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ADVICE: Overcoming Shyness By Rina Ismaili

You’re going to a social gathering tomorrow and you don’t know anybody else that’s going. Well, for starters, we’ve all been in this situation before. You’re so nervous that your head is going to explode… well not yet anyways. Here are 8 things to keep in mind before your head LITERALLY explodes:


  1. They’re just people.


It’s not like you haven’t met a human being before, what’s so scary about these ones? They’re ordinary people just like me, just like you. Even Beyonce is just human. (It’s pretty hard to believe, isn’t it?)


  1. Challenge yourself.


Think of it as a game. The more people you socially converse with, the more imaginary points you win. Testing yourself to a social game is not only fun, but also it helps you overcome shyness.


  1. Give yourself a chance.


Don’t expect yourself to perfect on the first try. You’re not perfect, no one is. Once again, we’re humans; making mistakes is our specialty.


  1. Body language is key.


Try and keep calm. Using too much hand gestures allows people to get a sense of how nervous you really are. Tapping your foot or playing with your hair distracts people from the conversation and focuses their attention on how nervous you are.


  1. Imagination.


Use your imagination. Pretend you’re on your way to meet the Queen (you can’t freak out in front of the Queen. How embarrassing would that be??) Or better yet, pretend you’re at home and these strangers are your guests, it allows you to feel more comfortable in the setting you’re in.


  1. Find your conversation specialty.


Not everyone is good at starting small talk based off the typical “how’s school?” Try different conversation topics such as food, friends, family, pets, movies, hobbies, etc. and find which one makes you the most comfortable.


  1. Breathe.


Don’t hold in your breath. Don’t speak rapidly. Take it nice and slow. Taking pauses to breathe as you’re having a conversation gives you time to think about what you’ll say next, rather than rushing it all into one thought.


  1. Forgive yourself.


It’s alright to not be able to socialize the way you’d like. Trust me, you’ll have many future opportunities. Be proud of yourself for giving it your best attempt. Don’t hate yourself for not being able to overcome your shyness in one day. There will always be a next time, and one day, you’ll be able to do it.


Hopefully these 8 strategies will help you defeat your problem.  If not, then just keep practicing until you think you’ve got the hang of it. Good luck!

ADVICE: How to Avoid Broken Heart Syndrome (Getting Over a Break Up) By Brianna Miclat

Have you ever felt your heart sink to your stomach, or even more extreme, being ripped out of your chest after being dumped or having been told bad news? You could possibly be experiencing “Broken- Heart Syndrome” which is when, “a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions” which is caused by an emotionally stressful event such as a breakup. Unfortunately most people have gone through the pain, and ultimate suffering of one. As a child, you grow up with a vision that you will one day meet your Prince Charming, or Princess, and live happily ever after but soon to realize, that is nothing but a fantasy.  It could happen once, or twice, or even ten times in your life, but no matter how many times you go through it, it won’t ever get easier, you just learn how to cope with it.

Firstly, give yourself time to heal. Just like a sports injury, it takes patience to remedy such wounds and cannot be rushed or things could possibly get worst. Allow yourself to be human, meaning that you shouldn’t be afraid to hurt. Cry, yell, scream, be angry, let it out… don’t be afraid of your emotions! Do things that make you happy such as eat all the junk food in the world, watch your favorite movies, listen to music, or the best thing I recommend, is spend time with family and friends. You might think that keeping everything inside is the right way to go, but instead, talk to others about how you’re feeling. Whether it’s to a therapist or to a friend, they can provide you comfort in knowing that you’re not the only one. They could also offer advice, or they’re just someone for you to vent to. Not keen on telling others about your personal life? Instead use different outlets to express yourself such as writing in journals, drawing, playing sports, exercise, or even writing songs. Furthermore, don’t take this experience as a loss, but instead as a win, meaning that though you lost a significant other, you gain a piece of yourself back. Take this time to reflect and be your own person again! Moreover, this experience could be used as a learning opportunity inorder to gain future knowledge of what your expectations for yourself and others. Ask yourself questions such as, “Could I have prevented this?” “Was I dishonest, overprotective, etc.?”. Lastly, another key aspect in relieving the pain is to declutter your life of things that remind you of your ex. In this case, the quote, “Out of sight, out of mind” is quite relevant as you would not be constantly reminded of the negativity that occurred in the past. Get rid of pictures, objects he/she gave you, etc.

Getting over a breakup is definitely a challenge, and you will constantly be beaten down because the memories will always be present. Though it may feel like the end of the world, things do get better, and a new chapter is unfolding filled with new stories… but the decision is up to you whether or not you want to read them.


ADVICE: How can Meditation Help Us In our Lives? By Kerry Mills

The average person has stress, anxiety, and depression at one time or another. In the midst of chaos, serenity may seem like an unattainable fantasy. How can one reach serenity at such times? One way is through meditation. Meditation is focusing one’s mind in deep concentration. There are many ways to meditate. It can be used in religious practices or simply as a part of an individual’s coping mechanism. There are many ways to meditate. Most people think of the cross-legged guru, but there are numerous methods to focus your mind. They include walking, breathing, chanting, drawing, writing and staring.  Mediation can fight off negativity and help to nourish confidence in you. It has been proven by the most reputable scientists to help reduce stress in any environment. Meditation is not complicated, after trying it out one way; you can modify it to your own liking. Meditation doesn’t have to be a lengthy process; it can be done during any length of time.


There are many benefits that meditation can bring us. According to, your focus can increase ten times as much via meditating than not doing so. It can improve memory, creative thinking, problem solving, and overall mental strength. It can also help your immune system, energy levels, and helps to prevent fatal diseases such as Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and HIV. There have been several case studies proving these benefits. One case was conducted in Belgium where 400 students from five different middle schools and a professor concluded that  “students who follow an in class mindfulness program report reduced indications of depression, anxiety, and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms.” This case helped to prove meditation could be just as effective as antidepressants. Another case study according to University of Michigan Health System saw that high-risk mothers-to-be who actively participated in a mindfulness yoga-training saw a decrease in anxiety and overall depression.


Some types of meditation include: Kundalini, Heart Rhythm Meditation, Guided Visualation, Qi Gong, and Zazen. Kundalini focuses on upward stance to increase energy. This type has roots in both Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. You must focus on your breathing as energy rises and centers in your body. This can put you into a state of relaxation. Heart Rhythm Meditation is a form of downward meditation, which incorporates focus on the heart, breathing, and the saying” I am a part of all things and all things are part of me.” Guided Visualization is inspired from the Buddha. By focusing on positive experiences, the brain will release chemicals that will may you feel the same way. Qi Gong is among of the oldest forms of meditation and derives from Chinese culture. This uses breathing techniques and movement to relax with ease. Zazen comes from Buddhist practices and is one of the easiest forms of meditation. You must have a straight back and deepen your breathing.


Meditation, in any of its varied forms, is an effective, free and natural way to maintain a healthy mind. Give it a try. . .

ADVICE: What Type of Vitamins Should Teens Be Taking ?? By Kerry Mills and Rina Ismaili

Junk food. . .watching TV all night. . .sleeping all day.  Sounds like a stereotypical teenager doesn’t it? Believe it or not, unhealthy habits have consequences. Unwholesome lifestyles can lead to future problems such as, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, gynecological and osteoarthritis problems, and diseases of the liver and gallbladder. Sounds petrifying, doesn’t it? Most teens lead very busy lives and are not focused on a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and nutritious food are essentials. Our diets usually lack some important nutrients. What if there was something to help you get proper levels of nourishment?  There is . . .VITAMINS.  Vitamins are supplements for these missing nutrients. They are an important aspect of being healthy. Vitamins are essential to proper growth of the body. They are a required aspect of a healthy diet, because these nutrients cannot be broken down when found in food. Vitamins for teens are very important because we are in a constant phase of change. Sometimes we may lack certain essential nutrients because of our dietary choices. A teen also needs increased amounts of certain vitamins due to biochemical changes. The following vitamins are suggested for teens: Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folic acid, B12, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin D, and Magnesium.  Vitamins are HIGHLY recommended for teenagers with erratic schedules and diets. Teenagers who consume a lot of unhealthy foods and drinks often have low levels of vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B, and vitamin A. A lack of these nutrients can affect a teenager’s body in a negative way, especially because adolescence is a period of major growth and change.


Luckily, in today’s day, multivitamins for teenagers can be bought at a local pharmacy. They come in many flavors and textures such as berry flavored gummy bears or simple pills. Multivitamins for teenagers usually include the most beneficial vitamins such as Vitamin A, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and B vitamins. What do these nutrients do?

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in protecting eye health, providing a healthy immune system, fighting inflammation, supporting skin health and cell growth, and preventing certain cancers.

Iron: Iron is an important nutrient in carries red blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to convey it throughout the body. Iron helps protect muscle function, brain function, regulation of body temperature, chronic diseases, fatigue, and anemia. Females need 15 milligrams and male teens of iron per day. Separate multivitamins for each gender is suggested.

Calcium: Calcium is a mineral well known for the crucial role it plays in bone health. It helps benefit bone growth and skeletal development, preventing PMS (premenstrual syndrome), regulation of blood pressure, protects against certain cancers, balancing pH levels in the body, preventing skin damage, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, transporting nutrients, aiding in weight loss, protects against attacks from bacteria and plague formation, and preventing cardiovascular diseases.  Calcium imbalance is a direct result of phosphorus intake from soda and fat filled drinks. Calcium, zinc, and magnesium are critical for bone health and density.

Zinc: Zinc is a mineral mostly used to help keep the immune system strong. It increases immunity, fights colds, helps prevents certain cancers, balances hormones, fights diabetes, maintains heart health, prevents diarrhea, increases fertility, supports liver health, helps with muscle growth and repair, and aids in nutrient digestion and absorption.

B vitamins: B vitamins are a class of water-based nutrients that play significant roles in cell metabolism. They maintain energy levels, prevent memory loss, lower risks of neurodegenerative diseases, help the nervous system function properly, maintain heart health, maintain healthy hair and skin, prevent anemia, maintain healthy pregnancies, and aid digestions.  B1, B2, and B3 are crucial for higher calorie intake.


If you are someone who cares deeply about their future health, multivitamin supplements are right for you. Don’t wait until your health is in danger; prepare yourself for a happy and healthy future !!  Remember to exercise and eat healthy food. Also take your vitamins daily. The choices we make now can affect us much later in life. Multivitamins are the easiest and most convenient way to insure we stay healthy.

ADVICE: Hooked on Hookah By Christina Vasquez

Hookah. It’s the magical use of water pipes and fruity tasting shishas that many teenagers and young adults smoke to pass time and hang out. One in five high school seniors in the United States has smoked hookah, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. These water pipes, used for centuries in the Middle East, have become an increasingly popular method of tobacco delivery across the country. Bars and restaurants offer pipes for tables to share. Including many states where smoking cigarettes indoors would be illegal. For those who grew up after cigarettes stopped being cool, it seems, hookah is slipping in as a smoking method with less stigma.

Hookah is actually more dangerous to smoke than cigarettes. Smokers of hookah don’t think much of the consequences of the smoke, they just trust the fruity smell and that it won’t cause you harm. According to, a typical 60 minute hookah session is the same as smoking 100 cigarettes. Many teenagers who smoke hookah in their free time don’t fully understand the affects of it. Hookah smoke has been associated with oral, lung and bladder cancer, not to mention clogged arteries and heart disease. Also according to, the glowing amber charcoals used on hookahs, release high levels of dangerous toxic agents like carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals. You don’t exactly expect that from the berry smell it admits.

Other than traditional shishas, there’s a smaller version—the hookah pen. Is the hookah pen less dangerous and powerful than the traditional shishas ? The answer is yes. Hookah pens produce water vapor, other than unfiltered-dangerous smoke that’s emitted from hookah’s. Also referred to as vape pens, these pens are powered by a battery at the base of the pen. This battery heats up the flavored water, which then produces the water vapor. The con about these pens for teens, is that they produce a smaller amount of smoke and that they are less sanitary to share amongst your friends, compared to hookah. The other reason is the social stigma that comes along with it. Teens love hookah because of the social cred and fun associated with it. No one is referred to as “cool” or “fun” from a vape pen. No one wants to be a vape god. Although there are many consequences and nasty affects that come from hookah, people all around the world will still continue to smoke it, even if it’s not apart of their culture. That is until it’s effects are studied and legislation is passed to regulate it.

ADVICE: Sexting By Lily Sanchez and Ahmad Thneibat


These days it is extremely easy for a teenager to get online.  We seem to have no shortage of electronics . . . smartphones, tablets or laptops with which to keep connected to “friends” and love ones as we spend endless hours on “social” media.  Under normal circumstances this is no big deal.  By sharing something with a friend, you could be creating a memory to enjoy forever. Sometimes the sharing gets a little TOO personal, it seems our generation doesn’t fully understand the need for boundaries and that the overshare is TMI.

What Is Sexting?

Sexting (or “sex texting”) is the sending or receiving of sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images, messages, or video via a cell-phone or the Internet.  Examples of sexting include sending:

  • nude or nearly nude photos or “selfies”
  • videos that show nudity, sex acts, or simulated sex
  • text messages that propose sex or refer to sex acts

Almost 60% of girls who sent nudes have been pressured to do so. Sexting is serious. It’s more than just getting pleasure. You can get serious jail time.  Sexting is considered child pornography if it’s under the age of 18 , whether its a boy or a girl who is sending the nude the photo. The person who sent the photo gets charged , not the one receiving. Girls that are pressured to send nude photos do not realize that messages, pictures, or videos sent via the Internet or smartphones are never truly private or anonymous.  Without your consent, they can be made public for all the world to see.  This can damage relationships with family and friends, at school, your jobs and even impact your future.  Its sad to say, but this is the least of your worries . . . don’t overlook the potential for legal consequences. In some states, a teen could face felony charges for texting explicit photos or even have to register as a sex offender.  In the USA,  8 states have authorized bills to protect minors from sexting. It is a criminal charge if caught sexting under the age of 18. Almost 40+ % of girls/boys who are sending/receiving naked pictures are under the age of 18.  The next time you sext your girlfriend/boyfriend , think how bad it would suck if you were in a juvenile court with your parents going through a case because you were producing “child pornography”. Think of how awkward that would be with your parents next to you.  It is not uncommon to sext, but lately teens have been sending there pictures randomly to users they meet on social media. It’s all for humor but it can be taken seriously. In the long run it will hurt you more than benefit you.  What if your dream college or job searches through the archives and sees something like that… good luck!! It’s hard to know exactly how common sexting is among teens.  Current statistics say close to 70% of the time sexting is done between a couple. 61% of both the male and female gender said that they were pressured to do so, it wasn’t their first instinct to sext.

Pressuring does not mean constant harassment, so it can be something as simple as a sentence; which can change a no to a yes. Ultimately it’s not worth getting a criminal record . . . ruining a bright future.

Now, what if your significant other is pressuring you to do it? A study from Indiana University states that one in five teens who sext experience a sense of pressure from their partners, which is a form of digital and and sexual abuse. Although some may say that receiving pressure is common, it is definitely abnormal and should not be taken lightly. It is your body and you have the right to decide with who and when to participate in sexual activity—including sexting.  Now what should you do if your partner pressures you into sending them personal photos? The first step is to understand that this is a form of abuse. Pressuring you into something that you aren’t comfortable with is never something that is okay and you completely have the right to say “No”.  Make sure to inform your partner that you do not feel comfortable sexting and would appreciate if they respected your decision. Something that should also be kept in mind is the distribution of photos of anyone who is under the age of 18 is considered child pornography. If you feel safe enough, inform your partner you can get into a lot serious legal trouble for sexting.  Your partner should never threaten to share your photos with anyone else in order to get things out of you. Many states have passed laws to end what is known as “revenge pornography”. If something like this is happening to you, the best thing to do is to get in contact with a legal advocate who can assist you and inform you of your options.  You are not alone . . . reach out to a teacher, counselor or coach.  Don’t be afraid to speak to friends, family, or any other trusted adult if you are a victim of any of these situations. This is something that no one should go through alone.

This online safety group provides help, information, and education to mobile device users of all ages. The site covers everything from identity theft to cyberbullying.

This site for teens offers advice on topics like online safety, social networking, and cyberbullying.


Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Visit the FBI website for Internet safety tips for kids and parents and other safety information. offers information about Internet safety and homework help for teens.


Cyberangels is an Internet safety organization that seeks to address the concerns of parents, the needs of children, on-line abuse and cyber crime.


i-SAFE America
i-SAFE teaches kids and teens how to be safe on the Internet.

Check Back periodically to see the next topic for discussion . . . XOXO Lily & Ahmad

ADVICE: Common Sleep Problems By Sara Abdah

The lucky ones among us are those who put their heads on the pillow and sleep immediately, while those who suffer from sleeping disorders like insomnia try to sleep in vain. It is difficult to control sleep, but of course we can learn the approach that allows us to enjoy a healthy and calm sleep. Healthy and adequate sleep is essential to our health. The lack of sleep significantly affects our daily life and our ability to maintain a healthy weight.  “Sleep hygiene” is the term used to describe good sleep habits.  Considerable research has gone into the study and development of a set of guidelines and tips to enhance good sleeping.  Sleep is an essential and necessary part of our health and our daily lives, so sleep disturbances causes us great anxiety and discomfort.


There are two types of sleep:


Type 1           REM                sleep characterized by rapid eye movement

Type II           NREM             sleep without rapid eye movement that has 3 to 4 stages (Beta,

Alpha, Theta & Delta)


Beta waves begin when you first lie down and close your eyes.  The subject is awake, alert, actively processing information and making of connections among various parts of the brain in order to form coherent concepts.  Alpha waves are typically found in people who are awake but have their eyes closed and are relaxing or meditating.  Theta waves are associated with memory, emotions, and activity in the limbic system.  Delta waves are observed when individuals are in deep sleep or in a coma.  The brain is very active during REM, the body secretes hormones important to the blood to restore activity and build the body and vitality.


What happens if we can not sleep?  It is very normal to feel tense and anxious when we have difficulty sleeping or disturbed sleep for a few nights but, if the situation continues for a long time this leads to psychological disorder and physical fatigue marked with episodes of drowsiness during the day and difficulty in concentration, decision-making, deterioration of achievement and a sense of frustration.  Statistics show that the most common causes of road accidents are due to exhaustion and lack of normal sleep.  What a person needs from normal sleep depends primarily on the person’s age. Children under the age of 17 need about 8-12 hours per day while adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. Nearly 40% of adults suffer from sleep disorder or insomnia.




  1. Adopt a specific time to sleep and wake up regardless of the amount and type of sleep.
  2. Not to engage in social activities or discuss family disputes before bedtime.
  3. Continue a certain pattern before bedtime, such as reading, relaxing or bathing etc.
  4. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea or nicotine about three hours before bedtime.
  5. Avoid alcoholic beverages or medical drugs to help sleep because they have negative consequences for sleep and possibly addiction.
  6. Sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy rather than spending too much time in bed.  AVOID NAPS.  If you have trouble falling asleep . . . get up, do something boring then return to bed and try again.  NO CLOCK WATCHING.
  7. Your bed is for sleeping.  You WANT your body to associate bed with sleep.  If you use your bed as a place to watch television, eat, read, use electronics, etc., your body will not learn this connection.
  8. Develop some relaxing sleep rituals to remind your body that it is bedtime . . . meditation, stretching, a hot bath, breathing exercises or drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea.
  9. Eat right and regular exercise (morning) stimulates hormones and creates a balance.  Finish strenuous exercise at least 4 hours prior to going to bed.
  10. It is very important that your bedroom is a dark, cool place.


Each of us spends about one-third of our life asleep. Or, to put it another way, by the time you’re 75, you will have spent 25 years sleeping. Suppressing sleep for an extended period has dramatic effects on a human being’s physiological equilibrium. In short, sleeping is almost as important as eating or breathing.  It has been shown that there is a clear relationship between poor sleep habits and sleep disorders.  Good sleep hygiene is essential or you can count on a deterioration of physical and mental health.  Adopt a method of coping with stress and dealing with conditions causing sleep disturbances BEFORE it affects your personal life. -Centre for Clinical Interventions

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