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Let me catch my breath

Imagine not being able to eat your favourite food because it may kill you, or not being able to play your favourite sport because it may kill you? This is oh so real to asthmatic people all over the globe.

Someone who is living this is our very own Mr. Incredible (M.I). The Nigerian award winning hip hop artist is asthmatic and has been previously quoted as saying that this is the reason why he doesn’t smoke.

Asthma is a word we’ve all heard being thrown around but how many of us actually know what it is, the side effects and how to avoid having an attack? Let’s face it, not many of us do simply because we are not directly affected by it. I remember in primary school, a couple of my peers had asthma and all I knew was that they couldn’t take part in all our sporting activities like long distance running (though I envied them at the time as I was a bit on the big side back then.) As years went by, I still found myself asking, “what exactly is asthma?”

Asthma is a chronic disease affecting the airways and the lungs. An asthmatic person has airways that are constantly inflamed and when one is having an attack, the walls of the airways become more swollen and tighten up allowing less air to flow to the lungs, making it hard for the person to breathe.

What are the signs of an attack? Well, the following are the typical signs but are not exclusive to asthma, they may differ from one asthma attack to the next and one may not show all the signs. Symptoms include: coughing (especially at night), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, pain or pressure.

How can one avoid an asthmatic attack? Most asthmatic people know what triggers an attack for them, but for those of us who want a general overview of what an asthmatic person needs to avoid, it includes obesity, stress, household chemicals, inadequate gas ventilation, breathing dirty air and smoking. There are also certain foods that asthmatic people should avoid so as to not trigger an attack, these foods include milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, shellfish and fish (pretty much all food that contains allergens, however only 5% contributes to asthmatic attacks….but better safe than sorry, right?)

Asthma is incurable but with the right precautions and management, one can live a normal life. Earlier I mentioned that M.I is asthmatic, other asthmatic celebrities include  Harry Mordi (HCode) who was 2face Idibia’s producer and died after an asthmatic attack in 2014. “International Asthma Awareness Day” is on May 15th 2015, let’s show our asthmatic brothers and sisters some support now that we’re better informed of the incurable disease.

 

Wise up! What you don’t know about “Autism”.

1st April 2015 Ever been to a restaurant and seen an “unruly” child and thought “gosh, this child is spoilt and has not been disciplined well”? Well…don’t jump to that conclusion yet…the child could in fact be “autistic” Let me feed your knowledge with some of the signs that can be identified in persons with this condition.

Many of us (especially in Nigeria) hear the word autism and dismiss it thinking that it isn’t present in Nigeria, therefore we don’t need to know what it is. You would be surprised to know the amount of people affected by autism in Nigeria…ignorance in this case is certainly not bliss. So many have a reduced quality of life because they are not aware they are in fact, autistic.

Globally, it’s a sad fact but we are not well educated on the subject of “autism” but I hope that by the end of this piece, you will be more informed than you were five minutes ago, as I identify some of the signs and symptoms of autism so that detection will become easier. Furthermore, so that next time you see a child misbehaving at a restaurant, you will show more tolerance and compassion. It is important to note that Autism and its effects can be suppressed with the right medication.

Proof of suppression and living a fulfilled life if treated (or at least diagnosed and recognized) include notable figures that the world has learnt a lot from such as Albert Einstein, Mozart, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin . Contemporary famous faces include Tim Burton, Jerry Seinfeld and musician Courtney Love

Persons that fall under the autistic spectrum tend not to be able to make good eye contact or other non-verbal communication cues that we otherwise take for granted. These in turn, are the cause of their lack of responsiveness in general social interaction.

Children and persons with autism do not understand the “give-and-take” concept. They cannot hold a conversation with another whereby one talks, the other listens then responds. In respect to playtime, autistic children do not know how to share or take turns nor can they spontaneously show something interesting to their playmate.

Another sign of autism is the tendency to withdraw. Those who fall under the autistic spectrum tend to go into their own world and be withdrawn even with the presence of others. This can however, reduce depending on how the autism is treated. This is done by teaching the child about social skills (in an autism treatment setting or at home).

One of the signatures of autism is the poor language and communication skills that an autistic person has. Even if the person knows the words, they may have trouble stringing sentences together; this is due to their developmental delay.

An autistic person is resistant to change. Even the tiniest change to a particular routine could be met with frustration, irritation, confusion…or even denial to the change.

This one is quite interesting and distinctive… an autistic child has a very high pain threshold. It’d take something extremely painful for the child to react or to cry out for help.

I’ve named a few signs but they don’t stop there and neither should you…do some more research as you could be living with someone with autism and you don’t even know it. Remember, the effects can be suppressed with medication, but first it must be identified. World Autism Awareness Day is on Thursday 2nd April 2015.

 

Spring your dream to life!

1st April 2015 We have entered the fourth month of the year (gosh, isn’t the year just flying by?) Some of us may have started the year having made promises to ourselves that “this year I’m going to do this”, or “this year I’m going to do that”! Easter is being celebrated on Sunday 5th April 2015 and though it is seen widely as a Christian celebration, I’d like it to be known that both Christians and non-Christians can embrace the blessings that Easter brings.

Easter in its full essence represents “new life”. Whilst both “The Cross” and the “Easter egg” are Christian representatives, non-Christians have also adopted the Easter egg (exchanging chocolate Easter eggs as well as decorating real eggs).

In view that Easter represents new life, do you have a dream that you want to come to life? If you haven’t put any action into making it become a reality, there is no better time than now. I think it is more than a coincidence that Easter falls in the season of “Spring”. It’s time to get rid of what’s been weighing you down, what’s been holding you back and catapult into new beginnings, new adventures and fresh, positive mindsets.

Three quick tips on how to make those dreams a reality.

First tip: Visualise yourself at the finish line having accomplished that dream, how does it feel? What does it look like? It feels and looks great, right?

Secondly, think big and think bigger… ask yourself the question “if it was certain that this dream would become a reality, would I make it any bigger? Is this exactly what I want?” remember, if the dream does not scare the living daylight out of you, it’s not big enough.

And the third tip is obvious but the one that we all tend to fall short on…ACTION IT! Don’t linger too long, go with Nike and JUST DO IT!

So commemorate this Easter and this Spring with a big idea, visualize, think and then ACT!

 

Wake up and get more sleep!

9th March 2015 Have there been occasions where you have woken up feeling more run down and more tired than when you went to bed? I know I have!

We have so many awareness weeks and awareness days throughout the year but not everyone can relate to them (though everyone can gain from the knowledge they bring). However, sleep deprivation amongst other sleeping disorders is something that everyone has suffered from or will suffer from at least once in their lives. National Sleep Awareness Week was observed in the United States from 2nd March 2015 till 8th March 2015.

If your sleepless nights are not rooted by a newborn baby in the household, bereavement or other inevitable causes, you need to get to the bottom of why you’re unable to sleep and hopefully after reading this you’ll have the solution and also know why it is important that you combat it.

Whilst most people believe that sleep deprivation or as it is commonly known “insomnia” is caused by stress, poor eating habits, depression, drug withdrawal, alcohol abuse and other things (and yes, they can contribute to insomnia), the true cause believe it or not is……overactive brain activity- brainwaves that are being too erratic when you’re trying to catch that beauty sleep.

What’s the cure? You may ask…the cure is my friends, wait for it….SOUND! Stay with me on this and let me explain further. Contrary to what people believe, the “Keep Calm” or “Sounds of the Ocean” CDs are not going to help you…they are NOT the answer, we’re talking bigger fish than that, we’re talking distinctively composed sounds with specially made sound waves that are engineered to tackle the fatigue-infused nuisance that is insomnia.

Why is it crucial that we cure and conquer our individual cases of insomnia and get enough sleep in a day? Because if we don’t, we open ourselves up to consequences such as decreased performance and alertness (did you know that reducing your sleep by up to 1 and a half hours for just one night can reduce your day-time alertness by up to 32percent?), your ability to think and process information can also be affected. In addition to this, it could affect your quality of life in the sense that you may not be able to participate in activities that require you to pay attention for a longer than average period of time. It’s important to note that not only can it affect you, but your bed partner and whilst we’re on the subject of insomnia affecting others, it can also cause road accidents and injuries.

So, honour “Sleep Awareness Week” by looking inwards and checking yourself… are you sleeping with your eyes wide open? Do you find yourself feeling weak and sleepy during the day? With all the information given to you, get that insomnia under wraps and start living a more energetic and fulfilling life!

 

It is better to vote for what you want, and not get it, than to vote for what you don’t want, and get it!

9th March 2015 Voting gives citizens a voice in the government, allowing them to choose leaders and decide on issues. Some elections are extremely close like you wouldn’t believe, so one should not take it lightly. Each vote in an election matters!

It is nobody’s business who you vote for, just vote for who you believe has proven themselves to be the most competent candidate but most importantly… make your opinion count and VOTE!

The following are points you may wish to consider when voting:

Ask yourself some qualifying questions like, “who do I feel is an honest individual?” and other questions that you feel defines a worthy candidate.

Read about their views on certain issues before they started campaigning (this will reveal their true stance and give an idea on where they want to take the Country or State).

Narrow down who you think has the commitment and knowledge to keep the country and state safe (this is a central issue).

Who do you think knows how to grow our economy?

Who is for the people and truly knows how to lead? (True leaders know how to serve)

Who says what he or she means and means what he or she says?(Who is speaking from their heart?)

So as you prepare to vote, please take the above points into consideration and remember… your decision is what will help move the country and your state forward!

 

There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all

If you talk to someone in a language he or she understands, that goes to the person’s head. If you talk to somebody in his or her language, that goes to the heart. This is a famous quote by the late Nelson Mandela who was expressing the art and significance of language.

February 21st 2015 is International Mother Language day. On this day we are encouraged to preserve and keep our heritage alive by exercising our mother tongue. It is also a day where we are encouraged to speak another language. In other words, International Mother Language day is aimed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity as well as multilingualism.

Mother Language which is also known as ones Mother Tongue describes the language in which a person has learned from birth (or consequently within the critical period) it can also be used to describe the language that a person speaks best. It also becomes part of one’s identity.

This day which seeks to celebrate languages, was established in 1999 by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The day has been commemorated in all corners of the globe since February 2000

As part of primary and secondary education (in most parts of the world), we are encouraged to learn a second or even third language for example, I learnt German and French (other schools at the time gave Italian, Spanish, Latin and various other languages as options). If you had the privilege of learning another language in school or if you have a general interest in another language, February 21st 2015 would be a great day to practice.

 

FRIENDS & LOVERS: Premiering on Sunday 22nd February at 19:30 WAT

After her boyfriend Kunle, leaves her for another woman, Jenny turns to her best friend Frank for comfort. Having just gone through problems with his girlfriend Sheila, Frank also welcomes Jenny’s companionship. One thing leads to another and they end up as friends with benefits during which they start developing feelings for another. But their newfound relationship is put to the test when Sheila shows up, ready to work things out with Frank. Jenny is heartbroken that Frank would even consider working things out with Sheila and breaks up with him. Frank goes to Jenny’s place in a bid to get in touch with her and sees her hugging Kunle. He concludes that Jenny has made up with Kunle and leaves depressed. When he eventually makes an attempt to patch things up with Sheila, Frank discovers that she cheated on him with her boss and had been playing him all along. Five months go by and Frank runs into Kunle who explains to him that Jenny never took him back. Frank rushes over to Jenny’s place and is shocked to see that she’s pregnant. He nevertheless promises to love both Jenny and the baby and is pleasantly surprised when she tells him that the baby is his. An overjoyed Frank proposes to Jenny and she says yes.

 

Nigerians & Love: Are we on the right track?

When love is not madness, it is not love. Loving is not just looking at each other, it is looking in the same direction. Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone very special to catch your heart. These are just a few famous quotes depicting the notion of “love”.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is only fitting that we turn to the topic of love and relationships and delve into how much things have changed over the years and why. Are men and women forgetting the fundamental attributes to a successful relationship or marriage?

Based on more than a decade of research and experience, our in-house “Life Coach, Psychotherapist and Relationship Expert”, Lanre Olusola shared his top 5 pillars that Love and Relationships are built on and they are as follows:

1) Friendship – Be “Best of Friends” and build the kind of friendship that you have with your best female or male friends

2) Forgiveness – Be able to forgive one another over and over again – Know that you will always both offend each other daily and you both deserve to be forgiven. For it’s to both your benefits.

3) Knowledge and Understanding – In relating with each other well ignorance must be eliminated to a great degree, you must know about each other’s past, present, future; you must know about each other’s strengths and weaknesses; you must know each other’s personality type, styles and your preferred communication language; you must know each other’s love language but more importantly understand that you need to use the knowledge to create and maintain rapport and communication within your relationship: A key is to defer to using your partners default to engage with them instead of yours.

4) Kindness – Having empathy and compassion for your partner is very critical for the health of your relationship – Always position to outdo each other in kindness, empathy and compassion.

5) Maturity and Emotional Intelligence – knowing that each person sees things from a completely different perspective and being able to accept it and work together regardless is critical. Being together is different from when you were single and living only for yourself.

So, there you have it from the Catalyst himself! With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, let us take the time to consider our relationships or marriages and get them on the right track. Let’s pursue relationships with genuine and pure intentions, put love at the heart of it all…start with these 5 pillars and you’ll be almost there!

 

Dear Singletons…

Let’s talk “the single life”. There are some people who cannot do without being in a relationship whilst there are others who prefer the single life. The thing is if you can’t be happy during the single periods of your life, chances are it will cause problems in the future in regard to relationships, eg. Low self worth, clinginess or the ability to think for yourself.

I know Valentine’s Day is upon us and it’s now more than ever that society makes the singletons feel like outsiders, but my advice to you is enjoy the single life while you can! Some people try to avoid the “single status” as though it’s a disease but I’d say wear it, rock it and own it like it’s an award you’ve won. It can be the most glorious time if you embrace it.

Being single gives you the chance to find yourself (especially after a break up). You’ll discover that you’re a different person to how you were before you went into the last relationship so you’ll have to discover yourself again. Find out what you do and don’t like…

This period will also give you a chance to explore what you want to do with your life whilst creating your own rules without having to think about what your partner will say. You’ll be free to take chances, explore other countries for months on end. Try your hand in this industry or that industry, the possibilities are endless and the freedom is like none other.

Regain your health! I came across one of the funniest but most spot on quotes once which read “break-ups produce the best body builders”. Most times after a break up, men and women head straight to the gym, the men say “I’m going to bulk up and make her wish she didn’t leave me” the women say “I’m going to work out in the gym and make him cry for this Kim Kardashian body”. This is all well and good but I’d say get your health back for YOU! You may have picked up a few unhealthy habits whilst in the relationship so there’d be no better time than now to work on your mind, body and soul.

After saying all this you should know that I’m not saying relationships are bad, relationships (the right ones) are great but whilst you’re single it would be wise to invest in yourself. So this Valentine’s Day, love yourself (even buy yourself a gift) and embrace the single life!

 

House On The Rock Church takes a stand for peace and non-violence with movie premiere

Ahead of the forthcoming 2015 general elections, House on the Rock, one of Nigeria’s leading churches reinforces its call for peace and anti-violence in Nigeria with the screening of one of the most important movies ever made as regards to Peace, Struggle and Growth; the award winning movie, SELMA.

The movie Selma which chronicles the true life story of the late Dr. Martin Luther King jr. depicting the struggle against racism and inequality is billed to premiere at the church premises in conjunction with the United States Embassy February 8, 2015.

“Peace and harmony is important to us all. Regardless of our ethnicity, religion or political persuasion, our country Nigeria must remain united and peaceful. This is why House on The Rock Church, positioned as a center for Social Justice and Equity has decided to bring people from various classes in the Nigerian society together for a remarkable event where we can all stand united for peace at a time like this. We also seek to remind individuals with the Selma movie premiere event that regardless of any differences or grievances we may have, violence is not the answer, thus non-violence must continually be our stance.” A statement from Pastor Paul Adefarasin, the Senior Pastor of the church reads.

Adefarasin also iterated the need for the Church to be the voice of reason promoting non-violence in the times leading to the elections and beyond. “The pulpit of God is not for partisan politics but for promoting the Kingdom of God” he further stated.

According to information from House on the Rock, the United for Peace campaign will also be visible across social media with the hashtag #United4Peace. This social media campaign will provide people the opportunity to also participate by taking a stand for peace and non-violence before and after the elections.

The Selma movie premiere event is expected to feature high profile personalities from corporate Nigeria, various cadres of the government, the media, the diplomatic corps, politicians including governorship and presidential candidates of various political parties amongst other eminent personalities.

 Beyond the movie premiere, the House on The Rock nationwide peace initiative aptly christened, United4Peace is expected to run from now, all through the elections and afterwards to remind the Nigerian citizen that peace is non-negotiable and highly important for the stability of the nation.

In the twenty years of its existence, House on The Rock has been in the forefront of many community development initiatives notably in the areas of health and social justice, most recently Project SPREAD which reached over 4,000 families in Lagos during the yuletide celebrations.