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It’s Time to Stop Deflecting and Start Reflecting

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You may have heard the words, Go to your room, a handful of times. A statement that you have probably heard your parents tell, usually after a fight with your sibling or an act of defiance.

When we get told to go to our rooms, it is to punish us, but it is also an indirect way of teaching us to be a better version of ourselves. When we do something wrong, we get sent to our rooms. Being confined in a four-walled room, without a kindred soul to chat with, without a phone to scroll through (ideally) forces us to THINK; think about what we did and what droves us into doing it and reflect on ourselves.

Reflective thinking – what it means

Reflective thinking means taking the bigger picture, analyzing every nook and cranny, and understanding all of its consequences. It does not mean that you need to write down your plans or what you have done in the past. Reflective thinking means to truly understand or at least try to understand why you did what you did, and why that is important. It often includes delving into your feelings, reactions, and emotions.

Reflective thinking is considered a hard nut to crack because we all know that it is very easy to criticize others but judging ourselves gives us the jitters. So, we consider it a trivial task and tend not to address the elephant in the room. 

Why it’s important?

Reflective thinking is important as it gives us the true perspective of a situation which leads us to follow the right path. Perfection is a social construct. Striving to be Perfect is similar to fighting a losing battle. We all make mistakes. Apologizing for your mistakes is not that easy. It takes courage to own up and say sorry. But apologies are meaningless if not followed up with self-reflection and reflective thinking. It is a form of entitlement and emotional manipulation to think that we can be ignorant and take our mistakes for granted because we can apologize repeatedly.

Reflective thinking improves our decision-making skills. It increases one’s confidence in decision-making. Even the Greatest leaders have moments of self-doubt, which comes from wondering whether a snap judgment made was the right thing or not. Therefore, clarity from our past experiences and decisions matters and could diffuse those doubts and help you improve the decisions that we make, little by little.

The art and practice of self-reflection are important for all aspects of our life. It is preferred in academics as it enables students to judge their actions and freely express their feelings. This is important from a professional standpoint because, it teaches us to be self-critical, point out our own mistakes, and find solutions. Moreover, when we know our weaknesses and strengths, it is easier to bear criticism from others.

“Nothing and no one faze me as I am, my judge, jury, and executioner”, something like that.

Being able to express ourselves objectively is a good quality that is also useful in the corporate world; it can help us stand out amongst competitors while enabling us to adapt and evolve.

How we practice it?

Reflective thinking is also not a “One size fits all” concept. The way we go about it varies from person to person and their preferences and attitudes in life.

For example, if you are a person who likes to jot everything down, you can keep a journal to write about your experiences and try to make sense of them. On the other hand, if you are not ascribed by default, you can allocate a minute or two of your day to think, reflect and improve. 

Sometimes, we are put into environments beyond our control, that require us to reflect. It can be in a class where students are instructed to write a reflective piece on what they have learned; it can be in a social situation where you are required to be a moderator or where you have to defend yourself or someone else. Reflection can also come in the form of reviews and evaluations.

For all the psych nerds out there, here are some popular theories on reflective thinking and learning.

Kolb’s Learning Cycle

This is a four-stage learning cycle published by David Kolb. Each stage supports the next stage, which includes:

  • Concrete experience (having a new experience)
  • Reflective observation (reflecting on that experience)
  • Abstract conceptualization (learning from that experience)
  • Abstract experimentation (apply what you have learned from that experience)

Schön’s model

Schön’s model of the reflective thinking process, presented in 1991, is based on the concepts of

  • Reflection-In-Action 

Quick reaction and thinking take place when we are in the middle of an activity. This allows us to look at a situation, understand why it is occurring and respond accordingly.

  • Reflection-On-Action

Takes place when we look back at an activity, in which we are more likely to think more deeply about the way we were feeling and its cause.

Conclusion

Thinking too much (Overthinking) cannot be considered a good thing. Reflective thinking is always great, but overthinking can destroy you. Everyone makes mistakes, and many of us hold regrets. The decisions we make daily are difficult. Sometimes you make a choice that differs from expectations, and that is okay. Maybe you made the right decision, and it was a close call. That is okay too. Maybe you chose a course of action which had undesirable consequences. And that is okay. 

Your choices, decisions, and course of action are all your own and never NEED to lead to regret if you have the right mindset. The mindset should focus on decision making to transverse new lands of opportunities. Stop judging yourself on the road you took to get where you are today. Overthinking happens when we fail to realize that.

Every decision made has a consequence – good or bad, and they should never be feared, but rather encouraged. Trial and error help build character. Using your past experiences as a guide to help build your future is exactly what we need, at this time and age. 

“We don’t learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience”.

John Dewey

Written by: Rtr. Kaveesha Jeyanthan

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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Ego Kills Relationship

Concept of selfishness prevents live normally

Why would I? Why should I?

These egoistic words are the main cause of an end to all sorts of relationships.

What is ego?
“Ego” is simply explained as “I” or the self part of any person. It is that part of a person that defines itself as a personality, separate from the outside world. Ego is that part of us that experiences the outside world and reacts to it, acting as a mediator between us and our social and physical environment. Now, not all such interactions need to be positive, nor is it necessary that our reactions to these situations will be positive. All in all, not everyone is born with a raging ego, but almost all of us fuel our own egos, some knowingly or without knowledge.

Where else a relationship is when two people bond or connect based on the feeling of mutual trust, likes, dislikes, or love. It can be a relationship between family, friends, neighbours, passerby, or any other acquaintances. Having a good relationship is very important to sustain happiness. Relationships give a person a chance to get connected with the people around them and understand their true self.

If relationships never happened, you would not be able to tell the real person who you are. Relationships give you the chance to interact with the people you are closest to. If relationships did not occur, life would be boring. You would not be able to share your thoughts or gain a person’s respect. If my relationships with my friends and family ended, I would have nothing to look forward to when a day was bad, or if you just needed to have a good time.

Just a three-letter word, namely ‘ego’ kills a relationship with memories, trust, support, and moreover. An egoistic person battles his or herself against a relationship. Ego can ruin a friendship and put a barrier to family bonds.

A string of egoism spoils healthy to unhealthy relationships resulting in separation, hurt, tears of the other who did everything to preserve the relationship. Finally, the souls separate and memories fade. Regrets and stress are the outcomes of an egoistic person.

Your ego,
Pushes you into a maze,
A mirror maze,
Where everything seems real,
Until you walk towards it,
And end up,
Bumping into the mirror.

Ego has and always will be one of the main reasons for the downfall of human beings. The only thing we can do is to try and control our respective egos and not let them rule our heads. Every relationship works or breaks due to EGO. Without it we shall cease, to make anything out of life. On the other hand, if we possess too much egotism, we end up ruining every relationship. EGO is the only requirement to destroy any relationship so be the bigger the person, skip the “E” and let it “GO”.

Written by: Rtr. Raheesa Moulana

Edited by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

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A few lessons from the life of a “G.O.A.T”.

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When someone mentions the phrase “Greatest of all time” or simply the word “G.O.A.T”, several great names flow into our minds. These individuals have been titled as such for simply being exceptional at what they do and for leaving their mark stronger than the rest of the competition causing ordinary people, in order to embrace the lives of these greats for various reasons. But, among the greats there could also be a greatest, who would’ve just managed to outshine the others, and in my mind it’s the Great Muhammad Ali (formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay) – the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.

Known to the majority for his achievements with regards to boxing, Muhammad Ali was far more than a boxer. Apart from his illustrious boxing career, his acts had impacted a vast set of people all over the world. A few events of his life have been adapted into this blog to give you an understanding on what led him to becoming who he was and how we too should incorporate these into our lives in order to succeed.

Case 01:

One of the many things Muhammad Ali always carried in his bag was courage. The biggest turning point in his life I would say was when he beat Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight title for the first time in his career. To be honest the most impressive part of this entire event was everything that happened pre-event.

Muhammad Ali, 22 Years at the time and quite less experienced was definitely the underdog and considered by many as soon to be another victim of Sonny Liston, dubbed the big ugly bear. Ali on the other hand disregarded all the hate and negativity thrown over at him, and what was most impressive was how he countered them. He simply directed all his trash talk towards Sonny anywhere and everywhere possible trying to play with his mind and was even crazy enough to crash into Sonny’s training facility and trigger a fight all of which were acts taken by him to show the world that they were all wrong to think of him the way they thought of all other victims of Sonny. A mad man as the people called him, he proved that his madness was simply his bravery by winning the fight by a technical knockout in the 6th round resulting in one of the major upsets in sporting history while also crowning himself as the youngest Heavyweight champion at the time. His trash talk, fearless attitude all part of his bravery is what initiated his journey towards greatness.

Lesson learnt: Fear is something that a person should overcome as soon as possible, because it’s what would set you back for a lifetime. Courageous people have proven to reach the greatest of limits and have had the best of adventures. Therefore, never fear to take the next step nor fall for all the negativity or hate thrown at you in life, but face them courageously, which is what most iconic individuals have done in their lives.

Case 02:

Self-confidence is what builds a person. Confidence is key to a great start when it comes to anything. One of the greatest things that Muhammad Ali possessed and exhibited was a vast amount of self-confidence. Even at interviews, press conferences and even during a fight he never hesitated to let the others know of it and its power was proved more than ever at the Rumble in the Jungle. The Rumble in the Jungle, one of the greatest sporting events in history, was a title bout between Muhammad Ali and then Heavyweight Champion, George Foreman. At a time when the former champion was aging past his prime and the current champion was young and powerful with an attitude of a killer, people simply thought that the fight would simply end with Ali being beaten badly. Ali again was placed as an underdog in his life however, against all odds, Ali put his techniques, skill, experience and mostly his self-confidence to play which resulted in another major upset in sporting history – Muhammad Ali won by knockout and becomes the Heavyweight Champion for the 3rd time in his career.

Lesson learnt: Before you step into anything, make sure you are confident about yourself. You might fail, and people would barge you with all sorts of negativity, but never lose your confidence as it is what would push you the furthest and enable you to achieve whatever you set out for!

Having already looked into two events of the sporting career of Muhammad Ali, which are perfect examples as to why we should adapt certain characteristics into our lives in order to succeed, let us look beyond his sporting career.

Case 03:

Out of the several accolades won in his career as a boxer, the Olympic gold medal from the 1960 Olympics under the light heavyweight category was a special one, but for Ali that feeling didn’t last for long after an ugly incident. At a time when racism had a strong stand in in the USA and especially in the hometown of Muhammad Ali – Louisville, Kentucky, he had brought fame and glory for his motherland all the way from Rome from the Olympics. However, soon after a racially fueled incident took place where he was refused to be served at a “Whites only” restaurant which prompted him to throw away his hard-earned gold medal into the Ohio River.

Lesson learnt: What I personally got out of this whole incident was that, most materialistic things are of temporary value, and we shouldn’t be overly attached to them. Nowadays people tend to be obsessed with the temporary things in life whilst ignoring the more important ones. Therefore, always try to keep the real things close to your life, and this would make life less stressful and a lot worthy!

Case 04:

Another famous event in Ali’s life was when he decided to go against the law of the United States of America. By the sound of it might seem like he was up to something illegal, but it wasn’t! He was simply standing for what he thought was the right thing. In 1966, Ali was made eligible to be drafted into the U.S. military, at a time when they were involved in the Vietnam war. Ali, who had already converted to Islam, refused to be inducted into the U.S. military citing that war was against the teachings of Islam and that the Vietnamese weren’t his real enemies but certain people who lived in his own country (this was basically directed at the people in the U.S.A who were racist). This decision of Ali’s caused several people to brand him as a traitor and things worsened when he arrived at the scheduled induction at Houston but refused step forward when his name was called upon a few times. Subsequently he was arrested which led to the suspension of his boxing license and was stripped of his title and being inactive for more than three years of his prime as a boxer. However, Ali continued to stick to his decision and gradually gained the peoples support which too contributed to his fame and respect beyond the sport. In 1971 Ali’s conviction was reversed which saw his return to the boxing ring.

Lesson learnt: Many of us fear to stand up for what is right or for what our heart desires, simply because we want to avoid all the hate thrown at us, but if you take a look at the many lives that influenced a change in how things were done, there were people who stood up for the right thing or followed their heart even when surrounded by  thousands who opposed them. Therefore, never hesitate to do what is right, for it is only the good things you have done that remains after your demise.

Celebrating the achievements and being fans or followers of great people is a good thing, but what is even better is to look at the challenges faced, barriers crossed, and the decisions taken by them that led them towards becoming impactful people, for that is the best way to lead an impactful life yourself!

Written By: Rtr. Priyan Jerome

Edited By: Rtr. Abinaya Sritharan

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THE DEAL WITH CRYPTO

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If you’re that lost person who’s just like me trying to figure out what on earth this new virtual currency norm means I don’t blame you. It took me close to 500GB worth of data consumption for YouTube/Google, almost losing $250-$500 and close to a year of research to get almost ¼ on what it is and the reality behind it. Here is a brief idea of what it is and how it works.

What is Crypto?

It is a collection of binary data which is designed to work as a medium of exchange. The process is to store an Individual coin ownership record is stored in a ledger which is a computerized database using cryptography to secure transaction records, control the creation of additional coins, and verify the transfer of coin ownership. Cryptocurrencies are generally fiat currencies, as they are not backed by or convertible into a commodity.

Cryptocurrency does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is typically not issued by a central authority. Cryptocurrencies typically use decentralized control as opposed to a central bank digital currency. When a cryptocurrency is mined or created before issuance or issued by a single issuer, it is generally considered centralized. When implemented with decentralized control, each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, also known as the blockchain.

Bitcoin was one of the firstly created cryptocurrencies which were initially founded in 2009 by the founder claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

History of CryptoCurrency

1983 -1995

David Chaum, an American cryptographer, invented ecash, an anonymous cryptographic electronic money, in 1983. Later, in 1995, he put it into action with Digicash, an early form of cryptographic electronic payments that required user software to withdraw notes from a bank and designate specific encrypted keys before sending them to a recipient.

2009 – 2011

Satoshi Nakamoto, a supposedly pseudonymous developer, established the first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, in 2009, with a total supply of 21million bitcoins. In its proof-of-work scheme, it utilized SHA-256, a cryptographic hash algorithm. Namecoin was launched in April 2011 as an attempt to construct a decentralized DNS that would make internet censorship extremely difficult. Litecoin was launched shortly after, in October 2011. Scrypt was utilized as the hashing algorithm. Peercoin, another well-known cryptocurrency, employed a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.

2021

El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender in June 2021, after the Legislative Assembly voted 62–22 to approve a bill proposed by President Nayib Bukele to classify the cryptocurrency as such.

The all-time high of Bitcoin to date of writing was $68,521 on November 5th, 2021.

Future of CryptoCurrency

The future of cryptocurrency will keep on expanding there will be new types of currencies all along this stage of evolution around the world. There could also be possibly a stage where there will be no more paper currency, and everything controlled virtually. So adjusting our lifestyles to the flow is greatly appreciated by the tech industries as well as a new chapter for Financial services.

Already many massive tech giants like Tesla, Meta, Apple, and Microsoft, etc, are discovering new opportunities for the better of humankind.

Types of CryptoCurrencies 

A few of the most popular cryptocurrencies are listed below.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Ethereum (ETH)

Binance Coin (BNB)

Cardano (ADA)

Solana (SOL)

Tether (USDT)

XRP (XRP)

Polkadot (DOT)

Dogecoin (DOGE)

USD Coin (USDC)

Shiba Inu (SHIB)

Terra (LUNA)

How does it work?

Briefly, the crypto market is quite like the stock market on the technical side although the difference is that there is nothing Physically ownable and it does not pay you a dividend.

The concept is the same you buy your preferred cryptocurrency at its lowest value and sell it at the best value in which you make a profit. Although the concept is that simple the challenging area is to determine when will the market crash or rise. It is really complex to determine the favor of the crypto market mainly because it’s virtual and it has to go through a serious number of calculations and experience to get It right, this is one of the main disadvantages of investing in Crypto because you never know you will lose your money.

There is another area to crypto other than investing which is mining. Cryptocurrency mining is having control of a ledger of all incoming and outgoing transactions around the world in a specific cryptocurrency. Many volunteers, governments, and professionals in the industry uses high-quality mining rigs to configure and help protect the ledger account of the transactions across the globe. In which the hashing algorithm of the specific currency gives a reward for protecting the network.

There are several large-scale mining facilities across the world mainly in cold countries and areas in which electricity costs are very low. Mining consumes a lot of power and energy, so the requirements of cold temperatures and low electricity costs are required to maintain profits.

Mining Rig

Mining Warehouse

What you can do with Crypto Currencies?

Across 8 billion People in the world and over 221million people already involved it’s a new norm that will gradually rise. The trust, guidance & faith of the people is a point strongly addressed because of how the world-leading entrepreneurs and personalities get involved in this industry.

For example, Elon Musk the CEO & founder of Tesla, SpaceX bought an estimate of 42,902 bitcoins which is in today’s value equivalent to $2.8 Billion (USD).

Chamath Palihapitiya founder of Social Capital is also a great disciple of cryptocurrencies and the trust and positive feedback given by these great individuals gives hope to the world that this stage of financial services is important and will take over the world.

Companies in the present are accepting payments through crypto in which they will hardly convert to fiat currencies because the value of it will rise. 

It also can be a way of being self-employed trading Crypto and making an income for a lifetime. 

It also can be used to buy virtual art and objects also known as NFT (Non-Fungible Token)

This can be from digital art, virtual real estate, vintage items, and much more.

The main cryptocurrency used for a NFT is Ethereum.

Crypto Punks & Virtual Land in the form of NFT

Overall Conclusion

Getting the right knowledge and research will take you on a great journey in the road of Virtual Currencies. Staying up to date and in touch will gradually make a lot of sense and the experience of these financial strategies is for a lifetime at the rate the world is developing.

It is not up for discussion whether it is a smart choice or not to invest because the future is unpredictable and it’s our conclusion and knowledge that will take us far in this developing world.

NOTE: THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY AND NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE .

Written by: Rtr. Yehan Bandara

Edited by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

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A Sensitive Call on Longevity!

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The news that reaches us today is a sensitive call to humankind in many ways. Dying at an early age or the increasing rate of premature death is one of them. How to save the precious lives of humans? Can blaming others be the solution? Then, what can we do to expand the human life a little more for their own benefits and for the benefits of others by them? Don’t worry, there is a better way to respond to this sensitive call. 

The time moves so fast as our lives do too. The common mindset of the upcoming generation is to achieve their goals and make money fast and to settle into their lives and rest during their retirement. Due to the stress and busy schedules focusing on their career goals and targets, many of us tend to forget to take care of ourselves. The life we live in this world is limited; therefore, it is precious. We get to live once in this world, and it’s not eternal. A common question that most of us have been asking is “Can we spend our life in this world a bit more?” The answer is yes, it can be expanded by adjusting our day-to-day life. The below topics will reveal the secret to a healthy long life.

We all know that our ancestors lived a longer life than we do. According to them, the food habit they had was healthier. Change in the food chain has caused the expectancy to be low. They controlled by avoiding overeating. The intake of a limited number of calories may help to reduce excess body weight and belly fat (which most people have), ensures that the lifespan is prolonged. Eating more nuts plays a good role against diseases as well as keeping the body improved. They’re rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. What’s more, they’re a great source of several vitamins and minerals, such as copper, magnesium, potassium, folate, niacin, and vitamins B6 and E. Several studies show that nuts have beneficial effects on heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, belly fat levels, and even some forms of cancer. One study found that people who consumed at least 3 servings of nuts per week had a 39% lower risk of premature death.

Turmeric is used as a spice and herb in most of the countries. When it comes to anti-aging strategies, turmeric is a great option. That’s because this spice contains a potent bioactive compound called curcumin. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is thought to help maintain brain, heart, and lung function, as well as protect against cancers and age-related diseases. On the other hand, turmeric plays a major role against Coronavirus by boosting the immune system. By consuming a wide variety of plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains, and beans, may decrease disease risk and promote longevity. For example, many studies link a plant-rich diet to a lower risk of premature death, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, depression, and brain deterioration. These effects are attributed to plant food’s nutrients and antioxidants, which include polyphenols, carotenoids, folate, and vitamin C. Accordingly, several studies link vegetarian and vegan diets, which are naturally higher in plant foods, to a 12–15% lower risk of premature death. The same studies also report a 29–52% lower risk of dying from cancer or heart, kidney, or hormone-related diseases. Some research suggests that the risk of premature death and certain diseases increases with greater meat consumption. Vegans generally tend to be more health-conscious than meat eaters.

Longevity does not solely depend on controlling food. In fact, it has some other benefits that add up to our lives. Especially, staying physically active can keep us healthy and add years to life. A 15 minutes of exercise per day may help you achieve benefits, which could include an additional 3 years of life. Furthermore, your risk of premature death may decrease by 4% for each additional 15 minutes of daily physical activity. A recent review observed a 22% lower risk of early death in individuals who exercised, even though they worked out less than the recommended 150 minutes per week. People who hit the 150-minute recommendation were 28% less likely to die early.

At some point in our life, we all have seen or heard “Smoking causes cancer and smoking kills” even before the starting of a movie. Smoking is strongly linked to disease and early death. The average cigarette contains about 10 to 12 mg of Nicotine. A regular smoker inhales about 1.1 to 1.8mg of Nicotine by the end of each cigarette. Nicotine is known to cause decreased appetite, increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea and diarrhea. Overall, people who smoke may lose up to 10 years of life and be 3 times more likely to die prematurely than those who never pick up a cigarette. Keep in mind that smoking can significantly reduce your life span, and it’s never too late to quit. One study report that individuals who quit smoking by age 35 may prolong their lives by up to 8.5 years.

Heavy alcohol consumption is linked to liver, heart, and pancreatic disease, as well as an overall increased risk of early death. However, moderate consumption is associated with a reduced likelihood of several diseases, as well as 17–18% decrease in your risk of premature death. Wine is considered particularly beneficial due to its high content of polyphenol antioxidants. It’s important to note that no strong research indicates that the benefits of moderate drinking are greater than those of abstaining from alcohol. In other words, there is no need to start drinking if you don’t usually consume alcohol.

In conclusion, there are a few other factors that need to be considered in this regard, such as prioritizing happiness, avoiding chronic stress and anxiety and developing a good sleeping pattern. Even though some say that money can buy the factors of happiness, they cannot buy or extend their life with the same money. Think wise, are we going to focus on our career goals only and face premature death or add the above described to our routine and live a healthy life?

Save your life for your good and the good of others.

Choice is yours!

Written By: Rtr. Mark Nesan

Edited By: Rtr. Lakshan Banneheke

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MUSIC AND MENTAL HEALTH

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Music has always been a remedy to negative emotions, which acts as an increasingly common ally in hospitals, as it contributes to reducing pain and favors the production of brain cells.

Listening to music is one of the most pleasant activities we can do. Music is capable of making us feel emotions, relive others, think, dream, have fun, relieve stress as well as create and connect with others. People who want to relax and comfort themselves would always think of music as one of the options. Listening to music has great effects on people’s emotions. It is also helpful for your mental health. But why does music affect our emotions this drastically? How can a few seconds of a soundtrack send a shiver down our spines, make our blood run cold, and help us completely forget we are being taken in by an illusion? The answer, according to researchers, is that it has a significant effect on our moods and emotions because of brain dopamine regulation (a chemical messenger strongly involved in emotional behavior and mood regulation).

There are a lot of benefits that we can get from music. Our mind also benefits from it in different ways. Here are the different effects of music on the mind

Music has relaxing elements that can make people feel better. Most days, people who listen to their favorite songs are happier. For people who are having a hard day, music can also be helpful in making them feel happier. This is why it works perfectly in improving mental health. The connection between music and mental health can be found in the matching benefits of the former to brain functions and emotions. Music has always been working for people who have mental health issues. Children who are experiencing anxiety, depression and lack of self-esteem can take music lessons.  It provides confidence, relaxation and even helps in emotional healing. Adults who have traumatic experiences also benefit from music. It helps relieve people from the negative feelings brought by stress and pressure. Therefore, psychiatrists suggest music therapies to their patients.

It has been proven many times that listening to music can help improve memory. This is evident in scenarios where students review with background music. While reading or doing something, music can actually boost your brain function. It is also good for babies who are still in the womb of their mothers. It has been proven that mothers who listen to classical music can help improve the brain function of their babies. In cases where a person is experiencing mental health-related conditions, music can be used as part of the therapy. For those who are experiencing depression and other conditions, good music can be a perfect distraction. The perfect song or music can provide comfort and can change the mood. It eases the brain and gives people peace. It may not be used as a major treatment but it can work wonders in the mind of the patient. There are days when it seems so hard to even get up from bed. There are also days when you feel like you cannot start your work. In times like this, you can listen to music. You will notice how your mood can change when you play an upbeat song or your favorite music. This is an effect that music can easily bring. Listening to motivational songs can also help you get through the day.  

Stress is a normal part of a busy day. If you are an adult and you are working, you might not be able to get away from stress. But if you are going to integrate music into your daily activities, you will be able to get away from it all. This is also the same with anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious, listening to music can help create a good distraction. Learning is better when you are going to listen to music. Some children and even adults easily feel sleepy when they are reading. This is something that you can work on if you are going to listen to music. It will enhance the memory and it can help you understand the things that you are reading. Music therapy is an option for people who are experiencing chronic pain due to disease. There are specific types of music that are soothing. It does not really work in the healing but it helps in the reduction of pain.

Which Type of Music is good for Mental Health?

The answer to this question is relative. Firstly, this depends on the preference of the person. If you listen to your favorite song, you will surely feel much better. Motivational music, classical and other relaxing types of music are perfect for your mental health. If you want to relax and relieve stress, you should choose to listen to soothing music and avoid loud sounds. But the youth of today often show a strong desire to rap and rock music which I consider as “red music”. In my opinion, red music creates conflicts in your mind resulting in unexpressive people, however, it varies from person to person.

All in all, music is indeed a perfect tool that can be used to deal with depression and other mental health issues. Along with relaxing and resting, you can consider listening to music. You can also listen to it while you are busy doing other stuff. If you want to work on your confidence, you can learn to play an instrument. On the other hand, it builds up your creativity and skills. Sometimes it will create the path to your career too. There are many different ways you can enjoy music, and it is easily accessible to almost everyone. So, if there are people who show a lack of interest in music, I would recommend to try out without any hesitation and feel the change in your life.

Written by: Rtr. Michelle Perera

Edited by: Rtr. Lakshan Banneheke

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Skinny Shaming

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“You need to gain weight”
“Are you anorexic?”
“You’re gonna break”
“Real Women have curves”
“She’s as flat as a board”
“Why are you so skinny?”
“If you eat more you would be normal!”

These are just a handful of the remarks we get on a daily basis. It’s got to the point where when I meet new people it is the first thing people comment on.

The hot topic for most of our Family gatherings is, how thin I am.  I may not always be super healthy, and I don’t eat a lot, but when I do, I eat till I’m full. Everyone who knows me know how much of a burger, pizza, doughnuts, and Bubble Me fan I am. To be honest, name any junk food, be it 2 in the evening or 2 early morning I’ll be down for it. Genetics and a rapid metabolism have made me who I am. Some may say I’m lucky to be able to eat the way I do and not gain weight but only a handful would understand the frustration and struggle we must endure on a daily basis with the remarks we get, and also points in life where we try to give into those remarks and struggle to increase at least one kilo of our weight. 

Thin women face the same challenges as overweight women in terms of finding fashionable clothing that fits. Women’s clothing is not available in small enough sizes. While the outfits in the kid’s section were generally well-fitting, they frequently had too many glittery embellishments or frills. I’ve never worn a dress from the ladies’ section in my entire 21-year-old life; all of my dresses are from the kids’ section, and I’m sure not everyone realizes how difficult it is to get a decent dress there.

It’s easy to get away with skinny shaming. Unsolicited counsel and jokes are used to make the comments as subtle as possible. Most of the time, the person will give me a small grin as if that will make it okay. Because I’ve been on the receiving end of similar remarks, I’m quite sensitive when it comes to how I talk about other people’s appearance, therefore I’m baffled as to why someone would say such things. It could be a case of envy or jealousy. Maybe the person is attempting to make themselves feel better by putting me down. Is it possible that there’s more to it than that? Perhaps people are really unaware that these remarks are insulting.

Body positivity has garnered considerable attention. This makes me happy, but people often overlook the fact that there are various varieties of physiques. Artists are composing songs on body positivity, but they overwhelmingly favor only one type of body frame. The catchy tune of “All about that Bass” by Meghan Trainor has been topping charts and receiving praise for encouraging women to celebrate their curves. While I respect and admire Trainor for encouraging many women to embrace their bodies and reminding us of the rampant use of Photoshop, I’m not sure why she mixed these messages with body shaming and name-calling of others who don’t meet her perception of beauty. I’m a big believer in individuals accepting themselves for who they are. But I’m completely put off when she adds in the opening stanza, “so go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.” So, just because someone is skinny, they’re a bitch? When someone is annoyed at a slim girl, quite often, the first insult we receive, especially on social media, is “anorexic bitch”. It’s infuriating that a life-threatening illness is being used to define our physical appearance. The person expressing these statements usually does not consider the possibility that their target might actually have an eating disorder that they are so effortlessly criticizing with. And that’s not something they can control.

Because being slim is viewed as desirable in contemporary societal structure, skinny people find it more difficult to speak out against body shaming or express their frustration. However, all forms of body shaming have a long-term impact on the victim’s self-worth. The negative attention pervades daily life and serves as a continual reminder that there is something wrong with our appearance.

When it comes to slim shaming, common decency doesn’t seem to apply, because even those who see it never speak up. The holy grail of “slim” is still tied to aspirational beauty stereotypes. If you’re slim, you should be proud of it and keep your mouth shut.

People must understand that slim shaming is just as harmful as fat shaming. It has the same unfavorable psychological effect. It’s why, since I was ten years old and sat at countless family gatherings and meetups with friends, I’ve had so many body issues and up to date struggle with insecurity. It’s why I’m still self-conscious about my appearance.

This was written to show people that thin shaming is never acceptable. Every woman or man is a feeling-filled human being. You are not any less of a person because you have less fat on your physique. Just as having more fat on your body doesn’t diminish your humanity. Thin people should be given as much space and consideration as plus-sized people.

It’s high time for us to embrace our bodies and spread body positivity to people of all shapes and sizes.

Written By: Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

Edited By: Rtr. Abinaya Sritharan

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Modern Addiction

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No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.

Patrick J. Kennedy

Addiction is not something new. Each of us will have some form of addiction, which might have been discovered or not. We are very much aware of addictions related to alcohol, narcotics, caffeine, tobacco, sugar, gambling, and certain pharmaceutical drugs. But there have emerged addictions related to technology, starting from the late ’90s and now in the 21st century. The three biggest addictions are social media, gaming, and porn. People should be made aware of these addictions, and they should be addressed as seriously as addressing the issue of narcotics. 

This blog hopes to address the problem of excessive online gaming. Video games are a billion-dollar business and have been for many years. In 2020, the revenue from the worldwide PC gaming market was estimated at almost 37 billion U.S. dollars, while the mobile gaming market generated an estimated income of over 77 billion U.S. dollars. Some of the major players in the video gaming industry are Tencent, Sony, and Apple. At present, the major gaming markets are China, USA, and Japan. Some of the types of games are action games, sports games, battle royale games, action-adventure games, and role-playing games.

The video gaming model is designed to train our brains to perform multiple tasks with a greater focus which will eventually help in real-world circumstances. But if that turns out to be addictive, then it makes the brain function worse. Many online gamers constantly stay up late to play games, leading to sleep deprivation and inconsistent sleep patterns. This results in adverse long-term effects on their mental and physical health. Moreover, youngsters get disconnected or alienated from actual world scenarios and lose out on their family time. Negligence of studies, work, relationships, health, and hygiene are also huge effects of gaming addiction. They are also likely to experience anxiety and depression. Scientific research has shown that excessive online gaming and narcotics usage have similar adverse effects.  Games like battle royale games are known for changing the behaviors of gamers towards more aggressive and less sympathetic persons.

Why is video gaming addictive?

Certain activities like playing video games create excessive dopamine (the feel-good hormone), which gives you intense pleasure and a need to re-experience it. Then you start repeating that behavior. When you repeat it several times, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine. Then the only option left would be to increase the frequency of the activity. The dopamine rush is so powerful that it restricts the functions of other prefrontal regions of the brain, resulting in numbness that enables gamers to exceed over fifteen hours of gaming straight. Video gaming gives a sensation of value and victory players miss in their actual lives.

No one is immune from addiction, it affects people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.

Patrick J. Kennedy

Solutions

Parents should play a major role to safeguard their children from any addiction. They need to understand the hidden danger behind technological devices when they decide to buy them for their children in expectation of better knowledge and improvements in grades at school. Sri Lankan parents have minimal knowledge about technological addictions. They usually think that whatever electronic gadgets they buy for their children will benefit them immensely. This is true, depending on how these devices are used.

We are in an era where parents are more likely to lose control over their children. Hence, they fail to keep track of what kind of content the children are watching and the time spent on the digital screen. Yes, parents need to trust their children but parents have to remember that their children are going through a phase of rapid hormone changes which results in the change of their social thinking and is contributing to what they will become in the future. Hence, they can be vulnerable enough for manipulation. Therefore, parents need to carefully oversee the activities of their children, especially on the internet.

Telecommunication companies offer parental control options that let parents restrict their children from seeing or downloading what they consider inappropriate and oversee what the internet is used for. So, parents should use this option. Assigning time restrictions for children to use devices (the standard time recommended by scientists is two to three hours per day) is another critical step that parents should take. Children should also be encouraged to do sports and hobbies which don’t require digital gadgets. 

What about the children who are already addicted to gaming?

Parents should never completely stop it because that will make the children more aggressive and lead to more complex issues. Parents should involve their children in more time for family bonding and interactions. Parents could also sit down with their children to play games together but with the condition of a time limit.

What about the adults who are addicted to gaming?

First, they should evaluate themselves to know the extent of their addiction. Then, they can try to use a time tracker app that gives a warning when they exceed the time duration. If self-control doesn’t seem to work, they shouldn’t be ashamed of asking for help from others, such as counselors. Another effective way would be to partner up with another person who also wants to overcome their addiction and inform each other of their progress in reducing the time spent on gaming.

With the incorporation of features like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), the gaming industry will continue to get more and more attractive. Therefore, players need to be wiser and rational about their priorities and actively take steps to combat their addiction.

You are your greatest limitation. Hence, nothing is as powerful as your willpower.

Either you run the day, or the day runs you.

Jim Rohn

Written by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

Edited by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi

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Rowing

Rowing has a rather dull and morbid origin. It began as a method of transportation for the spice merchants and traders of the exotic African lands. Later as galleys of war to satisfy the blood lust of conquerors of the past. Through time and development of technology brought the end of these primitive methods and finally leaving us with rowing as an internationally acclaimed sport with a rich and fascinating past.

Rowing moves the boat using Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Rowing shells are commonly known as boats. Usually, boats can differ in size and the number of people who row within. The smallest boat is also known as Scull (one man/woman, two oars), where the largest is Eight (eight men/women, one oar each). These are usually the international competition standard. The oldest boat race in the world is the Cambridge Oxford regatta where it is the main event that has ever raced over eights. Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, the competitions have only Four (four men/women, one oar each). The oldest regatta in Sri Lanka would be the Royal-Thomian rowing encounter.

A Family Away From Family

Rowing is not for the faint-hearted. The sport is constantly demanding more from those who dare to engage with it. The work is grueling, and the commitment required is absurd, but there are those select few who are ever ready to push beyond what was thought capable, breaking the glass ceiling at any given time! There are only a handful of oarsmen and oarswomen who are not only connected by their passion for rowing but also the brother and sisterhood that binds and bonds them. Since the crew has only a few people, it is easy to build a bond, trust, and care for them. Undoubtedly, I can say that the crew is family away from family. One of my vice-captains over the years once advised that no matter what happens, the crew will always be there for one another. Surprisingly, what he mentioned was right and we were always there for one another, saw each other all the time more than our families. Spent most of our time at morning training, school, and again at after-school training.

Rowing gave our lives structure and discipline. The legacies of past crews were our responsibility to uphold. Therefore, there were many rules we had to stick to that made us and shaped me into who and what I am today. Sticking to rules does not imply that I have not had my fair share of fun. What rowing mainly taught me was that all things require moderation, and having discipline is vital. These are applicable in training or doing regular activities as a teenager. The crew was well-respected by peers, friends, and other students in college. Past crew members and seniors were considered legends due to the glory they have brought to the college. Their presence radiated confidence, unity and received so much respect which was incredible. It was a defining moment in my college life. Additionally, rowing had other perks such as rowing with other schools including, girls’ schools. Besides, we had the same training days with the same coach, which was also a bonus!

A Brief Insight Into The Royal-Thomian Regatta

The rowing encounter is the oldest regatta in Sri Lanka which began in 1962, which rowed over a distance of 1000 yards. Royal college was the first school to introduce rowing as a sport in 1953, and after a few years, S. Thomas’ also began rowing. The encounter was held on last Saturday of October, which comprised eight races. Each boat/race carries a point that was awarded to the winning school of said particular boat/race totaling up to 52 points. The regatta’s most anticipated and crucial race would be the A4 race (which carries most of the point amount for a single boat), raced for the coveted and sacred T.N. Fernando trophy. This trophy is then awarded to the winning college.

Rowing Centers in Sri Lanka

The most prestigious center or club was Colombo Rowing Club (CRC) which was located at the banks of Beira Lake. This establishment was founded in 1864 and. has a long and impressive history. It had borne witness to many great victories and painful defeats. The other center would be the Diyawanna Rowing Center (DRC) which boasts a long and quite straight lake spanning two kilo-meters, and the lesser-known club would be the Bolgoda Lake Rowing Club (BLRC).

Written by: Rtr. Shanara Senaratne

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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Vietnam

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About Vietnam

Vietnam is located at the eastern edge of the Indochinese Peninsula. The population of people in Vietnam is 89.71 million and the capital is Hanoi, known for its architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French impact.

Vietnam’s four largest cities are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Haiphong. The unit of currency in Vietnam that is used in daily life is Dong. Vietnam’s four largest cities are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Haiphong.

Cost of living in Vietnam

Vietnam is relatively cheap, especially if you are looking to retire in Vietnam or simply planning to start a new chapter in your life. It аlѕо dереndѕ on what lіfеѕtуlе уоu are planning to have. The tуре оf ассоmmоdаtіоn, fооd or means of travelling in Vіеtnаm are the fасtоrѕ уоu have to соnѕіdеr. The cost of living in Vietnam depends on the type of person you are and the place you board at.

If you live outside of Vietnam’s two largest cities, in places like Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Vung Tau, prices will be much less. In any of these destinations, a budget of around $800 to $1,100 per month will provide a lovely house or apartment, all utilities, housekeeping, groceries, dining out every day if you choose to, and even an occasional massage.

In all of these towns, you can find a place to live that is just a short walk from the beach, or even a home with an ocean view. If you can manage a budget of $3,500 to $4,500 per month, you can rent a modern villa with a private pool and live like royalty while eating and drinking at the best restaurants in town.

Average Expenses per month 
ExpenseCost $USD
Food (mix of local & international)$300
Travelling$60
Accommodation$470

Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine is incredibly diverse, and is frequently categorized into three categories, each of which corresponds to one of Vietnam’s three primary regions (North, Central and South). It is mostly made with rice, soy sauce, and fish sauce, and utilizes very little oil and a lot of vegetables. Sweet (sugar), fiery (serrano pepper), sour (lime), nuoc mam (fish sauce), and a variety of mint and basil flavors distinguish it. Noodles and noodle soups are very plentiful in Vietnam. Different locations invented many types of noodles, which differed in shape, taste, color, and other characteristics. Ph

(pronounced “fuh”), a type of noodle soup that originated in North Vietnam, is one of the country’s most famous types of noodles.

Religion & Philosophy

Aside from folk religion, Vietnam’s religion has traditionally been a blend of Buddhism,

Confucianism, and Taoism, referred to as the Tam Giáo in Vietnamese (“the three religions”). In modern Vietnam, Catholicism is also followed.

Among the older generation of Vietnamese, ancestor worship and filial piety are popular practices. Regardless of their religious affiliation, the majority of Vietnamese people practice ancestor worship.

Visiting Vietnam is an excellent option for people looking for a new experience. From sunny beaches to delicious cuisine and vibrant cultural attractions, Vietnam proves to be a rewarding destination.

Written by: Rtr. Yehan Bandara

Edited by: Abinaya Sritharan

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