How Learning Languages Can Help the Brain?

Learning a foreign language doesn’t always have to be a necessity or something that you must do to make your portfolio shine. Many people enjoy the art of becoming multilingual just because they can. This educational passion not only can be pretty useful, but it’s also a good booster for your brain. Not sure how? Let me break it down for you.

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Experts have studied that adults who are bilingual or learning a new language have higher than average intelligence levels, better cognitive functions, and a sharper memory. These might seem like pretty obvious benefits of learning a new language but it can also affect your mental health at a deeper level.

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Take for example debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research has shown that people who invest their time in learning a foreign language have a decreased risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Brain scans of bilinguals have also shown enhanced and larger language centers in the hippocampus of the brain that is responsible for memory building and storage.
There is a substantial amount of evidence on how learning a new language can improve your mental flexibility and the overall functioning of your brain. So if you were considering learning a new language, that’s enough motivation for you to start right now!

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Mental illness explained: Bipolar Disorder

Sometimes what you see on TV isn’t true; other times it touches on reality but doesn’t completely reveal the whole truth. If you’ve watched The Silver Lining Playbook, you’ve see how someone with bipolar disorder can be. But the condition is far more than what Bradley Cooper’s character portrayed it to be.

Bipolar, a personality disorder and a mental illness, can affect the social and mental well-being of the patients that fall victim to it. While we all have episodic mood swings once in a while, people with bipolar disorder fluctuate between two extremes of moods and personalities.

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When one time they’re happy and pleasant, the next moment they could become excessively angry and irritated, and the next they could go into a state of depression. But that’s something almost everyone now knows.

Bipolar disorder comes with other symptoms as well apart from the classic mood swings. People with this disorder are usually rebellious and take big risks during their aggravated state of mind. Suring this period, they may be impulsive and formulate seemingly impossible plans. Many patients with bipolar are also insomniacs with fast-paced thoughts and with lack of tiredness.

The opposite symptoms usually occur in their period of depression. Anxiety, sadness, lack of energy, and suicidal thoughts are characteristic of this state of mind.

The solution? Proper clinical treatment.

Once the condition is diagnosed, patients with bipolar disorder are put on therapy as well as certain medication like antipsychotics to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder.
Bipolar disorder can take a toll on the social life of the patient. Recognizing and treating this condition as soon as possible is the key to leading a better life.

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Naml….

I never realized that ants have been given so much importance in Islam. Not only there is a whole surah about ants in the quran, I just found out that Hazrat Ali (AS) also spoke about them in great detail.
Below is part of the Sermon 185 from the Nahjul Balagha that is about ants.

“Look at the ant with its small body and delicate form. It can hardly be seen in the corner of the eye, nor by the perception of the imagination – how it moves on the earth and leaps at its livelihood.  It carries the grain to its hole and deposits it in its place of stay.  It collects during the summer for its winter and during strength for the period of its weakness.  Its livelihood is guaranteed, and it is fed according to fitness.  Allah, the Kind, does not forget it and (Allah the Giver) does not deprive it, even though it may be in dry stone or fixed rocks.

If you have thought about its digestive tracts in it’s high and low parts, the carapace of its belly, and its eyes and its ears in its head you would be amazed at its creation and you would feel difficulty in describing it. Exalted is He who made it stand on its legs and erected it on its pillars (of limbs). No other originator took part with Him in its origination and no one having power assisted Him in its creation. If you tread on the paths of your imagination and reach its extremity it will not lead you anywhere except that the Originator of the ant is the same as He who is the Originator of the date-palm, because everything has (the same) delicacy and detail, and every living being has little difference.”

Khuda Mera bhi hai (Review) episode 6-7

First of all, ayesha  khan needs to tone down her make up. she is beautiful and does not need to depend on such loud make up. also, amidst all the crying and emotional outburst, the loud make up stands out like a sore thumb.

There, I just said it! now, coming to the drama serial itself, it’s awesome!

The last two episodes were a bit slow in terms of progression of the story but it was needed to let the viewers know of the emotional state of all the characters.

Zain had given away the child to a ‘hijra’ community without mahi’s consent. mahi was shocked and couldn’t fathom this and didnt know how or what she should be feeling about the whole situation. she finally decided to get her child back even when no one seemed to understand her or support her.

Last two episodes were full of emotional scenes and amazing performances. I would like to mention some of the scenes here. the scene where mahi sits in the backyard of her home and makes a grave of her child, the one where she goes to her friend and then the way she goes to get her child back and the scene where she is speaking with Zain about where the child should be staying were emotionally charged and packed with possibly the performances. ayesha khan, syed jibran and Adnan shah tipu have been really good in their respective roles. I think Adnan shah tipu is one of the best character actors is in the younger lot and it takes guts to accept a role like the one he has in this serial. he has outdone himself here. as for ayesha khan, she is phenomenal as mahi. I cannot even start to imagine how a mother would feel if she was going through what mahi is going through but ayesha khan has been able to translate all those emotions on screen tremendously.

Have you been watching khuda Mera bhi hai?  if not, you should start watching now!

Highly recommended!!

Naml (review) 11-20

I’m glad that I didn’t start reading naml earlier as the suspense would have killed me.

Zumar and Faris get married and they feel rather awkward stuck together like this although it was an informed decision from both sides. Saadi confronted hashim and oblivious to the hidden pen camera, Hashim confesses to all his crimes. on top of that,  Hashim also informs Saadi how he helped haneen when she was ‘caught’ cheating. once back, Saadi speaks with haneen about the whole issue aggressively but zumar handles the situation intelligently. the whole family gathers on a dinner in honor of the newly weds and while waiting for dinner, they receive a phone call informing them that Saadi has been shot and has been taken to the hospital. shero had shot Saadi under the influence of drugs and Sara (waris’s widow) had witnessed it all but she was too afraid to admit anything. From the hospital, Hashim gets Saadi abducted and shifts him to a safe house in Sri Lanka. The safe house actually belongs to their family friend, Haroon obaid who thinks Saadi can help them as he is a young scientist. On the other hand, from the crime scene, Saadi’s young friend finds a Keychain that he hands over to zumar. the key chain has the pen camera too which haneen and zumar watch together and find out that hashim,and not Faris, is the culprit behind all. in the safe house, Mary takes care of Saadi but dreams of going back to her job at jawahirat’s place. Haroon obaid has a daughter roughly the same age as shero and Saadi who is a hypnotist and finds out that he father has Saadi as a captive. she has a crush on Faris and helps transferring a few things from Faris to Saadi. by the end of 20th episode, Saadi was a free man, zumar has started to like Faris as her husband, Faris has always been in love with zumar and haneen is trying to figure out her aim in life.

Overall, the story is quite captivating and with so much happening in every episode, the reader is hooked. I particularly like how nimra Ahmed has incorporated excerpts from famous writings (the one from Dante’s Inferno was my absolute favorite). also, the way Saadi speaks to Allah while reading the Quran is just awesome. it gives so many important lessons without being preachy. also, Haneen’s gradual transformation is being explained beautifully. however, some things felt completely over the top, like the telephone conversation between Saadi and hashim where hashim asks Saadi if there was a way for redemption. I loved hashim as the bad guy and I want him to be good at being the villain and it would be sad to see such a good character being wasted.

And yes, I hope nimra Ahmed let’s it being turned into a drama serial. hashim has to be Faisal qureshi. hashim has so many shades and Faisal qureshi would be perfect as hashim. as Faris finally had a role to play in the story  we found out a lot about him and that he isn’t sitting idle either. being the introvert, serious person he is, I think of him as someone who would look like hamza Ali Abbasi (with the same husky voice ;))

 

Mushaf (overview / review)

So I read one more novel by nimra Ahmed. and this one only because I was recommended this one after my last review.

My verdict: did not like it much. it was good in parts but those parts were not enough for me.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT

The story: mehmil’s dad died when she was around 10 years old. she now lives with her mom in the house that her father had built but now other family members like her chacha and Taya have taken over their whole house and their factories. she and her mom are treated like servants and they are forced to stay in a room which was used for storage earlier. so she thinks of herself as Cinderella and tries to lure her taya’s son, fawad. it turns out that fawad is a bad guy and sells her off to one of her clients. the client turns out to be an under cover police officer who wanted proof against fawad. mehmil escapes from humayon’s place and ends up in a masjid/Institute for girls. here she meets farishtey. mehmil really likes farishtey and impressed by her Islamic knowledge decides to learn Arabic herself and read the Quran with tafseer herself.

On the other hand, fawad gets arrested for human trafficking and other crimes and mehmil’s family blames her for all this claiming that she was lying and instead she had an affair with humayon. humayon is farishtey’s cousin and as mehmil now studies in farishtey’s Institute, she ends up meeting humayon and starts liking him.

With turn of events, it is revealed that farishtey is mehmil’s half sister and she also helps her get married to humayon. mehmil continues studying the Quran and soon Quran becomes her best friend who helps her in the darkest most difficult times in her life.

I think the intention of the writer was really good but the story was not well woven. the characters were not etched out properly and a lot of things were not explained well. however, I loved how nimra Ahmed showed that Quran talks to you if you want to get guidance. it was also refreshing to read that all people who know or read the Quran are to be trusted as Quran only guides those who seek for it with a pure heart and not those who are doing it for showing off or for some other ulterior motive. I loved reading all those parts where mehmil’s ‘friendship’ with Quran is shown and I hope the writer could have given a few more pages of that.

Have you read this novel?

 

B for baby, B for breast…and B for bully!

if you have read my last post on breastfeeding, you already know I am a big fan of breastfeeding and it actually is one of the things that I am proud of having done and still doing as a mom. some of u may even know that I now have two girls, K and the nearly 4 month old D.

so anyway, when I got pregnant last year wid D, I was still breastfeeding K and as soon as I found out I am pregnant I started trying to wean off kinza from my breast as everyone including my gynecologist advised me to do so. I tried several times, trust me, but I failed every time. perhaps because my approach was wrong but in the end I had a unique experience of breastfeeding through out my pregnancy. ok, not so unique because I know there are thousands of other women who have done so successfully but I definitely am the only one among all the women I knlow of personally.

with this, I realized quite a lot of things abt breastfeeding and thght I shud share them wid u if u already have a nursing baby/toddler and u are planning to have a second baby:

  1. Nursing a baby/toddler is possible during pregnancy. It will not harm u or the unborn unless you have a complicated pregnancy. DO NOT let others decide wat is right for you or for your baby. You are an adult who has decided to have a baby and are responsible for your children. just do wat suits you and your family, not wat is acceptable in the society. If you wish to nurse your child while pregnant, do so…you can tell the world to f*** off. 
  2. Breastfeeding through the pregnancy would mean your supply of milk will drop dramatically and you will need to supplement your baby’s milk intake with formula/fresh milk; preferably the full amount required for the age so that you are sure your child is getting all the nutrients. Plus, as you will still be producing milk, you need to eat a little extra so as to ensure your unborn gets all the nutrients too. Again, the key is to eat healthy and avoid junk as much as possible .
  3. Breastfeeding might feel like a chore during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester wen you will be quite big yourself and finding the right position will be a difficult task but trust me, there will be times wen you will thank God for it as nursing your child will pretty much the only time during the day wen your child will let you put your feet up and relax.
  4. This will pretty much be the last few months that you will be spending alone with your elder one so make the most of it and wat can be better than letting your child nurse! You will miss it once it ends.
  5. ‘Dry feeding’ or nursing in the last few weeks can actually help you have a better flow of milk wen the new one comes.

But with all these advantages, comes the disadvantage that your elder one will be closer to you than ever before and this will make your elder one jealous of the younger one more especially wen he/she sees you nursing the new arrival. For me, it actually meant nursing K all over again after the birth of D. Not that I am complaining, but at times it becomes too much to handle. Plus, the older the child gets, the more difficult it gets to wean off from breast as it becomes a habit and with better memory, its not very easy to distract. So, if you wish to nurse your child through the pregnancy, you will have to be prepared for a lot of things that may actually not be very easy to handle. If you have decided to do so, good luck!