The Power of Letting go of the Past!

HORIZON

How many times have you held on to the past?

Holding to what is still paining and hurting. Holding on to what has happened and what you should have done differently.

Wondering, “Why me?”

Not realising that these very thoughts are weighing you down like shackles on your neck. Preventing you from moving forward. Not allowing your neck to lift up and see the wonderful things on the horizon.

Until when you realise that there is no perfect answer for such questions.

The thing is  before you reach there, you must first remove these very shackles.

Once this is done, you will feel lighter. You will  feel free to move forward and experience the beauty of life – free of resentment, revenge and anger.

Yes, as the saying goes, “The past is gone. It’s the future which matters”

This is when your soul feels enlightened. The head clears from all negativity and regrets of the past. You now feel optimistic about the future. You are now filled with  renewed energy .

The energy that will help you focus on your goals and make things happen.

 

 

 

Is your Path Clear?

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Quite often we set upon a journey without making an effort to plan it first.

We rush through starting this journey because we are so  excited about the idea of reaching our destination and getting all the goodies it entails.

The euphoria blinds our eyes. Making us see only what we imagine will be.

Not seeing exactly what lie ahead.

In the moment of this excitement we forget that we need to clear this path first. We need to gather the survival tools which might be needed in case the weather changes. We need a slasher to clear the path covered by thorny bushes which might prick our legs. We need a coat in case the weather suddenly change and we start shivering from cold.

We need to be emotionally and physically strong.

Every day we walk on this path we need to see clearly what is in front of us.

We also need to see what is behind too. This will help us when things don’t work out as we expected, and we need to go back. Go back to take a new route. Take new direction. Go back up to the point where we are comfortable to restart our journey.

So we have to keep the path clean. We have to look after our body in order to have a clear mind. A clear mind which can weather all storms. A mind which can wait patiently while the storm passes. A mind which knows when to wait. A mind which learns to listen to the heart while waiting. A mind which knows that this waiting is not for ever.

This moment is a valuable time for learning and preparing for new things to come.

Your mind will eventually know when the waiting is over and tell you that this is the right time is right to strike.

Yes, the time to take action and make things happen.

This is when we really know that:

“Good luck is preparation meeting Opportunity!”

How I Controlled Acid Reflux Naturally:

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Anyone who has experienced an acid reflux will understand how annoying this problem can be.

A condition called hiatal hernia causes the acid to come out of your stomach instead of remaining where it is designed to be confined to. Under normal condition, after food passes into your stomach, a mascular valve closes, preventing food or acid moving back up. Acid reflux occurs when this valve relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from stomach to flow (reflux) backwards into your mouth.

Usually it’s an unpleasant acidic taste which rises from the throat to the mouth , lingering on,  making food in the mouth taste weird. Left untreated, this problem can cause  a lot of health issues and generally make you feel miserable.

Below are few strategies which can keep acid reflux under control:

– Modifying your diet

Avoid large amounts of processed and sugary foods. Instead, eat lots of vegetables, non-acidic fruits and wholemeal grains. Consuming enough raw food(salads and fruits) will increase your body’s natural production of stomach acid. These foods also create good bacteria which eliminates the bad bacteria which caused acid reflux in the first place.

– Eliminates food that triggers this condition 

This can be caffeine, alchohol or nicotine products

– Drink plenty of water

We loose about 700ml of water from our bodies every day through skin and breathing. Another 100ml through faeces (i.e while food is processed in the big intestine), 1.5 litres as urine and 200ml in normal perspiration.

So, even living in a temperate climate your would require a 2.5 itres a day.

Water also neutralises the stomach when it produces too much acid.

– Implement an exercise routine

Physical exercise speeds up a sluggish body metabolism. It also improves your body’s immune system which is important to fight off different kinds of bacterial infections.

There are lots of convectional medicine which supposedly suppress or decrease the amount of acid in your stomach. More than often these just worsens the condition since they treat the symptons but not address the underlying cause. They can also cause terrible side effects.

Ultimately, the answer to control acid reflux is to restore the stomach’s natural balance and function. This is not only useful for good gut function, but it is also crucial for your long-term health.

Maintaining a good bowel flora, will help increase the stomach’s absorption of nutrients, aid in proper digestion and assimilation of food.

Disclaimer:

As always the advice on this article is for information purpose only.

It is not meant to replace a consultation with a health provider.

 

 

How to Overcome a Fear of House Spiders:

Spider 2Spiderspider 3Arachnophobia is a fear of spiders.

For most people just mentioning the word ‘spider’ or seeing one is enough to trigger a feeling of anxiety and hyperventilation. It is at this precise moment when logic goes out of the window and a person starts doing crazy things which most of the time cause unintended injury. Yes, we hear this all the time. Recently a certain mum leapt out of a moving car after seeing a spider, leaving a child inside the car. Anything could have happened there – maybe a collision with an oncoming car, the car could have hit a lamp post or even a pedestrian!

While this might seem a very irrational thing to do, we first need to understand the origin of phobias. What causes them? How does someone acquire them?

Usually they are due to a conditioned response after an encounter with a negative situation associated with spiders, and then it escalates to a fearful reaction to spiders. This could be something like a spider crawling on someone’s body or hearing weird stories about a spider killing someone.

The solution is not to show off this phobia like a badge whenever people talk about phobias. One needs to look for ways to overcome this phobia and learn how to react accordingly whenever they see these hairy creatures.

This could be:

  • Learning the positive aspects of spiders – knowing which types are harmful and which ones are not. For most spiders a bite is a defensive resort. Spiders are antisocial – they just want to be left alone.
  • Understanding that spiders protect human being by eliminating insects that could spread diseases around the house
  • Dispel myths about spiders. We often hear scare stories about spiders, but the ones found in the houses are usually harmless.A spider usually doesn’t attack humans on purpose. Depending on your reaction when you see it, it might try to defend itself. So, the key is not to panic and startle it but instead to try and keep calm and get rid of it accordingly
  • Understand that spiders have got their stake in the natural world we are all living.

Knowing that spiders help us with the housekeeping, so they shouldn’t be treated as public enemy number straight away.

Honestly speaking next time you hear someone gloating about having a phobia for spiders, make them aware that there are more important badges one can have but certainly not this one.

 

How to Detox your mind and Create a Progressive life:


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People talk about detoxifying their body, but rarely about their minds,yet it’s the mind which plays a bigger part in their personal and professional growth. It is the mind which can make you feel anxious and fearful about your life and future.

Over the last six months I have experienced lots of changes in my personal and professional life. These changes have given me an opportunity to re-think where my life was heading. They have given me a clear vision on the direction I would like my life to take. They have given me hope and courage to make things happen.

Below, are the things which made this process do-able:

  • I reviewed what I ate by ensuring that I ate a balanced diet (this includ daily intake of fruits). The results made my energy levels shoot up and the feeling of constant tiredness stopped.

 

  • I created a routine of going to bed early. It was difficult at first as my body was not used to this habit. Sometimes I would spend more than 30 minutes awake in bed before I nodded off to sleep. But with perseverance, after few days I started getting used to it. As a result, I would wake up in the morning with a much clearer head. This enabled me to review my life and figure out areas which needed to fixing; I started reviewing my relationship with my family, friends and colleagues at work and look for ways to make these relationships better.

 

  • I started controlling the way I think about things. Any time my mind would wonder into negativity, I would stop those thoughts on track and bring back my trail of thoughts by putting in some positive thoughts. This was done through reading inspirational quotes or educational books. I finally took charge of what went into my head and made a choice to always be positive about things and never to hold grudges on people.

 

  • I started surrounding myself with positive people. Progressive people who won’t drain my mind and feed it with negativity. As we all know, the people you surround yourself with can either help you to progress to where you want to reach or drain you down to their level. As once said by a famous person, ‘Our ability to survive, to be calm, to even be happy, to possibly be successful, stems entirely from the quality of the people we surround ourselves with’

 

What I have learned is, the power to progress and achieve our goals lies within ourselves.

This is our journey. Our choice. No one can do it for us.

After all, the old adage says, ‘Where the mind goes, the body will follow’

We need to create an action plan for our vision.

Now is the time to leap out in faith and make things happen!

 

 

 

The Best way to Eliminate Belly and Abdominal Fat:

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For quite a long time I struggled to shift the weight around my waistline, which clung on my body like an ivy clinging about an oak. Suffice to say, I wasn’t successful on this exercise.

Any woman who has had children will understand what I mean. Yes, I have children.Two of them.I wasn’t successful in getting a flat tummy after my first one and by the time I had my second child, my tummy was visibly bigger.
I tried different diets but the fat around my waistline didn’t bulge.

Resigning into the whole thing, I decided that I am going to forget about diets and instead concentrate on eating healthily (plenty of fruits and vegetables), eat less junk food at the same time keeping an eye on my food portions.

I also started doing some simple physical exercises as shown above.

How I cope with Train Delays and Cancellations:

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Yes, we’ve heard all possible reasons- buckled rails, dry leaves on the rail track, signal failures, driver shortages etc. Waiting for the next coming train can be boring and stressful.The wait feels longer than normal. Uncertainty magnifies the stress of waiting.

But, how do we cope with trains often failing to arrive due to these unpredictable delays and cancellations?

How do we accept the reasons for the delays and still keep our cool and sanity intact? A better understanding of the psychology of waiting can help make those inevitable delays that repeatedly creeps into our lives, more bearable.

I have learnt how to cope and to make use of my time during these situations. This is how I do;

Read a nice and interesting book

Book ignites imagination. It opens our minds to the new world. Yes, you can be engrossed in a nice story line or an educative book in such a way that you don’t feel a 20 min train delay.

– Listening to my favourite music or inspirational podcasts

This usually lifts up my spirits and puts me in a positive mood. It gives me a sense of perspective with an understanding that these delays are out of my control, so there is no point fretting much about it.

Writing

Writing clarifies your thoughts. It helps you think about what happened and likely to happen.

Writing makes you smarter – it forces you to search for new vocabulary and makes you write more.

Writing solves problems – it helps you in coming with solutions.By identifying your problems you decrease your stress because you now have a focus on what needs to be done.

The process of writing removes both mental and physical stress, giving you a sense of calmness.

Indeed, my long- hours weekday commute to work has given me a motivation to write an e-book. Yes, an e-book is coming your way very soon. I know some readers have asked me about this.

Back to you my dear readers;

– Do you have any issue which is bugging you, which you would like me write about?

– Is there an area you would  like me write about?

– What is your most burning question in life?

– What do you find most challenging or difficult to do in life?

Just drop me an email on mumsharingknowledge@gmail.com with the answers for the above questions.

How I overcame my Fear of Taking Cold Showers:

Turning the temperature to cold, I stared at the shower head for a good one minute. I hesitated, unsure whether what I was about to do will be worthwhile. Closing my eyes, I turned the shower on.

Ouch! I yelped and gave an almighty shriek. My heart was racing like it was about to jump out of my chest. I quickly turned the shower off.

Surely there must be an easier way, I thought while scrubbing my body with a soapy sponge……..

Ah, I was once told that one way of solving a big problem is to break it into small parts! This way it’s easier to tackle it while getting motivated in the process of doing small chunks, until the whole problem is resolved. Equipped with this unexpected wisdom, I turned the shower on to tepid warm, and rinsed my body. With an unaccomplished mission still burning inside my heart, I then turned on the shower to cold and let it splash my body.

Surprisingly there was no shriek or racing heart this time round. Could it be that my body was more prepared this time? Could it be that I wanted a cold shower so much that my mind overcame all the fear and feelings experienced before?Could it because my body responded better with this type of approach?

Anyway, within few seconds something rather strange suddenly happened;I felt this rush of heat engulfing my body – a sure proof that the blood inside my body was now flowing to my organs for protection, to keep them warm!

Research suggests that cold showers stimulates certain parts of brain which are associated with increased  body immunity, stress reduction and also areas responsible for fighting against depression or chronic fatigue syndrome. Proven as a natural way of increasing fertility, cold showers also improve blood circulation, reaching those difficult to reach areas. What a wonderful, affordable-to all way! No wonder James Brown called it a Wake-up Shower.

Having equipped with this small piece of wisdom, we now know that taking cold showers need not be a painful or unpleasant experience – we just need to do it the right way and we will reap the benefits associated with it.

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Stomach: The Unsung Hero

How many times have we treated our stomach as a mere storage container where we can dump any stuff we feel like, yet we are surprised when it rebels because it can’t handle some of the stuff we’ve put in?Because we are so far from our food supplies, sometimes it is difficult to  know the processing stages, chemicals used for preserving or even the ingredients deliberately chosen by the manufacturers in order to please our palates.

Quite often our body rebels and rejects food that are difficult to digest or harmful, as a way of protecting our bodies.No one can deny the fact that since most people live a fast paced life, sometimes it is easy to indulge in bad habits. These include not chewing food properly, speed eating or gorging and bingeing on food.Not wanting to exclude myself from the guilty party, I sometime find myself telling my children to finish quickly what is on their plates so that they can catch the bus to school, start doing their homework or simply so that the eating process doesn’t take longer than necessary.
Currently, statistics show a sharp increase in digestive related health problems among teenagers. These problems range from irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcers and obesity. Before running to the doctor, maybe we need to learn and understand how best we can establish a healthy relationship with our guts.Knowing the right food to eat and understanding what you are eating is the most important way to nurture your digestive system.Be curious. Be your own researcher . After all, if you treat your stomach well, it will serve you well. Your stomach calls all the shots whether you like it or not.
The first port of call is inside your mouth. The slower you chew, the lesser you eat. Have you ever experienced watching a horror or action film while eating? I can guarantee you that your hand-to-mouth action will suddenly increase to keep up with the film’s pace. This is definitely not good and seriously unhealthy.When you chew thoroughly the digestive system prepares for the incoming food thus producing digestive enzymes which help the body absorb nutrients. When food is not chewed properly, the enzymes can’t break down carbohydrates or digest fats hence make you feel sluggish and experience loss of energy. Food properly chewed food also doesn’t allow the gut to work efficiently because the valuable nutrients locked inside the food lumps may not be absorbed into the bloodstream. This can cause bloating, flatulence, constipation, stomach ache and cramps.Gulping down food also doesn’t give brain enough time to register and relay the message to your body when the stomach is full up.
The stomach function is often likened to a washing machine.Rolling over and mixing its contents. Overeating is like putting too many clothes in it.If you overfill the washing machine, how is it going to mix and distribute the washing powder evenly? How are the clothes going to get separated and cleaned thoroughly? The inside of the stomach is about the size of two hands cupped together.This is roughly a suggested amount of food which should be eaten .Filling it to the maximum unnecessarily stresses its functionality.
Next time your teen displays a sign of digestive disorder, let’s not be quick in letting them pop into their mouth the over the counter pills. Instead, we should encourage them to first listen to what their body is trying to communicate. Is the problem due to not chewing food properly? Have they been gulping the food down because they were busy watching an action film or playing games consoles? Have they been eating too much junk food and not including enough fibre in their diet?
As Rousseau famously said,”The weaker the body, the more imperious its demands; the stronger it is, the better it obeys”Our teens’ full potential in life can be achieved if proper stomach care is included in their small list of their normal daily routine. Remember, our stomach calls all the shots whether you like it or not.We can ignore it at our own peril.
Below is an educative video kindly permitted to use, by Dr J. McDougall (thank you Dr) :

Degree Choice: Do we choose for Passion or Necessity?

Years ago, students used to choose degrees they were most passionate about.Degrees they like and enjoyed learning. And because they had chosen from the bottom of their hearts, they did put all their energy and focus towards achieving their set goals.
Back then, most employers didn’t worry much about the degrees taken. Their assumption was, so long as a matured-minded graduate joins their workforce, they will be molded to do the job.
But then, those were the days were graduates were fewer and jobs readily available. This was a win-win situation, with graduates getting the best of both worlds.
But alas, this seems a distant dream now! With often one job being chased by more than 70 candidates, employers’ expectations have soared.They are now not only looking for a degree relevant to the job advertised but also more skills to match. They are more picky in their choices of candidates. Skills like good communication, attention to detail, reliability and an ability to work in a team are at the forefront.
The world is moving. In order not to fall sideways, we need to move in par with it. Not willing to be left behind, most forward thinking students have now learned to mold their degree choices in a career-focused way while still at secondary schools. They are more realistic – they take time to look around the job market and ensure that they pick a useful degree which is marketable.

University Students

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There are some students who remain wedded to learning for its own sake. That is, taking degrees they passionately like. With no planned career in mind, they sometimes find themselves with degrees which don’t match with the advertised jobs. This often leads to a period of unemployment and a great frustration to many. With no luxury enjoyed in the past years for free university education, most students find it even harder to afford another degree after the unsuccessful first time round.
Understandably, Academics are worried about this shift towards career-inspired study. They argue that with non-monetary values displaced from universities, most courses will continue to wither and get lost in the abysses of space and time, instead of producing real creativity and encouraging open-ended curiosity.
But with university fees constantly on the rise, no one can blame these enlightened students for making a u-turn. They are becoming wiser by ensuring that they choose degrees which match with the jobs markets.

Universities which are struggling to recruit will have to thoroughly examine their courses and make cuts on those degree courses which don’t offer value in the job market. As students are now most likely to choose degrees which are likely to deliver high salaries, some argue that slowly the universities are being transformed from centres of academic teaching to new kind of employment agencies.

Finally students are coming to their senses as they realise the difference between choosing
‘What they are passionately about and what is needed to secure a better future ’

The choice of Secondary School: Does it go beyond what we think?

Choosing a secondary school for our children might seem a straight forward process, but its repercussion could stretch further than we expect.

Do we really choose a school for our children or does a school choose your child? Well, maybe a bit of both; because it’s up to you and your child to decide which school you will be applying for, and it’s up to the school to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the application.

Obviously, you and your child may have different reasons for picking a school but it’s important to discuss these reasons together and do some discussing.

Student in a labStudent in class

For some, choosing a school which is a walking distance from the house might be a deciding factor. While this decision might have been done in good faith, it might not necessarily be a wise choice. A friend once commented on how her son would invite a group of classmates from his local comprehensive immediately the school closed for the day. Once in the house, they would play music and video games for hours long without remembering the homework they ought to be doing. This created a lot of inconvenience and a source of frequent quarrels in the house. My friend confided that with hindsight, choosing a school with a good travelling distance from her house would have deterred her son from bringing in classmates as almost everyone would be rushing to reach home early after the school closes for the day.

Choosing Grammar schools (which often don’t apply catchment areas), might be a solution for some. It is quite normal for pupils there to get up to 3 pieces of homework per day, which makes it difficult for pupils to muck about after school hours. These schools apply a selection criteria, where pupils have to pass exams before being selected. Daunting as it might sound, through careful preparation beforehand, your child can stand a chance of being selected. There are lots of resources where you can get information on how to go about doing this e.g through the website on this link: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/

I hear someone asking, ‘what if my child doesn’t get selected even after a thorough preparation?’ The answer is simple; because your child will be used to working beyond the homework already given at school, it will be easier for them to keep the momentum of working above and beyond what is expected. This will enable them to shine and succeed even at a comprehensive school.

Choosing a good school which can be a grammar school, faith school or a good comprehensive school will give your child an opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded, focused pupils who often aspire higher in life. It can also act as a place for making useful contacts and links that will last than a lifetime.

It is also too common that most good schools get more funding from the government to cater for a bigger spectrum of subjects such as Latin and classics which won’t be found in normal schools.

Good schools often have tight discipline and behaviour policy which maximise children’s learning. This can be in a form of strict dress code, uniform checks and a list of different types of detentions. Though this might seem a bit regimental, surprisingly it reduces disruption and talking during lessons. With everyone focusing on lessons, such schools usually produce high grades.

Some would argue that in order to avoid what might seem as an ‘overbearing atmosphere’ with sombre-faced children, walking in line, head bowed, students should be allowed to get involved and have ownership in developing school’s behaviour policies. So, instead of imposing a set of rules, pupils are engaged  in drawing up policies which are manageable and motivating.

Parents who take time to choose a good school for their children are often rewarded by a learning environment whereby their children not only achieve good grades, but also where good behaviour becomes second nature. Pupils learn and build respectable relationships with each other and gain discipline, badly needed to succeed in life.

 

The wide usage of ‘Smart Drugs’

 The use of brain – enhancing smart drugs is widespread and on the rise. Drugs such as Ritalin normally prescribed for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders are being bought online and used by some students to improve concentration and make them pass the exams with good grades.

Some products which are regarded as safe, and labelled as ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ have been marketed as mood-enhancers, but found to contain components of antidepressants.

Surprisingly, most students who use these drugs don’t come from the so called ‘druggy’ environment but from good, respectable background.

They often believe that their ordinary, healthy brains need a helping hand in order to get better exam results and achieve higher exam scores. The lure of popping a pill in their mouth and gain immediate focus, attentiveness and better memory retention is often too hard to resist. They want a pill that instantly gives them a razor sharp mind rather than follow conventional ways which I will discuss later on this article. Yes, they want a magic bullet!

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But the question is, do these so called ‘smart drugs’ really work? Can we just pop them into our mouth and not suffer the consequences?

Some actors claim that their ability to remember their lines increase when they take these drugs. Little is known what will happen later, under prolonged usage. People who are dependant on these drugs often suffer from headaches, dizziness, insomnia, serious mood swings, mental disorders, liver damage and even death.

Some even find it difficult to wean themselves off them later.

The use of these drugs for enhancement rather than treatment is often seen as unjustified, since they offer very minor improvement but the damage they cause can last very long. Often the damage is even harder to detect  earlier and when detected later on, the effects are usually impossible to reverse.

Do we really want our brains to be affected by these drugs in our quest for ‘smarter brains?’ Maybe not.

Luckily, there are safer methods which students  can use to achieve focus, alertness, memory boost and hence attain the grades they desperately want to achieve.

Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to ‘exercise it’. The more you work out your brain, the better you will be able to process and remember information. To strengthen your brain cells, you need to keep learning, developing new skills and constantly keeping yourself engaged.

Physical exercise also helps the brain to stay sharp by increasing oxygen to your brain, therefore improving memory retention. It also reduces stress hormones by balancing the brain chemicals, hence control your mood and increase the ‘fell good factor’ Exercises which keep your blood pumping such as aerobics and jogging will stimulate your brain and set you for better learning and good memory retention.

Not forgetting the old adage ‘We are what we eat’,  a good balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole meal food is also crucial for your body.

With proper physical exercise and a good balanced diet, a good night sleep can easily be achieved, which is needed for rebooting our brain and enhance memory.

Honestly, what other safer methods to make us smart can there be, other than this?

Why do smart Students prefer sitting in the Front Row?

Do you avoid sitting in the front row for fear that the teacher might call on you more? Do you prefer sitting in the furthest proximity from the teacher because you feel secure and more comfortable there? You are making a big mistake. In fact you are literally missing out! Keep on reading my article and I will tell you why.

Picking a chair in the front row tells a teacher something about you, without you uttering a word. Yes, it tells them that you are interested in the lesson which is going to be taught. This simple body language in itself speaks volume. Sitting in the front row makes you more in tune with the Speaker. You will engage more and hear clearly what is being taught. This will help you take notes that are accurate, complete and meaningful – sometimes even an information which is likely to show up as questions on exams. A better study habit is also maintained during the process.

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Sitting on this position enables a good eye contact with the teacher, increases a greater personal responsibility to listen to, and be alert to what is being taught. Some also say that this ‘up close’ sitting in large lecture classes increases the likelihood that your teacher will know you. This could actually work to your advantage especially if your total exam points falls in-between two set grades. The likelihood that your teacher will remember you as ‘that motivated student who always sat in the front row’, and give you the benefit of the doubt is also higher. Furthermore, sitting in the front row increases the chances of  being spoken to by the teacher and the teacher remembering you especially when it comes to obtaining good letters of recommendation or references. For those who are shy by nature, sitting in the front row can also boost their confidence. This is makes them less nervous about asking questions or making a class contribution, as there will be no students sitting in front of them to turn around and stare. One can arguably say that the back row often plays host to a lot of distractions such as texting, chatting, online shopping, playing video games or even browsing on Facebook accounts. Understandably, sitting in the front row enables you to pay more attention because there is no one between you and the teacher to watch, instead of focusing on the teacher. As the competition for achieving higher grades is getting fiercer, where you sit in class can indeed make a difference in your grade point average. Having equipped ourselves with this little piece of wisdom, we now know how to increase our chances of getting higher grades. After all, as the saying goes, “every little helps.”

Does preparing Teens too much for Academic success unable them to cope in other areas?

This is the time when most teens would have finished their sixth form and are eagerly awaiting for their results in August. For those with conditional offers, this is the time for doing the final preparations before joining.
Understandably, those who will be going away from home are currently filled with excitement and anticipation. A lot of things must be going on in their heads; How will life be like away for so long from home? How will they cope with the idea of coming home from lectures and find no ready cooked meals? Who will do their washings? The list is long…, but all this is overshadowed by the excitement of freedom. Yes. Freedom to do what they want to do and when they feel like.
But alas, sooner or later it will dawn on them that with freedom comes responsibility. This is nature’s way of ensuring that this very freedom does not negatively affect us or others.
At this stage most parents must be feeling that their job of supporting their teens is now over .Yes, mission accomplished.
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But the main question is, are these teens fully prepared for life outside academia? Have they been exposed to enough challenges other than school work? Have they failed at anything hence learn from their experience? Do they know how to deal with bumps and bruises life occasionally throws?
While at the University some late starters might encounter for the first time(away from home) the effects bad decisions such as ill-chosen romantic or sexual encounters. Being far from parental support, this can emotionally knock them down. Not knowing where to seek support, this could lead to anxiety, depression and possibly dropping out of University. Some teens just about linger on, but instead resort to misuse of alcohol and drugs abuse as a temporary escapism.
It is crucial for teens affected to take advantage of pastoral care readily available in most Universities.
So before this happens to our teens, parents should always instill into their teens’ minds that sometimes things not always turn out the way they would expect. This is normal. As once said by the famous writer, Elizabeth Edwards, She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. This is similar to changing our approach to solving a problem at hand. Maybe even changing your attitude to ensure that this problem is resolved in a positive way. This should be a long-run strategy.
We want our teens to be equipped with all the necessary survival skills which will be useful when they are out there in the world, on their own. We should share our knowledge about the hard experiences we’ve been through. Let them hear how we managed to pull through and learn from the experience.
As the saying goes, If you don’t teach your child the right ways, the world will do this for you
Quite often the world does this but in a very hard way, that few teens come out of their experiences unscathed.
Do we really want our teen to be one of the unlucky ones who gets drawn into a situation and never get a chance to come out successfully on the other side?
Maybe not.

Why do some Teenagers cope better with academic stress than others?

Does your teen struggle to get up in the morning to go to class? Do they find it difficult completing assignments or remembering what they’ve read previously? These are the few signs of academic stress which if not dealt early or correctly can affect your teen in all areas of their lives.

Academic stress can cause anxiety, procrastination and depression which in turn can affect the teen’s school performance and grades, leading to more stress.

Have you ever wondered why some teens who are going through a similar situation sail through this situation unscathed? Research shows that skills for coping with academic stress are not something someone is born with. These skills can be acquired through learning, constantly practising and applying them in our lives.

Now, what do these uber, smart teenagers do to cushion themselves from everyday academic stress? Do they have a magic secret known only to themselves and their inner circle of friends? How can your teen clamber their way into this ‘chosen’ circle without feeling as an outsider? Luckily, your teen can worm their way into this circle, at the same time gain emotional and physical resilient needed to cope with this type of stress.

This can only be achieved if the following things, are incorporated in their daily routine:

  • Making sure that they substitute junk or processed food with healthy meals whole meal food (such as brown bread), vegetables and plenty of fruits. Doing this will enable their body to acquire nutrients and minerals badly needed by their brain to cope with stress
  • Doing physical exercise (the ones which you can feel your heart pumping a little bit more). This can be jogging, after school sports or using free online video workouts at the comfort of your own home. Research shows that while doing physical exercise the body releases some feel-good chemicals which sends signals to the brain and gives a sense of command over your body and life. This in turn gives you confidence and optimism in stressful situations
  • Getting enough sleep. This can easily be achieved the items above are done properly. Sleep boosts memory and organises things which has been stacked up inside our brains while revising previously. It also rejuvenates the body making us feel energetic and relaxed
  •  By planning where to study and when. Smart children have their set daily routine and stick to it. They often plan their day beforehand so that they know exactly what to study rather than just do things sporadically. By doing this they exercise their mental  and emotional muscles so that this very routine  becomes a regular pattern of their lives
  • They set their goals, work hard and thrive to achieve them. If they have a set career in mind they actively look for information needed to achieve this career. They look up the information from the internet, ask teachers and look for someone who is currently in this career in order to understand the ins and outs of that career’s working life.  This goal is usually embedded deeply in their subconscious mind so that when it comes to doing exams or taking part in interviews, they find themselves emotionally prepared
  • They avoid unwanted distractions. These distractions can be in the form of spending too much time watching TV, on social media or with un-motivated / negative friends. With no specific goals, these friends might want or unknowingly distract your teen from working towards their set goals. Your family home arrangement can also act as a distraction. I know a girl who spent most of her after school hours studying at the Library because there was constant noise in her flat, and no space to study or do her homework. Suffice it  to say, her hard work paid off and she passed her GCSE with flying colours
  • Surrounding themselves or befriending hard working classmates. As Oprah Winfrey famously said, ‘Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher’. Frankly speaking as your teen might be still on the initial stage of working on their goals, this is very important so that these people can motivate them to work harder and stay focused.

Observing these routines will put your teen in a good stead in life. By the time they reach working life age their emotional muscles will be so strong that they can cope with their own work and family stress quite easily.

Now, equipped with this little piece of wisdom we now know that rather than admire these seemingly stress free teens from far, we should make sure that our teens are part of this inner circle.

Why you should include Tea in your Teen’s Breakfast

 teen drinking a cuppa    A cup of tea    Lemon tea
We take tea when we want to uplift our morning blues or be alert. We genuinely volunteer a cup of tea to a colleague who is sad and feeling that everything is doom and gloom. We enjoy the little ritual of brewing tea, serving, drinking….
Yes, we love our cuppa!
But first thing first. Where did this wonderful beverage come from? Why do we like it so much? What does it do to our body?
Legend has it that a Chinese emperor discovered tea when leaves accidentally fell into a boiling pot of water, while he was seated under a tree shade. Since then tea has been used and enjoyed by many due to its healthy and refreshing nature.
Due to the hectic morning rush, many parents find it quicker and easier to prepare a bowl of cereal and toast as a habitual way of making breakfast. While your teen might benefit from milk and carbohydrate content from the cereal, they could be missing out on something extra which is beneficial to their bodies. Modern scientific research has given us a better insight into how tea improves our health . Below are some of these benefits:
  • Tea contains antioxidants which slows our body ageing process. It destroys free radicals which can damage DNA in our body.Free radicals are molecules that can damage the living cells in our body especially the skin. The most common free radicals are those created by external sources such as UV light from sunlight and pollution.Tea can therefore help combat skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis which are common among teenagers

http://zarpatedincat.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/use-black-tea-to-get-rid-of-spots-and.html

  •  Tea helps in coping well with stress. According to recent study, a daily cup of tea can help a person recover quickly from stresses of everyday life.
Quite often most teens feel a lot of stress during exams period.Tea can be aid to calm their nerves, make them feel relaxed, focused and think straight .
After all learning how to manage stress can come in handy when they become adults.
  • Tea can aid in improving memory
Next time your teen is struggling to retain the stuff which have been previously been laboriously studied, just try to include tea in their breakfast. No one can dispute the fact that we sometimes need to aid our body to do what we want it to do.
  • Tea may boost attention span
Research has proven that the natural phytochemicals from tea can improve attention and cognitive function .This is useful for teens who feel bored quite easily and struggle to maintain focus.
Just like other beverages, there are countless types and blends.So choose the one you most feel comfortable with.
So, help your teen go and discover this wonderful beverage.Let them enjoy their cuppa.

Disclaimer:

As always the advice on this article is for information purpose only.

It is not meant to replace a consultation with a health provider.

 

The importance of Parent-Teen-Teacher relationship:

parent-teacher-teen picparent-teacher-teen venn

We all know the saying that, ‘Three is a crowd in a marriage!’ Well, when it comes to our teens’ educational success, I’m afraid we have to allow in this dreaded third person, albeit disguised as a helping angel.

Yes. I’m talking about the parent-teen-teacher relationship.

 Quite often teachers are sometimes portrayed as adversaries based on what we’ve heard from media or from our own experience during school years. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to perceive them this way.
Teachers are there to teach and provide a good pastoral care to our teens. Using them with due care and wisdom can indeed work to our advantage. We should therefore learn to trust them. Of course this should be done in a mutual respectful manner.

Much as we fear that we might be accused of meddling into our teens’ schooling and end up ruining things, it is important to get involved in our teens’ education rather than sit back and hope that teachers will handle them and get it right.
Most parents have first contact with their teen’s teacher when an issue arises. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Parents should arrange a scheduled meeting with their teen’s form Tutor or subject teacher from the beginning of a school year rather than wait for parents’ evening or other appointments the school usually provide.
Fostering a good parent-teen-teacher relationship early in the school year will help iron out issues, should misunderstandings between teacher and parents arise in future.
Getting to know the teacher as a person who has your teen’s best interest at heart is important in breaking down future barriers.
Now, you must be asking yourself, ‘What do I talk about on this very first meeting? How do I start? What do I ask?
The good news is, it is not very hard to initiate or start a conversation. A good opening question could be like, asking the teacher of any nice recent success classroom story. This will surely kick start your conversation to a positive note.
Ask the teacher what are his/her expectations for your teen. What can you do at home, to reinforce the things which have been taught in class.
This will definitely impress the teacher, knowing that he/she is not carrying the burden alone. It will also encourage them to know that you are making an effort in getting involved in your teen’s schooling.
Parents should also share information about their teen’s needs with the teacher. Doing this will make the teacher aware of any educational need which once addressed later on, could improve your teen’s performance.
From the teen’s point of view (although they won’t admit it), they will be motivated once they realise that both their parents and teachers are working towards their academic success.
Above all, it is always good to remember that a three way relationship will only help your teen achieve higher potential if both sides positively work together.




 

Why we should ‘work back’ when choosing GCSE options

In year 9 most schools in UK allow their children to choose subjects they would like to pursue in year 10 and 11. This is called GCSE options.While this may seem as a straight forward exercise, frankly speaking the subjects they choose now, can affect their future direction or career.

As a parent, your heart might be set on your teen choosing particular subjects or a career which you think will be good for them, based on what you have experienced in life. While this might be thought of with good intentions, it is important that we don’t allow our preferences to override our teen’s. Instead, this can be handled properly through cooperation, thorough discussions and actions, which we shall talk about later on this post.

What exactly should the GCSE options choices be based on?

  • Being good at particular subjects: This will help your teen in managing the subjects’ workload, finish the assignments on time, with good results.
  •  Natural ability in learning the chosen subjects: This will make is easier while learning and gain an in-depth knowledge, which is beneficial when making career choices later.
  •  What your teen enjoys doing: If they enjoy a subject the chances are, they will put effort and get higher grades.

Once this is established, assuming that your teen’s choices is not influenced by friends or by the sheer novelty of a career’s title, this is when the options’ choices needs to be done very carefully. At this stage it is important for your teen to understand which career / careers the chosen subjects will lead to. This is the time when parents’  input is crucial because your teen might want to choose particular subjects without knowing that the chosen subjects / combination of subjects won’t lead to non of the future career. They might be forgiven for being naïve, as frankly speaking most teens at this stage won’t necessarily know much about future careers.

Something needs to be done. A realistic solution needs to be sought, which brings us to adopt a traditional accounting concept of…..

Reconciling GCSE options’ subjects against a career your teen might want to pursue

This is what people call ‘choosing and work back’. Basically it is starting with what your teen would like to choose as a career, then find out which institutions are likely to offer courses on the chosen subjects. Could it be at the University, College or with an apprenticeship? Once established, then work back by looking at the requirements needed for entry.

If your teen wants to take the University route, you might find that most Universities have their set entry requirements and may demand certain subjects at A-level. You might find that your teen may need a GCSE in a subject to study it at A-level or College.

Trades and professional institutions also have some set entry required routes to be taken to qualify and study a chosen field.

So, this is where working backwards towards choosing GCSE options is really really crucial to avoid your teen regretting later after realising that poor or insufficient subjects were chosen . Many years ago when University education was free for all, students chose subjects they like, then years later studied subjects they need for their career . Unfortunately at the moment students don’t have that luxury any more. This is due to the ever increasing costs of tuition and maintenance loans. Students have now come to the realisation that it is important to know what you want from the onset, that is when choosing GCSE options.

Below are some of the many websites which might be useful:

http://www.careerpilot.org.uk/info/your-choices-at-14

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=11#navgcse.

Here you can see what other young teens have experienced while passing through a similar journey. It features lots of online advice threads. The advice come from teens who have already chosen GCSE options, went on doing A-levels, University or a chosen trade / profession. But remember that as always, the final decision is yours.

 

Should we choose friends to our teenagers’ ?

Does your teen has a tendency of befriending the ‘naughty’ ones because they seem more fun and your teen is drawn to the rebellious side of their character?

Do those dubious friendships appear more appealing to our teens the more you try to steer them away?

Most parents fret if they see their teens associating with a wrong friend or peer group. The greatest fear is a worry that their teen will be influenced by the friend’s behaviour or attitude, then get into trouble.

While this fear is justified, it is important to understand what really friendship means for our teens at this stage.

Our preadolescent children tend to have friendship through school, neighbourhood, religious or local activities. It is not a matter of choice. They tend to form friendship with people who are around their proximity. But, as they grow into their teens they tend to be more selective of their friends. Friendships are now more based on common interests, values or personalities. Friends become part of their life or baseline.

They no longer look up to mom and dad for their emotional needs, but instead rely on friends.

At this point if the teen’s relationship with their parents is not open or strong enough, they then tend to gravitate more to their peer for understanding, support and guidance. This can be very scary and frustrating to parents.

The question is, how do we handle the situation without causing fireworks in the house?

teens smokingBAD INFLUENCE

If you ban your teen from seeing those friends you perceive as bad, the chances are they might dig their heels or at worst continue seeing those friends behind your back.

The best solution is to share your past experiences and show  them how you coped with choosing friends. This way they will see what worked for you and how you managed to vet your friends.

Sit your teen down and point out the things which concerns you about the friendship you are worried about and help them see the possible outcome if they don’t heed your advice.

As once said by the famous writer, James Altucher ‘Our ability to survive, to be calm, to even be happy, to possibly be successful, stems entirely from the quality of the people we surround ourselves with’

Is this a guaranteed solution? Maybe yes , maybe no …but it will certainly set you in the right direction.

Sleeping beauty

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holding his head

As the exam period is looming (GCSE, AS and A levels), most teens rush to do last minute revision and some who left it too late end up giving themselves few hours’ sleep at night. Research suggests that sleep is very crucial for human body just like eating or breathing.

Now, what does this so called sleep do to our bodies?

  • It boosts our memory.Our bodies consolidates what we have learnt during the day and reboots the brain to make it work again. Sleep seems to be a time when the mind can catch up on processing and organising things that have been stacked up while revising. Lack of sleep causes headaches, makes the head feel heavy and unable to recall what has been studied previously
  • Regulates hormones by stabilising body metabolism, hence control mood swings, cravings for junk food and decreased rational eating. Sleep deprivation messes up the hormones and make a person see life as doom and bleak. This explains why at this stage most teens feel stressed out, not capable of doing anything, starts self harming themselves and develop erratic behaviours
  • Keeps our immune system healthy enough to overcome infections such as colds and flu. Lack of sleep can cause other health related problems such as Type 2 diabetes and irregular heart rhythm (which explains why most teens get panic attacks and feel extremely anxious during exam period)
  • Sleep increases efficiency by improving our cognitive performances such as reaction time on handling different situations. This is very crucial because passing exams  requires nor only accuracy but also speed ( i.e the ability to finish the exams in a set time). Lack of sleep lowers general alertness and attention to detail – making a person prone to doing silly mistakes

What can we do help our bodies sleep better?

  • By eating healthy. Food which helps induce sleep include milk, turkey, bananas, avocados, pumpkin seeds and unprocessed wholemeal food such as brown bread

eating an apple girl eating a banana

 

  • By doing regular physical exercises. This helps in inducing sleep at night

group exercise
  Jogging

 

  • By avoiding heavy meal before going to bed as it puts a lot of pressure on digestive system by making the stomach rumble uncomfortably therefore keeping us awake
  • Switching off mobile phones or keeping them in another room before going to bed. This reduces the disruptions due to the incoming text messages(and the temptation to reply to them), non stop email alerts and also from the social media keen to keep our teens electronically engaged at night. Here parents can advice their teens  to leave the mobile phones downstairs or to the other rooms (i.e not bedrooms)

Any teen’s exam experience you would like to share with me? Please leave a comment below.