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Dr K K Aggarwal

Leverage your strengths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Know your strengths.

2. According to a British study, only about one-third of people have a useful understanding of their strengths.

3. If something comes easily, you may take it for granted and not identify it as a strength.

4. If you are not sure, ask someone you respect who knows you well, by noticing what people compliment you on, and by thinking about what comes most easily to you.

5. Strengths which most closely linked to happiness are gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love.

6. Strengths are so important that they’re worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, even if they don’t come naturally to you.

Diabetes mainly linked to obesity

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Type 2 diabetes mellitus is strongly associated with obesity. More than 80 percent of cases of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to obesity.

• There is a curvilinear relationship between BMI and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

• Lowest risk is associated with a BMI below 22 kg/m2

• At a BMI greater than 35 kg/m2, the relative risk for diabetes adjusted for age increases to 61. The risk may further increase by a sedentary lifestyle or decrease by exercise.

• Weight gain after age 18 years in women and after age 20 years in men increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

• The Nurses’ Health Study compared women with stable weight (those who gained or lost <5 kg) after the age of 18 years to women who gained weight. Those who had gained 5.0 to 7.9 kg had a relative risk of diabetes of 1.9; this risk increased to 2.7 for women who gained 8.0 to 10.9 kg.

• Similar findings were noted in men in the Health Professionals Study. The excess risk for diabetes with even modest weight gain is substantial.

• Weight gain precedes the onset of diabetes. Among Pima Indians (a group with a particularly high incidence of type 2 diabetes), body weight gradually increased 30 kg (from 60 kg to 90 kg) in the years preceding the diagnosis of diabetes. Conversely, weight loss is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

• Insulin resistance with high insulin levels is characteristic of obesity and is present before the onset of high blood sugar levels.

• Obesity leads to impairment in glucose removal and increased insulin resistance, which result in hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia contributes to high lipid levels and high blood pressure.

The 3 Cs: Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain!

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Don’t Criticize, always look for positive in a person or a situation. There is always something positive in every situation.

• Don’t Condemn a situation (and a person) howsoever small it may be.

• Don’t Complain, unless it is a must. You will refrain from these 3 Cs if you are laughing. By avoiding the 3Cs we avoid a lot of arguments that would usually naturally occur when you criticize, condemn or complain. If we criticize, condemn, complain, show resentment, or gossip about others, it comes back to “us.” If we praise, support, encourage and forgive others, this too comes back to us.

Even the elderly should exercise

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Research has found that older runners live longer and suffer fewer disabilities than healthy non–runners. This observation applies to a variety of aerobic exercises, including walking.

A study by authors, from Stanford University School of Medicine, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that being active reduces disability and increases survival.

There are benefits of vigorous activity late in life. Earlier many experts believed that vigorous exercise would actually harm older individuals. And running, in particular, would result in an epidemic of joint and bone injuries. But this new study proves otherwise.

Two hundred and eighty–four runners and 156 healthy “controls,” or non–runners, in California completed annual questionnaires over a 21–year period. The participants were 50 years old or over at the beginning of the study and ran an average of about four hours a week. By the end of the study period, the participants were in their 70s or 80s or older and ran about 76 minutes a week. At 19 years, just 15 percent of the runners had died, compared with 34 percent of the non–runners.

In the study, running delayed the onset of disability by an average of 16 years. It’s so important to be physically active your whole life, not just in your 20s or 40s, but forever.

Exercise is like the most potent drug. Exercise is by far the best thing you can do.

One should take lessons from Yudhishthir in Mahabharata who walked till his death. However a word of caution, if an elderly person is walking or entering into an exercise program, he or she should have a cardiac evaluation done to rule out underlying heart blockages.

Is time and place of death pre-defined?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Some gurus teach us that the time and place of death is predefined and some do not. I personally feel that it is life and respiration that are predefined and not the day and time of death.

The following example can help understand this. Water in a sponge will become empty when every drop of water comes out but it does not matter how much time it takes to come out. It is therefore possible to postpone or prolong the fulfillment of Prarabhdha Karma and postpone death.

As per the Karma theory, unless our Prarabdha Karmas (decided at the time of death and birth) are enjoyed and fulfilled, one cannot die. But once the Prarabhdha Karmas are fulfilled, death is inevitable.

Another unanswered question is ‘can Prarabdha karma be modified’? Fate or destiny may not change, which means one may not be able to prolong the quantity of life but can definitely change the quality of life. The quality of life can be changed by modifying Agami karmas (present Karmas).

Sanchit Karmas can be burnt with the file of knowledge about self. Prarabdha Karmas have to be experienced and Agami Karma can be neutralized by positive and negative Karmas to Zero in the present life.

The last few Prarabdha Karma experienced can thus be slowed down by the net positive result of their Agami karmas.




All about Diabetes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and both types 1 and 2 diabetes can be managed to prevent complications

• India may soon be the diabetic capital of the world.

• People with diabetes are nearly two times more likely than people without diabetes to die from heart disease, and are also at greater risk for kidney, eye and nerve diseases, among other painful and costly complications. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and both types 1 and 2 diabetes can be managed to prevent complications.

• In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. In type 2 diabetes the body makes insufficient insulin or does not use insulin well.

• Gestational diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy. Though it usually goes away after the birth, these women and their children have a greater chances of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.

• Type 2 diabetes has begun to affect young people.

• Losing a modest amount of weight — about 15 pounds — through diet and exercise can actually reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent in people at high risk.

• In type 1 diabetes, tight control of blood sugar can prevent diabetes complications.

• Choose healthy foods to share.

• Take a brisk walk every day.

• Talk with your family about your health and your family’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.

• If you smoke, seek help to quit.

• Make changes to reduce your risk for diabetes and its complications — for yourself, your families and for future generations.

Why do we Ring the Bell in a Temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell also produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

Aagamaarthamtu devaanaam

gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam

Kurve ghantaaravam tatra

devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.”



Skin care

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Clean with soap and water.

• Moisturizers can make the skin dirty.

• Dryness is better than being dirty.

• No soap is a better soap.

• Glycerin is the safest moisturizer.

• Rub hard but take care to not cause bruises.

• Soap emulsifies, therefore, one should remove 100% of surface part.

• Killing the normal flora of the skin is a bad idea. So, do not use antiseptic soaps.

• Remember, e commonly used antiseptic solutions do not kill pseudomonas infection.

How to remove negative thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Darkness is absence of light and similarly negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. The answer to negative thoughts is to bring back positive thoughts. An ideal mind is a devil’s workshop and will always think negative. Here are some ways by which you can remove negative thoughts.

• Think differently as taught by Adi Shankaracharya. Once Menaka approached Arjuna with lust and said that she wanted to have a son like him with him. Arjuna said that why wait for 25 years consider me as you son from today.

• Think opposite as taught by Patanjali. For example, if you are having a though to steal, silently start thinking of charity.

• Think positive as taught by Buddha. Make a list of positive actions to be done today as the first thing in the morning and concentrate on that list. Divert your mind to the pending works. It’s a type of behavioral therapy.


Snorers at risk of sudden death

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The interrupted night time breathing of sleep apnea increases the risk of dying. Sleep apnea is a common problem in which one has pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep.

Studies have linked sleep apnea during snoring to increased risk for death. Most studies were done in sleep centers rather than in the general community. A study published in the journal Sleep has suggested that the risk is present among all people with obstructive sleep apnea. The size of the increased mortality risk was found to be surprisingly large.

The study showed a six–fold increase, which means that having significant sleep apnea at age 40 gives you about the same mortality risk as somebody aged 57 who does not have sleep apnea.

For the study, the researchers collected data on 380 men and women, 40 to 65 years old, who participated in the Busselton Health Study. Among these people, three had severe obstructive sleep apnea, 18 had moderate sleep apnea, and 77 had mild sleep apnea. The remaining 285 people did not suffer from the condition. During 14 years of follow–up, about 33 percent of those with moderate to severe sleep apnea died, compared with 6.5 percent of those with mild sleep apnea and 7.7 percent of those without the condition. For patients with mild sleep apnea, the risk of death was not significant and could not be directly tied to the condition.

People who have, or suspect that they have, sleep apnea should consult their physicians about diagnosis and treatment options.

Another study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin has also shown that severe sleep apnea was associated with a three–fold increased risk of dying. In addition, for those with moderate to mild sleep apnea, the risk of death was increased 50 percent compared with people without sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is also linked to future heart attacks and with thickened wall thickness of the neck artery.


Values, Morals and Ethics

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Values

• Values are our fundamental beliefs. They are the principles we use to define that which is right, good and just.

• Values provide guidance to determine the right versus the wrong and the good versus the bad.

• They are our standards.

• When we evaluate anything we compare it to a standard.

• Typical values include honesty, integrity, compassion, courage, honor, responsibility, patriotism, respect and fairness.

• Ethics are universal.

Morals

• Morals are values which we attribute to a system of beliefs, typically a religious system, but it could be a political system of some other set of beliefs.

• These values get their authority from outside the individual– a higher being or higher authority (e.g. society).

• Right as defined by a higher authority.

• By that definition one could categorize the values listed above (honesty, integrity, compassion …) as “moral values” – values derived from a higher authority.

Ethics

• Ethics is about our actions and decisions.

• When one acts in ways that are consistent with our beliefs (whether secular or derived from a moral authority) we characterize that as acting ethically.

• When one’s actions are not congruent with our values – our sense of right, good and just – we view that as acting unethically.

• The ethics of our decisions and actions is defined socially, not individually.

Walking 2000 steps extra lowers cardiovascular risk

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Walking 20 min at a moderate pace each day is associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, according to a study in The Lancet. People who walked 2,000 steps more per day at baseline had a 10% lower risk of cardiovascular death, paralysis or heart attack during an average follow–up of 6 years according to Thomas Yates, PhD, of the University of Leicester in England, and colleagues. And those who increased the amount they walked by 2,000 steps per day from baseline to 1 year had a similar reduction in risk of cardiovascular events.

The findings from NAVIGATOR trial support both the promotion of increased ambulatory activity, and the avoidance of decreased ambulatory activity irrespective of the starting level, as important targets in the prevention of chronic disease.

What is the importance of silence?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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True silence is the silence between thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. Meditation is the process of achieving this silence.

Observing silence is another way of getting benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi used to spend one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speech brought him inner peace and happiness. On these days, he communicated with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talks about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and instead observe complete silence throughout day and night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism, this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great saint in Jainism who long ago asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence for few hours in a day, if not the whole day.

importance of observing silence in day to day life. He recommends that everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps to redirect our imagination towards self from the outer atmosphere. Even Swami Sivananda in his teachings recommends daily observation of mauna for 2 hours during ekadashi, take milk and fruits every day, study one chapter of Bhagwad Gita daily, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of the income in the welfare of the society.

Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. Ekadashi is the day of celebration occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness. Vinoba Bhave was a great sage of our country who is known for this bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

Mauna means silence and vrata means vow; hence, mauna vrata means vow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enmity and recoup their enmity. Prolonged silence as the form of silence is observed by the rishi munis involved for prolonged periods of silence. Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where conscious dwells. There is no religious tradition, which does not talk about silence. It breaks outward communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. This is one reason why all prayers, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mind to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence. After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefit is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy.

Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation.


Tips to prevent Dengue and Malaria

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Both malaria and dengue mosquitoes bite during day time. • It is the female mosquito which bites.

• Dengue mosquito takes three meals in a day while malaria mosquito takes one meal in three days.

• Malaria may infect only one person in the family but dengue will invariably infect multiple members in the family in the same day.

• Malaria fever often presents with chills and rigors. Suspect Chikungunya if the fever presents together with joint and muscle pains.

• Both dengue and malaria mosquitoes grow in fresh water collected in the house.

• The filaria mosquito grows in dirty water.

• There should be no collections of water inside the house for more than a week.

• Mosquito cycle takes 7-12 days to complete. So, if any utensil or container that stores water is scrubbed cleaned properly once in a week, there are no chances of mosquito breeding.

• Mosquitoes can lay eggs in flower pots or in water tanks on the terrace if they are not properly covered.

• If the water pots for birds kept on terraces are not cleaned every week, then mosquitoes can lay eggs in them.

• Some mosquitoes can lay eggs in broken tires, broken glasses or any container where water can stay for a week.

• Using mosquito nets/repellents in the night may not prevent malaria and dengue because these mosquitoes bite during the day time.

• Wearing full sleeves shirt and trousers can prevent mosquito bites.

• Mosquito repellent can be of help.

• If you suspect that you have a fever, which can be malaria or dengue, immediately report to the doctor.

• There are no vaccines for malaria and dengue.

Direct all your energy towards the soul and not the ego

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The epic Mahabharata can also be understood as a science of inner Mahabharata happening in everybody’s mind.

Lord Krishna symbolizes the consciousness and the five Pandavas, the five positive qualities of a person namely, righteousness (Yudhishthir), focus (Arjuna), power to fight injustice (Bheem), helping others (Sahdev) and learning to be neutral in difficult situations (Nakul). Panchali indicates the five senses, which can only be controlled when these five forces are together.

Dhritarashtra symbolizes ignorance, Duhshasan negative ruling quality (dusht while ruling) and Duryodhana (dusht in yudh) one who is not balanced in war.

Conscious-based decisions need to be taken to kill the negativity in the mind. Every action, if directed towards the consciousness or the soul, is the right action. To kill all the 100 Kauravas (the 100 negative tendencies a person can have) controlled by Duryodhan and Duhshasan along with Shakuni (the negative power of cunningness), positive qualities have to be redirected towards consciousness and then take right decisions.

The five Pandavas (positive qualities) made soul (Lord Krishna) as their point of reference (Sarthi) and won over the evils (Kauravas).

Bhishma Pitamah, Karna and Dronacharya, individually all had winning powers; but, they all supported negative thoughts and made Duryodhana as their point of reference and ultimately had to die.

The message is very clear, if one directs his or her positive powers towards ego as the reference point in long run, they will be of no use and, in fact, will be responsible for one’s destruction.

Ravana too was a great scholar but he directed all his energies and powers towards his ego and ended up in misery.

Therefore, one should cultivate a positive mental attitude, positive thoughts instead of directing them towards desire, attachment or ego and should direct them to soul/consciousness for a positive outcome.