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Benefits of tobacco cessation are many. You reduce your risk for hypertension, cancer, cardio-vascular diseases and other serious chronic diseases substantially, at whatever age you quit your nicotine habit. The earlier you quit, the more you benefit. If you quit before the age of 50, you bring down your risk of dying from smoking-related diseases by 50%. But if you’ve crossed 60, suffer from heart disease and/or hyper tension, you can manage these diseases better through tobacco cessation.
Here are a few other health benefits of stopping tobacco use:
- Reduces risks of heart disease, cancer especially lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cuts down risks of Impotence due to erectile dysfunction in men, and fertility problems in women
- Optic neuropathy affects the optic nerve that conducts visual signals from the eyes to the brain
- Cataract Macular degeneration is breakdown of the tissue at the back of the eye
- Gum disease
- Losing teeth early
- Osteoporosis or spongy, thin bones
- Complications in pregnancy i.e. women who smoke have more complications during pregnancy and have low-birth babies.
So, how can you stop smoking? Are there any medications and strategies available? The answer is a definite ‘Yes’. Tobacco cessation has been honed into an art these days.
- Clinics: There are tobacco cessation clinics that help you with tobacco cessation. These are manned by psychiatrists, who can provide detailed information, encouragement, and tips to stop smoking.
- Medications: You can use many medicines while you’re trying to stop smoking. This increases your chance of quitting and including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT can be in the form of gums, sprays, patches, tablets, lozenges, and inhalers. NRT is even available without a prescription. Medicines called bupropion and varenicline also very useful.
- Electronic cigarettes: Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are designed to look and feel like normal cigarettes. These contain a heating element that vapourises a solution and looks like smoke. Some may also contain low levels of nicotine. There is currently controversial evidence on their efficacy.
- Counselling and behavioural therapy: They are both very effective too, especially if you are being guided by a cessation expert. He or she can help you with a personalised quit plan, including ways to cope with nicotine withdrawal. Apart from this, online support is also available for those who don’t have the time or money to engage in personal, face-to-face counseling.
Being away or oblivious to social media is synonymous to not following the herd. Social media probably is no more the latest fad; it is the given code to take a deeper look into the present age. The rewarding fact about social networking sites is their ability to transport us to people and places millions of miles away from us. This epoch with its dictates of overproduction and maximum utilization of labor, snatches away the boon of communication.
Some of the mental health problems that you may suffer from due to a social media addiction are discussed below:
- Peer Pressure- Social media use also creates the fear of missing out because you want to do what everyone else is doing. This evokes anxiety and will give rise to negative feelings and emotions, which again create mental health problems and stress and anxiety disorders
- Fatigue and Stress- When you are using social media, you are constantly switching from one task to another because there is just so much to do and see. This information abundance can tire out your brain, especially when it is received chaotically. Your brain needs time and room for absorbing the data and processing the information, but multitasking on social media makes your brain work overtime. This can prevent it from relaxing and it will become exhausted as it tries to deal with the barrage of information. Hence, the fatigue puts your mind under a lot of stress and you may not be able to concentrate on anything at all.
- Social Anxiety- Even though the whole point of social media is to allow people to stay connected with others, it doesn’t have the same satisfaction and element associated with actual human interaction, which is a crucial human need. In fact, in some ways, it is too distant and this is not a good thing for those who become dependent on social media as it can lead to social anxiety. Those who are already suffering from this problem will find it even more difficult to indulge in face-to-face interaction. Real human interaction can become extremely scary for people as it is becoming common to hide behind your computer screens and not go out at all.
- Distraction- Social media is just tailor-made for decreasing our productivity because you spend hours looking at everyone else’s life when you could be doing something else. This means that most of your time is spent on viewing photos, liking posts, and writing comments and these activities don’t really require the use of your intellectual abilities. They aren’t intellectual at all and distract you from activities that are such as reading, studying informational articles on the internet, etc. Your brain doesn’t get enough food for development and your intellectual abilities can decline in this way. Your brain will slow down and not be able to respond quickly in various situations.
- Insecurity- One of the major problems with social media is that posts typically present an idealized version of what’s going on in everyone’s life. Usually, what you see isn’t actually reality because everyone has their problems and issues. Nevertheless, you end up comparing your own life with that of others and think less of your own. If people in your newsfeed seem to be having a good time, it will make you envious and affect your mood negatively. Research has shown that widespread use of social media can demotivate people, make them aggressive and cause a decline in confidence.
So are you being adversely affected by social media? Here are some signs to look out for:
- Low self-esteem.
- Feeling low when you see other people's images and lifestyle.
- Envy of others people lives - wishing your life was like someone else's.
- Finding social media as your first and only choice of activity done for enjoyment.
- Not having as many face to face conversations with your relatives and friends and feeling disconnected.
- Being unable to do anything without feeling you need to share it online.
When you spend so much time with someone you are bound to have at least an occasional difference of opinion, to say the least, and it’s not always easy to keep objective and levelheaded when you enter into a disagreement with your partner. When this happens, remember to use these effective communication skills with your partner to improve the odds of reaching a solution that is in the relationship’s best interest.
This is because no matter how much you love and respect each other, it might not be possible to always keep cool and be levelheaded while entering into a disagreement with your significant other.
Here are a few effective communication skills that can improve the odds of reaching an amicable solution:
Use ‘I’ in the statement: Never blame your partner. This can make your partner feel that you are trying to attack your partner’s feelings, which often takes a negative turn. For example, if your partner is late, you can say “I would have appreciated if you had called me”. In this case, it’s all about how you feel and so it’s now up to the partner to appreciate, understand and consider your situation.
Don’t interrupt; listen first: Generally, in an argument, both the partners usually wait for their turn to talk and spurt out their anger and resentment. But this often makes things get worse. Most of the time, disagreements and petty discords, often, get resolved more easily, when someone pays more attention to the cause that might be making the other person upset. Also, watch out for the other person’s body language for getting a grip of his/her feelings. Try and pay undivided attention to what your partner has to say. Only when you have understood what might be the reason for all the hullaballoo, should you start explaining.
Don’t dig up the past: Always stick to the discussion and the controversy at hand. Never dig up old corpses. Digging up past hatchet will only churn out further heated arguments, things you surely would want to avoid. Remember, resolving multiple conflicts could only get nastier and even more difficult.
Explain later, acknowledge first: The most effective way of avoiding sudden escalation of disagreements is to first listen and acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Do it even if you think that the other person’s argument lacks reason. Take your time to hear out the other person.
Maintain a positive and a respectful tone: Lastly, maintain a positive and a respectful tone. And never abuse. Abusing is derogatory and can invite further malice that will only keep on spiraling north. There never was and will never be any alternative to maintaining dignity and holding your ground no matter how much the malice is.
Marriages in our country usually last a lifetime and require effort from both parties involved to make them work. Often, marriages end because of boredom, as the partners begin to believe that the spark is gone. But there are many ways couples can perk up their marriage.
While it is true that many people are short on precious time in today’s day and age, what is also true is that a marriage is well worth some prioritisation.
Leaving dirty dishes in the sink for a little while longer does make good sense, if it means that the time is well-used to bond with one’s significant other. Leisure time spent between couples is crucial for the success of a marriage. Many couples do not make it a habit of listening to each other and this really does work to their detriment. Paying close attention to what the other one says and providing a response may not need a lot of effort but the dividends are rich in the form of the partner feeling good.
Intimacy is a valued feeling of being wanted and it has a big part to play in the success of a marriage. Over the long term, many couples do not make the required effort and the overall quality of their bond is reduced, as a result. While reinitiating contact may be as simple as holding the other’s hand, many people do not do this as they feel their partner should be the one to do so. Intimacy does not only equate to sexual intimacy, but can even simply be looking into one’s partners eyes with love.
Laughter is said to be the best medicine, and this happens to be true in the case of a marriage, as well. It has been found that couples who laugh about their past experiences are happier and get along a lot more amicably than those who do not. Recalling together where the couple first met and started seeing each other also has a positive impact as it makes both partners feel valued and thankful about what they have.
- Engage in a new activity with your partner. Doing novel activities with your partner enables you to re-experience the original emotional state at the beginning of your marriage. In other words, trying something new sparks excitement, producing passion. You can do anything from deep-sea fishing to salsa dancing to hiking a mountain to eating at a different restaurant.
- Add the element of mystery or surprise. Both mystery and surprise also mimic the emotional state of a new romance. But it doesn’t mean whisking your wife away to the Mediterranean or surprising your husband with expensive dinners. Here, little gestures also go a long way. Examples include, surprising your wife at work and whisking her away for lunch, or sending a greeting card in the mail.
- Do something that kicks up your adrenaline and arousal. Young marriages start out with an adrenaline rush. Your heart races, you get giddy, you’re alert, awake and excited. Arousal-generating activities can include exercising, going on a vigorous hike, and even watching a scary movie. So it’s almost like fooling your brain that the arousal produced to this scary movie (or any other arousing activity) is really due to your marriage, and this helps to perk up the passion.
- Take a mini-vacation — just the two of you. Get out of the house for at least one night and two days, somewhere that interests both of you and creates new memories together. You don’t have to go far from home or spend a lot of money. The key is to spend quality time together away from home. Studies show that for women, in particular, getting away is important. They feel more passionate when they’re away from the pressures of their lives. At home, women have a tough time compartmentalizing things. They’re thinking about the laundry, lunch, paying the bills, cleaning the house, and checking things off their mental to-do list.
- Touch more often. Touch produces arousal, comfort and support both physiologically and psychologically, and it doesn’t have to be much of a touch. Holding hands on a walk, making sure you give a hug or kiss or embrace daily reminds you that you’re physiologically bonded. When reigniting your relationship, the key is to shake things up consistently. Good luck!
With age, most body organs begin to deteriorate in their function. This happens to the brain also, thereby reducing the overall speed of functioning of most organs. While slowing of bodily movement is visible, the internal organs functioning also slows down, which is not that obvious. Memory loss or dementia is one of the main manifestations of this degeneration of the brain.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and the associated symptoms includes reduced reasoning abilities and cognitive defects. Though it is seen only in the elderly, not all elderly people will have Alzheimer’s. The overall quality of life of the affected person is reduced with difficulty remembering things that were recently learned. It is a progressive disease and as it gets more severe, a full-time caretaker may be required.
Causes: The brain cells are affected by protein masses known as plaques and tangles. These hamper the way communication between the brain cells happens as well as affect nutrition from reaching all parts of the brain. This leads to shrinking of the brain, eventually leading to memory loss and other problems. There is also a strong genetic linkage, as most people with Alzheimer’s have the lipoprotein A gene.
Symptoms: Though memory loss is the most common symptom, there are other symptoms:
- Being confused about places, people, and times
- Inability to find the right words during conversations
- Regular objects are misplaced
- Becoming irritable, (in someone who was not so previously)
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
- Inability to organise thoughts
- Not able to make the right decisions
- Repetitive talks and actions
- Forgetfulness (not something the person always does)
- Difficulty with numbers (again, not something calculations
- Difficulty managing everyday tasks and minor problems
- Suspicion of others (like immediate family members and friends)
Risk factors: While age is definitely a risk factor, the fact that not all aged people develop Alzheimer’s is to be borne in mind. Other risk factors include the history of stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and poor lifestyle choices.
Diagnosis: While there is no definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s, symptoms along with brain scans and neuropsychological function testing are useful ways to confirm the diagnosis.
Cholinesterase inhibitors improve cellular communication in the brain and also manage depression and agitation. Memantine is used to slow the pace of disease progression.
In people with the disease, small changes are useful to help them with the symptoms. These include keeping essential things like keys and wallet in the same place, keep a daily diary to help them remember things, keep pictures of friends and family within visible distance.
It is essential especially for the self employed to have a structure to their day and allocated time for adequate balance of work and life. This goes a long way in managing stress.
Internet and social media have now become a part and parcel of life. Not only youngsters but every age group is at risk of excessive screen usage and even addiction. Being mindful of regular use, taking a break after 1-2 hours of continued use and also spending more time outdoors, reading books , socializing with family and friends will all help to curb the habit of excessive screen time.