Doctor Google and Self Medication – A Deadly Combo?


You have that unusual numbness in your left arm, and you are panicking. What is the first thing that you do? Do you find yourself typing away on Google search box? If yes, then you too are among the many clients of “Doctor Google” around the world. Today Google holds the position of a know-it-all Guru with answers to almost everything under the sun. With smartphones in every hand, it is easier, quicker, and cheaper to check out your symptoms on a search engine than going through the hassles of booking an appointment with a doctor.

However, is it really all that rosy as it seems? With those Google searches and the resulting self-medication, do you really think it’s really safe? According to WHO, the rise in self-medication is a result of improvement in education, general knowledge and economic status of the people. Well, aren’t they all really good indicators of human development? Yes, but how far can it go? How far before it is unacceptable to rely on a search engine program to deliver you the explanations and medications for your symptoms?

There is really nothing wrong in checking out your symptoms on Google, but there must be a restriction on what you do next. You must know where this reliance on the “Google Doctor” must stop.


Internet is a huge cesspool of all kinds of information, which could be authentic and very often bogus. You might come across reliable websites with all the information you need about your condition, but chances are that you won’t confine your searches to these websites, and end up seeking more satisfying diagnosis and instant solutions on other untrustworthy websites, which can do you more harm than good. This is why it is important to go for a proper physical diagnosis by a licensed doctor.

The Google Effect – Curiosity and Anxiety

Most people type in their symptoms on Google just to relieve their curiosity and anxiety, but end up becoming more anxious. There are simple symptoms of a sinus infection that Google Doctor would declare as signs of brain tumour. Many young people rush to the hospital expecting to be diagnosed with a serious condition that they saw on Google. Most of the time it would be a case of simple cold or a body ache, and they end up wasting the valuable time of the practitioners.

Self-medication – Good and Bad

For those with limited means to consult a physician, and having conditions not serious enough like that of allergies or occasional headaches, self-medication can be beneficial as long as the symptoms are manageable by OTC drugs. However, the danger of self-medication is that you might end up underestimating the symptoms and try to manage a serious condition with OTC drugs without consulting a physician.

Unless if your symptoms are familiar and not debilitating, it is not wise to go for self-medication, as you are not qualified enough as a doctor to identify and understand the symptoms and their seriousness. It is prudent to consult a physician when you have a health condition rather than Googling your symptoms and deciding the best course of medication all by yourself.

When Body Image Matters to your Child

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At a certain stage of adolescence, it’s common in every household to have one or more image-conscious teen who get on your nerves or leave you simply exasperated by their long hours spent in the bathroom or in front of the mirror. Mothers usually find themselves on the receiving edge of irritated looks from the impossible teenagers while she was only commenting about her son’s new hairstyle or daughter’s choosy eating habits.

Whether you judge them or not, youngsters will have developed their own benchmarks and uncertainties about their physical self. As a parent, you do them a great favour if you can cut down on critical remarks and help them have a healthy body image of themselves. Your opinion matters just as much as their peers’.

Here are some tips that will earn you your child’s respect and love.

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  • Exercise control over your gaze and tongue lest it may give away negative comments about your child’s weight, food, body size, shape and colour. Know that it hurts their feelings and self-worth.
  • Accept that being concerned over looks is a natural part of child’s growth. You don’t need to add any more pressure than the existing media and societal expectations of ‘good looks.’ You were once in their shoes. Value the genes that he/she inherited from you.
  • Give compliments on their efforts to look good. Moreover praise their physical qualities (like grace, strength, speed, smile) and capabilities and who they are on the inside.
  • If your child expresses doubts and insecurities about how they feel about the way they look, be lavish in providing counter points that emphasise their self-worth.
  • Be aware of media’s agenda in promoting stereotypes of ideal body images and discuss such portrayals with your child when you are together. Encourage him/her to limit media exposure if that bothers their real image.
  • You may set reasonable limits on the time and money your child spends on grooming and dressing. Tell them to manage time that they don’t cause inconvenience to others, forget to do chores and to be considerate of others’ needs.
  • Be a good role model by taking care of how you talk of your own looks and how you judge others’ bodies. How you treat your body with respect and kindness is what your child will follow.body 2
  • Help him/her find their own style. Let them experiment. You don’t have to intervene unless their standards get atrocious or unacceptable.
  • Ask your child to surround herself/himself with positive people who are not obsessed about their looks and do not fret about their imperfections all the time. Or suggest a new hobby.
  • You can do your part by providing plenty of nutritious food, making sure that get regular exercise, good sleep and a good collection in wardrobe.

Bonding with Grandparents



“To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.” (Chinese proverb)

Antique little boys and girls at home who dote on you – you are lucky if you remember having or still have grandparents. While it’s highly likely that you may not stay with them for a large part of your childhood, developing a strong relationship with your grandparents, all too eager to love, will leave you with joyful memories and valuable life lessons. They are your dependable emotional safety nets. Unlike parents, they can connect with you on a deeper level. Any day, they can be your best companions and true well-wishers. With them, home becomes homely, a safe and nurturing space where you can grow and feel loved.

It takes only a little effort to win the affections of your grandpa or grandma. And it is going to be a very special relationship that you will treasure all your life. Follow these simple steps to create a bond or strengthen an already existing bond. Remember these lovely people will not live forever. Cherish them while you can.

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  1. Keep regular contact with them, through phone or letters, updating them on all news of yourself. Invite them for important days/events in your life like birthday, graduation, performance. Visit them if you stay away, on weekends or an afternoon or over summer vacation.
  2. Find out what their interests and passions are. Make your leisure times together exciting by engaging in shared hobbies like gardening, reading, playing board/card games, looking after pet animals, fishing, swimming, stamp collecting etc.
  3. You can talk to them about anything and ask for opinions, ideas and advice. They listen to you closely, takes all your feelings seriously without criticizing and responds satisfactorily to all your concerns. They offer unending encouragement and support to everything that matters to you most. Now you know who to go to for boosting self-esteem.
  4. Since they are in no rush in their daily life, plan outdoor activities with them, like trips to grocery store, temple, beach/park, aquarium, museum, library, a nature walk, a daily hike. You’ll find they have a lot of interesting things to talk about.
  5. Having decades of living experience in the world, they will certainly have some admirable wisdom and skills which you can ask them to teach you. It could be cooking, carpentry, sewing, knowledge of another language or matters of commonplace existence. In return you can teach them something that they don’t know like how to send an e-mail or how to play Angry Birds.
  6. They are a rich source of information about your family history and traditions. It is wonderful to feel part of a large extended family and have an identity in your family history.
  7. They can entertain you with stories, moral, mythical, of their past when ‘things were different’, anecdotes starting with ‘when I was your age’, how they grew up, things they had or didn’t have, how your parents were as children etc.
  8. Don’t exploit them for loving you unconditionally by insisting on satisfying your every whim. Do not overindulge your grandparents or your own parents will be jealous and cut down your times spent together. Give them some quiet hours and adequate resting time. Remember they are getting old and weak in constitution.grand
  9. Be respectful of their beliefs, political and religious. If you avoid them just like that, it makes them unhappy. Also do not shout on them. It helps to foster healthier attitudes to aging and older people in general.
  10. Be helpful as and when necessary. Buy them something they need. Visit them with fruits if they are ill. Do something gracious for them in front of others, they will be proud of you.
  11. Keep photographs, audio/video recordings of your happy times together to cherish when you’re apart. Get them hand-written letters and thank-you notes in return for gifts.

How to cope with Homesickness?


The concept of home varies from person to person. But for most, once they wander away from familiar and secure surroundings, sooner or later, this mild malady called homesickness catches up. When it does, memories and nostalgia gnaw at their peace of mind, happiness and time.

With mindfulness and patience, homesickness can be overcome. Eventually life has to go on and you shouldn’t lag behind.

Moreover, it’s alright to feel so, for it shows the strength of attachment you have for what/who you love. It’s wonderful that you have family and friends worth missing, somewhere you yearn to return to after all the adventures you undertake in life.

Following are some tips which help not to resist but live through a bout of homesickness.

  1. Decide to act like a tourist and explore the new environment. Research and prepare a bucket list of the places you should see, local food and festivals you should experience. Familiarise yourself with and to the newness. Before you know it, you’ll occupy a niche for yourself.
  2. Arrange a trip with your old pals in the new place and explore together. Get gifts to send your loved ones at home.
  3. When encountering a completely new situation alone, expose yourself to it often and get over the strangeness. For instance, getting accustomed to travelling in a metro, using an escalator, spending time in an enormous shopping mall etc.
  4.  Allow yourself some ‘ME’ times when you sit down in a private space and engage in self-reflection. Introspecting on what you are really missing can reveal different aspects of your unknown self. homesk 2
  5. Take small measures to exercise regularly and treat yourself with healthy food. Staying fit can keep you positive. Also, have sufficient sleep every night.
  6. Stop dwelling on the past and persistently keeping tags on family and friends online and through phone. Appreciate your Present. Be open to new people and experiences. As Jane Austen said, “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”
  7. Keep up your good old habits and do the things that make you cheerful. Do not feel ashamed in embracing your home culture in small ways.
  8. Learn something new. Be busy and engage yourself in purposeful and enjoyable pursuits. Make new friends and acquaintances in your new surroundings and feel like you are being a part of it.
  9. Take some effort to make a home out of your new dwelling such that you would love to return to this place after a busy day. Adopt new traditions on your own, like drinking tea daily from a favorite stall, to add routine and balance in your daily life.
  10. Grab your camera and document your new world and experiences. Keep a journal where you jot down positive moments – 1 nice thing per day, what made you smile.
  11. Talking to others about how you feel will help. You may find others feeling the same way. Above all, remember that in time you will adjust.
  12. Practising spending time away from home, like sleepovers at a friend’s place, staying with relatives, going for excursions from school/college/work etc. will prepare you for life on your own. homesk 3
  13. Pre-determination that you cannot feel comfortable in a new place never helps. Have a positive attitude while adapting to changes in life. If you don’t think you are good enough in warming up to new people, this is the time you can develop your interpersonal skills.
  14. Carry something that reminds you of home in your new place. Could be a pack of photos, favourite teddy bear, pillow, autograph book etc. Listen to your favourite songs in your vernacular; watch your regional TV shows and movies, if possible.
  15. Adjust your expectations about life in the new place. Whatever be the situation, accept it and make the most out of it. Don’t give up unless you feel incapable to manage by yourself.

Five tips to Excel in Performance Appraisals


Performance appraisal is perhaps the Damocles’ sword in the corporate world. You may hate it or disapprove of it, but there is no escaping it. All the folks working in the corporate sector out there, this article will enlighten you on this difficult hurdle in career and thereby lighten your worries.


Stop seeing it as a threat

Take it as an opportunity. It is not something that will harm you. Understand that it is just a tool for you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on improving your skills. Once you start thinking along these lines, you will be able to look at it positively.


But don’t take it too lightly

Seeing it as harmless doesn’t imply that you can totally forget that something called performance appraisal exists. Remember that your long term career goals like pay cheque hikes and promotions depends on this.


Have a realistic outlook

So what you will need to successfully deal with the appraisal process is a reality-based strategy. You got your job with a lot of effort, so don’t lose it or cause your own de-promotion. The professionals who are there to assess you are humans too. Making them understand your uniqueness in the team is the key.


 Highlight the strengths

Instead of worrying about your weak points, focus on your strengths. In an appraisal, highlighting the fact that your strengths weigh over your weaknesses will make your position strong. And you will be seen in terms of your strengths and not weaknesses.


Stay calm

Panicking over the appraisal will only make the process worse. When you freak out thinking of the appraisal all the time, you get confused and more and more worried. Yes, the best version of you is the confident you.

The Ordinary Miracles of Positive Self Fulfilling Prophecy


Wondering what sort of a thing it is, well, it isn’t as complicated as it may sound. We all do this in our daily life. Let me tell you how it works. Your English teacher tells you that your essays are very good and you are most likely to win the interschool competition. You internalise the prediction, attempts the competition and wins it. Seems ordinary? Self-fulfilling prophecy is when you believe in the prediction of something and that eventually happens. Yes, your belief makes the difference!


The power within

Expectations and prophecies about you have an immense power to boost things. There is no mystery involved in the working of self-fulfilling prophecy. The power to change the future is vested in your own hands. Positive self-fulfilling prophecy is also known as the Pygmalion effect. The underlying factor that provides strength to live up to the expectations is the expectations themselves. Interesting, right?


Positive feedback

The concept of positive self-fulfilling prophecy is most evident in the academic realm. In some experiments, it was proved that students for whom the teachers had a positive expectation performed considerably well as opposed to their counterparts. However, there was nothing special about these students and they were just randomly chose. Still their performances varied based on the level of expectation on them.


At workplace

Positive feedback plays a major role in other areas too. In the work environment, if your manager or boss predicts something positive for you, chances of you internalising it and acting as if it is already happening is very high. So, always remember that a compliment of yours can make someone more productive!


The other side of the coin

There is another side to self-fulfilling prophecy. The demerits of negative self-fulfilling prophecy are equally powerful. If someone else is prophesying a grim future for you, there are chances for you eventually end up there. So the point is, give the people around you an opportunity to reach their optimum level of functioning.


Kerala Elections 2016: Voting Behaviour and Psychology


Kerala went to polls on May 16 after an extensive campaigning by the left, the right, and the NDA which failed to capture a single constituency since the institution of the state of Kerala. When the ballot box revealed the people’s choice on May 19, the results were revolutionary, questioning the various theories on voting behaviour in Kerala held by experts so far.

Once touted as a recalcitrant state that largely ignored the “Modi wave” that swept the nation, turned its sight towards the saffron beacon this time, by choosing O Rajagopal from Nemom. There was a substantial erosion of vote-share from both the Congress and the Left, which went to NDA this year, which evidently signifies a shift in attitude of the majority Hindu population in the state, which held a largely secular outlook so far unlike the BJP – RSS offshoots which took root in the state through a temple-kavu-centered approach.


To understand the changing political scenario in the state, one has to understand the psychology behind vote-shares and the various ideologies that take part in the decision making process in the minds of the voters.

  1. Being a hundred per cent literate state, the voters in the state are well-aware of their politicians and they so far prevented any party or leader to ossify their presence by giving them not more than one term at a time. Kerala voters always made it a point to wage a successful anti-incumbency wave at the end of every term, thereby alternating between the Left and the Right governments. This move by the people not only prevents stagnating of the government, but also keeps a strong and active opposition in the government.
  2. Another psychological factor that plays a major role in Kerala politics, is that of party identity. The Communists, and the Congress so far played their cards taking advantage of the voter’s psychological attachment to their party identity, which remained faithful to their respective leanings, irrespective of the issues and controversies at hand.
  3. Third factor is the caste identity that usually garners a large share of votes for the communist party, which takes on the pro-poor, socialist outlook. Castes played a large role in 2016 elections. The Ezhava community votes that usually went to the Left, changed its course this year, by choosing BJP over the Communists as an alternative to Congress. A large share of votes from the lower castes went to the BJP, ushering a new age of saffronization in the state. The kavu-temple-centered organized society propagated by the BJP and its offshoots like RSS and the BDJS played in right in the minds of a largely religious and ritualistic Hindu population in the state.
  4. Fourth psychological factor that plays a major role in Kerala politics is money. Money is the major factor that covertly turned the tides favourably for tainted candidates and also for the newly independent stalwarts in the state. Crores of rupees and party workers campaigning day and night have caused a significant influence on the psyche of the voters this year.
  5. The fifth factor that influences the voters psychologically is the local issues. The local issues like Puttingal disaster, Bar Scam, and Jisha rape and murder case have caused a significant shift in the political leanings of the population. It was interesting to note that Modi’s visit to Kerala and his speeches almost always centred around these very local issues, and in spite of his Somalian faux pas, his campaigns yielded a historic breakthrough for BJP into the Kerala legislative assembly.


However, in spite of the consolidation of Hindu votes in favour of BJP in some constituency, majority of the population made a calculated decision to choose the Communist alternative. The continued failure of communalistic ideologies to penetrate into the Malayalee mindset, largely owes it to the high literacy level in the state.

How Psychologists Can Make More Money with their Practice?

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As psychologists or psychotherapists, it could be difficult to even discuss charging money for patient care, but as it is a necessary part of keeping your business open, the matter of making money cannot be swept under the carpet. It is important to know how to make a great, sustainable income while providing quality patient care.

Sell your Skills

As a psychologist, the most important money-making skill is talking about yourself. If you are looking to establish a successful career as a psychologist, you must know how to sell yourself. You can begin by advertising your practice using display ads on a dedicated business page in leading social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. To improve your local publicity, you can put up display ads on local newspapers. Though publishing print advertisements could be a costly affair, if done right, it could lead to better conversion of local clients.

To improve the credibility of your private practice, build a dedicated website for your clinic. With professional help from a digital marketing agency, you can tweak the web design and manage online content for better visibility on the Internet. You can also opt for PPC (Pay Per Click) ads on major search engines like Google and Yahoo for better online traffic of potential clients.

Diversify your Sources of Income

It is indeed rewarding to opt for an advanced training to improve your competence in the field, but if your goal is to make more money, you don’t really need to spend on any additional training. Just diversify what you know into multiple sources of income. You can start by creating a group therapy program, where you can attend to more people at once. Another way would be to create and sell therapy videos that could be useful for your peers and clients both professionally and personally. If you are fond of writing, repackage your experiences into research papers, EBooks, or training manuals in psycho-education. If you have relevant experience and reputation in your field, you can also build certificate programs that other budding therapists can benefit from.

Manage your Practice as a Small Business

To make more money from your practice, you must learn how to run it like a small business. You must be comfortable in investing on advertising your clinic and in improving your brand’s visibility. Always be ready to tolerate risk, because no business is ever resilient to risks that come with changing trends and market. Just like any other business, never hesitate to ask your clients to refer your clinic to their peers. Word-of-mouth referrals have high conversion rates when it comes to potential clients. Start an online or print newsletter under your banner and project yourself as a subject matter expert in your community both locally and online. Welcome invitations to speak at community conferences and meetings. Invest time in doing interviews for local newspapers or online video streaming channels in your field.

In addition to all the above tips on making more money, a psychologist could also get in partnerships with reputed mental healthcare portals like Insighte, and reach out to more clients in the country.

It is never too late. You can always do a Leicester!

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The Guardian

Have you ever felt that it is too late or too far-fetched to make your dreams come true? Have you already given up hope in yourself? Do you embark on a mission but have very little expectations? If yes, then this story is for you. Chances are that you must have already heard about it, as it has recently rewritten the history of English Premier Football once and for all. Leicester City gave the world the best underdog story ever written on English soil. Media channels are already abuzz with fans rooting for an underdog movie on Leicester City.

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CBC Sports

It is the story of how a humble team from East Midlands in England beat the giants of English Premier Football league to clinch the coveted crown of the champions. With star-studded teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, shown their place far down on the scorecard, Leicester City has done the impossible. Now crowned the English Premier League Champions, the odd team of rejects and underdogs taught the world an important lesson – Nothing is out of reach if you are willing to believe and work for it.

You do not have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth to make your mark in the world. Without a single star player, if Leicester City could pull this off, so can you achieve what you think is impossible. Win after win the team believed in themselves and humbly did what they do best. They stood their ground without getting intimidated by the so-called star talents of the big teams. Though, in the last match with Manchester United, the team suffered a starting trouble, but they did not just stand there and weep. They believed in themselves and bravely put up an offensive to make it a draw.

When you feel intimidated by the big names and talents in your workplace or school, stand your ground, and do not stop believing in yourself. There will be Beckhams, Ronaldos and Sanchezes, but no one can stop you from realizing your dreams, except if you doubt yourself. The first enemy to beat is your inner critic who keeps you doubting your capabilities. Do not kill it, as it could kill your humility too. Just make sure it doesn’t pull you back from giving your best.

It is never too late to work towards that ever-elusive dream of yours. Be it at work, or on the academic front, do not hesitate to dream big. No matter who you are, where you are from, there is no one who can stop you if you believe in yourself and work hard enough.

7 Ways to Make Up with Sibling after a Fight

Together we go

“Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring – quite often the hard way.”                                             – Pamela Dugdale


We get to choose our friends, but not our family, so better deal with them. Perhaps one of the most beautiful relations one can have in the family is the relationship with sibling(s). No matter how much you love them, hate them and love them again, you can’t imagine a life without them, more so when you are both growing up. He/she will probably be the one special person in your singlehood who knows you the longest and the best.

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Silly fights, squabbles, annoying, meanness, calling names, telling lies on the other, teasing, punching, scratching, pinching, screaming, bullying etc. are common forms of sibling rivalry. Sometimes things get nasty between you, parents intervene, you sulk and still you want, and will, get along with each other as good as before.

Well, it happens in most households and it teaches you social skills for handling bigger conflicts in life. Your EQ grows through this and niceties of adjustment are embraced. Positive sibling relation is mutually beneficial and to everyone in the family too.

Do you know that both of you make such a spirited team if you are in that perfect adoring-each-other mode? The things you could do. The fun you have. The times you fight for each other, not against..bro 2

Been in another fight with your brother/sister lately? Well what are you waiting for? One of you has to take the first step to reconcile. Put down that pride, forget the ill-humour. Remember you still love him/her. You are lucky to have an idiot bro/sis to fight sometimes.

Have you tried these before?

  1. Take some cool-off time for yourself, away from him/her. Distract yourself by engaging in some activity that interests you. Meanwhile, try to think from the other’s point-of-view as to the motivation, manner and conclusion of fight. E.g. You were enjoying by yourself that your bro/sis felt left out and bored. It was just a way of getting attention.
  2. Go upto him/her if still upset or angry. Try to comfort, drop in a sorry if you feel like it, watch out for his/her mood. Not good, leave him/her alone for some more time.
  3. Make an effort to do something nice fbro 4or him/her. If a request for particular help is sought, do it without second thoughts. But do not brag about your big-heartedness and spoil the effect. Maybe you can cut a deal like taking turns, trading a junk/possession. E.g. getting a cup of his/her favourite drink, fixing a broken toy etc.
  4. If you have a good sense of humour, get a funny story or video or picture or joke across. Laughing together goes a long way in bringing back the bond. If he/she tells a joke in return, laugh honestly and get back on track.
  5. Sharing is caring. Be generous towards your sibling. Share a treat, or your toy/computer game or anything he/she will like.
  6. Compliment him/her for something, like a good haircut or a smart habit. Encourage and he/she feels great and love you more.bro 3
  7. Invite him/her to do stuff that you may enjoy together. Find ways to play, spend time together. Call up for a game of cricket, passing the ball or UNO cards. Even if you don’t enjoy what he/she likes, it doesn’t hurt to accept his/her wish and enjoy together. E.g. Pretend to have an interest in watching his/her favourite TV program.