Beware! Your #child is not safe from #depression

57203150“Exams are near and I am scared… not from exam pressure but from your expectations, Mom. I know you really care about my studies and get angry at me for not studying but do you know I try really hard.”

“Mom dad, you look so stressed during my exams that it makes me nervous.”

“You have become a stranger to me during exam time. I get a rumbling feeling in my tummy like I am going to faint.”

“I constantly feel so frustrated. I get it from school and my classes and then from you.”

Mirinda recently released a TVC showing teenagers dealing with exam stress writing heartfelt letters to their parents – emotions that teens normally don’t express. And if you ask why this is relevant, it is because according to National Crime Records Bureau – Accidental Deaths and suicides in India 2015, exam pressure and pressure to perform is one of the leading causes of depression and suicidal tendencies among teenagers.

We have always been associating depression and stress with adults, never with kids. But it’s time we turn our attention towards them because there are alarming statistics of children succumbing to depression. Children as young as six are getting stressed and depressed and it’s time parents face the bitter truth.

Some may argue that children cannot suffer from depression since they don’t have adult-like pressures and problems. But do not forget that children have their own set of problems that can trigger depression- and exam pressure is just one of the many reasons.

Do not dismiss everything as mood swings or tantrums, as you could be dealing with something darker and deeper. Kavita Mungi, a renowned psychologist and career counselor agrees, “Most parents normally do not associate depression with kids expecting the problems to go away as they grow up. Parents attribute such behavior to some temporary acts such as lack of sleep or illness. It therefore goes unnoticed and untreated. Sometimes it is too late for help, leading to suicidal tendencies.”

Why are kids depressed?

Academic pressure is among the leading cause of depression in youngsters, closely followed by the struggle of living up to high parental expectations. Poor peer relationships also affect mental health and so does turbulent family life, which can make the child sad and lonely. Family history of depression could also be responsible.

This is where it gets absolutely important to establish self worth. Lack of it can lead to depression.

Signs and symptoms of depression

If the child is unusually sad, lonely and feeling hopeless.
He/she may be irritable and angry all the time.
Lack of sleep and fatigue are other symptoms to watch out for.
Isolating himself/herself socially.
Physical complaints of body illness regularly with no apparent reason.
Low on energy and lack of interest in any activities.
May appear cranky, grouchy, moody.
Argumentative with temper tantrums.

What parents can do

Parents need to be hands on to note unusual changes in behavior of their kids. They need to be aware of the possibilities that can lead to depression. Dr Mukta Vasal, chief child and adolescent psychologist at Mom’s Belief tells, “Every kid undergoes conflict. For something as simple as the teacher not giving stars in the notebook for a preschooler to a 10-year-old worrying about not being popular among peers or a teenager suffering from complex about low grades or heartbreak.” While some kids are able to offload their daily conflicts, others are unable to cope with them. “When some kids are not able to do that, they suffer silently. It leads to stress. Conflicts could be simple and complex both. It is extremely important to resolve conflicts on a daily basis so they do not get turned into stress, which then later can be manifested into depression,” she adds.

Parents need to give quality time to their kids. Kavita recommends parents to keep the lines of communication open so the child can always approach them with any issue. Parents need to help children develop hobbies and sporting activities to build their strength physically and maintain healthy relationships with peers.

Children of depressed parents are three times more likely to show signs of a major depressive disorder than others. There is a definite genetic disposition towards this disorder. So if parents are aware, they can take steps and seek help from a professional to deal with the issue.

It gets difficult for a small child to express what he is feeling. “We keep pressing on quality time with kids but it’s quantity time that is equally important. Among younger kids, parents need to understand that the child is not very articulate in expressing his thoughts, but if he resists going to school or you see any behavioural issues, they should not be treated casually. Parents can adopt role play, show emotion cards, or tell social stories. Parents should help the child identify his feelings to understand the deep seated issue. Once the problem is identified, help them with a solution. Many a times parents will have to connect the dots and help the child resolve the problem. This practice will help greatly in later years when the child would have developed self worth,” suggests Dr Mukta. Self worth is any day more important than confidence. You may ask what the difference is – a confident child may be able to speak in front of 200 people but may not be happy from within, while a child with high self worth may not be able to speak in front of 200 people but would be happy in life.

In the end, if every child gets ample support from his family on a daily basis, issues won’t become grave and lead to depression. Talk to them… every single day.

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Here’s what happens to your body when you skip #breakfast

57309847The old saying, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’ couldn’t ring truer. Beginning your day with a heavy breakfast will give your body enough fuel to keep you going without feeling sluggish or lethargic. Yet, statistics point towards a rather alarming picture — millions of people around the world tend to skip breakfast, choosing to have lunch as the first meal of the day. While recent years have seen increasing awareness about the importance of daily breakfast, health experts say that a large number of the population tends to skip it.

Why breakfast is so essential

Dietician Priya Palan says, “This is the first meal of the day after your body stays empty throughout the night, hence, breakfast helps kickstart the day. The work ‘breakfast’ itself means to break the fast that was maintained overnight. This important meal provides fuel to the body and brain, and also helps you meet the daily energy requirement to get you ready for the day. It restores glucose levels that help the brain function and enhances concentration and memory apart from lowering stress levels.”

Adds nutritionist Karishma Chawla, “People need to remember to have their breakfast within one hour of waking up. Studies find that food eaten at breakfast influences what you indulge in eating the rest of the day. The body is in a state of catabolism (muscle breakdown to sustain energy levels) in the night. Hence, it is imperative to replenish or fuel the body as soon as you wake up with the right kind of foods that help in kickstarting the metabolism for the day.”

Focus on a well-balanced meal

“An ideal breakfast includes complex cereals, portion of milk and a fruit. Food items like poha, upma, dalia, bhakri, idlis can sometimes be replaced with ready-to-eat cereals like oats, bran, cornflakes or wheat flakes. If you are in a hurry, eat a handful of nuts with cereal and milk,” advises Priya.

“An ideal breakfast must comprise energy enhancing foods like complex carbohydrates and low fat protein. The former helps maintain steady energy levels and give calories with minimal chance of fat storage. Low fat protein helps improve muscle growth, increases metabolism and fat burning. It also improves body composition and workout performance,” says Karishma.

For example:
Oats with low skim milk + egg whites
Wholewheat/ muesli (plain ) in skim milk
Oats/ moong dal chillas + egg whites or whey powder
Oats powder + skim milk + low GI fruit made like a smoothie

Urban professionals inviting health problems due to erratic eating habits

“Erratic meal timings affects the energy requirements leading to digestive problems, heart diseases, obesity and acidity. Small meals at regular intervals will be the best option for those with a busy schedule so that even if they do skip a meal, there will not be a huge gap between meals. The consequences will not be as bad in the long run in such incidents,” says Priya.

Ends Karishma, “It is important to eat every two to four hours to sustain energy levels, maintain metabolism to improve body composition (bodytone) and sustain good blood sugar levels. Having an erratic meal pattern leads to low energy levels, low metabolism leading to fat gain and low blood sugar levels, which lead to headaches, fatigue and irritability.”

What happens when you skip the first meal of the day

Explains Palan, “Skipping breakfast has an impact on the calorie count, which affects the intellectual development in infants and children. It reduces attention level, leading to slow learning and increases the risk of hypoglycemia wherein sugar level reduces causing dizziness, headache, lethargy and weakness. It could also lead to a decrease in levels of physical activity, triggering bad eating habits, which in the long run, can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.”

Skipping breakfast basically means you are letting the body be in a state of catabolism — definitely not a desirable environment for your body. “It further results in lowering the BMR (Body Metabolic Rate) to conserve calories, leading to fat gain and triggers off acidity. It also causes one to binge eat during the rest of the day,” adds Karishma.

6 #myths about keeping an #aquarium

9966591Keeping fish in aquariums is a hobby which is quite common. People are often very apprehensive about keeping fish and having an aquarium.

In fact there are myths surrounding this hobby and believing in these can ruin your interest in this wonderful hobby.

The few myths that will be busted are as follows:

1. Maintaining a fish tank is very expensive

This is absolutely untrue. In fact the bigger the aquarium, the easier it is to maintain. Fresh water fish are very easy to maintain and cost effective. The fresh water fish are hardy and can easily adapt to new surroundings. The only possible expenses that come with maintaining a basic fresh water tank is the fish food, filtration and sufficient lighting. These costs are low and maintaining the aquarium becomes easier with these infrastructure.

2. The water in the tank has to be changed everyday

This is dangerously wrong and following this can actually kill your fish. The thumb rule is to never change the water completely. Water change ideally should be only 10-20 per cent every week. If you have a filtration system, then even a month’s gap can be managed before changing 30-50 per cent water. The bacteria in the water helps the fish survive and changing the water completely may be harmful.

3. Catfish aka Sucker fish keeps the tank clean

Catfish are not hunters. They do not eat the feces of fish. It is actually unhealthy for any fish to do so. If there is algae, it needs to be scrubbed out. No fish can keep your tank clear and clean. It is highly unlikely that a catfish will keep your tank clean.

4. Small tanks should be for beginners

False. If you are starting out with this hobby, never go in for a small tank. Small tanks are very difficult to maintain. Big tanks are very easy to maintain and the mortality rate of the fish are also low. Keeping fish (especially Goldfish) in a fish bowl is a very bad idea. The fish have very little space to move around and can die easily.

5. Over-populating your tank is harmful

This is sadly, another myth. Fish need sufficient oxygen to breath, or they can suffocate in the tank. They also need to have their waste diluted and processed before they poison themselves with it. A fixed amount of water has a fixed capacity to handle these two requirements and only water change periodically is good enough for your tank.

6. Destroying the natural environment

Fish that are sold in aquarium pet shops are bred in captivity. These fish cannot survive in the natural surroundings and putting the fish back into the lake or river can actually spoil the ecosystem. These fish cannot survive in a natural environment where they have to scavenge for food or hide from other predators.

Having a healthy fish tank is easy. All it needs is water change once or twice a month. Fishes are happier and stay healthy that way. If the water conditions are good, nothing more is needed.

Real #men reveal the one #quality they actually want in their future #wife

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Marriage is one of the most carefully-thought decisions of life. It is not possible to find every desirable quality in one person, but there are some traits that the partner must have. We got in touch with five real men from different walks of life and asked them about the one quality they will seek in their future wife. Here are the answers…

1. “My future wife must understand the concept of male ego. We will be surely taking majority of the decisions mutually but she must know that at some places, the husband is the dominating one. This thing boosts our self confidence and makes us feel respected.”- Divyesh Gautam, automobile analyst

2. The one quality I will seek in my future wife is intellect. She must be aware of what is happening in the world, and be well read. I want her to hold healthy discussions on different topics and have her own point of view.”- Kunal Kashyap, student

3. “I want my would-be wife to be independent. She must have a good persona and life of her own. A financially independent and emotionally strong woman is surely attractive.”- Tuhinanshu, entrepreneur

4. “My wife must be a chilled out person. I am myself full of life, and will look the same trait in my wife. She must be mischeavous and a bit lunatic. It keeps your relationship alive.”- Shubham Aggarwal, vlogger

5. “For me, it’s trust. I travel a lot on business trips and don’t want my partner to pester me about who’s with me, where am I going, etc, after every two hours. Trust is the backbone of every relationship, and one can’t live a happy married life without it.”- Nitish Agarwal, entrepreneur