Monthly Archives: May 2012

How To Beat Insomnia

By Deline Tan

Sleep – the beauty of life is a gift to mankind. After a hard day’s work, we rest and go into slumberland. It is one way to repair the body after a strenuous day of hard work. Our body needs recovery from the exertion of the day, as the cells replenished itself during sleep.

However, some people are robbed of this special rest. Insomnia, the robber of sleep, destructs one from enjoying the beauty of sleep. Stress and anxiety can be the reasons why insomnia occurs. It is a complicated situation to understand, as the brain stays active and the mind is denied of rest.

Those who suffer from depression usually experience insomnia, as the mind is restless and anxious. Medication might help, but the best cure is to be free from fear and anxiety. The problem we face sometimes overwhelmed us and we may react and does not know how to recreate positive thoughts. Rest and recreation are the best form of de-stressor. It has been found that exercises calm the mind and body and produces chemicals in the body that balances the system.

There are three types of insomnia that we can identify with. They are:

1)     Transient Insomnia – which lasts for less than a week and can be caused by different sleep environment, or the different timing of sleep, as well as cause by severe depression and stress.

2)     Acute Insomnia – the inability to sleep for about less than a month.

3)     Chronic Insomnia – which lasts approximately about a month and can be due to muscular fatigue, hallucinations, and mental fatigue.

Let’s look at the pattern of insomnia, its causes and effects:

1)     The causes may be due to mental disorder, which makes the person having difficulty sleeping in the beginning of the night.

2)     Awaking in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling asleep after that. It is referred to as nocturnal awakenings.

3)     Waking in the early wee morning hours followed by clinical depression.

Statistics on insomnia shows that it affects more women than men. Stress is the main trigger that affects short-term problem known as acute insomnia, and if the problem is not addressed, it will lead to chronic insomnia.

Due to busyness of life, people don’t exercise, and excessive accumulated work-loads also do trigger stress-inducing chemicals in the brain that causes insomnia. Bad relationship is also one factor that causes stress and produces harmful effects on the body. Usually a crisis aggregates tension and stress that develops into insomnia.

How does one get rid of insomnia? You must have heard that people count sheep when they can’t sleep. The real solution is to change your lifestyle and lead a healthy way of life. Most conflicts that we face in our lives are caused by our own selfishness and sinful lifestyle. We fight and gossip, and we have strings of enemies. We strife at work and we want to be the best above everyone else. We fight to stay at the top and we have no regards for our fellow men. In another word, we are our own worst enemy.

A lifestyle change is what we need. We feel good when we do a kind deed, or, when we’re politely served by the waiters/waitresses, that made our day? A kind word is soothing to the ear and brings health and healing to the body. A good deed done blesses us with good relationship with people and as we love and accept people, know that we can safely fall soundly asleep. What the mind needs is rest (free from strife) and as we constantly live a healthy way, we’ll not have insomnia.

Think healthy lifestyle. Avoid quarrels and seek to be a peace-maker. Enjoy the bliss of life by doing good and sleep will follow you. You reap what you sow. If you intend to have lots of friends and able to sleep soundly, then keep your mind sound by doing what is good and right.

Your body listens to you. Your mind responses to your environment. Sleep follows you if you remain a good friend to your neighbour. You don’t have to count sheep, you only sleep, if your mind is aware of a good deed that you did during the day. Stay free from stress and rest will follow you.

Let’s look at how we can help ourselves through the available help for insomnia. One of the ways is through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. In the therapy, the patients are taught improved sleep habits, like regular hours to go to bed and to sleep early. Attention to sleep hygiene is an important first line treatment strategy. Massage therapy would be very beneficial for sufferers of insomnia too.

Another way is through medication, which stood at about 95% of treatment for insomnia. It may not be the best way for cure as the drug can cause physical dependence which manifests in withdrawal symptoms if the drug is not carefully tapered down. Other side effects include day time fatigue and cognitive impairments.

Whatever way you seek treatment, know that prevention is better than cure. Live a healthy life style with no worries and you will beat the blues as you strive to be the confident you. Beat insomnia, beat life and you will be free from insomnia.

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The Satisfaction of Work

By Deline Tan

How do you view work? Do you enjoy your vocation and job, or do you drag yourself to the office everyday? How you feel and view your work is very important. You face your day daily with the work that is before you, and you either look forward to it or you feel the dread of your day, sulking and feeling remorse.

All of us have our dream job. But however, sometimes we fall into the category where we work just to survive. Money may be the reason why we work. Imagine how dreary it will be when you work just to keep you going for the years to come, and yet there is no real joy and satisfaction in your work. What do you do to get out of this syndrome?

How you view work would be how you view life. Your life is your work. You spend three quarters of your life working and work is part of you. How then would you enjoy your life’s work so that your work has meaning and it bring significance to your life?

You can enjoy your moments of work if you take the time to muse over what you are doing. In another word, you deliberately savour every moment of your time in your work with pleasure. You do not take your responsibility as a chore, but rather a delight because you know how to enjoy every moment of your time in what you are doing. You treasure the work load without feeling stress-out, and you know how to priortise what you are doing. The importance of your task comes first and not the urgent. You know how to set pace for yourself and you determine the amount of time that you want to take to accomplish that task. You know how to enjoy every moment of your time at what you are doing and there is no pressure.

Your attitude makes up your work. How you feel would be how you would have work. If you are positive and strive to do the best out of an excellent spirit, you know you have done your best and the end result is satisfaction. You place priority in what you see as benefits in what you do, and you excel in it as you use your God-given talents to work out the best in your tasks and endeavours. You are the most satisfied person if you enjoy your work as that makes you successful and rich in all your ways.

You can only enjoy your work if you have a plan and goal to look forward to. A goal is a guide to your final destination. You plan what you want to do and work out your plan. You are a strategist and you know how to work out your own plans. Success only comes through diligent hard work where you have a set goal to look forward to. A plan serves as a guideline for you to chart your course in whatever that you plan to succeed. As you plan your work, you can be sure that you will work your plans. The thing that you need now is perseverance and diligent hard work. You can never fail if you plan to work your best and enjoy the tasks that you are doing.

All of us want to enjoy our work. Set in the motion to have a right attitude and have a road map for your goals, and you will see yourself reaching the end of the rope that you are holding, and success will just knock at your door, and you can be the most satisfied person on this earth.

As you succeed in your work life, you too will succeed in your family life; as a well-balanced and well-taught person that only sees success as the ultimate aim in all that you do.

Fruits – Radiance and Vitality

By Deline Tan

 Do you love fruits? Everyone does and I do. What are the fruits that you go for? For me they are orange, pineapple, strawberry, papaya, prune, kiwi, water-melon and many more. Orange tastes very good and it has high content of Vitamin C. I take an orange a day and it has become a habit. I enjoy the taste and it helps me in my digestion too. Take everyday and you will not need to go to the doctor.

Everyone knows the value of fruits, as taken constantly, it will smoothen complexion. It aids constipation and indigestion, and it is one of the most fruitful foods for our diet. It has beta-carotene in all fruits and has high antioxidant content that prevents disease. The best food we can find is fruits as it wards off cancer cells, lowers cholesterol, beautifies the skin, and aids digestion.

As fruits are not stored in the body, it has to be consumed on a regular basis. Plenty of fruits refreshed the body and give the body a radiant look. Fruits have to be consumed in an empty stomach as it is quickly absorbed in the stomach walls. If mix with food, it blocks the fruits from being absorbed directly, thus causing the meal to ferment in the intestines and may cause cancer in the long run.

Lemon is known to be the cancer eraser, as it kills cancer cells and eradicates free radicals. Taking lots of fruits are known to cure cancer as about 80% of cancer patients recovered purely through fruit consumption. It is therefore wise to eat fruits everyday as it adds fibre and aids toileting.

Eat fruits to your heart content. It gives you a clean bill of health and contains Vitamin C which is an important vitamin to keep sicknesses away. High consumption of oranges and other fruits prevent common cold as well as enhance the total health as the liver is cleansed, refreshed, and it invigorates the digestive system.

There can be a variety ways of eating fruits. It’s best to consume the whole fruit than taking the juice as it helps the digestion better and is a better way of eating. You can serve the different cut fruits on a plate and everyone can taste its goodness, or you can cut them into small pieces, put it in a tupper ware, cool it in the refrigerator, and eat anytime you want. It’s best to eat it all the time as plenty of fruits invigorate the body with the necessary fibre for the body.

Many fruits prevent diseases and combat cancers. Some of the fruits are apricots, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapefruits, grapes, lemons, limes, mangoes, oranges, peaches and strawberries. These are all very delicious fruits and each fruit has its unique way of preventing diseases. Apricot controls blood pressure; blueberry protects the heart; cherry ends insomnia; figs helps stops strokes; grapefruit promotes weight loss; grapes saves the eye-sight; lemon stops scurvy; lime smoothes skin; mango boosts memory; orange supports the immune system; peach helps hemorrhoid and strawberry calms stress.

It’s best to consume all the different types of fruits everyday, as varieties will help each fruit enhance its antioxidant power and aid in its capacity to prevent disease and boost the immune system. The body needs replenishment of fruits everyday. All fruits smooth skin and have good vitamins and minerals to boost the functions of the body.

Try taking fruits before breakfast, lunch and dinner and you will see your digestive system improves drastically, that will aid constipation and promote good colon system. There can never be too much fruits as the opposite will truly promote good health system in your body. You will be rejuvenated and radiant, full of energy and vitality. Eat fruits everyday and much fruits daily – it promotes good health.

Eat-Out or Home-Cooked Food

By Deline Tan

What do you like best for your meals? Home-cooked, or eat-out? What makes you stay at home for your meals, and what causes you to eat out? For hurried working adults, they have no choice but to eat out during office hours. However, so far the people that I’ve spoken to regarding this article unanimously said that they prefer home-cooked food.

Wendy Teo, a lawyer and 8 months pregnant, takes her lunch in the office by home-cooked-food cooked by her maid. The meals are brought to her daily to her office. Why did she has to have her home-food rather than having the pleasure of eating out? She adds, “I eat home-cooked meal because it is healthy, as I am pregnant, which requires good nutrition.”

Preferring nutritious food is primary the reason why most people choose home-cooked food over eating out. For Sun Chang Sing, a Financial Advisor, eating out is inevitable as his mum passed away when he was young, and eating home-cooked food would be a luxury if there is someone to cook for him.

He eats out everyday, but he prefers home-meal better, as he tries to cook himself whenever he can. I ask him why he prefers home-meal and he says, “cooking your own meal caters to your own taste, and it is healthier and cheaper too. I can experiment to cook but it takes a lot of time.”

Anie Tan, an Administrator, too prefers home-cooked food. She is fortunate to have a mother who cooks for her daily after she returns from work. The only time she with her mother and sister will eat-out is on every Sunday morning, where they will have a good breakfast together.

Whatever reasons one has for eating out or spending some extra time cooking, there is one thing in common – almost all view home-cooked food as the ideal and healthier choice. Wendy rather eats what the maid cooks, than eating food not suitable for her unborn baby. Chang Sing would rather eats his own-cooked-meal, even though he has no choice but to eat out.  Anie rather eats the food cooked by her mother than eating out, and so are the majorities who are working.

However, I have a friend Alice, who eats out with her entire family daily. She is a housewife and hates cooking. Her family would take lunch and dinner outside, as she doesn’t get tired taking outside food. She sees it as saving time for not cooking.

Singapore is known as the food paradise. The taste buds of most Singaporeans are exotic. We have expensive taste for good food, and that is the reason why there are so many food-courts around. The outlets for restaurants have also grown, as people don’t mind spending hundreds to dine at cozy restaurants. Some housewives prefer not to cook, as it is so convenient to eat out.

Food is the glutton’s belly. Do you discipline yourself when you eat? Do you overeat and regret later? Almost all that we do in our waking hours is to eat. We have food everywhere. However, the observation is that even though we are surrounded by food, but majority of the Singaporeans are not fat. Someone commented as to how we can stay so slim even though we eat all the time.

In America, about 30% are obese as they usually eat at fast-food joints like McDonald and Burger King. When Singaporeans travel overseas, they usually come back putting on a lot of weight. While away, they will always miss the Singapore local food such as char kway teow, carrot cake, chicken rice, noodles and the popular locals like laksa and pepper crab. It is known that Singaporeans are great food lovers, and no matter what the majority chooses to have on their own cooked-food, the restaurants are never without business.

However, there are so many restaurants and average ones that closed down too. The turnover for new businesses and those closing down are high. It is known that a stall alone at the popular food-court can fetch a good income of over a few thousand dollars per day. People try to get rich overnight, as some made it and many don’t.

If it’s your business to eat out, you probably know which are the popular stalls and people don’t mind queuing for their foods. I for one love eating out. I like Japanese sushi, Korean barbeque, Thai Tom-yam soup, seafood like prawns and lobsters; others include Western Restaurants like Italian and French food. Whatever your picks, you can never exhaust the lists of good eatable restaurants, if you love good food and know what it means to treasure all the good stuff there.

Whether you prefer home-food or eating-out, one thing is certain – we all love good food and eating is one of the many pastimes when we as Singaporeans will readily indulge in.

Eating-out or home-cooked food! You choose your pick and ultimately it is the pleasure of the taste-buds that will choose the right choice for you to have your meals – home-cooked, or eating out – my pick, I choose to eat out.

Bread – The Staple Diet

By Deline Tan

Bread – the staple diet for many, is one of the most consumed product in any household. I love it, and so do many. You can eat it with many different fillings, and the healthy way to your breakfast is bread with peanut butter or cheese. Peanut is a good source of monounsaturated fats and its perfect to go with the bread.

Bread started way back in 2000 years ago when Jesus broke bread during the Passover, and also fed the 5000 and 4000 crowd with the barley loaves. In Europe and the Middle Eastern countries, it has been umpteen years that bread has been a staple diet, in which it is included in almost every meal. To some westerners, this is still practiced today.

Breads are made from rye, whole-wheat germ mix with white flour, with yeast added to give it the fluffy-look. Whole-meal breads are high in fibre compared to white bread, and aids digestions. There are other varieties of breads made from fruit-nuts, raisins, whole-nuts, and bran. It is exciting to see the wide range of the many different types of breads on display at bread stalls.

Under the pyramid chart of healthy food, bread is one of the recommended diets for good healthy living. Wheat is good for us and is one of the good carbohydrates group. Athletes consume high amount of breads as it gives them energy and strength.

In every home, bread is the one diet that families cannot go without. Almost everyone eats it and the soft textures smoothen the mouth and it is one of the diets that people will not get tired of.  Sandwiches, invented by John Montagu a couple hundreds of years ago, remains as one of the most popular breads stuff with tuna, cheese or eggs.

Nowadays there are so many creative ways to bake breads. There are so many bread-stalls island wide, and people are flocking to the stalls because they can never have enough of it. The queues are long and people wouldn’t mind it as everyone wants to savour the many different varieties of breads that come in many different styles and fillings.

Self-baked breads can be an exciting and interesting hobby, where you dough the wheat bran flour and bake it in the hot oven, eagerly tasting it even while it is still hot. It is important to add yeasts so that the buns will not be flat. There are so many recipes books that you can easily pick one and start following the instructions and begin to bake all the many different types of home-made bread, as much as you want.

It is good to experiment it in the first few attempts, and once you are more confident, you can bake it for the whole family. As I said, we cannot go without bread, and as you pick up the skills to bake, you can fully enjoy your own crisp crumb breads that smell fresh right from the oven.

Alison my friend will testify that she is the great bread lover, and loves it very much. She views making sandwiches as one of the versatile ways to suit any occasion. With hams and bacons, added with salads that give it the perfect taste, Alison adds, “I just love the soft texture and the fine taste of the crusted bread as I never get tired of it. In every culture in the world, they eat some form of breads as a staple food.”

Sharing the same view with Alison is Poh Khuan, my cousin, who too, loves bread quite a lot, especially the freshly-baked ones. She finds it convenient to eat it everyday, as a loaf can last for a few days. Or, she would keep it in the fridge, and then would heat it in the oven once she takes it out. She adds with enthusiasm, “It tastes great when the bread is hot and so soft, just like the freshly-baked ones.”

She continues, “There are different types of bread with varieties of vitamins and calcium, which is not only healthy and nutritious but fibrous too. It aids digestions and prevents constipation.”

Indeed bread is one staple that people just simply love it. It is healthy and nutritious and every morning people just find bread at the table, and it is enough to keep them going for the day. I never get tired of it, and with the varieties of baked bread, I just never run out of taste for it.