Monday, 22 February 2010

Attention please!

Attention please!

Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 20, 2010

For HR consultant Nikita Behl, life is fantastic. A star performer at work, she has nothing to complain about. Apart from one thing, that is. She just cannot concentrate on anything. “I am very fidgety and restless. I keep thinking of a million things at the same time,” she says. So what’s wrong with that? Well, says Nikita. In her hurry to finish one job and get on to the next, she fails to concentrate on any. This leads to errors and jobs badly done.

Blame the fast pace of our lives, say experts. Few of us these days are exempt from a short attention span, and that’s because we have stressed and overactive minds, says psychologist Bhawna Mehra.

But attention issues are not tough to work on. “All it takes is a deliberate effort to concentrate and relieve your mind of undue stress and negativity,” says psychologist Seema Hingorrany.

That sounds easy, but is it? It could be, if you learn to manage your time a little better, acquire a positive attitude – and approach the problem like this.

Start slow
When you begin the day, say experts, do it in a relaxed way. “If you get up in a hurry and rush to work, your energies get wasted right at the start,” says Hingorrany. “The urgent need to get to your workplace doesn’t let you concentrate on how exactly you want to go about completing the day’s jobs. So you lose focus, wasting a lot of time. This results in not just spoiling the work in hand but also delaying the next job.”

Most of us schedule lists in our heads of things to be done. But while work discipline is always a good idea, it’s important to understand that everything cannot go like clockwork every day. “Not everything will fall into its perfect place every day and not everything can be done as routinely as it’s usually done,” adds Hingorrany. “So it’s essential to let go and take things as they come. You need to stop getting hyper about non-resolvable issues such as a traffic jam or waking up late. Rather, focus on how to make the best of the time you have left.”

Breakfast well
Breakfast is the first thing you dump when you’re in a rush, but if you want to improve your ability to focus, you must eat well. “The body needs sugar and glucose as fuel every day,” says Bhawna Mehra. “A healthy breakfast provides all the necessary elements to help you sort out problems. Most important, it gives your body the energy to start the day. It also de-clogs the mind.”

To help you function better, make sure your daily diet includes an adequate dose of vitamin B12, as it plays a key role in the normal functioning of your brain and nervous system. “It’s generally found in meat products, so most vegetarians have a vitamin B12 deficiency,” says Mehra. “So they should eat beetroot, almonds and walnuts regularly.”

Take a break
The minute you feel that you’re losing concentration, get up and take a break. Micro-breaks within the work area are as important as weekend breaks outside the office, says Hingorrany. “With millions of things happening around us, it is only normal to start thinking about other things or looking elsewhere while we are engaged on some task. Drop whatever you are doing and take a walk, chat with friends, finish a phone call or have a coffee. A break is always refreshing.”

Stub it out
A lot of people feel cigarettes help them concentrate better. But that is incorrect, say experts. “Nicotine may give an immediate kick but in the long run, it makes you restless and impatient,” says Hingorrany. “This leads to a hyperactive mind and you lose focus. So avoid cigarettes. Instead, take a bite of chocolate when you feel the need for a smoke. The sugar will satiate the need.”

Drink it slow
When you feel you’re losing track, sip water or lemon juice very slowly. “Water and lemon water help calm you down,” says Mehra. “Sip slowly and deliberately to soothe your nerves. An overactive mind is a sign of a stressed mind and it is essential to put it at peace.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Human Mind and .....

he mind is like the wave and the Soul is like the ocean. And the connection between the two is that the mind cannot be without the soul, but the soul can exist without the mind. So in meditation you drop the mind, you become one with the totality that is the ocean. Therefore there are both existing together, the mind as well as the soul, like the wave as well as the ocean. - Sri Sri Ravi Sankar

Human Mind and the Sea

As I watched the sea on several occasions, I wondered how it revealed its emotions and was caught in a very intriguing comparison with the mind.

The sea can be compared to the human mind. Just like the various states of mind, the sea also has its days when it is turbulent while there are times when it is extremely calm and tranquil.

The times when the sea in its ugliest form revealed by high tides lashing the shores, nobody dare venture near it. People stay away. Compare this whenthe sea is calm and friendly; people gather near the shores enjoying the cool pleasant touch of the waves.

The internal turbulence and turmoil or the calm serenity of the mind is visible for others to judge.

Think and relate the similar states of the human mind with the reactions of the society. I am sure the people will react much the same way as they would with the sea. An individual in a turbulent state of mind would react in a very nasty manner, because of the fact that he/she is not able to control theemotions , results in people staying away from the individual. An individual who is calm and balanced, definitely is much more friendly, acceptable and approachable. There is warmth and pleasantries creating an atmosphere of togetherness.

However there is a difference, which if understood, will benefit the individual and the society. The various states of the sea cannot be controlled, while the human mind is definitely controllable. This ability to control ones emotions differentiates the ordinary from exceptional.

Let us all try to control our emotions, especially the turbulent ones and do not vent our feelings externally, which will only affect our relationship with others. Warmth and camaraderie will make the society a peaceful haven.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Rugged charm of Karnataka’s wild, virgin forests

Rugged charm of Karnataka’s wild, virgin forests

- By Ritu Dalmia in DC 07-FEB-2010

Sometimes I think we Indians, even residing in India, including myself, have not seen enough of India. Every year I make plans to go to destinations like Africa, I dream about Namibia, I wonder what is the best time to go to Japan, and for some strange reason we just take India for granted. Well, this has changed.
My new year resolution for 2010 is to see at least two new places in India every year, and just to prove how serious I am about this, I promptly on the first day of the year left for Karnataka with a group of friends. What a trip. I left every destination wanting a bit more, just with that just small bit of me wanting to stay back yet another day, sure sign of a successful trip I guess.

Where we stayed: The Bison jungle retreat was not easy to locate, but what a charming place once we found it. Located on the shores of river Kabini, overlooking the Nagarhole wildlife park, it would be safe to say it is the best place to stay in the region.
The ambience and style is inspired by lodges in Africa. Tents have been imported from Kenya and are mighty comfortable. Service is slightly iffy, but saying that, the charm of the place more than makes up for it. Make sure you make an appointment with Babloo for a head massage. Our friend Mr Chin who experienced it first hand swears that Babloo was “the best thing that happened to the Bison”. In terms of location, it was perfect to explore the lush green forests of the area.

What we saw: Many Asian Tuskers, a pack of wild dogs, wild boars, spotted deer, crocodiles, woodpeckers, mynahs hawks and the babbler.
What we ate: It is shameful even to recount the packets of bread that must have been used every morning for breakfast, devoured with fried eggs and green chillies. The shahi tukra and the chicken biryani deserve a special mention.

How to get there: Fly to Bengaluru and drive via Mysore. Approximately five hours by car, provided you get out of Bengaluru within an hour.
Highlight: Coracle ride on the river Kabini in true “Mani Ratnam” style (yes, I even heard some of the group members crooning away Dil hai chhota sa).

Siddapur, Coorg
Where we stayed: The school estate run by super efficient Rani Aiyappa is what a perfect home stay should be. Nestled in a 250 acre coffee plantation, Rani started this just to earn some pin money and now it is a full time job for her. Her beautifully manicured garden is such a treat, nearly as special as the meals served by her well trained kitchen. Rooms are spacious and have an old English charm to them. The house is over 100 years old and part of it still retains the old-world charm.

What we ate: Now this is going to be a very long list. Each and everything that we ate was pure delight, every lunch, every dinner was a long affair. However, the Pandy curry (Coorg pork curry) deserves a special mention because the entire vessel was licked clean by us.

What we saw: Actually I saw nothing, I was more interested in lazing around in her garden, and reading, and waiting for the next mealtime. The others went to the elephant orphanage expecting to give a pedicure to the elephants, but I believe they were quite disappointed.
Highlight: Walk through the plantation with KK, our co-host and Rani’s shy husband.

The writer is a chef and owner of Diva

Why People over-react- People with anxiety disorder over-react

Why People over-react- People with anxiety disorder over-react

People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) have abnormalities in the way their brain unconsciously controls emotions.

That's the conclusion of a new Stanford University School of Medicine (SUSM) study, which could open up new avenues for treatments and change our perception of how emotion is regulated in everyday life.

GAD in particular is marked by extreme feelings of fear and uncertainty; people with the disorder live in a state of non-stop worry and often struggle getting through their daily lives.

"Patients experience anxiety and worry and respond excessively to emotionally negative stimuli, but it's never been clear really why," said Amit Etkin, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, who led the study.

For the study, Etkin recruited 17 people with GAD and 24 healthy participants and used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a behavioural marker to compare what happened when the two groups performed an emotion-based task.

The task involved viewing images of happy or fearful faces, overlaid with the words "fear" or "happy," and using a button box to identify the expression of each face.

Not all the words matched up - some happy faces featured the word "fear", and vice versa - which created an emotional conflict for participants.

In the current study, Etkin and his colleagues found that both healthy participants and GAD patients were able to identify the expressions.

Healthy participants, as was expected, reacted more quickly to incongruent images when the previous image was also incongruent.

When later asked if they were aware of any pattern that might have helped or hindered their performance, the volunteers said they were not; Etkin said this demonstrated that this process was carried out unconsciously.

However, the researchers found that in the GAD patients, the reaction-time effect seen in healthy patients was absent - and in the most anxious patients, reaction time actually worsened when there were two incongruent images in a row.

"GAD patients had decreased ability to use emotional content from previous stimuli to help them with the task," said Etkin. He said the differences between the two groups were striking.

The work was published online this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

"Trust in Partner" - Osho

Tat tvam asi- The powerful sanskrit sutra which means "I am that" illustrates that I see myself in others and others in me...

Question - Beloved Master, I very much doubt my wife. What should I do?

Osho - Narayan, the wife is not your God. You need not doubt, you need not trust. It is a game -- don't make it so serious! But you have been told to trust your wife, to trust your husband. And because of this very teaching, distrust arises. In fact, you have been told to trust. For centuries it has been known that it is very difficult to trust your own wife, very difficult to trust your own husband; it is next to impossible.

If your wife is interested in you, how can you trust her? If she is still interested in men -- and you are only a man, and there are many many men who are far more beautiful -- how can you trust your wife? If she is interested in you she must be interested in others too. She can be trusted only when she loses all interest in you too; then, of course, you can trust her. She has lost all interest in men -- she is almost dead.

You can trust your husband only if he is no longer interested in your body. If he is interested in your face, your body, your proportion, your beauty, how can he avoid being interested in other women's bodies, other women's faces, other women's beauty? It is impossible. You are asking something inhuman or something superhuman. And your poor husband is neither -- neither inhuman nor superhuman. He is just a poor husband, a poor human being... or a poor wife.

Don't demand such impossible things. It is natural; your wife is bound to fantasize about other men. It is impossible for her to dream about you, remember. I have never heard of a wife dreaming about her own husband. Who dreams about one's own husband or one's own wife? For what? Is the day not enough? Do you have to devote your night and your dreams also to the same woman, to the same man?

In dreams you are free; that is the only freedom left. In dreams you have a private world of your own. Your wife cannot peep in your dreams and say, "What are you doing? Stop!" In dreams you can have a few parties with the neighbors' wives. And nothing is wrong in it, nobody is harmed. Just, you have a good sleep and in the morning you have a smile on your face. Don't ask the impossible.

Mulla Nasruddin was saying to me, "For the whole ten years of our married life I always trusted my wife. And then we moved from Calcutta to Poona -- and I discovered we still had the same milkman!"

There is no need, Narayan, to trust or not to trust. Why bring in the question of trust? It is just a game! Play it joyfully. You make it too serious. And when you start demanding, "Be faithful to me!" you are creating a situation in which it will become impossible for the poor woman to be faithful to you. Give her total freedom; then she may be faithful to you.

Life functions in a very strange way. If you give her total freedom you are WORTH trusting. A great faith may arise in her. If a wife gives total freedom to the husband, that shows she loves him so much that she would like him to be happy in every possible way. Even if sometimes he is happy with some other woman she will feel happy because he is happy. And then a totally different quality of trust may arise. I am not saying that it is bound to arise -- it is not an inevitability. I am saying perhaps, because about human beings nothing can be predicted.

The relationship between wife and husband is a very strange relationship because these are two different worlds. The woman functions in a different way, from a different center. She is more intuitive and the man is more intellectual. That's why they are attracted to each other. Not only physiologically they are polarities, but psychologically also they are polar opposites. They are intimate enemies. There is bound to be a little conflict, and that is not bad; it keeps the relationship alive. Whenever you see that the husband and wife have stopped fighting completely, that means the marriage is really finished; nothing is left now. Even fight is not left... all is finished.

The butcher and the milkman were discussing the pros and cons of married life. "Do you really believe it is better than being single?" demanded Weiss, the butcher.

"In a way," said the milkman, who was fond of philosophizing. "After all, if it were not for marriage, we would have to do all our fighting with strangers."

Yes, that is true. It is good to fight with your own wife; at least the fight is with the friend. Otherwise you will have to do your fighting with strangers.

There is no need to demand these things -- trust, faith. Live together joyously. Make as much out of your being together as possible. Rather than doing that, people create such problems, useless problems, and destroy all their joys. The wife has no obligation to be faithful to you, neither do you have any obligation to be faithful to her. You love her, she loves you; that's enough. Don't bring faith into it. If love cannot keep you together, nothing else can keep you together. And if love cannot keep you together, then anything that can keep you together is dangerous.

Source: from Osho Book “Dhammapada Volume 10”