Staggering Stage Fright

Stage Fright is the major source of Fear. Even more than the fear of dying." Ms. Rathika Rukumangathan revealed to us an amazing fact that took many of us by surprise during her talk on Public Speaking. Being actively involved as well as having assumed the role of the President of Toastmasters club of Kulim, she spoke from her experience.

Hmmm… stage fright!  Fluttering or pounding heart, tremor in the hands and legs, nausea, stomach regurgitation, facial nerve tics, dry mouth, tight throat, trembling lips, etc.  You may have gone through it or merely observed it.   

A gathering of a few Meditation practitioners from some Brahma Kumaris centres of North Malaysia took place at Nibong Tebal Brahma Kumaris centre about a month back on Public Speaking for an audience of Tamil language. Many of them were Newbies. My very good friend, Mr. Pachaiappan who runs the Nibong Tebal Brahma Kumaris meditation centre invited me to share with them some of my insights.  It was also a great honour to work with a compassionate and caring speaker Mdm. Radha, a senior student from Penang Brahma Kumaris centre. This event spearheaded with fun-filled and friendly guidances of Ms. Gauthami from India. She taught us how to make our presentation lively and user-friendly. An invaluable input. We had a lot of fun together, especially seeing the courage of the first timers who came forward and presented their speech without hesitation.

Yet that stage fright stuff was echoing in my mind continually. Whilst having some discussion on evaluating the participants presentation I had some time to discuss on it with Ms. Rathika. Stage fright may be observed in people of all experiences and backgrounds, from beginners to professionals. One method she suggested to overcome it, during her talk, is to reach the hall half to one hour earlier and ascend the stage or rostrum and get the feeling of it.

Upon the conclusion of our event, I decided to delve into stage fright in depth.

Major causes of stage fright

James J. Barrell, Don Medeiros, Jim E. Barrell and Don Price of Department of Psychology, West Georgia College, Carrollton conducted an experiment in 1985 on performance anxiety (stage fright), with the methods of self-observing, self-reporting and self-discovering and the result was published in Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 25, No. 2, 106-122 as The Causes and Treatment of Performance Anxiety - An Experiential Approach.

Five causal elements were found to be present in the experience of performance anxiety:

How to Sleep Well

Recently I happen to present a talk on "How to sleep well"(on spiritual perspective) at a sleep disturbance forum organised by the Perak Mental Health Campaign Group at Heritage Hotel, Ipoh.

Before my sharing, Dr. Rajinder Singh, the consultant psychiatrist of Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh, made his debut.

During his presentation one phrase kind of intrigued me. Sleep Hygiene. Being responsible for preparation of Standard Operating Procedures for Personnel's Personal Hygiene, I could only relate hygiene with detergent, water, hand dryer, etc.

And sleep hygiene has nothing to do with the cleanliness of your bed sheet, pillow case, bedroom or washing your hands and feet before retiring to bed, etc. It's simply the Do's and Don’ts before retiring to bed or rather Tricks of the Trade! Let's seduce sedation with some of them listed below,

1) Sleep only when you're sleepy.

This reduces the time you are awake in bed.    
2) If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do some light activities until you feel sleepy. 

Sit quietly in the dark or read something boring under  a dim light. Don't expose yourself to bright light while you are up.

3) Avoid naps This will ensure you are tired at bedtime.

If you can't do away with it, sleep for 30 to 45 minutes, before 3 pm.

4) Have A Bedtime Schedule.

Try to fall asleep and wake at the same time each day including the weekends.  

Even on nights you don’t feel tired it's a good practice and your body will appreciate it. Once your body gets used to a routine, it will naturally gets in tune with the designated time.  Keep your biological clock going in the right direction, otherwise you will be fighting against it.

5) Exercise at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. 

Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.

6) Your Bed is only for sleeping.

Many people tend to read, work, watch television, some even eat in their beds. Let your mind and body identify that comfy spot with sleep.

7) No TV or computer 30 minutes before sleep.

Also, don’t watch TV or even so much as look at a computer screen at least 30 minutes before you lie down. The light from both a television as well as a computer monitor mimic the same intensity of light as sunlight. This fools your body and brain into thinking it's nowhere near time for sleep. 

8) Don’t Eat Before Sleep.

A light snack may be sleep inducing, but a heavy meal too close to bedtime interferes with sleep as digestion takes lots of energy and will keep you awake. Foods containing tyramine (aubergines, pepperoni, raspberries avocado, nuts, soy sauce, red wine) might keep you awake at night. 

9) Develop sleep rituals.

It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, brush your teeth, set your alarm.

10) Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine (tobacco).

Caffeinated drinks and food such as coffee, tea, sodas and chocolate will keep the mind stimulated.
Alcohol is a depressant; although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night.
Nicotine is also a stimulant and should be avoided near bedtime and if you wake up during the night.

11) Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime.

A hot bath will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy.
12) Create an Ambiance for sleeping.

A cooler room, 16 to 22*C along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. Have dim lights in your bedroom and switch them off before retiring to bed. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs.
13) Relaxing.

Relieving tension and stress will help you clear your mind before bed so you can concentrate on sleep and nothing else. Play soothing music-even ambient noise will drown out street noise-while aromatherapy also has relaxation qualities, so you may put a drop or two of soothing essential oil of lavender or Roman chamomile on your pillow.
Meditation also can take your mind off of other things and you'll be in lala land in no time. It has been shown to produce deep rest, reduced anxiety, and very effective relief from insomnia.

14) Keep a Gratitude Log or simple journal

The best way to fall asleep is to clear your mind of all thoughts. The last thing you want is to lie in bed awake and thinking. By keeping a gratitude log you can thank each and every event or person for teaching you a lesson and then gently releasing yourself into peace. You can write this log for 5 - 10 minutes before retiring to your bed. You can close your account for today and be ready for a new day tomorrow! Incidentally, maintaining a regular gratitude log can make you 25% happier.

Well, the 14th is my personal addition. I am not sure if it would qualify as one but I find it very useful and fruitful. So, are you hygienic? Please share your comments!

Flossing For Glossing


Do you floss? If yes, how often you use the little white string? If No...

"Regular brushing and flossing are healthy habits no child can afford to skip. In fact, kids who stick with daily flossing and brushing in adulthood can shave as much as 6.4 years off their age. When they're turning 40, their RealAge will still be in their early 30s.", claims RealAge.

Dental floss is a bundle of thin ribbon used to remove food and dental plaque from teeth. The floss is gently inserted between the teeth and scraped along the teeth sides, especially close to the gums. Dental floss may be flavored or unflavored, and waxed or unwaxed.

Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.

There are two types of floss from which to choose:
 - Nylon (or multifilament) floss
 - PTFE (monofilament) floss

Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris.

Researches suggests that regular flossing may affect more than the health of your mouth.

Flossing may protect your heart. Research has shown a connection between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease. They are not sure what is behind the connection, but it makes the simple task of flossing a no-brainer for optimal health.

Flossing may protect your arteries. Flossing and clogged arteries also may be related. Researchers speculate that bacteria from the mouth may enter the bloodstream and contribute to inflammation and artery clogging.
Flossing may reduce your risk of diabetes and its complications.  Periodontal disease appears to make insulin resistance worse. When cells require more insulin to take up blood sugar from the blood stream, blood insulin and, eventually, blood sugar levels will rise. Increases in blood insulin and blood sugar levels both have undesirable effects, such as the development of type 2 diabetes.

The following tips could be of some help to get the most out of flossing:

-  Be sure to slide the floss under your gum line and to gently curl it around each tooth as you floss.
-  Floss gently, but don't quit because your gums bleed. Eventually, they will become stronger and bleed less with regular flossing.
-  Use fresh floss for each tooth juncture.
-  If you find it difficult to manipulate floss with your fingers, purchase dental-floss picks or holders that anchor sections of floss for you in a small, U-shaped plastic device.

Watch the following video for some expert tips and advice on keeping healthy teeth and oral hygiene :

Happy Flossing!

Very Tasteful - "KEYS!"


Take a break and watch this video....
Is this something you go through as well?

The Anatomy of Fitness

Are you a committed fitness fanatic looking to optimize your results? Or perhaps you've just begun your journey to improved health and fitness...

Fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist sedentary life style (hypokinetic) diseases, and to meet emergency situations. Fitness comprises two related concepts: general fitness (a state of health and well-being) and specific fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations).

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, a study group sponsored by the Government of the United States, declines to offer a simple definition of Physical Fitness. Instead, it developed the following chart,


Health Related

Skill Related



Body Composition




Cardiovascular Fitness



Bone Integrity


Motor coordination



Muscular Endurance



Muscle Strength


Reaction time


Exercise scientists have identified nine components that comprise the definition of fitness.

1. Strength

The extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance (e.g. holding or restraining an object or person).

2. Power

the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements. The two components of power are strength and speed. (e.g. jumping or a sprint start).

3. Agility

the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions (e.g. ZigZag running or cutting movements)

4. Balance

the ability to control the body's position, either stationary (e.g. a handstand) or while moving (e.g. a gymnastics stunt)

5. Flexibility

The ability to move our joints through their full range without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (e.g. executing a leg split)

6. Local Muscle Endurance

The ability of a specific muscle to fire for an extended period of time. Examplea are rowing or cycling.

7. Cardiovascular Endurance

The ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to working muscles and tissues, as well as the ability of those muscles and tissues to utilize that oxygen. Cardiovascular endurance is also frequently called cardio-respiratory endurance, cardiovascular fitness, aerobic capacity or aerobic fitness.

8. Strength Endurance

The ability of the muscle to exert a submaximal force repeatedly over a period of time. For example the continuous explosive rebounding through an entire basketball game.

9. Co-ordination

The ability to integrate the above listed components so that effective movements are achieved.

Of all the nine elements of fitness cardiac respiratory qualities are the most important to develop as they enhance all the other components of the conditioning equation. This is measured by the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity (VO2max). VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen in millilitres, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. Those who are fit have higher VO2max values and can exercise more intensely than those who are not as well conditioned. Numerous studies show that you can increase your VO2max by working out at an intensity that raises your heart rate to between 65 and 85% of its maximum for at least 20 minutes three to five times a week. A mean value of VO2max for male athletes is about 3.5 litres/minute and for female athletes it is about 2.7 litres/minute. So what do you think your value is like? Probably you may want to increase it.

Well you have some insights on the elements of fitness, but what about working out and experimenting on yourself? That is more relevant here. Take up some cardio and alternate it with strength exercises by visiting your nearby gym. If you are busy you can get a set of dumbbells and a Swiss ball and do some strength exercises at home. Occasionally add some flavour of isometric and agility exercises and you are on your way to a perfectly healthy and fit body. Incidentally, if you have been dormant for a while or if you have some chronic diseases, please consult your doctor. All the best!

Green Tea for Lean, Mean and Clean Body


An earthy brew that orginated from China, green tea is a type of tea made solely from the leaves of Carmelia Sinensis. Unlike black and oolong teas, green tea is made from unfermented leaves and therefore reported to contain the highest concentration of antioxidants called Polyphenols.

Antioxidants are free radicals scavengers. Free radicals are compounds in the body that damage and alter cells, tamper with DNA (genetic material), and also cause cell death. Free radicals naturally exist in the body, but environmental toxins (UV rays from the sun, radiation, cigarette smoke, and air pollution) also give rise to these highly active molecules. Scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting regular green tea drinkers may have lower chances of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer. Green tea has also been recognised to be useful for weight loss management.

Research shows that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises good HDL cholesterol in both animals and humans. One population-based clinical study found that men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea. Results from one animal study suggest that polyphenols in green tea may block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and promote its excretion from the body. In another small study of male smokers, researchers found that green tea significantly reduced blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.

How to brew green tea? Generally, 2 grams of tea per 100ml of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per 5 ounce cup, should be used. With very high quality teas like Gyokuro, more than this amount of leaf is used, and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations. Green tea brewing time and temperature varies with individual teas. The hottest brewing temperatures are 180°F to 190°F (81°C to 87°C) water and the longest steeping times 2 to 3 minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 140°F to 160°F (61°C to 69°C) and the shortest times about 30 seconds.

Green tea/extracts promotes fat loss by increasing metabolism, suppressing hunger and keeping energy levels high. For weight loss, try drinking 3 cups daily or take a green tea extract (capsule or tablet form). Green teas is also a featured player in weight-loss formulas. Follow label directions, as products vary.

For further health benefit, consider taking a supplement containing powdered "green nutrients," which boosts vitality by supplying a range of nutrients. You can mix a green foods powder with water, juice or a protein smoothie. Use a combination formula containing green nutrients such a chlorella, barely grass, wheat grass and kelp.

N.B. Unless specifically decaffeinated, green tea contains caffeine. Normal green tea itself may contain more caffeine than coffee, but the length of infusion with hot water and the amount of time the green tea leaves are used can greatly alter caffeine intake. Experiments have shown after the first 5 minutes of brewing, green tea contains 32 mg caffeine. But if the same leaves are then used for a second and then a third five minute brew, the caffeine drops to 12 mg and then 4 mg.