Aug 29, 2008

- Some Common mistakes in Ramadaan

Taking Ramadaan as a ritual
For many of us Ramadaan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil....we forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allaah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire.  Sure we stay away from food and drink but that's about all. Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

 “Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by serving them) and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)

Too much stress on food and drink
For some people, the entire month of Ramadaan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Qur'aan and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD. So much so that they turn the month of 'fasting' into the month of 'feasting'. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. It is also a kind of waste & extravagance.

".....and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)" [al-A'raaf :31]


Spending all day cooking
Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Qur'aan. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!


Eating too much
Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to 'make up for the food missed.' However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air." (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah.  saheeh by al-Albaani).

Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.

It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.


Sleeping all day
Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) 'sleeping away their fast'. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people also are missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot 'bear' to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.


Wasting time
The month of Ramadaan is a precious, precious time, so much so that Allaah calls this month "Ayyamum Ma'doodaat" (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allaah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music. Subhaan Allaah! Trying to obey Allaah by DISOBEYING him!


Fasting but not giving up evil
Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allaah.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink." (Bukhaari)


Smoking
Smoking is forbidden in Islam whether during Ramadaan or outside of it, as it is one of al-Khabaa'ith (evil things). And this includes ALL kinds of 'smoking material' eg.cigars, cigarettes, pipes,'Sheesha', hookah etc.

"he allows them as lawful At Tayyibaat (all good and lawful things), and prohibits them as unlawful Al Khabaa'ith (all evil and unlawful things) [al-A'raaf :157]

 It is harmful, not only to the one smoking, but also to the ones around him. It is also a means of wasting ones wealth. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "There should be no harming or reciprocating harm."

This is especially true during fasting and it invalidates the fast. (Fatwa -Ibn 'Uthaymeen)


Skipping Suhoor
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing."(Bukhaari, Muslim).

And he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor." (Muslim)


Stopping Suhoor at 'Imsaak'
Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe 'Imsaak'.

Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bid'ah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allaah allows us to eat until dawn: "and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)" [al-Baqarah 2:187]

And the Prophet (pbuh) said: "….eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes."

This 'imsaak' which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

 "Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed." (Muslim)


Not fasting if they missed Suhoor
Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is a kind of cowardice and love of ease. What is the big deal if you missed a few morsels of food? It's not like you will die. Remember, obedience to Allaah overcomes everything.


Saying the intention to fast 'out loud' or saying a specific dua to start fasting
The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shari'ah for us to say out loud, "I intend to fast", "I will fast tomorrow" or other phrases that have been innovated by some people. Also, there is no specific dua to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the correct Sunnah. Whatever 'dua' you may see on some papers or Ramadaan calendars, etc. is a Bid'ah.


Delaying breaking fast
Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be 'on the safe side'. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to break the fast, which means breaking fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set. Aa'ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to do. (Muslim)

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast." (Bukhaari, Muslim)

Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul on Allaah and break your fast exactly on time.


Eating continuously until the time for Maghrib is up
Some people put so much food in their plates when breaking their fast and continue eating, enjoying dessert, drinking tea, etc., until they miss Maghrib. That is obviously not right. The Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) was that once he broke his fast with some dates, them he would hasten to the prayer. Once you are done with the prayer, you can always go back and eat some more if you wish.


Missing the golden chance of having your Dua accepted
The prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the time of breaking fast.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler." (al-Bayhaqi, saheeh by al-Albaani).

Instead of sitting down and making Dua at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc. Think about it....Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your Duas.


Fasting but not praying
The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer." (Muslim)

In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled.

"Whoever does not pray 'Asr, his good deeds will be annulled." (Bukhaari)


Fasting and not wearing Hijaab
Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it.


Not fasting because of exams or work
Exams or work is NOT one of the excuses allowed by the Shari'ah to not fast. You can do your studying and revision at night if it is too hard to do that during the day. Also remember that pleasing and obeying Allaah is much more important than 'good grades'. Besides, if you will fulfil your obligation to fast, even if you have to study, Allaah will make it easy for you and help you in everything you do.

"Whosoever fears Allah, He will appoint for him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect, Allah is Sufficient for whosoever puts his trust in Him." (Surah at-Talaaq 2-3)


Mixing fasting and dieting
DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.


Fighting over the number of Raka'ah of Taraweeh
There is no specific number of rak'ahs for Taraweeh prayer, rather it is permissible to do a little or a lot. Both 8 and 20 are okay. Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: "No one should be denounced for praying eleven or twenty-three (raka'ah), because the matter is broader in scope than that, praise be to Allaah."


Praying ONLY on the night of the 27th
Some people pray ONLY on the 27th to seek Lailat ul-Qadr, neglecting all other odd nights, although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadaan." (Bukhaari, Muslim).


Wasting the last part of Ramadaan preparing for Eid
Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. although, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadaan in worship (Ahmad, Muslim) and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadaan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadaan to the max.

Aa’ishah (RA) said: “When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family.” (Bukhaari and Muslim).


Iftaar parties
Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish 'Iftaar parties' with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijaab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah, and Taraweeh to even music and dancing.


 (By Asma bint Shameem)



CoQ10 Review

Coenzyme Q10

History and Background

Coenzyme Q was first discovered by professor Fred L. Crane and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Enzyme Institute in 1957. In 1958, its chemical structure was reported by Professor Karl Folkers and coworkers at Merck.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is produced by the human body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels.
Levels of CoQ10 in the body can be increased by taking CoQ10 supplements, although it is not clear that replacing "low CoQ10" is beneficial.

Migraine headaches

Supplementation of Coenzyme Q10 has been found to have a beneficial effect on the condition of some sufferers of migraine headaches. So far, three studies have been done, of which two were small, did not have a placebo group, were not randomized, and were open-label, and one was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which found statistically significant results despite its small sample size of 42 patients. Dosages were 150 to 300 mg/day.

Cancer

It is also being investigated as a treatment for cancer, and as relief from cancer treatment side-effects.
Supplementation with CoQ10 has not been proven to reduce cancer and has not been compared to other forms of treatment for breast cancer.

Brain health and neurodegenerative diseases

Recent studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of Coenzyme Q10 benefit the body and the brain in animal models. Some of these studies indicate that Coenzyme Q10 protects the brain from neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson's, although it does not relieve the symptoms. Dosage was 300 mg per day.

Cardiac arrest

Another recent study shows a survival benefit after cardiac arrest if coenzyme Q10 is administered in addition to commencing active cooling (to 32–34 degrees Celsius).

Blood pressure

There are several reports concerning the effect of CoQ10 on blood pressure in human studies. In a recent meta-analysis of the clinical trials of CoQ10 for hypertension, a research group led by Professor Frank Rosenfeldt (Director, Cardiac Surgical Research Unit, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia) reviewed all published trials of Coenzyme Q10 for hypertension, and assessed overall efficacy, consistency of therapeutic action, and side-effect incidence. Meta-analysis was performed in 12 clinical trials (362 patients) comprising three randomized controlled trials, one crossover study, and eight open-label studies. The research group concluded that coenzyme Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side-effects.

Lifespan

Studies have shown that low dosages of Coenzyme Q10 reduce oxidation and DNA double-strand breaks, and a combination of a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation leads to a longer lifespan in rats
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Early study shows that CoQ10 may improve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. High quality research is needed in this area before a decision can be made.
Kidney failure
There is initial data to support the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of kidney (renal) failure. More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
(mayoclinic)

Aug 28, 2008

- Life’s Enough: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” - Marquis de Condorcet
If you took the strengths of others, and compared them to your weaknesses, how do you think you’d size up? And do you think this would make you feel good?
The funny thing is, this is what most of us do at one time or another — and some of us do pretty often.
It’s a sure-fire recipe for a drop in self-confidence and for unhappiness. It’s also not that useful.
Let’s say I take a look at someone who creates amazing artwork and really top-notch podcasts on their website … and I look at my art and video skills, and realize that I don’t come close to measuring up. In fact, I look pretty pitiful (I’m a lousy drawer and don’t know anything about video).
But wait a minute: it’s not a fair comparison. Just because I don’t measure up doesn’t mean I should get out of the blogging business, or that I should get depressed or jealous or resentful. Instead, if I looked at my strengths — writing useful and honest posts — I can see that I have a lot to offer, a lot to be happy about.
And that’s so important — being able to look at your own strengths, and see your true value. It’s actually one of the keys to success, because without this ability, you will be unmotivated, and won’t believe in yourself.
I wanted to talk about this issue because of an email from a reader recently:
I come from a Tier-2 city of India. I belong to middle class family. My job also such that I can’t meet both my ends, if I get married and start a new family.
The problem is that I have got my teammates, who come from very affluent families. I can’t stop myself comparing my lifestyle with theirs. I know it is not proper to compare myself with them on the basis of what physical possessions they have. I must say that my financial planning is sound enough to take care of my existing family; and I can take care of new family member also, at least for some time even if I lose my current job. But whenever I see or hear them spending so much money after possessions, I start comparing again. How can I stop this habit, without changing jobs?
This is an excellent question, and a tough one. I think it’s natural to compare ourselves to others, but as the reader noticed, it often makes us unhappy even if we have enough and should be happy with what we have.
My quick advice: try to be aware of when you start comparing yourself to others … once you’ve developed this awareness, try this trick: stop yourself. Tell yourself, “Stop that!” And then start thinking about all the things you DO have, the things you love, the people you have, the blessings that life has given you. Make this a regular practice, and you’ll start to be happier with your life.
The Effects of Social Comparisons
But let’s take a look for a moment at what’s wrong with comparing yourself with others:
  • Like I said, it’s usually an unfair comparison to start with. As a result, you’ll always come off bad if you look at someone’s strengths (including what they have, like houses and cars) and your weaknesses.
  • Even if you compare strength to strength, there will always be those who are better, and those who are worse. Where you are on the ladder of accomplishments or purchases has nothing to do with what you want to do.
  • Even if you do well in comparison with others, you may be artificially inflated from this comparison. It’s a short-lived boost of ego if you win the comparison — easily knocked down.
  • You end up resenting others for doing well, without really knowing the true person. You can see this if you’ve ever resented someone upon first meeting them, and then later realized you got the wrong idea.
  • You might end up talking about your own accomplishments more than is necessary. No one appreciates that.
  • You might criticize someone in public, trying to knock them down, often unfairly.
These aren’t good things. Let’s look at how to stop this phenomenon.
Breaking the Habit of Comparing Yourself With Others
So how do you break this cycle of comparing yourself with others? Here are some tips I’ve found useful:
  • Awareness. Most often we do these social comparisons without realizing we’re doing it. It’s a natural act, I suppose, and as a result it’s something that is done without consciousness. So the solution is to become conscious — bring these thoughts to the forefront of your consciousness by being on the lookout for them. If you focus on these thoughts for a few days, it gets much easier with practice, and soon it’ll be hard not to notice.
  • Stop yourself. Once you realize you’re doing these comparisons, give yourself a pause. Don’t berate yourself or feel bad — just acknowledge the thought, and gently change focus.
  • Count your blessings. A better focus is on what you do have, on what you are already blessed with. Count what you have, not what you don’t. Think about how lucky you are to have what you have, to have the people in your life who care about you, to be alive at all.
  • Focus on your strengths. Instead of looking at your weaknesses, ask yourself what your strengths are. Celebrate them! Be proud of them. Don’t brag, but feel good about them and work on using them to your best advantage.
  • Be OK with imperfection. No one is perfect — intellectually, we all know that, but emotionally we seem to feel bad when we don’t reach perfection. You aren’t perfect and you never will be. I certainly am not, and I’ve learned to be OK with that. Sure, keep trying to improve, but don’t think you’ll ever be the “perfect person”. If you look at it in a different way, that imperfection is what makes you who you are, you already are perfect.
  • Don’t knock others down. Sometimes we try to criticize others just to make ourselves look or feel better. Taking someone else down for your benefit is destructive. It forms an enemy when you could be forming a friend. In the end, that hurts you as well. Instead, try to support others in their success — that will lead to more success on your part.
  • Focus on the journey. Don’t focus on how you rank in comparison to others — life is not a competition. It’s a journey. We are all on a journey, to find something, to become something, to learn, to create. That journey has nothing to do with how well other people are doing, or what they have. It has everything to do with what we want to do, and where we want to go. That’s all you need to worry about.
  • Learn to love enough. If you always want what others have, you will never have enough. You will always want more. That’s an endless cycle, and it will never lead to happiness. No matter how many clothes you buy, no matter how many houses you own (seven, in the case of one famous candidate), no matter how many fancy cars you acquire … you’ll never have enough. Instead, learn to realize that what you have is already enough. If you have shelter over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back, and people who love you, you are blessed. You have enough. Anything you have over and above that — and let’s admit that all of us reading this blog have more than that — is more than enough. Be good with that, and you’ll find contentment.
“To love is to stop comparing.” - Bernard Grasset

(zenhabits)

Aug 26, 2008

- 7 Characteristics of Good Relationships

Do you want to live your life to the fullest? If your answer is yes, then relationships are essential part of it. In fact, relationships should be your top priority. That’s why we all need to learn how to build good relationships. Good relationships not only help us meet our needs but also make our life more fulfilling.
One way to build good relationships is by learning their characteristics. By understanding their characteristics, we will be better equipped to build good relationships in our lives.
Good relationshipsHere I use the term “relationships” in its broad meaning. Why? Because the principles of good relationships are universal. They apply not only to romantic relationships, but also to friendship and business relationships.
If you look at the points below, you will see an underlying characteristic of good relationships. Good relationships involve “both sides”. While one side can take initiative, it still requires the other side to make the relationship a good one. Only by working together can a relationship reach its full potential.

Without further ado, here are seven characteristics of good relationships:

1. Both sides see the relationship as an opportunity to give
One of the basic relationship problems is selfishness. How does selfishness occur? In my opinion, selfishness occurs when someone focuses more on getting rather than giving. The more someone focuses on getting, the more selfish he or she becomes. That’s why the willingness to give is essential for good relationships. Both parties should see the relationship as an opportunity to give. This is the foundation upon which the other points below are built.
2. Both sides are willing to change
Nobody is perfect but everyone can grow. In a good relationship, both sides are willing to change. They realize that they are not perfect and there is still a lot of room for improvement. Instead of blaming their partner when something goes wrong, they look inside to see if there is something they can change. When both sides have this attitude, the relationship grows stronger and stronger.
3. Both sides are willing to admit mistakes
In a good relationship, both parties aren’t afraid to admit mistakes. Instead of being defensive, they openly admit the mistakes they make. They can then work together to correct the mistakes. This, of course, is not easy to do. It takes a humble heart to admit mistakes.
4. Both sides are willing to listen first
In a good relationship, both sides are good listeners. They are willing to understand their partner’s position first before trying to get understood. Doing this is much easier when both sides see the relationship as an opportunity to give (characteristic #1).
5. Both sides support each other
Not only are both sides willing to listen, but also they give what their partner needs. The law of reciprocity states that when we do good to others they will also do good to us. We reap what we sow. By supporting each other, both sides in the relationship get what they need.
6. Both sides are open to each other
Misunderstanding is one of the basic relationship problems. That’s why it’s essential that both sides are open to each other. When they have something they don’t like about their partner, they should communicate it rather than just keeping it in their heart. Of course, they should do so in a respectful way so as not to offend their partner. Part four of How to Win Friends and Influence People (which I review last week) gives us tips on how to do that.
7. Both sides have integrity
In a good relationship, both parties act in line with what they think and say. They keep their promises. This is important because they can then trust each other. This trust makes the relationship strong.
***
Relationships that have these characteristics will grow stronger over time. The relationships will be rewarding not just for the people involved, but also for the people around them. Why? Because by working together they can produce more value than they can ever do by themselves. People around them will get the benefit of this increased value.
Now that we’ve seen some characteristics of good relationships, what should we do? How can we build good relationships? The answer is we should start with ourselves. It’s difficult to change someone else, but we can always change ourselves. Start applying the characteristics above in your life. If you do that, people who relate with you will notice and eventually do the same to you.
Looking at the above points, here are what you should do:
  1. See the relationship as an opportunity to give
  2. Be willing to change
  3. Be willing to admit your mistakes
  4. Listen first
  5. Support your partner
  6. Be open to your partner
  7. Have integrity
If you do them, you will be a good relationship builder.

(lifeoptimizer)

Aug 12, 2008

- Inside How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

The book is divided into eight parts with several chapters in each.







Part One: Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry

1. Live in “Day-tight Compartments”

Often we worry because we take the burden of both the past and the future with us today. That makes the situation look much more difficult. What we should do is to focus just on today.

I love this tip. Sometimes I still carry the burden of the past and worry about the future, but this chapter clearly points out that what important is today. If I do my best today, the future will take care of itself.

2. A Magic Formula for Solving Worry Situations

To solve worry situations, there are three steps you should do. First, ask yourself “what is the worst that could happen?”. Second, be willing to accept the worst if necessary. Third, calmly try to fix the situation you have accepted.

It takes practice to apply this tip, especially the second step, but it helps us regain our calm. We can then think how to solve the situation.

Part Two: Basic Techniques in Analyzing Worry

4. How to Analyze and Solve Worry Problems

To overcome worrying, you should know how to analyze and solve worry problems. You can do that by finding and collecting all the facts, analyzing those facts, making a decision, and act on it.

This tip is good because we usually worry about something we are uncertain about. Once we get everything clear, we can see what we should do about it.

Part Three: How to Break the Worry Habit Before It Breaks You

6. How to Crowd Worry Out of Your Mind

There is one simple way to crowd worry out of your mind: make yourself busy. When our mind is occupied with work, we won’t have time to worry.

I think it applies not only to worry, but to all kinds of negative thoughts as well. We will greatly decrease their influence if we are busy doing something constructive.

9. Co-operate with the Inevitable

Often we aren’t happy because we try to change things we can’t change. We should learn to identify those things and accept them.

This is something I personally apply. Whenever I encounter a problem, I quickly assess whether or not I can do something about it. If the answer is no, I will just forget it and move to something else.

Part Four: Seven Ways to Cultivate a Mental Attitude that Will Bring You Peace and Happiness

15. Would You Take a Million Dollars for What You Have?

If we want to be happy, we should focus on 90 percent things that work well in our life and forget the 10 percent that don’t. On the contrary, if we want to worry we should focus on the 10 percent that don’t work well and forget the 90 percent that work. Which one do you choose?

18. How to Cure Depression in Fourteen Days

There is a “magic” way to cure depression: make other people happy. If you focus on how to make others happy, you will inevitable make yourself happy. The less you think about yourself, the more you will be happy.

Part Five: The Perfect Way to Conquer Worry

19. How My Mother and Father Conquered Worry

You can find strengths in spirituality to overcome worry even for seemingly insurmountable problems. Carnegie said that spirituality is the perfect way to overcome worry and I agree with him.

Part Six: How to Keep From Worrying About Criticism

21. Do This - and Criticism Can’t Hurt You

Do your work as good as possible and then open your umbrella so that the rain of criticisms won’t touch you.

I love it. I should worry not about what other people say but about whether or not I’ve done my best. Once I’ve done my best, I can be happy no matter what people say.

22. Fool Things I Have Done

One of the best teachers is your own experience. You can learn from it by taking notes of the fool things you have done and criticize yourself. If you constantly do this, you will constantly improve yourself.

Part Seven: Six Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High

23. How to Add One Hour a Day to Your Waking Life

While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to increase your productivity is to take rest regularly. Take rest before you feel tired. Doing this simple thing will energize yourself throughout the day and enable you to accomplish more.

Energy management is a topic I’m interested in right now since this is something I should learn to do better.

27. How to Banish the Boredom That Produces Fatigue, Worry, and Resentment

Learning to banish boredom is essential for happiness. An effective way to do that is by making what you do interesting. Even things that look boring can be made interesting if you are creative. For example, you can turn your work into a contest either just for yourself or with your colleagues

While I try to follow my passions, there are always some “boring” things I must do. If I can learn to make them interesting, I can accomplish much more in my life.

Part Eight: “How I Conquered Worry”

This part contains many stories of individuals who applied the principles outlined in previous parts. There are also some new tips that haven’t been covered before.

One of them is reading history. Reading history helps you get wider perspective of the world so that you can see how small your problem actually is.

Conclusion

This book is full of useful tips. It gives you advice that covers practically every aspects you can think of about worry. More than just theoretical tips, they are proven tips that have been applied by many people throughout the history. The book itself is full of stories that describe how people apply those tips in their life.

Besides teaching me about how to stop worrying, this book also teaches me about how to write. The way Dale Carnegie wrote impresses me. He took seven years of preparation to write this book. During that time he collected many stories, read a lot of books, and interviewed many people about the topic. Now I understand the tip given by On Writing Well:

You should always collect more material than you will use. Every article is strong in proportion to the surplus of details from which you can choose the few that will serve you best.

 

Aug 10, 2008

- The 3 Cs (3 Feel-Better Postworkout Foods)

What's the best snack to grab after a major workout? How about a bowl of whole-grain cereal, a bite of Indian takeout, or a big nonfat latte.
Each option has a special ingredient that may help your body recover better and nip post-workout pains.

The 3 Cs
What, exactly, do these snacks have that others might not?
The three Cs: carbs, curcumin, and caffeine. A carb-rich snack like cereal can help you overcome fatigue by restoring glycogen -- that stuff your muscles use for energy. Curcumin, a substance found in the Indian spice turmeric, may help quell muscle inflammation. And caffeine from coffee may help block muscle-pain-producing substances.

Aug 7, 2008

- Curcumin (Spices and Cancer?)

Curcumin, the yellow stuff in turmeric, may do in tumor cells. When researchers added the substance to cancerous pancreas cells, production practically shut down -- thanks to a clampdown on cytokines, chemicals linked to tumor growth and cell survival.

A review is shown again below for whoever missed our previous postings:

Curcumin

What are other names for this remedy?

Type of medicine: natural remedy
Scientific and common names: Amomoum curcuma, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma aromatica salisbury, Curcuma domestica, Curcuma domestica valet, Curcuma longa, curcumin, diferuloylmethane, E zhu, Indian saffron, Indian yellow root, Jiang huang, turmeric root, tumeric, kunyit, yellowroot, Zedoary, zingiberene

What is curcumin?

Curcumin is made from the dried roots of the turmeric plant. The roots are ground into a deep yellow powder commonly used as a spice in foods. It has a bitter, peppery taste. It is also used to add color to foods such as margarine, cheese, and mustard. Turmeric is also used in some cosmetics.

What is it used for?

Curcumin has been used to:
  • treat heartburn and indigestion
  • treat high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • prevent gallstones
  • treat arthritis
  • treat cancer
  • treat cystic fibrosis
  • treat Alzheimer's disease.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve uses for natural remedies. The FDA does not inspect or regulate natural remedies the way they do prescription medicines.

How is it taken?

Curcumin can be taken as a capsule or as tea. Swallow curcumin capsules with a large drink of water.

What should I watch out for?

Talk with your healthcare provider before taking curcumin if you have:
  • a bleeding disorder
  • diabetes
  • gallbladder disease
  • heart disease
  • high or low blood pressure
  • ulcers
Talk with your provider before taking this remedy if you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer.
Females of childbearing age: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not take this remedy without your health care provider's approval. You may use the spice in normal amounts.
Diabetics: This remedy may affect your blood sugar level and change the amount of insulin or other diabetes medicines you may need. Talk to your healthcare provider about this.
Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any natural remedy that you are using or considering. If your provider does not give you specific instructions, follow the directions that come with the package. Do not take more or take it longer than recommended. Ask about anything you do not understand. Remember:
  • Natural remedies are not always safe.
  • You should not take them if you are pregnant or breast-feeding without your healthcare provider's approval. They should not be taken by infants, children, or older adults without your provider's approval.
  • They affect your body and may interact with prescription medicines that you take.
  • Natural remedies are not standardized and may have different strengths and effects. They may be contaminated.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its desirable effects, this remedy may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the remedy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.
Serious: Unusual bruising or bleeding.
Other: Heartburn, nausea, diarrhea.

What products might interact with this remedy?

When you take this remedy with other medicines, it can change the way this remedy or any of the medicines work. Vitamins and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Before taking this remedy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:
  • blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin, heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), enoxaparin (Lovenox), dalteparin (Fragmin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and warfarin (Coumadin)
  • cholesterol-lowering medicines (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor)
  • diabetes medicines such as insulin, acarbose (Prandase, Precose), acetohexamide (Dymelor), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase), metformin (Glucophage), miglitol (Glyset), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), repaglinide (Prandin), tolazamide (Tolinase), and tolbutamide (Orinase)
  • herbs such as angelica, anise, arnica, asafoetida, capsicum, celery, chamomile, devil's claw, ephedra, fenugreek, garlic, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, gotu kola, horse chestnut, horseradish, licorice, papain, psyllium, red clover, and willow
  • medicines to treat cancer such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and mechlorethamine (Mustargen)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Motrin IB, Advil, Nuprin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Aleve, Naprelan), ketoprofen (Orudis, Orudis KT, Oruvail), nabumetone (Relafen), indomethacin (Indocin), ketorolac (Toradol), sulindac (Clinoril), piroxicam (Feldene), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam), and oxaprozin (Daypro). 
(RD)

Aug 4, 2008

- Turmeric (The Superstar of Spices)

The “superstar of spices,'’ it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is an orange-yellow component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a spice often found in curry powder. In recent years, considerable interest has been focused on curcumin due to its use to treat a wide variety of disorders without any side effects. It is one of the major curcuminoids of turmeric, which impart its characteristic yellow colour. It was used in ancient times on the Indian subcontinent to treat various illnesses such as rheumatism, bodyache, skin diseases, intestinal worms, diarrhoea, intermittent fevers, hepatic disorders, biliousness, urinary discharges, dyspepsia, inflammations, constipation, leukoderma, amenorrhea, and colic.

Curcumin has the potential to treat a wide variety of inflammatory diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, psoriasis, etc, through modulation of numerous molecular targets. This article reviews the use of curcumin for the chemoprevention and treatment of various diseases.

Aug 1, 2008

- Green Tea and Body Interactions

Precautions

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. However, herbs contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, people should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

People with heart problems, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders (particularly anxiety) should not take green tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid green tea.

People who drink excessive amounts of caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) for prolonged periods of time may experience irritability, insomnia, heart palpitation, and dizziness. Caffeine overdose can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and loss of appetite. If you are drinking a lot of tea and start to vomit or have abdominal spasms, you may have caffeine poisoning. Lower your caffeine intake and see your healthcare provider if your symptoms are severe.


Possible Interactions

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not drink green tea or take green tea extract without first talking to your doctor:

Adenosine. Green tea may inhibit the actions of adenosine, a medication administered in a hospital setting for an irregular (and usually unstable) heart rhythm.

Antibiotics, beta-lactam. Green tea may increase the effectiveness of beta-lactam antibiotics by reducing bacterial resistance to treatment.

Aspirin. Green tea and aspirin should not be mixed because they both prevent platelets from clotting. Using the two together may increase your risk of bleeding.

Benzodiazepines. Caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) has been shown to reduce the sedative effects of benzodiazepines (medications commonly used to treat anxiety, such as diazepam and lorazepam).

Beta-blockers, propranolol and metoprolol. Caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) may increase blood pressure in people taking propranolol and metoprolol (medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease).

Blood Thinning Medications . People who take warfarin, a blood thinning medication, should not drink green tea. Since green tea contains vitamin K, it can make warfarin ineffective. (See also the aspirin listing, above.)

Chemotherapy. The combination of green tea and chemotherapy medications, specifically doxorubicin and tamoxifen, increased the effectiveness of these medications in laboratory tests. However, these results have not yet been demonstrated in studies on people. On the other hand, there have been reports of both green and black tea extracts stimulating a gene in prostate cancer cells that may cause them to be less sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Given this potential interaction, people should not drink black and green tea (as well as extracts of these teas) while receiving chemotherapy for prostate cancer in particular.

Clozapine. The anti-psychotic effects of the medication clozapine may be reduced if taken less than 40 minutes after drinking green tea.

Ephedrine. When taken together with ephedrine, green tea may cause agitation, tremors, insomnia, and weight loss.

Lithium. Green tea has been shown to reduce blood levels of lithium (a medication used to treat manic/depression).

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Green tea may cause a severe increase in blood pressure (called a "hypertensive crisis") when taken together with MAOIs used to treat depression. Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine and tranylcypromine.

Oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives can prolong the amount of time caffeine stays in the body and may increase its stimulating effects.

Phenylpropanolamine. A combination of caffeine (including caffeine from green tea) and phenylpropanolamine (an ingredient used in many over-the-counter and prescription cough and cold medications and weight loss products) can cause mania and a severe increase in blood pressure. The FDA issued a public health advisory in November 2000 to warn people of the risk of bleeding in the brain from use of this medication and has strongly urged all manufacturers of this drug to remove it from the market.



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