Thursday, 31 October 2013

Children And Media Violence



TV Violence and its effect on Children

Children And Media Violence
Violence is not new to the human race and has become an increasing problem in our society. Everywhere around us, we witness and hear tales of violent acts. The scope and efficiency of violent behavior has had serious consequences especially with access to technology and media. The proof to this can be seen in television and print media news reports with regard to murders, shootings, terrorism, abuse, etc. there is an escalating rate in violent acts all around us and is it undeniable that children’s exposure to media violence plays a vital role in the etiology of violent behavior.

Children see and hear a lot of things and eventually absorb and learn from their environment. Television and the other forms of media are some forms through which children access information as they are exposed to it right from the very beginning of their life. Violence portrayed through various media’s in today’s world a profound effect on children’s lives and their future. An ongoing topic of focus by researchers, educationalists, psychologists, parents and the public, exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior among children has been seen to have a high association.

Violence is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in today’s media. More than 60% of the content shown on television, movies, and video games contain violent content.

Most children are plugged into the world of television even before they enter preschool. It has been seen that more than two thirds of toddlers and infants watch a screen for an average of 2 hours per day and more young children spend 3 to 4 hours in front of a screen daily. The first few years of life are considered to be a crucial time for brain development. Thus, watching violent content and television can get in the way of them exploring and interacting with the world which aims to help them learn healthy physical and social development. For children, it is difficult to differentiate between reality and fantasy, which makes them more vulnerable to copy and believe what’s shown on television.

But how does violence shown on media have a harmful effect on children? Firstly, the violent content encourages children to learn aggressive behaviors and attitudes. Secondly, insensitivity towards victims of violence may be developed by children, and thirdly children may become increasingly fearful of being victimized by violence.

Risky behavior by children can include violence against others, lack of remorse for the consequences of their actions, faulty thinking, increased feelings of hostility, decreased emotional response to violence and acts of violent behavior towards others through imitation. Increase in aggressive behavior is seen commonly among children who are exposed to violent television content.

Researchers have found that children who have been exposed to high levels of media violence showed altered brain activity linked to self-control and attention. This shows a link between violent media exposure and brain function.

Various contributing factors are associated to the development of aggressive behaviors such as poverty, child abuse, substance abuse, etc. Children imitate elders and others who they consider their heroes and this may be problematic as they imitate the violent acts in real life. Children may become desensitized to violence and may become less likely to attend to victims of real life violent incidents. There may be les responsibility and little sympathy for other victims. Fear of being the next victims of violence may increase greatly due to their inability to differentiate reality and fiction.

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Psychological Trauma

Causes, Symptoms and Copingwith Trauma

Psychological Trauma
When one goes through psychological trauma, there are persistent and struggling feelings, upsetting emotions, frightening memories and a constant sense of fear. One may feel numb or disconnected and this may also make the person feel unable to trust others. But what is psychological trauma? It is the result of certain stressful events which are extraordinary and thus which causes the person to feel a loss of his/her sense of security and make him/her feel shattered, helpless and vulnerable. A traumatic event is an experience or an event that overwhelms the person and destructs the person’s ability to cope and survive efficiently. It involves a threat to life and safety not in terms of physical harm but a feeling of trauma.

So what causes psychological trauma? Any event that happens unexpectedly and the person is unprepared for it which thus causes heightened trauma. The person feels powerless and is unable to prevent it. Sometimes the event occurs repeatedly and the person may have been subjected to intentional cruelty. A horrible incident, a natural disaster, a violent attack – trauma can occur from any ongoing stress such as a crime ridden neighborhood or maybe due to a terminal illness.

The sudden death of a loved one has been seen as the most common cause of trauma. Among sportspersons, a fall or an injury may cause severe trauma if the person is unable to continue. Detachment from a significant relationship, an extremely humiliating experience, an accident, a surgery or the discovery of a fatal illness, military combat, terrorist attacks, being taken hostage, being a prisoner of war or a personal violent assault may be the other common causes of trauma.

What are the symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma? People react in different ways to different situations and thus there is no right or wrong way to feel or react to situations. Sometimes, most people feel shock and denial or disbelief when faced by traumatic situations. Irritable mood and angry behavior may follow. They may also feel sad and hopeless and have a persistent sense of confusion. It becomes difficult for them to concentrate while feeling anxious or scared and feel disconnected from others around them. Physically them may be startled easily, have a racing heartbeat, experience fatigue and insomnia and feel muscle tension and agitation. These symptoms last usually from a few days to a few months when the traumatic experience occurs and fades as the trauma is processed. Yet, no matter how much time passes, sometimes these memories are triggered, such as a similar event happening elsewhere or a situation reminding the person of the trauma.

How to cope with trauma? First of all, focus on what’s important. When dealing with the aftermath of a crisis, focus on the resources that you have. Emphasize on the tasks that need to be done and put off others for later to conserve your emotional and physical energy. Second, find the support that you need. Let your loved ones help and guide you as it will help you feel better. When someone experiences a crisis, the person may stay in a state of constant stress as it is difficult to stay relaxed. It’s thus important to practice stress relief techniques such as deep circular breathing and meditation to reduce the intensity of stress. Processing one’s feelings is very important and so is talking to a friend or writing in a diary. This helps the person to put into words the experiences to better integrate it. In the process, talking about negative feelings help as it helps the person get it out and move through it and then let go. The person should take care of himself physically through nutrition and sleep and motivate oneself to read a book or see a movie and help oneself enjoy life and relieve stress. Being patient with oneself is another important task as the person may feel disheartened due to the persisting negative feelings.

As trauma is a big deal for the person going through it, others should not look at the person and pass on saying the person is overreacting or seeking attention. It is important to understand that these feelings are real and the person needs to be supported. If the experienced thoughts and feelings are too intrusive and the nightmares are recurrent and if the person is unable to move ahead because of his reaction, then professional help should be sought. It’s a smart and responsible way to take care of oneself through this time of pain and suffering.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Eating Disorders

Anorexia. Bulimia. Bing-Eating.

Eating Disorders
All of us do not spend much time thinking about what we eat but people with eating disorders are completely obsessed with their eating habits, while constantly thinking about it all the time. Most of us, at some point of time; slip into overeating and comfort eating habits; but for some it can be life threatening. The fear of being overweight is installed in all of us because of social pressures on appearance mostly due to the media pressure.

Eating disorder is an illness that causes serious life threatening disturbances in a person’s everyday diet, like eating too little or eating too much. Severe concerns about body weight or shape characterizes eating disorders. Eating disorders mostly being in the teens or early adulthood when the person is developing a self-image and forming his/her self-identity. Eating disorders include attitudes, extreme emotions and the behavior which surrounds food and weight issues.

Anorexia is an eating disorder which is characterized by starving oneself and by excessive weight loss. It simply means that a person starves himself because he is convinced that he is overweight.The simple way to understand this is if a person is at least 15% under his normal body weight and is losing more weight due to not eating, then the disorder can be noted. Anorexia occurs when there is a refusal to maintain body weight that is normal for a person’s age, height, body type and activity level. The person has an intense fear of gaining weight and feels fat despite drastic weight loss.
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by frequent and recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food and the person feels a lack of control over it. This is called binge eating and these episodes are followed by a compensative behavior such as forced vomiting, excessive fasting, increased exercise or use of laxatives. People with bulimia have a normal weight with some underweight and like people with anorexia they fear gaining weight, want to lose weight and are unhappy with their body. This behavior is done when alone as most people have accompanying feelings of shame and disgust.

Eating disorders can be treated by proper nutrition, healthy eating patterns, regular exercise and stopping purging behaviors. These are the basic foundations of treatment. Along with these, other special forms of psychotherapy are important, such as, talk therapy, medications and psychological counseling to help the person deal with the disorder. Treatment plans are usually devised according to the person’s disorder and accordingly individual or group therapy, medical care, nutritional counseling and medications are tailored.
Binge eating is another more commonly observed disorderwhich is known by its characteristics of uncontrolled, impulsive and continuous eating which goes beyond the limit of feeling comfortably full. The person seems to lose control over eating. People with binge eating disorder are mostly overweight or obese. They are at a higher risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases and also of having a high blood pressure. Binge eaters are more prone to psychological disorders such as anxiety, loneliness and depression and they also experience shame and guilt.

It is important to keep a check on our eating habits, especially given our stressful lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and lack of activity caused by a monotonous work schedule. A person with an eating disorder shouldn’t be blamed for it but instead should be motivate to reach out for help. Community help and family support is important to help the person deal with this problem as it is a constant struggle.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Procrastination

What, Where, Why and How? 


Procrastination
Procrastination is the act of replacing high priority jobs with low priority ones, just to put off the more important tasks for a later time. In short, just being lazy to do what lies at the top of your to-do list!

It is a normal phenomenon which has a simple explanation. We as humans do not like to feel negative emotions such as fear and we tend to avoid situations and tasks that cause stress or seem to be stressful. It is also true that we perform better under pressure; thus putting off these tasks till later may provide more useful than harmful. This kind of behavior may be seen as a coping mechanism to anxiety related to tasks and decisions.

So what happens due to procrastination? It may result in increased stress and may produce feelings of guilt for not completing the tasks at the appropriate time. Productivity of the person may also decrease due to this. Normal procrastination may be alright but when this becomes prolonged it can be seen as a sign of underlying psychological disorders.

How does procrastination cause a psychological impact?Let’s draw a connection between putting off important tasks and issues of anxiety, low self-worth and loss of interest. Anxiety of doing the task and increased pressure of doing it at the last minute can cause stress to the person. Procrastination can lead to a loss of interest in important activities and this can lead to the person feeling low worth due to the inability to work efficiently.Procrastination may thus lead to depression or symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Thus, it is important to keep one’s procrastination in check and consult a mental health professional if it is chronic and causing disability in the person’s life.

In earlier days of human life, laziness was adaptive as time and energy was more limited as compared to today’s fast paced world. Today, our motivations are more abstract and thus it is harder to avoid tasks. In some instances, procrastination is linked to perfectionism. This is a tendency to evaluate outcomes in a negative manner and also one’s own performance, which is coupled with extreme fear, increased consciousness and anxiety.


Where does procrastination occur in our daily lives? It was seen in a survey that more than 50% students feel a high need for help regarding procrastination. About 80% to 95% of college students engage in procrastination which is not appropriate yet is still the case.

How to overcome procrastination? First, know that you are procrastinating. Be honest to yourself and you will know the answer. If you still won’t accept it, ask yourself – Do you fill your day with low priority tasks first? Do you start a high priority task and then distract yourself and go do something else? Do you wait for the right time and right mood to do the important task? Then yes, you are a procrastinator. Secondly, work on why you procrastinate. Some of the common reasons are that the task is boring or unpleasant, it is disorganized and will take a long time to complete, you feel overwhelmed by the task at hand and doubt that you can’t complete it, or just can’t make a decision!

Now that you know what, what is the how to? Simple tips can help you motivate yourself. Don’t be ashamed to ask others to help you! Tell them to push you to do the task. Make up your own rewards to help you do the work – promise yourself a chocolate cake after the task is done. Get organized. Create a schedule and follow it! Break the project into manageable tasks if it is disorganized. Create an action plan! This will break the destructive habit of procrastinating!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Adult Nurse Practitioner Programs

Acquiring Your Nursing Degree

The University of Cincinnati offers a wide variety of nursing programs that anyone can choose, such as the adult nurse practitioner programs. You also have the alternative of taking your classes on campus. Whether you choose to learn nursing online or on campus, the university's main goal is to provide you with the necessary tools and material so that you can complete your courses. You can learn more about the school's programs and faculty by browsing through the information tabs on the university's website.

Nursing Specialties

The key to doing a great job is to invest in something that you love to do. Some of the nursing specialties that you can choose from can include primary care, clinical nursing, family nurse practitioner and many more. Each of these choices is affordable when it comes to the total tuition amount. You can also expect an in-depth review of each course so that you can be properly trained in your field of expertise.

A Unique Curriculum to Enhance to Your Skills

When it comes to enhancing your nursing skills, the University of Cincinnati offers the curriculum that can help you. You will get to apply your knowledge in different nursing settings. The variety of levels starts you off at the foundation of your nursing program and guides you through it. The thing that makes this curriculum unique is that it offers applications that the medical industry demands along with additional nursing factors.

Doing Your Studies Online

Although it can seem difficult or intimidating to do your courses online, you are sure to succeed with the help of the university's faculty and support. The professors who teach at the University of Cincinnati are experts at the nursing field. The big advantage that you can get from these experts is their knowledge of real-life experiences. These teachers have worked in the medical field and have implemented the latest techniques in the nursing industry. If you are an online student, you are able to contact these professors with any questions about your nursing courses. Rest assured that you will learn a great deal about nursing while increasing your medical skills.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Dreams and its Interpretation

The royal road to the unconscious
 
dream interpretation
The door to dreams opened into the arena of scientific research and the mechanism of dreams was quite a hot topic by the end of the 19th century. Assigning meaning to dreams may sound strange but the reality lies in the underlying science of the study of dreams.

Dreams: Images, ideas, sensations and emotions that occur during sleep. The content and purpose of dreams may seem difficult to understand. Not only has the scientific approach to understanding dreams been conducted but a lot of speculation through religious and philosophical interest has been created throughout history. It is said that dreams reflect and is connected to the unconscious part of the mind. Dreams may range from ordinary to bizarre and can be frightening, adventurous, sexual or magical too. Dreams cannot be controlled by the dreamer and can sometimes help creatively by giving an inspiring thought to the dreamer!
According to Sigmund Freud, a world renowned neurologist and psychoanalyst, developed the study of interpreting dreams and explained them as a manifestation of a person’s deepest hidden desires and anxieties. He denoted the role of repressed childhood memories in dreams. His book, “The Interpretation of Dreams” explains Freud’s techniques to interpret dreams by using various guidelines to understand the motifs and the symbols that appear in dreams.

The content of dreams has gone through extensive research with various researchers continuously and rigorously aiming to collect different dream contents. Most dream content has said to be included in one or more of the following categories:

- Visual: Visuals include location, people, objects etc. that reflects a person’s experiences but may take a bizarre form.

- Sexual: Around 10% of the dreams occur in this manner and have seen to be more common among the young. Wet dreams may sometimes occur as a result of dreams with sexual content in adults.

- Emotions: Anxiety is mostly experienced in dreams of emotional content. It is interesting to note that more negative emotions as compared to positive ones occur in dreams. Abandonment, fear and anger are other common dream contents.

- Recurring dreams: Sometimes the same dream can occur over varying times and occasions.
Dream Interpretation can occur due to various ideas and experiences. In a recent study conducted in 2009 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was seen that 74% Indians believed Freud’s dream theory and accepted that dreams reveal meaningful hidden truths.

Have you ever faced the attribute of Déjà vu? I’m sure you have. It is the feeling of having experienced something before or having dreamt about a place or situation and forgetting about it and being reminded of it some other time or place. It is not an act of precognition but is an anomaly of memory; a false impression of an experience recalled.

Dream interpretation is a fascinating world where the rules of reality don’t exist. Dreams are unique and one’s dreams are connected to one’s own reality and no one else’s. Dreams have the ability to unite one’s body, mind and the spirit. It gives us an opportunity to gain insight about our own selves and an opportunity for self-exploration. So explore, discover and find out what your dreams signify!

Friday, 11 October 2013

SLEEP DISORDERS IN TODAY’S YOUTH

How does it affect your life as a college student? 


Increased freedom, changing schedules, stringent deadlines, heightened stress, hostel living, social obligations and educational responsibilities. These are all part of a college student’s life. From assignments to presentations, from class tests to university examinations, the life of a college student is monotonous. It is filled with books, notes and assignments at one end to fun, movies and trips on the other end.

Sleep is a major concern in today’s youth lifestyle. It is not just the lack of sleep that poses a problem but also over-sleeping that causes a threat. Poor sleep patterns can inhibit a student’s performance whereas excessive sleep can cause hindrances in reaching objectives and fulfilling responsibilities. Sleep is essential to one’s physical and mental health as it regulates the body mechanism and helps one to lead a healthy lifestyle. About 150 million adults across the world suffer from sleep-related problems.

It is not difficult to notice one’s sleep patterns. But how can you tell if your sleep problem is just a minor change due to a hectic week or a sign of serious underlying concerns? Here is a small checklist to help you deal with the uncertainty!

- Feel irritable during the day?

- Hard to focus and concentrate?

- React slowly and can’t pay attention in class?

- Feel like taking a nap every day?

- Look tired?

- Can’t fall asleep at night?

- Difficult to wake up in the morning?

 If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then yes, you do have a sleep disorder! Now that you know there is a problem, what is the solution to deal with this? There are some self-help techniques that can help you deal with these issues. First of all, create a schedule! Maintain a diary to record you daily patterns during the day and at night. This will help you to identify your sleeping habits. Note when you go to sleep, when you wake up, how many hours of sleep you had, what you consumed before going to sleep, your mood before bed and if you have taken any drugs or medications before sleep. You can identify these factors and try to modify and change them to see if any resultant change occurs.

Sleep at the same time every day which should include weekends. Keep and set aside exact number of hours you need to sleep, about 7 to 8 hours. Sleep in a comfortable space where there won’t be any distractions such as noise, light, etc.

Never consume sleeping pills! These can make your sleep patterns worse in the long run and cause more problems for you, except when prescribed by your doctor. It is not wrong to consult your doctor if you have persistent problems with sleep, especially when the self-help techniques don’t work for you.

Try to create such a study environment which will not interrupt your sleep schedules. Avoid all night study sessions and late night computer work which seems to be the highest cause of sleep disruption among college students. Lead a healthy lifestyle and you can defeat the common problems and become more productive!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Depression In Today’s World


How depression affects our life!

The Bell Jar: A book by Sylvia Path described depression in a way no one ever has. What is a Bell Jar? When a jar is closed and all air is taken awayfrom it, it becomes impossible to breathe and all is lost! World Mental Health Day 2012 chose to highlight the theme of depression this year. Mental and emotional health is a major part of our lives and the aim to create awareness was successfully spread on this day. To begin with why depression is such a big deal: The World Health Organization revealed that more than 350 million people across the globe suffer from depression!
One in five women and one in ten men are affected by depression. The WHO predicts that depressive disorders will rank as the first leading cause of global burden of disease by 2030!
What are the underlying symptoms of depression? Loss of pleasure and interest, low energy levels, guilt feelings and low self-worth, decreased activity, inability to sleep or eat, lack of concentration are some of the most common symptoms. These feelings may be experienced by most of us in our everyday lives but it poses as a threat when it becomes chronic and recurrent and hinders in a person’s ability to lead a responsible life.
What’s the worst that can happen? Depression has been said to lead to increased risk for suicide. More than a million people across the world die due to suicide each year. The ratio of each person committing suicide to each person who attempts to end their life is 1:20.
What can be done? Early recognition of symptoms and regular care can ease the problem and help the person to get treated. Such strides in the development of Mental Health has been made that there can be easy access to medication, psychotherapy and community support which coupled with support and care from family members and friends can help the person cope better and faster.
Why wait? It is not accurate to say that symptoms should be recognized only when they emergeand treatment should be followed up with. Most of the common causes of depression are relationship issues, work overload, stressful lifestyle, unhealthy eating and drinking habits, etc. These are the causes which are avoidable. What can be done to avoid this? Regular physical exercises, walks, yoga and meditation practices act as stress relievers. Music acts as a therapy as long as it’s soothing and relaxing to the mind. Avoiding alcohol and other unhealthy habits can help decrease stress. Combatting the signs of depression can be done as long as the individual chooses to.
A large proportion of the population in India suffers from depression, most of which is undetected. This is majorly because families and societies deal differently with all forms of mental illnesses and not just depression. It is ironic to notice that what can easily be identified and recognized and can be treated with counseling and medications is let to reach a severe level where it takes a very serious form and has a shocking and life altering effect on the person’s life. Awareness is the answer. Acceptance is the key. Shame and stigma should be removed. This can happen only when we start. Change begins with us!