Mental Illness inspires Bollywood

Agree it or not, Indian Cinema does play a vital role in bringing key issues to the foreground. Occasionally we receive a popular film that comes under the domain of mental health also. This is in spite of the stigma prevalent around mental illness and mental healthcare. Awareness raising through mainstream cinema is questionable in its accuracy, yet, cine-goers are informed, if not enlightened by the portrayal of abnormalities and their consequences.

Here’s a list of mental health disorders which thickened the plot of Bollywood flicks post-2000s. You wouldn’t miss the medical perspective next time you watch them.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Condition: Range of developmental disorders manifested as difficulty in social interactions, repetitive behavior, limited interests and activities. On the other hand, they are blessed with strengths such as above-average intelligence, memory power, audio-visual perception and excellent taste in arts, math, science etc.

On Reel: Barfi! (2012)

Priyanka Chopra in Barfi!
Priyanka Chopra in Barfi!

Asperger’s Syndrome

Condition: An autism spectrum disorder characterized by poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines and physical clumsiness. Person is socially awkward, and will have all-absorbing interest in specific topics.

On Reel: My Name is Khan (2010)

Shah Rukh Khan in My Name is Khan
Shah Rukh Khan in My Name is Khan

Depression/Anxiety

Condition: Mood disorder that affects a person’s daily life on account of hopelessness, melancholia, irritability, depressive thoughts, fatigue, loss of interest, restlessness, concentration difficulty, sleeping problems, appetite/weight changes, suicidal thoughts etc. It could be persistent, seasonal, baby blues after delivery, psychotic or bipolar.

On Reel: Anjaana Anjaani (2010); Hasee Toh Phasee (2014)

Parineeti Chopra in Hasee Toh Phasee
Parineeti Chopra in Hasee Toh Phasee

Schizophrenia

Condition: A brain disorder in which person interprets reality abnormally. It is a chronic condition where person can see or hear things that are not real. Symptoms are delusions, hallucinations, unusual ways of thinking, movement disorder, lack of expressions, reduced speech and cognitive dullness.

On Reel: Karthik Calling Karthik (2010), Woh Lamhe (2006), 15 Park Avenue (2005), Shabd (2005), Tamasha (2015)

Farhan Akhtar in Karthik Calling Karthik
Farhan Akhtar in Karthik Calling Karthik

Alcoholism

Condition: It is a consumption disorder where the drinker has craving and physical dependence on drinks, cannot control the urge and tolerates more alcohol to have the same effect. Alcohol abuse can put the person in dangerous and problematic situations at home or work.

On Reel: Aashiqui 2 (2013)

Aditya Roy Kapoor in Aashiqui 2
Aditya Roy Kapoor in Aashiqui 2

Dyslexia

Condition: A reading disorder the symptoms of which are late talking, learning new words slowly and a delay in learning to read. Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program. It is different from reading difficulties caused by insufficient teaching or hearing/vision problems.

On Reel: Taare Zameen Par (2007)

Darsheel Safary in Taare Zameen Par
Darsheel Safary in Taare Zameen Par

Alzheimer’s Disease

Condition: A progressive neurological disorder that destroys memory and other important mental functions. Most common early symptom is difficulty remembering newly learned information. Severe symptoms include disorientation; mood and behaviour changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; difficulty in speaking, swallowing and walking. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends.

On Reel: Black (2005); U Me Aur Hum (2008)

Rani Mukherji in Black
Rani Mukherji in Black

Anterograde Amnesia

Condition: Loss of ability to create new memories after the event that caused amnesia, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long-term memories from before the event remain intact. Often person loses declarative memory i.e. cannot recollect facts like what they ate for lunch, but retain procedural memory i.e. things like how to use phone, ride bicycle.

On Reel: Ghajini (2008)

Aamir Khan in Ghajini
Aamir Khan in Ghajini

 

Retrograde Amnesia

Condition: Loss of memory-access to events that occurred, or information that was learned, before an injury or the onset of a disease. New memories can still be created.

On Reel: Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)

Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Condition: Person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities. The characteristics of alter egos contrast with those of the primary identity. Certain circumstances or stressors can cause a particular alter to emerge and take control of the person, who experience extensive memory loss. The various identities may deny knowledge of one another, be critical of one another or appear to be in open conflict.

On Reel: Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

Vidya Balan in Bhool Bhulaiyaa
Vidya Balan in Bhool Bhulaiyaa

Borderline Personality Disorder   

Condition: Features are unstable moods, behaviour and relationships. Symptoms include emotional instability, feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, impulsivity and impaired social relationships.

On Reel: Nautanki Saala! (2013); Dev.D (2009), Raanjhanaa (2013); Moksha (2001); Ankahee (2006)

Dhanush in Raanjhanaa
Dhanush in Raanjhanaa

Mentally challenged 

Hrithik Roshan in Koi… Mil Gaya (2003)
Hrithik Roshan in Koi… Mil Gaya (2003)

 

Picture Courtesy: Google Images

That day when you have to wake up early

Unless you are a morning person, many of us like to sleep in, provided there are not serious responsibilities to be met in the morning. Sunrise is often a rarely seen phenomenon for today’s youth.

Yet, some days, we are bound to wake up early. What to do then? You’ll have no peace of mind until that day comes and goes. How to bear the D-day without feeling grumpy?

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Moreover, waking up early is a challenge. And you plainly hate to wake up to that annoying alarm, hit snooze button, take a nap and finally wake up late as you feared, swearing. And you don’t fancy your mom or sibling/roommate pouring a bucket of cold water over you.

Read our Positive tips to wake up occasionally early for that important day in good cheer and warm expectations. Waking up in a good mood definitely assures a great day ahead.

  • Make an effort to go to bed early the previous night or at your usual time, whichever is earlier than the small hours of next morning.
  • Have a light supper early in the evening, no coffee or chocolate that night, no late night movie/chatting/net surfing. Relieve your bladder before hitting the bed.
  • Drink a glass of cold water/ warm milk before sleep, listen to cool melodies or read short story/ previously read favourite fiction, sleep in dim light and comfortable temperature.
  • Before being swept off into Dreams-villa, think about how you really mean to, and will, wake up early next morn. Get excited about something that you would like to do in the morning, something you are looking forward to. Plan step by step what’s going to be your morning to do list, a pressure free, relaxed schedule.
  • Fix a mild alarm tone at least 15 minutes earlier to the time you intend to wake up, just in case. You don’t have to depend on anyone else for proving that you can wake up early if you want to.wake2
  • Keep the windows half-open so that you are open to the sounds and light of the morning.
  • On that 95% possibility that you are going to wake up early by following these steps, as you rise to the morning rays, deactivate the alarm, sit up and meditate for 3 minutes. That is to say, do nothing, feel glad that you did it. Well begun is half done. Be grateful that you didn’t just die in sleep for there are exciting times coming up in life, you can’t afford to miss them while you’re alive.
  • Have a cup of hot tea/coffee/milk/ cold water, take a shower, put some happy tunes in loudspeaker, stretch, do few exercise moves, take a shower, move around, feel the warmth of the sun on your body.
  • Have self-control to not find excuses to sleep in or go back to bed.

Yay, you did it! Get dressed, relish breakfast slowly, reach in time and surprise everyone.

Do you have the habit of putting things off for later?

Laundry, unwashed utensils, exercise routine, homework…

I decided to watch a movie first. It wouldn’t hurt if those things are done a bit later. Honestly, I don’t feel like doing any of it now.”

This line of thought is not strange. Because many people tend to procrastinate some or the other time, or all the time. ‘Lazy’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘no discipline’ are some of the labels that are tagged to such people.

We know it’s bad and are guilty about pending tasks, be it studies, work, relationship, family, health. We get temporary relief when we successfully avoid stuff that we don’t want to do. There’s always the last minute to manage them.

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Last minute productivity aside, deferring what we ought to do today amounts to deferring living itself. The prick of conscience gives unnecessary anguish and anxiety when we try to avoid doing it. And the task seems intimidating than what it actually is. Last minute outputs often do not employ the full extent of our capabilities, resulting in mediocre performance.

As I was saying, I watched a movie instead, because I have a passion to appreciate them. Incidentally, this movie was about a young boy in primary school who vehemently disliked doing Math homework and regularly received caning at school. He habitually postponed calculations to enjoy other interesting pursuits and slept off without even trying, wilfully forgetting.

That sounds so much like ourselves, doesn’t it? That fetched me some psychological expert opinions in the net. No, I’m not beginning on how to manage your time effectively, how to achieve self-discipline and the like. We would want some deeper and lasting answers.

  • We put off doing things when we lack the desire to do it. Agreeable, right? If you do not have a driving force, a motivation to begin something and keep going till the end, you don’t like bothering. The reason why I ended up watching the movie. I love music as it energises me. Got a speaker and created a playlist of my favourite peppy songs. I didn’t know how time went as all the clothes, plates, homework were done in less than three hours, and I made up for the exercise by moving around and doing some smart rhythmic moves in between my chores. I’m a perfectionist, hence didn’t compromise on the quality of cleanliness and order while completing my tasks.

The resolution: Do what you love to do, what’s exciting for you. Or else, infuse love in what you have to do. Consider the values you uphold as a person and act accordingly.

  • We put off doing things when we have a fear of something. Fear is subjective and can appear in many forms, like fear of uncertainty, pain, lacking self-worth, failure, rejection, hardship etc. To know your fear, you need to ask yourselves why you don’t like doing something. Usually fear sets in on account of misconceptions we are conditioned to believe from a younger age.

In the movie, God asks the boy why he didn’t like Math. Surface reasons/excuses like he is dumb at math, his math teacher hates him, he has to keep up to his reputation as a lousy classmate who is thrown out of class, math is mentally challenging, his parents can’t find time to do homework for him, he is too mischievous to care etc. are overlooked by God. Finally he thinks it over and confesses that once when his teacher ridiculed him for doing a sum wrong on the blackboard, he got scared and pissed through his pants in class. Every time math homework reminded him of this early humiliating experience and suffers from mental block.

Who knows, all of us would have some deep-seated fears like this that make us procrastinate. Realizing what’s at the root of our fear helps resolve the habit. Uncovering subconscious fears is enough to realise that they are baseless and can be worked upon. Knowing yourself is the best knowledge.

Respecting Individuality: Be an Ally of Alternate Sexualities

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All of us want to be accepted for who we are and to be able to love whoever we want. That’s exactly what those who are labelled as LGBTQ fight for. Even if you are sure you are not one, it is a sign of open-mindedness and humanity to accept and respect alternate sexual orientations. They are people just like us who deserve equal rights and fair treatment. Such people were around in all cultures at all times.

It is going to be tough experience when someone you love (a child, sibling or friend) comes out to you declaring his/her difference. You may go through mixed emotions.

As the current generation, we can bring changes to anti-LGBT attitudes that we are accustomed to and show our support by being an ally to their cause. Ultimately it is your personal call. Read on to find a better footing before you decide how to respond.

Not a mental illness or disorder

One’s sexual identity and orientation are not something you could or should try to change. It is as much a human variation as being left-handed. Don’t assume that a professional counsellor or reparative therapy will help be ‘normal’.

Not a phase one goes through

Sexual orientation is not an either/or situation. One may “feel different” or find one’s gender identity not matching parental and social expectations, as early as a kid or when an adolescent or as an adult. One need not be sexually active to know who one is attracted to.

Coming to terms

Realise that you are responsible for your negative reaction, because that’s how we are conditioned to think. So don’t tease or criticise for being different. Don’t try to brainwash to conform to your notions of proper sexual behaviour.

On their shore

An LGBTQ person goes through different stages of accepting of his/her own self before confiding in another person. Talk to someone who has been through this directly, or to their parents/friends or seek information from literature. Understanding from their point-of-view makes it less perverted.

Rights

As otherwise normal beings, they deserve to live openly free from violence and discrimination. Defend them against prejudice, rejection and bullying. They have the right to pursue individual goals and to form committed and loving relationships.

Morality

One’s gender identity and orientation have no effect on one’s ability to be moral and spiritual. Coming out implies such a person sharing a part of his/her identity to you. He/she is being honest with themselves and holding onto who they are.

Who is Gay/Lesbian?

You can’t assume anyone to be LGBTQ. They don’t look a certain way nor confine to stereotypes. There is no test or questionnaire to give a definite answer to your identity.alt

Friendly atmosphere

Create a safe space for them by showing support so a loved one can come out when they feel ready without fear of negative consequences. Openly discuss matters like same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in workplace.

Self-doubt

It is okay to sometimes feel attracted to someone you’re close to or admire, be it a close friend or teacher; it doesn’t mean you are homosexual.

Trust

Whatever your sexuality, be honest with your partner about your feelings and attractions to other people.

 

Scoot before Shoot: Are you Camera-shy?

Even though the whole wide world poses like crazy to capture nearly all moments of life and to cast a photogenic extension of its personality out there, a distinct category of people exists who are painfully shy of the camera. As soon as someone takes out a camera, they flinch and at the smallest opportunity, run away from the scene or hide. Under the lens view, they become nervous and self-conscious.

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Sounds familiar? Read our tips to confidently face the cam.

  • Know that it’s alright to feel uneasy before camera. Don’t think of yourself as a killjoy or social misfit if you are camera-shy today.
  • Always take the effort to look, well, like you. Being comfortable with your outfit and hairstyle gives self-confidence.
  • Develop the habit of clicking photos. Begin with more of surroundings, then warm up to the idea of putting you in them.
  • Get tons of practice with selfies and video recordings by yourself. Gives a better idea of good/bad camera angles and focus. You learn that you can actually look good in the right photograph.
  • Tell yourself that you are beautiful in your unique way and you deserve to show off your inner glow, with or without the camera.
  • Invest on a real photoshoot with a professional photographer who can coach you to pose well and feel good about it. Out of the hundreds of images of yourself in different poses, looks, outfits, makeup, lighting and background, you can see yourself at your best in some 10-30 quality shots. Cherish them.
  • To look photogenic, improve your posing. A genuine smile will do for starters. Realise that though it seems fake while posing, it will be perfect and natural in the photograph.
  • Look long at the very many avatars and expressions of yourself in photos you’ve taken. Helps you to accept yourself just as you are.
  • For those pics you think are bad, play with them in Microsoft Paint or some other online picture editing tool to make them look funny or simply, different. Get used to not looking good in some photos. And stop worrying about looks.
  • Focus not on the act of being captured in all your embarrassment. Remind yourself of the intention – somebody wants you to be part of their memories. Incidentally, won’t you like to preserve your memories of the best of life and people?
  • Face your fear, look straight at the camera lens. Smile more and you’ll relax and look natural. Remember something funny or pleasing. Ask the photographer or a friend to make you laugh. Shoot with someone you are comfortable with, or talk to the photographer to ease your nerves.
  • Review your pics and think about what you liked in each. It could be a smile, company of buddies, a nice memory? You weren’t hiding behind someone or something nor making awkward faces? The ones you liked are the ones where you enjoyed the shoot.

Did you forget something?

A certain degree of forgetfulness is normal in every individual (except in the case of senility or memory loss). But when it occurs frequently and for ordinary or really important stuff, and when it leads you to embarrassing situations, it’s time to take a step or two, concerning improvement of your memory.

Habits

  • Have definite storage spaces for stuff you tend to misplace, like umbrella, pens, comb, purse etc. Make it a point to put them back in the same place after usefor3.
  • Vehicles may be parked at a usual spot, so it becomes a habit.
  • Carry a day planner to note down things to remember. Make use of sticky notes in readily viewable places, set alarms, Microsoft Outlook reminders and calendar apps.
  • Jot down new names in a handbook and review this often.
  • Pay attention to what’s happening. Familiarity and distractions also lead to absent mindedness.
  • In scenarios like when you enter a room and forget why, say what you want to do beforehand and visualise doing it.
  • To remember to do something at the right time, incorporate it into daily routine. E.g. take medicine right after food, switch off light and fan before leaving a room etc.
  • Do not put off doing something when you remember it.

Mnemonics

  • To remember names of people, try the Name-Face method.
  1. Get the name correctly. Ask to repeat or spell if you didn’t hear properly. Repeat back and try using the name few times in conversation.
  2. Make the name memorable for you. Done by asking for the literal meaning, finding substitute words in your head, splitting the syllables etc. (E.g. Ankita – that which is inscribed; Alvin = All + Win)
  3. Associate the name with a memorable facial feature that is not changeable, like a dimple, long nose.
  4. Review the name and feature once in a while.for2
  • To remember big numbers and spellings, chunk into small groups using dash or space. (E.g. cell phone number 994-636-9351)
  • To memorize list, find a link between two items which is then linked to a third and so on.
  • To by-heart a passage, locate the key words and associate meaning with mental image. Make an index card out of them. Key words help remember the description and simplifies the content.

Assistance

  • If you forget a train of thought while speaking, ask listener directly to remind you.
  • Seek help from a companion to remind you of something at a specific time.
  • Take your forgetfulness in a lighter vein among friends and laugh it off.

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  • Give workout for the mind by engaging in memory exercises and brain games. Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, board games and numeric puzzles like Sudoku will do.
  • Take brain foods such as nuts, coloured vegetables, fish, spinach, milk, apple, banana, turmeric, chocolate, whole grains.
  • Get enough sleep, eat breakfast, exercise (brisk walking, jogging, cycling)
  • Sharpen mind with activities like learning to play a musical instrument, outdoor games.

Lucky if you have an Introvert friend

Reserved yet magnetic, the ones who prefer to let go of the limelight and do nintroot make themselves conspicuous by being loud or forward, there is a tribe of soft-spoken, apparently ‘silent’, perhaps shy kind of people among us in this noisy world. You cannot fully understand what they are, but knows for sure that there’s more than what meets the eye. Profound and fiercely loyal, you have hit the jackpot if you have a friend in them. Want to know how?

  • They make awfully great listeners with whom you feel like sharing all your secret longings, little griefs and big joys. Largely non-judgmental, they totally get you and can give magical advices which are valuable beyond words.
  • They are deep thinkers who observe much what’s happening around. They are less likely to voice an opinion or offer an explanation unless they are sure of what they are speaking.
  • They very much tend to keep their thoughts and emotions to themselves. They open their mouth only if they have something to say, something they are interested in.
  • They don’t bother anyone with small talk or social pleasantries. They want people to be honest and real like they are.
  • They keep only small group of friends who they deem special. The bonds they make with others are intimate and sincere, usually on a one-to-one basis.
  • Though they are quiet and reticent in large groups and unfamiliar company, they are more sociable and expressive with people they know well.
  • They are generous in taking care of others, truly altruistic, giving so much without expectations. They stand by you always.
  • They are highly self-aware, secure in who they are, their likes and dislikes, values and are conscious of what they want out of life. Makes you proud with awe.
  • They are often individualists who do not follow the crowd. Makes you jealous for their nerve to live as they please in tandem with their values.
  • They are mysterious within, as they find refuge frequently in their inner world for stimulation.
  • With them, you find yourself in nature or home or anywhere peaceful away from public places.
  • They do not impose themselves on you by disturbing with calls, texts and e-mails. They need a lot of private time to recharge their mood.
  • They are easy to be around, blending with whatever crowd they are in. They are happy to spend time with you and cheer for you as you shine in the spotlight.

Tune In to your Inner Voice

The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of.” – Blaise Pascal

Call it inner voice, sixth-sense, soul perception or intuition, it is a gift if you have a beacon of light from within that constantly guards and guides you. Haven’t you had circumstances where you instinctively knew something though you couldn’t explain how you knew it?

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It is the way in which our subconscious connects with the conscious mind. It makes use of no logical thought processes and comes natural, whether we pay attention or not. There is nothing as powerful as strong intuition to act/feel right, or as Carl Jung puts it, “to divine the possibilities of a situation.”

Intuition has a communication system of its own which varies from person to person, situation to situation. It could be a signal, a hunch, gut-feeling, an image/sound, a memory, a flash, an inspiration, another person’s voice, subtle hints and tiny cues now and then, an overwhelming instinct, compulsion, that urge us to act in a particular way, stop us from doing something not good or harmful, express the right words, reach the right place at the right time, meet that special person.

Possibly you may take it lightly or do not understand at the first instance, so the message repeats again and again through various means till it becomes clear. If you are unsure, another cue comes along the same lines of the first message. And it all makes sense at some point, when the time is right. You’ll know, when that time arrives and follow through.

Intuition is not a commanding force, but an ‘invitation’ to consider certain actions, new ways of thinking, change of attitude. You may be surrounded by messages, still the interpretation could be incomplete, influenced by your perceptions. So wise is the one who puts common sense to use and decide what makes sense to do.

You shouldn’t confuse intuition with your conscious mind speaking to you. If you receive immediate answers especially, it’s the ego or the mind playing tricks with you. Don’t fall prey to such hoodwinking. Furthermore, your conscious mind can talk you out of listening to intuition.

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Inner voice is soft, often drowned by the loud intellect. You hear it when you quieten your mind and experience silence. Go to Nature where signal receptions are strong. Sort of a deep meditative state until you feel serene inside and breathe calmly. Ask the Universal Mind to direct your intuition so you may know what you should do. Let thoughts roam. Ideas and solutions are attracted towards your mind in the process, or later, as a day-dream, a clear image as you work-out, a voice during prayer, part of a song that you hear.

Being positive, curious and introspecting regularly helps access intuition easier. Writing journal is a great idea to tap into insights and hidden feelings. Reflecting before sleep on a question that you want answered, your subconscious would have processed creative solutions while sleeping. Habit of remembering dreams is also welcome as messages lie there to be read.

You should learn to trust when small intuitions become true. Though it’s scary to follow unaccountable voices, trust increases your intuitive capacity. And when your choice is based on intuition, you will experience an inner stillness, the knowledge that it’s right.

Vegetarianism: Awaken the Sattvic Being

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As a lifestyle choice, plant-based diet has increasing number of followers around the world. Reasons are cultural habits, personal preference, health, economic reasons or taste. Habitation in some places of the world necessitate meat-eating for survival. Otherwise being vegetarian is enough for a fuller life, as strict and lifelong followers would know.

Often they have to face counter-arguments and derision from non -vegetarians. Standing up for what one believes in takes some firmness and substantiation by facts. Have you considered a moral and spiritual reason for your choice of food?

Control over Self

Ancient Indian philosophy glorifies Sattvic food (comprising mostly fruits and vegetables) for the pure beings. That was the secret of their vitality, joy and charisma. Over the years, medical philosophies like Ayurveda and Siddha rely on such a dietary regime.

Depending on plants entirely for sustenance certainly refines human nature. Vegetarians are supposed to be stable, patient and non-violent. Consciously or not, you master self-restraint by shunning meat, fish and poultry.

veg1Compassion

A vegetarian is humane in that he/she cannot relish anything that was obtained by inflicting torturous pain and agony in another innocent being. That is a voluntary act toward animal rights.

If you cannot help, at least do the least harm to other living creatures is their moral principle. Since plants do not have a central nervous system, picking fruits and veggies won’t kill the plant altogether. Resorting to cruelty brings back repercussions of the karma back to oneself.

Constant slaughter of animals, which are born and bred for the same purpose is appalling for the conscience. It is death that you eat in the carcass of killed animals. Vegetarians do not deny the life of animal off-springs nor what belongs rightfully to them.

“But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.”                                             ― Plutarch

As higher order beings on earth, humans should protect other creatures and make space for them too. Abstaining from meat is a small sacrifice compared to the animals sacrificing their life to be on our dining tables. Imagine how many animals we would have devoured in a lifetime.

Matter of Mind

Vegetarianism also transcends the notion that we are our body, we eat for the sake of our bodies. The nature of food determines nature of our mind. A subtler part of food, after digestion, which consists of the emotions involved in cooking, manner in which ingredients were gathered and the thoughts while eating, goes into making of the mind.

Eating animals who in their last minutes had undergone misery instils feelings of insecurity and pain in us, and arouse animal tendencies. Consuming plants transfer the pure energy of sun into us, that inspires service, creativity and strength of will.

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Earth Citizen

Vegetarians care for the health of the planet. They promote greenery, farming and harvesting, less pollution and energy conservation.

Fulfilling

Healthy choices of living, in a higher sense, satisfies the real hunger. They eat to live and living true to self comes natural to them. They inspire others by their personal example.

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.