Category Archives: de-stress

Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

George Santayana, the Spanish -american philosopher, poet and novelist had rightly said- ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’.

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We are all so caught up in our everyday mundane activities or work schedules that we often fail to notice the the abundant beauty of nature which surrounds us. Rather than popping pills for hypertension, break free from the vicious clutches of house chores for an hour or at least a few minutes everyday and choose a path that leads to peace and joy. All you need to do is take the first step. Be determined and step out and take a walk in a beautiful park or lake side. Listen to the earth’s melodious music and be healed and addicted to the soothing goodness for life. Well, I did just that yesterday and went for a long walk to the beautiful Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh (India). I was rewarded with clean fresh air, a spring in my step and some beautiful sunset pictures. This coming new year if you have to make a resolution, open the door to happiness- by embracing nature.

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

These pictures were clicked with an Iphone 7, and they came  out so good that no filter has been used.

George Santayana quote picture source: Buzzfeed.com

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Walking Barefoot On The Dewy Grass

Walking barefoot on dewy grass
Walking barefoot on dewy grass

Hey it’s time for festivities! The festive season has arrived- Halloween just went by and now its time to look forward to Diwali, Gurpurab, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. One just has to strike the right balance in terms of eating, partying and exercising in order to stay healthy. All the hectic preparations can at times be immensely exhausting!

One way to keep a balanced head on your shoulders and keep the health quotient up is walking barefoot on the dewy green grass every morning. It will calm your mind, soothe the nerves and have a cooling effect on your body. It is also believed to have a good effect on the eyesight. Walking barefoot also helps to strengthen the ankles and will help you to achieve beautiful toned legs. Undoubtedly you will be burning some calories too (So important in this festive season!). This technique of walking barefoot on grass or even sand is called ‘Earthing’ or ‘Grounding’.

The scientific theory behind the health benefits seen from this simple practice is that your body absorbs negative electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet.

The Earth is negatively charged, so when you ground, you’re connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. And since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it. The grounding effect is, in my understanding, one of the most potent antioxidants we know of and may have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. As written in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:4

“It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electrons.

… A previous study demonstrated that connecting the human body to the earth during sleep (earthing) normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep. A variety of other benefits were reported, including reductions in pain and inflammation. Subsequent studies have confirmed these earlier findings and documented virtually immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body.”

So ladies and gentlemen, tip toe on the balmy, dewy greens and topple the worldly worries away!

P.S: One word of caution though. Limit this exercise to a few minutes only in very cold weather or you risk a runny nose!  Further, it is advisable to  stuff some tissues in your pocket to wipe your feet clean after the exercise , before slipping on the shoes again.

The Good and the Bad of Blogging!

Its been four months since I tasted a share of the huge pie called blogosphere, and I’m beginning to realise that there is both good and bad associated with it. Here is a list of the inferences I have derived so far :

The good about blogging;

  1. Polishes one’s writing skills if desired.Well obviously you have to work toward it if you take blogging seriously.
  2. Ignites an interest in Photography.
  3. Widens your horizons and thinking perspective.
  4. Helps to make new friends.
  5. Gives your articles, recipes ,pictures a global platform which is really great!
  6. Keeps one positively occupied; rather than just whiling away time in unmindful activities.
  7. Great way to de-stress.
  8. Give immense-immense creative satisfaction.
  9. Blogging is for crazy people.
  10. You are your own boss..

The bad about blogging;

  1. Time is a crucial factor- you need loads of it.
  2. Blogging requires as well as entices one to read fellow bloggers posts. One,this requires time; two,you hardly have time or energy left to do any more reading. At least in my case I’ve not been able to read as many books as I could previously.
  3. Eye strain (read – Tips for sparkling eyes ).
  4. Muscle pain : Long hours of sitting in the same posture glued to the computer gives a pain in the neck (pun intended), shoulders and sometimes even a headache.Please take frequent breaks!
  5. Angry, irate  glances by spouse and kin. Even if you have a supportive family, they too at times get fed up when you wish to make a 3rd revision of your draft.
  6. You wish to take a camera along where ever you go (and laptop or i-pad too maybe).
  7. Scares of not revealing your true identity. Certain blog posts I read advice that its not safe to reveal one’s true identity. Can an expert in terms of online security shed more light on this matter?

So I have 10 good points and 7 bad points. Blogging emerges the winner!

A Walk through Rose Garden, Chandigarh

The mere mention of the Rose Garden fills the air with romance!.Undoubtedly its like paradise for a leisurely walk as a tourist or a brisk walk or jog in order to keep fit.

As one enters the garden, walking through the canopy of orange showers, along with the tall and stately silver oak treesIMG_1219 lining the path, you are greeted with thousands of roses of different hues bobbing their pretty heads in the breeze. You breathe deeply – mesmerized by their sheer beauty. The Dr. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in Sector 16 of Chandigarh was established in 1967 under (late) Dr. M.S. Randhawa, Chandigarh’s first Chief Commissioner. It is the largest Rose Garden in Asia spread over an area of about 4000 acres and has around 825 varieties of roses and more than 32,500 plants.

Continuing with our walk along the periphery of the garden, we cross several bottle brush trees and walk along side the majestic eucalyptus trees. Walk further and you come across a cluster of Bael trees laden with fruit around the time of  ‘Shivratri’. Walk a few steps more and you can see trees like Fiddle wood (a tree with fragrant flowers and useful for making sound boards of musical instruments) and Kachnar (ever tried making ‘raita’ from Kachnar buds ?) Several other trees like Amaltas, Gulmohar, Burr, simbal, Devil’s trees, Koelreuteria (golden rain tree) and Pride of India dot the garden either individually or in small clusters. As you complete your round, you meander through rows of neatly planted roses with fancy names such as President Giri, Queen Elizabeth, Iceberg, Pink Perfect etc. Kiss of Fire is a vibrant yellow rose with a fusion of blushing pink and Arabian Nights; a red rose that makes me sing from John Boyle O’Reilly’s poem, ‘A white Rose’,

“The red rose whispers of passion,IMG_1222

And the white rose breathes of love;

O, the red rose is a falcon

And the white rose is a dove”

The Rose Garden is home for several birds too like parrots and Great Indian Hornbill. It is fun to chase a little squirrel nibbling away at a seed and watch it vanish into its abode in the great Jamun tree. The coloured water fountains add to the joyous mood of the place. The garden is very well maintained, thanks to the annual feature of the Rose Festival in February. The lawns are perfectly manicured and there is sufficient lighting for walkers to feel safe during their evening walk. There are three solar arrays to meet some of the electricity requirements. There is also an open air stage to host quizzes during the festival. The garden also boasts of well–maintained toilets and a play area for children.

One word of advice, dress properly as it’s a busy place and you may meet many acquaintances (sometimes four times in two rounds, if walking in opposite directions) along with the usual tourists!

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All pictures are by Anil Nanda and Ritu Nanda

Tips for Sparkling Eyes

The gift of eyesight is one of the biggest blessings that the creator has bestowed upon most living creatures.Without eyes the whole world is just like one dark and deep void.You may be able to touch and feel an object ,but would not be able to appreciate its beauty. A flower would yes, feel like a flower to touch but it would be just one colour without eyesight – black.

Eyes are a storehouse of myriad expressions: loving eyes, mischievous eyes,smouldering eyes,pensive eyes,piercing eyes, round astonished eyes,crinkling  with laughter eyes and pensive eyes with a deep far-away look in them.They add to the beauty of a face and many a poet have used expressions such as almond eyes, doe eyes or getting lost in the depths of  deep blue eyes of a lovely damsel.

What about dark circles under the eyes? Nah! But its true, if you don’t take care of your eyes (particularly after long hours of blogging, staring continuously at the computer screen), this is what you get.I was in for a shock recently when I saw my latest picture. Dark circles! So I resolved to take care of my eyes and restored them back to their sparkling beauty.This is the beauty and care routine that I followed:

  1. Go for regular eye checks: Visit the ophthalmologist on a regular basis, or at least whenever you feel an eye strain in reading or watching T.V.
  2. Get adequate sleep: Festivities and guests in the last month had kept me occupied on account of which I probably did not get enough sleep, causing fatigued eyes. Now I have resolved to get my quota of  7 hours of sleep.
  3. Resist looking into your mobile phone every minute there is a notification: I have said that before in my earlier posts and say that again. Don’t be tempted to peep into your mobile every now and then ;it causes tremendous eye strain particularly if you are careless enough to ignore your reading glasses if you require them.
  4. Exercise your eyes: Rotate your eyeballs to the extreme left first and then to the extreme right. Now move the eyeballs to up to the farthest point you can see and then downwards.Do this 5 times.Blink your eyes 5 times. Now rub your palms together and cup your eyes. you will immediately feel relaxed.
  5. Splash cold water: First thing in the morning and at least once more during the day splash eyes with cold water. The water could be slightly lukewarm but never hot. Our eyes are made of protein, which coagulates with hot water ( just like boiled eggs). You don’t want that ,do you?
  6. Beauty Treatments: Age old grandmother’s kitchen secrets always work! Lay down,relax and place used tea bags or potato slices or even cucumber slices on tired eyes. Cotton pads dipped in rose water too are quite refreshing. A good quality eye cream also helps. Discard very old make-up like eyeliners and eye shadows.
  7. Replenish vitamin A: Eat colourful fruits and vegetables which are a rich source of vitamin A and very good for your eyes.
  8. Think Happy Thoughts: Positive and happy thoughts always bring a sparkle to the eyes and make them alive!

Pledge to care for your eyes, treat them with respect and make them sparkle!  Lastly if possible, before you die try to pledge your eyes for eye donation. Bring colours in someone’s life. In all honesty I’ve not done that yet but will ,soon.

 

 

Picture source: Google images

De-stress Mantra

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‘What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.’—William Henry Davies (picture by : Anil Nanda)

For the first few months of this  year ,  I went about doing all my work and performing my duties, but at the same time , just could not stop cribbing about something or the other.  In fact,  I was at my most irritable best. Finally, I decided that  enough is enough and  resolved to  do something to come out of my cranky self and de-stress . Well, I couldn’t really keep blaming the weather for feeling so irritable. There just had to be a way out !  So one day  I sat down for a while with my eyes closed and chalked out my ‘ De-stress Mantra’ . And phew ! It really does  work ! Over the past few months ,  I’ve been feeling  wonderful with absolutely no stress or strain on my mind.  So what is this mantra all about ?

Wake up fifteen minutes earlier than your usual time : O.K. suppose you have set your alarm to wake up at 6 am  in the morning, and the minute it starts to buzz you shut it off and doze off into a half sleep kind of state. It always feels so good to steal those extra minutes of sleep. But when you  finally wake up at 6:45 am, that marks the end to the blissful state of your being ! The panic button has been pushed and so has the stress trigger in your brain! You’re going to be late today  and  will skip breakfast as a compromise -leading to hunger pangs later in the day and still more stress. Mantra no. 1 is a simple trick . Set the alarm for 5:45 am . Even if you wake up by 6:30 , you still have time to take a few deep breaths, stretch your limbs and make yourself a cup of coffee. These extra fifteen minutes will give  a head start to the day.

Prioritize your tasks : With a host of responsibilities it does become difficult at times to strike a balance. Why not actually write down on paper all the work that you need to be done ? Then re-arrange the items on the list in order of importance and urgency of that task. So you are now on the way to a stress free life. Greg McKeown , author of the book ‘Essentialism’ advices to make a priority list of 6 items. Then , cross out the last 5 and spend the first 2 hours of the day  on the first item before moving on to the next. Your life will see a positive change.

Stress Busters : We all have our own stress busters ; something that simply makes us happy and diverts the mind from unpleasant thoughts. Try to look for or think consciously about what you think makes you  happy. Is it a walk in the park? or perhaps reading your favourite magazine? Music? For me its fragrance. The moment I walk into my house which smells fresh and clean I feel energised  and refreshed. Fresh flowers ,scented candles , essence sticks can do the trick. A great smelling body- mist or perfume always uplifts my mood. Come on, choose your own stress buster mantra!

Sweet smelling roses to cheer you up ( picture by: A.S. Rana )
Sweet smelling roses to cheer you up (picture by: A.S. Rana )

Good Food and Drink : You must have surely heard that stressed out people tend to binge eat? In the process, they are kind of caught in a viscous circle because all the junk food they eat will ultimately lead to more stress ( pimples, tyres around the waist , etc. etc.). So the mantra to lead a de-stressed life is to eat healthy and wise. No dieting and no starving -just eat healthy. Believe me,  healthy food can be tasty and is much faster to cook. If you continue to follow my posts , I promise to share some recipes with you.

Take a Break : Now and then it is good to take a break from your routine. Go for a short weekend holiday if possible or go shopping with your friend. For me, a small tea time break around mid-day works wonders !  I sip  my cup of freshly brewed Green tea or Darjeeling tea mindfully, savouring the flavour. It really helps to relax and unwind. There are a host of different tea varieties to choose from. I also love the lemon and ginger tea that my daughter gifted me and my honey chamomile organic tea. Being a tea addict of sorts, I  have invented  my  ‘cheats tea’ ( to avoid too much of caffeine  intake ). It is also good for your digestive system. The recipe is shared below-

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Picture by Ritu Nanda

Riurang  Cheats Tea :

Ingredients-

  •  Water            –  1 and 1/4 cup
  •  Aniseed        – 1/2 tsp
  •  Cinnamon    –    a pinch  (powdered)
  •  Green tea     –  1/4 tsp
  •   Honey            –  1 tsp (optional )

Method-                                                                                                                                         Bring the  water to a boil in a saucepan. Put the aniseed and cinnamon and let boil for 1 to 2 minutes on a low flame. Switch off the gas and wait for half a minute. Now add the green tea. Cover the saucepan with a lid. Let the tea steep for 1 minute, or 2 minutes if you want a stronger taste.  Strain , mix the honey if you like and enjoy!

Adequate Sleep : According to recent PTI  news, a Mexican woman named Leandra Becerra Lumbreras , celebrated her 127th birthday on August 31, 2014. She is believed to be the oldest human to have ever lived. Her family said her secrets to longevity are eating chocolate, sleeping a lot and not getting married. Well, this news does draw our attention to the benefits of sleep (and chocolate of course !)

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leandra-becerra-lumbrera (pic source: youtube)

Sleep undoubtedly is the best tonic for a tired body as well as mind. Researchers have shown that sleep flushes out harmful toxins accumulated in the brain during your waking hours. On the average, an adult needs about 7 to 8 hours of sleep to wake up fresh and rejuvenated.  So sleep is a  must on my De-Stress Mantra list.

Think Good: There is an old saying that out of all the thoughts that cross our mind or that we consciously focus upon during the day, one of these thoughts can actually become a reality. We generally tend to worry unnecessarily about things , events or our future and stop living in the present. This feeling is particularly intensified when family or loved ones are involved. Howsoever cliched it may sound the best solution to keep stress at bay is by thinking good and having a positive attitude.

‘The greatest weapon against stress is our ability  to choose one thought over another.’    —–  William James