December 19, 2008

A Hug a Day Keep the Blues Away

We need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance & 12 hugs a day for growth. - Virginia Satir, Family Therapist.
When was the last time you exchanged a hug with someone? Do you remember the feeling of immense love and contentment you feel when you’re hugged? Does it make you feel special and wanted?

There is a difference between ‘social hugging’; where you paste an artificial smile on your face and exchange some quick hugs and pecks on the cheek, and therapeutic hugging. Therapeutic hugging is meant to be healing. Reaching out and touching someone and holding them tight is simply a natural way of saying you care. When you’re embraced, you feel all your worries melt away and you want live the moment and take it all in. The warmth radiating from the embrace engulfing you is enough to reinforce the positive energy around you and lift you up.

From the time a foetus is in its mother’s womb he is exposed to the healing powers of ‘touch’. Our skin being a ‘sensory’ organ, responds to tender loving care. The amniotic fluid forms a secure abode for the child when he is growing inside the womb and provides constant stimulation to every inch of its tiny body, forming the origin of the yearning for touch for the rest of our lives. As a newborn, a baby recognises its parents initially by touch.

As our children grow up, we tend to start taking them for granted and expect them to just ‘know’ that we care. But what we don’t realise is that even as adults we often crave for some physical touch and expression of love. So kids aren’t any different, and at an age where they are still learning right from wrong and discovering new things everyday they need the reassurance and security of unconditional love. It can also boost their self esteem.

A hug is a great gift – it’s inexpensive, one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange. Sometimes it's better to put love into hugs than to put it into words. So take this as a reminder and try to be more generous with your hugs!

December 16, 2008

The Forgotten Nutrient

Water forms an essential part of our diet and is the second most important component required for survival after air. But we tend to neglect our water intake and most of us do not drink enough water (myself included). Not drinking enough water can cause more harm than we can imagine and the first step to maintaining good health is to drink enough water and incorporate exercise in our daily routine.

The amount of water we need depends on various factors such as our weight, amount of exercise, lifestyle and where we live.

The Hydration Calculator can give you a good estimate of how much water you require depending on individual needs.

Here are some tips I try to follow everyday to make sure I drink enough water:

  • Keep a glass of water next to you. Have a glass of water at every transitional point of the day: when you first get up, just before leaving the house, when you sit down to work, etc.
  • Drink before you get thirsty. People who drink to satisfy thirst replace only about half of what they need.
  • Carry a bottle of water when you go out. This will stop you from spending money on buying beverages or other drinks when all you need is water to re-hydrate.
  • Thirst masquerades as hunger. So when you get hunger pangs between meals, it’s often a request by your body for water rather than food.

Good health is indeed a favour that we take for granted. We should express gratitude to Allah for bestowing us with sound health. Allah has entrusted us with our bodies for a predestined period of time. He will hold us accountable for how we looked after and utilised our bodies and good health.

Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) reports that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are two bounties of Allah wherein most people are deceived, health and free time”.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mounted the pulpit, then wept and said, "Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health."(Tirmidhi).

December 11, 2008

Smile - It's Charity

Smiling is infectious,
You can catch it like the flu.
Someone smiled at me today,
And I started smiling too.

On my last trip to the grocery store, when I was left with both kids in the trolley and no hubby to assist me (which sounds like a recipe for disaster) – surprisingly it turned out to be the most pleasant shopping experience I’ve had in a while. Why? You ask. Well, to begin with, everyone who passed by smiled at me & wished me a good day. One lady walked up to me and held my hand and told me “Darling, you look beautiful today!” This, coming from a complete stranger! I was surprised to hear this, but it did make my day. Just those few gestures of kindness and empathy they exhibited made me feel so much better.

Many times we go about life, doing our business and we forget the simple things that can brighten up our day and make everything so much more worthwhile. When I’m all stressed and buried neck deep in housework all I need is a smile from my little ones to lighten things up and help me get through my daily chores.

According to Psychologist Robert Zajonc: "There is now compelling evidence that smiling causes people to feel happy. Requiring people to smile, no matter how they really feel at first, results in increased positive feelings; frowning conversely decreases positive feelings."

From this experience I’ve learnt that smiling and showing compassion to people around you can have a positive impact on their lives. So smile away, and make someone’s day!

And I cannot go by without mentioning this hadith that springs to my mind:

Abu Dharr (ra) reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “There is no person who does not have the obligation of (doing) charity every day that the sun rises.”

Whereupon he was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, from where would we get something to give in charity (so often)?” To which he (pbuh) replied, “Indeed the gates to goodness are many: glorifying God, praising Him, magnifying Him, saying ‘There is no god but Allah,’ enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong, removing (any source of) harm from the road, making the deaf hear (and understand), guiding the blind, showing the seeker his need, striving as far as your two legs could carry you and with deep concern to give succor to him who asks, carrying with the strength of your arms (the burdens of) the weak. All these are (acts of) charity.” And he added, “And your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, your removing of stones, thorns, and bones from people’s paths is charity, and your guiding a man gone astray in the world is charity for you.”

December 04, 2008

Hadith for Thought

Treatment of Women in Islam
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah 's Apostle said, "Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely." Volume 4, Book 55, Number 548. - Sahih Bukhari

Narrated AbuHurayrah:
Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. Book 8, Number 3469 - Sahih Muslim

Narrated Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri:
I went to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) and asked him: "What do you say (command) about our wives?" He replied: "Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them." Book 11, Number 2139 - Abu Dawud

"The best of you is one who is best towards his family and I am best towards the family". - At Tirmidhi

"None but a noble man treats women in an honourable manner. And none but an ignoble treats women disgracefully". - At-Tirmidhi