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The Selfie Mania- Cool Or Crazy?



Don’t we all have that friend(s) or even relatives, nowadays, who we follow on social media sites for their constant posts selfies? If you know what I’m talking about, you may also know about this thing you’re actually after- selfies.

For the less fortunate ones who still don’t know about ‘selfies’ and prefer to live on ‘Mars’ or whatever other planet they are from, let me conjure up a definition in brief.

Selfies are photos of a person which usually consist of up-close angles of a person’s face. The term selfie has become so immersed in our daily use vocabularies now, that not only has it officially entered into the Oxford English Dictionary, but “selfie” was Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2013. It is described as when an individual holds a camera or smartphone at arm’s length and takes a picture of their face. But honestly, some of these may come across as awkward. There tend to be various poses including the discrete pouting, the ‘duck’ face or lips pose, the funny-trying-to-be-cute face, etc.

Did you know, on Instagram alone, the hashtag “selfie” has a total of 103,363,215 images tagged? Plus I’m not even including the pictures on private accounts. A couple of hours later, more 50,000 selfie images had been uploaded in just that time frame. These overwhelming numbers can be seen as evidence for something that can be labelled as more of a global phenomenon.

Moreover, Selfies have been glamorized by high-profile names from pop-star Justin Bieber to comedienne Ellen Degeneres to President Obama. Plus, people now have the option to choose pictures or edit them to their liking and upload on popular media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, etc.

What is the need of selfies?

All lot of people, especially women, claim to want to share their experiences with friends and family. Others post an excessive amount of selfies only to feed their narcissism and seek attention. For example, someone who may have recently broke up with his/her partner has been usually found to upload more selfies than before. Psychologically speaking, I think that now that they are single, they want to draw attention because of losing someone important or even to otherwise make them jealous of what they lost. In either case, when a relationship ends, we tend to feel vulnerable and need some form of reassurance and comfort. It is interesting to note the kind of circumstances that may lead people to focus more on social media. Now, we have the option to control the way we want to be seen through pictures, and with the smart phones and digicams at our disposal, we can transform ourselves into whoever we want to be.

So what is the problem with selfies anyways?

Selfies were never an issue when they first started gaining popularity, but now that social media is a part of our daily lives, there have been more and more notable-cum-numerous cases of selfie obsession gone wrong, not to mention the misuse of so many thus uploaded personal pictures, especially of women, by hackers, pimps and stalkers.

Here are few examples of how the focus on taking the perfect selfie can be taken to alarming extreme.

According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 1 in 3 surgeons surveyed have mentioned that requests for surgery have increased because people want to appear better on social media. Triana Lavey, a reality TV producer,used Photoshop apps like Perfect365 to enhance her appearance on social media but she still hated her look, so she made the drastic decision to go under the knife. ABC News reported that Lavey spent $15,000 on plastic surgery, having chin and nose surgery, fat grafting, and Botox injections. Lavey’s experience highlights how people have become obsessed with being “Insta-celebrities,” and how a selfie determines your status in that social world, sic.

19 year old Danny Bowman, an aspiring model, is another example of selfies getting to an unhealthy level.  At the age of 15, Bowman became obsessed with his looks after people made critical comments about his appearance on Facebook. He resorted to dieting, to skipping classes so that he could take selfies without being interrupted, and then dropped out of school completely. In his obsession, he did not leave his home for six months where he would spend 10 hours a day taking up to 200 selfies. After failing to capture “the perfect selfie” he became so depressed that he attempted suicide. Thankfully, Bowman’s mother found him just in time to get him to the hospital.

But the worst example of this so called ‘Selfie Mania’ has to be of Courtney Sanford, 32 year old American woman who died in head-on collision seconds after uploading selfies of herself while driving and ‘happy’ status to Facebook to go with it. Turns out she wasn’t careful enough to keel her eyes on the road and then she herself had to ‘go’. Pun intended.

According to psychiatrists, every two out of three of all patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder(BDD) since the rise of camera phones have compulsions to repeatedly take selfies. That does not mean people who often take pictures of themselves have BDD, but when this practice gets out of control, it’s clear that there are some issues taking place in the background. Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention seeking social dependence including narcissism to raise very low self-esteem. Basing their self-esteem on how many likes they have is a way for people to feed their ego. By all this, if it doesn’t work out for certain people, social media is also feeding their feelings of inferiority.

Self-esteem is a very broad term for how good or bad we feel about ourselves, and it can generally vary as per time. For example, if you fail a test it may be upsetting, but ultimately a grade doesn’t determine who you are. People who have low self-esteem commonly have a very pessimistic outlook and are often quite self-critical, withdrawn socially, and are overwhelmed with feelings of inferiority.  A person with low self-esteem may place importance on their looks, thinking that taking and posting selfies will help them feel better. So they rather don’t focus on more important ways of changing their negative self-image such as self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-respect which is undesirable.

What now?

Albeit, not all people struggle with low self-esteem, it should be a reminder that what we see on social media- the beauty, the money, the glamour, the fake attitudes- are not the real things that give life a meaning. What people post is actually an illusion, only carved to to put people down. Sure, we see the rich and famous post pictures that can make anyone just a little jealous, but comparing ourselves to others will not fulfill us at the end of the day. Besides, the harm of hacking and stalking and gross misuse of our rather ‘prized’ selfies still lurks on. So in general, better be mindful of the reasons behind posting any picture on social networks, be it selfies or otherwise. Its always better to refrain from doing so for the ladies, for not just physical reasons, but also spiritual ones. If only people loved themselves the way they are and would be wise enough to keep it to themselves, too!

Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
MGM University

Author is a young and energetic MD specialized in Immuno-hematology and Transfusion Medicine from Mumbai, India. Besides being from amongst the top performers since her med school days, she remains a humble and charitable human and Editor-in-chief at the Times of Youth.

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“Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly” -Jeremy McLellan



Biryani-loving comedian Jeremy McLellan is finally in Pakistan

McLellan is known for often writing about his love for biryani and his humourous commentary on American politics, immigration, Islamophobia and race. His understanding of Islam, diversity of Muslims and Pakistani culture has made him popular among Pakistanis and it’s not uncommon to see a myriad of comments from Muslims and Pakistanis on his Facebook status updates.

Jeremy Facebook Status Updates From Pakistan

Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly. If I accepted every offer I’ve received to come to people’s houses for dinner or tea I would be here for 10 years and gain 1,000 pounds.
Power keeps going out. Not a big deal for me, but whoever fixes the electrical grid would improve things by a lot.
I’m used to having a lot of personal space. Not much of that here. Takes a while to get used to. Thankfully it’s all friendly.
Weather is nice, especially on rooftops. Felt like Charleston. Way better than Dubai.
Dinner at Haveli was amazing, and the view of the Badshahi mosque took my breath away.
Finally got to see my reporter friend Usman from Pakistan Today who wrote the first articles about me in Pakistan. Great guy.
Jet lag made me sleep in too much. Hope to see more tomorrow. So far I love it.

“After two years of planning, two weeks of very little sleep, and two days of travel, I have now officially landed in Pakistan. What a blessed and fortunate life I have. Thank you to everyone. My body is tired but my heart is full.”

Dinner at Haveli Restaurant overlooking the Badshahi mosque.

Hanging out at Emporium in Lahore!

Jeremy McLellan Official Facebook Page

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Beat the Heat – tips and tricks to cool it this summer!



The cold winter months may come with its own set of headaches, but summer is no less. It’s a constant battle towards hydration, layered with the right portion of sun-block, all of this while trying to keep cool, mentally and physically.

Reports of increasing global warming make it seem that every summer the temperature is and would be getting harder to endure. Thus, as a medico and concerned citizen, I had to finally compile a list of DIY’s and other simple, efficient ways to keep one cool and happy during this hot season.

  1. Be Hydrated. As you lose water by perspiration, your body temperature rises. Replacing fluids is hence essential to keep the body cool. To replace the water that you lose by sweating, be sure to drink a lot of fluids, especially water and cool fruit juices. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. Also opt for hydrating foods like a smoothie for lunch, and add more fresh fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content as compared to all other foods.

  2. Eat light. The reason we reach for salads in the summer is owing to their easier digestibility than, say, a cheese pizza or lardaceous burgers, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are water-rich and help keep you hydrated and cooler. You could also freeze tiny slices of your favorite fruits in ice cube trays with a little water and add to your regular glass of water later for mildly flavored water or simply suck on them for the cooling effect.

  3. Apply cold water. In order to lower body temperature by lowering the blood temperature in the veins directly, apply a bottle with ice-cold water on pulsation points like your ankles, wrists, or behind the knees.

  4. Breathe like Yogis. Feeling overheated again with no cold water around? No problem. Do a few minutes of yogic breathing by curling your tongue by pulling both side edges upward toward the middle forming an O, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to 10 times. This age old technique should help cool you naturally.

  5. Cool that Sheet. Put soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets; try under your legs, neck, or lower back for maximum comfort. You could also try freezing a cotton sock filled with rice, then slipping it between the sheets. The rice will hold a chill longer due to its starch content. Or just simply chill your bed by folding sheets and pillowcases, placing them in plastic bags, and sticking them in the freezer for a few hours to make up the bed just before you go to sleep for a sound slumber.

  6. DIY Air Cooler. Freeze a couple of water bottles or even a shallow bowl filled with ice and place in front of a floor or desk fan, and enjoy a pleasing breeze when the ice melts and evaporates with your makeshift air-conditioner/cooler. Adding salt to the water before freezing can beat the heat for longer period.

  7. Hello Aloe. Pick up an aloe vera plant from a local plant nursery and get some cut and peeled. Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect when applied on the sun burnt skin. After a long day under the sun it can naturally soothe sunburns without spoiling skin texture or any fear of side effects.

  8. Spice it up. If you’re already sweating, why would you want to sweat more? The answer lies in this explanation. Eating spicy food increases blood circulation and makes you sweat, so as the sweat dries, you’ll feel cooler and have some brief relief. The substance which produces the hot taste in chilies, capsaicin, encourages your body to sweat more without raising your body temperature. It is a tried and tested technique by people who have lived in scorching climates since ages!

  9. Put Up Sun Blockers. The air outside when dry and cooler than that inside, one can hang a damp sheet in an open window. Incoming air will be cooled by the evaporating water. Shutting curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white surface on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat passing into your home by as much as 40-45 percent.

  10. Squirt, Spritz. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and whenever its hot. squirt some cool goodness. For ideal thermal regulation, try to begin with wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins. Spraying on some watery mist over your bed-sheets and room walls would also seemingly bring down the temperature of the room immediately for a while. Take it from me, it is a wonderful experience!

  11. Fan it right. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night. A window fan with blades facing outside sucks warm air out of the house and pulls cooler air in. Attaching frozen water bottles on the back of the fan will accentuate the coolness further.

  12. Dress right. Coolmax and Nano-Tex are not just for athletes anymore. Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling. If cotton is preferred, it should be thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose. The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from skin to air, the next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with sweat evaporation, and thus cool the body.

13.Think Cool. Relax with A Winter’s Tale, The Call of the Wild, Doctor Zhivago, or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Reading about cold can take your mind off the heat, evoking one’s own experience of ice and snow. Could say it is like a bit of self-hypnosis. Although this needs a little determination, but may be mastered by constancy.

Written by 
Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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‘Health is Wealth’ – Explained



As the old saying goes ‘health is wealth’, have you ever wondered why they say so? Mahatma Gandhi also says, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. So basically, it means that there is nothing in our life that is more valuable than good health. Health is more valuable than money, as the latter can never buy healthiness and happiness. But a healthy person remains in a state of bliss despite of being poor. Without health there is no happiness, no peace and no success. A person with bad health cannot enjoy the pleasure of being wealthy.

By health we do not mean the absence of physical troubles only. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus, a healthy person is completely free from any illness or injury. A person with sound health enjoys a stability that also includes a healthy mental condition. Our health depends upon several factors, such as food habits, hygiene, fetishes, pollution, sleeping habits, mental condition, air, water, sunlight etc. Some of them are elaborated further below.

Importance of light, air and water: Fresh air and sunlight are very important for our health. Brisk morning walks are very helpful for the fitness of our mind and body. Breathing the fresh air each morning rejuvenates the mind and soul and surmounts the energy that one would need to keep going throughout the day. Sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin-D. A dirty and damp atmosphere breeds a lot of diseases. Fresh and pure drinking water is also necessary for good health. Impure drinking water causes many ailments. So, we must take care of these things.

Food:  Good food, too, is essential for the body. A healthy fiber-filled breakfast each morning is imperative for a good start of the day. Fiber rich foods such as oats, whole grain wheat, bran rice, etc. help us improve our digestive system. Nutritious foods helps us to maintain good health. We all should know, how, when and what to eat.
We should always include a portion of green vegetables, fresh fruits or salads with minimal dressing in our meal. All of these are sources of vital macro and micro nutrients. A balanced and nutritious diet helps the proper growth of the body. But we must remember that we eat to live and not that we live to eat.

Physical exercise and sports: We all know the proverb, “A sound mind in a sound body”. In order to keep the body healthy, we need to keep the mind sound. Physical exercises keep us fit. There are varous kinds of physical exercises. We may walk a kilometer or two every day. We may take some yogic or aerobic exercises or even zumba, dancing and swimming. At the same, games and sports are very useful for health.

Cleanliness: Cleanliness is crucial for good health. Without cleanliness, it is very difficult to maintain fitness. We should clean our house and the surrounding areas every day. Alhough bathing  should ideally be twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, yet once atleast is mandatory. After eating food, we should clean our hands with soap. Various types of diseases erupts from unclean surroundings. We should always throw the garbage in the dustbin. Cleanliness is the key to great health.

Some rules of hygiene: We must know some simple rules of hygiene. Our house must be airy and sunny. Apart from all this, we must form good habits. We should keep ourselves free from  unwanted cares and anxieties. Early rising and early to bed is equally necessary for good health. So we must try to keep fit.

We should take proper care of our health so that we can enjoy our life completely because when we are ill, we do not want to play or work. Our bad health robs us of our daily efficiency, sound sleep and appetite. Life becomes a burden if one  is constantly ailing. Life is left with little charm then. He feels tired of life, always bickering about one thing or the other. On the other hand, one with good health enjoys his life. A healthy person is mindful of all food he eats and enjoys sound sleep.  A healthy person is able enough to sing the glory of life and works hard to realize his dreams. He is cheerful and hardly complains. He may be poor, with limited income and may have to work very hard to earn a living, but even the richest man if ill would envy him for his good health and cheerfulness. A  person with sound health can lead a happy and enjoyable life. A rich person can afford various luxuries of life such as a costly car, posh house, branded accessories, air-conditioners, good furniture, trendy clothes, delicacy foods etc. But, he can enjoy these luxuries only if his health is good. Health is, thus, definitely much more important than wealth. Health is a greatest treasure and  the highest blessing.

Let us plan now to cherish the health we are blessed with, and try to give this gift to all we know so they, too, would enjoy the wonders of this life while being grateful.

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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