestive systems inducing acidity-dyspepsia, ulcers to IBD (Irritable bowel syndrome)…….
 
Coping with stress: Each person feels copes differently. Some start drinking, smoking, eating heavily, some exercise for hrs, some get obsessive workaholics……..depends on the person. ‘Enjoy life-thru Stress’ as Padmini Sharma shares, is to deal with the stress either by avoiding it, alter, adapt or to accept it totally (4 As) along with healthy food & enough sleep. These are the 4 options, one or more might work which one eventually learns by trial & error to cope with the stressful realities in life. Latest studies reveals that biological deterioration & ageing are closely related to our perceived stress. In other words, even if we cannot change the situations we face at work or in our personal lives, we can learn to shift our responses to those uncontrollable changes. Our stress is just 10% due to uncontrollable life events & 90% of it is accounted by how we take it & react to such situations.
 
We often have more control & creative choices that we feel we have. Regular exercise seems to help us beat anxiety & stress related ageing by pumping out the stress related amines in circulation & also helps in its rapid clearance by increasing the no. of cellular mitochondria in the muscles which deal in reducing these amines to less damaging products. Sometimes relaxation is more rejuvenating to the mind & the body. Mindfulness & Meditation are proven beneficial to us in profound ways. Yoga helps in preparing the body & its responses to the stressful events. Yoga is simply not just a fitness fad & fantasy, but an age old practice that creates well being & perfect harmony between our mind-body-soul. This is the wake, yoga has become globally popular today realizing its potential on man as a whole.

 
Mindfulness can make us realize the insight that we individually, & no one else, are responsible for our feelings- regardless of the situations. Our minds concocts gripping stories about someone else in the picture to be blamed for & we constantly try to put blame on our parents, boss, friend, spouse or the family. The fluctuating mind’s delusional chatter distracts us from being present & live by the Moment, developing creative alternatives & taking prompt actions against the current challenge confronting us. There is always this ‘mind chat’ which goes on & keeps us away from clarity. It is only when this mind-chat disappears, we are bound to make bold initiatives towards an intended action. Calming the mind helps clear our perceptions & creative thinking too. With such a practice, we get less caught in the emotional turmoil of our fluctuating minds. It is only when we get grounded to the core of the thoughts & feelings, we are no more tossed around by the winds of change around us. We can calmly watch from the distance & choose how & what to do, walk away or change our actions. This way, we can build more trust in our intuition & develop profound insights.
 
Mindfulness can calm our chattering minds & help us focus our attention on the critical challenges facing us at the moment. Our mind’s stories about the memories of our past failures & fears about yet-to-come future calamities, distract us from being present in the moment. These diffuse our attention and awakening our insights can go a long way in resolving our seemingly stressful internal & external challenges.
 

Tags : STRESS, mindfulness & creativity


The Biometric (bio-life, metric-measure) techniques are used in Identification & Authentication. Retinal Scan is the latest & most accurate Biometric engineering technology available to identify any individual. It surpasses the fingerprint tech in both reliability & accuracy. Error rates in finger prints is 1:500 vs the retinal scan, where the chance of an error 1 in 1 million. Iris scan is a close cousin of retinal scan in terms of accuracy of approximately, error of 1 in a lakh.

It is widely used as a security device in physical gateways guarding the military, high security prisons & High security Intelligence Services- FBI, CIA, Space- NASA to even safeguarding the critical computers in accessing the database. Many international banks are using the tech even at ATM’s to prevent unauthorized use of check cards. A retinal scan in retail would cost upto 250$, but worth a lot in protecting & screening, as a measure of safety feature. Retinal scans are being made mandatory for identifying one’s citizenship in several countries like usa.

It has wide medical applications as most diseases affect the eyes first – diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol & many other, contagious (HIV, Syphilis…), blood disorders (sickle cell anemia, leukemia…), where it serves as a hallmark for staging the severity of the disease & in treatment decisions.

The basic behind the retinal scan is that each human eyeball is unique in characteristics. The pattern of blood vessels in the retinal layer of the eye is very complex & unique to each individual & cannot be faked whatsoever. Retina is the neural layer, the most inner back layer of the eye composed of rods & cones, responsible for vision & capillary blood vessels which supplies oxygen & nutrients to the retina. Retinal scan focuses on the capillary layer, which absorbs light more readily than the surrounding tissues & can be easily visualized. No two individuals or even so called Identical twins can share the same retinal blood vessel pattern nor the same fingerprints. It is simply unique, nature gifted for each individual. Simply, there is no way to duplicate a retina. The retina of the dead deteriorate too fast & there is no need for precautions as the user always should be a living being. Also, it is highly costly affair to surgically alter this retinal vessel pattern & can be readily detected by the modern equipment & professionals in the field.

Technique- Retinal Scan involves the use of a low intensity infrared light source & a optic coupler which scans the blood vessel pattern in the posterior most (back) of the eye. The user has to remove his glasses & look at the light source with eyes open & still for 10-15 secs , the transmitted light gets reflected back from the capillary layer, one’s identity is captured by the scanner. Usually, the scanner scans upto 5 quick scans in less than a mt & are transformed into images on the computer & the image size is as small as 35 bytes. Though the idea dates back to early 1900s, it was only after the invention of ‘Eyedentify’ scanner, the practice of retinal scan as a identity measure got a boost in 1980s to the latest mobile, easy to use retinal scanners in use.

Although retinal patterns are generally thought to be constant during a person’s life, they can change in case of diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, retinal degenerative disorders & cataract. Most of these diseases involve a process of new vessel formation (neovascularisation) with advancing disease. Therefore, although retinal scans are nearly 100% accurate, allowances for such age & disease related changes should be weighed on the individual basis based on his medical history. Severe astigmatism is another eye condition which can interfere with the retinal scan results.

The much close cousin, Iris scan also uses the same tech of recording the blood vessel pattern but the image size is much big upto 500 bytes as it scans the much details like furrows, ligaments, crypts.. And the advantage over retinal scan is with the tech, It can be done within short span of few secs & even at a distance of 3 ft & one with glasses or contacts, it doesn’t matter. It is said to be less intrusive & easier than retinal scan & being employed in much international airports mainly for security purposes to check the employees and provide controlled access to the secure areas of the airports. The details of an individual’s iris are stored on a special card and a subsequent check-in is performed by a simple iris scan to confirm identity. Finger prints & Iris scans are also matched at the check points. In the wake of terrorist threats, most countries from U.S, Canada, Germany, U.K & France all have installed such security systems to keep a constant vigilance on the intruders. Apart from this, even sports & entertainment venues are also employing such security systems from Olympics to Common Wealth games. Tags : Iris scan, Retinal scan & Applications

Tags:  Eye scans, Identity & Applications

MIND BOOSTERS


“If you don’t use it, You will simply loose it”.

ATROPHY is the word which applies to loss of functions & powers due to under- use or disuse – it applies to most organs in the body including the brain.  It is a common sight to see senior-assisted living, Memory care centers in USA & Abroad. Alzheimer’s disease has become a fast epidemic of the century where people lose their memory to even care for their basic body needs of eating & caring themselves. If you don’t want your brain to lose its prowess as you age, it is better to follow a life with full of activity. Here are the ways to keep one’s mind healthy & sharp.

Enjoy your Coffee, Tea – Growing evidence suggests theophyllines present in coffee or tea is protective to the brain. According to large longitudinal studies, 2-4 perk me-ups a day may stave off normal cognitive decline & decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s by up to 60%.

Aerobic Exercise – is the single most important thing one can do for a long term physical & mental health. At least 30 mts of physical activity every other day is a must, reports Live Science. Aerobics are stressed over working indoors such as clubs. It can be anything from just fast walk, jog or bicycling around the block.

Chill Out – Stress takes a toll on the brain by washing harmful chemicals over the hippocampus  (temporal lobe) of the brain, involved in memory. Living a balanced lifestyle & pursuing relaxing activities such as Yoga, socializing & crafting may delay memory impairment by reducing stress. Socializing on the net is not bad at all, the most latest & fast growing trend of the millenieum.

Tease your brain – solving a crossword puzzle, play a game on line, listen to soothing music, read & update the latest news headlines…….all allows in the thought process & communication. Do not give room for any slackness. Lack of education is a strong predictor of cognitive decline. The more one tried to learn, the better you’ll be at mental sit-ups in old age.

Lay stress on Rest – It is only when we rest, our memories are sifted through, some discarded, others consolidated & saved. When we don’t sleep, a recent study found, proteins build up on neuronal synapses, possibly making it hard to think & learn new things.

Diet – While overindulging can make the brain sluggish & lead to long term detriments to your brain, too a few calories can also impair brain function. Many studies have linked dieting with distraction, confusion & memory impairment.

It is always good to remember grandma’s advice of eating a handful of overnight soaked pulses such as peas early in the morning. A low glycemic diet – high in fiber, low salt with moderate amounts of fat & protein is broken down more slowly than the high glycemic diets such as sweets & starches. A steady pace of digestion in the gut gives a more reliable flow of energy to the brain, likely optimizing the organ’s long term health & performance. Such a diet is even beneficial to largely preventable diseases – Adult onset Diabetes, Obesity & Hypertension which all are linked to increased risk of cognitive decline & memory loss.

Optimize Omega-3 fats in the diet – is the latest to boost your mental health. Stress on the need to consume more of MUFA (mono-unsaturated fats) over PUFA (poly-unsaturated fats) & SFA (Saturated fats). This balances the harmful effects of Omega- 6 fats on the body which can be anything from High B.P, Heart disease, Stroke, Obesity, Vision problems to Brain degeneration & even Cancer. Vegans & Coastal area people do well in these aspects generally.

Lay stress on Fruits & Veggies, Whole grains (whole wheat & atta, oats, barley, brown rice..), Protein rich foods ( beans, eggs & fish), Calcium rich foods ( curds/ yogurt, low fat milk & cheese) all supply with enough Omega-3 fats. Greens & fruits are high in fiber & also supply with the much needed anti-oxidants in loads, to fight against free-radical induced damage to the body.

Avoid pill supplements – such as multivitamins…. Despite their natural origins, they are not free from side effects as digestive problems, high blood pressure to fertility problems & depression. Go natural to enrich all the needs in the day-today diet by eating right.

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