All posts by christianquadra06

The Harmful Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Image Source: Google Images
Image Source: Google Images

Do you ever feel like your body weighs 10 times heavier than the usual?  Do you feel so angry and irritated that it disrupts your work and your social life?  There comes a time that we just want to go out, have fun partying at night, and not pay attention to our health.

For most of us, we often take for granted the importance and benefits of sleep.  In my case, I always stay up late, and play computer games, because currently, I am not enrolled in law school, I am not employed, and I feel more alive during night time. I stay up late and play video games because nobody bothers me at night, and the internet connection speed here in the Philippines is much faster at night. There is a saying that goes, “He who sleeps late has short days. ”  It means that when we stay up too late, and our sleeping time is cut short, we feel like we do not have enough time to finish our work.  When I stay up late and somebody asks me to do something,  I feel like I’m not giving 100%, and I feel like my body is going to give in.  Today, I’d like to share to you what sleep loss does to us.

1. COGNITION decreases when we lack sleep.  We use our brain all the time everyday for mental activities such as, thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.    It is an important part of our body, and without it, we wouldn’t function at all.  We rarely take care of our brain because we think that our brain is inside, protected by our skull.  However, we need to remember that the brain needs to rest in order for it to function, and this rest that can be gained through sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning.

According to Men’s Health magazine, lack of sleep hurts our cognition in many ways.  First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, and problem solving.  This makes it more difficult for us to learn.  Second, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind.  If you don’t get enough sleep, you wont be able to remember what you learned during the day.

I remember back when I was still studying, I only had three hours of sleep because I was playing computer games, and I studied for exams late in the evening.  I slept in the morning, and when I woke up, it was almost time to go to school.  I took the exam, but while answering it, I forgot what I had reviewed, and I couldn’t think straight because I was lacking sleep and the rest needed for my brain to function well.

2. SKIN AGING also occurs when we lose sleep.  Though it is a normal process or change in the body that we go through as we grow older, lack sleep accelerates this process.  Most people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. Chronic sleep loss can lead to fine lines and dark circles under our eyes or as we call it, “eye bags.”  According to Cosmopolitan magazine, when we don’t get enough sleep, our body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol.  When there is too much cortisol, it can break down collagen, the protein that helps keep the skin smooth and elastic.

In my case, I love staying up late, watching series, and playing games.  I always sleep at four in the morning, and when I wake up and someone sees me, they usually say that I have dark lines under my eyes, and that I look a little older, like the vendor of cigarettes.

Image Source: Google Images
Image Source: Google Images

3. WEIGHT gain is another downfall when we lost sleep.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not lose weight when we lack sleep.  Why? According to my doctor friend,  lack of sleep raises the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that tells you to eat and whose job is to boost your appetite, increase fat production, and thereby causing you to gain weight.  Lack of sleep also lowers the level of leptin, the hormone that tells you that you’re full and you should stop eating.

I remember a week ago, I slept late again, and woke up early, because it was my friend’s birthday.  He treated us to a buffet, and everyone noticed that I ate the most, so my doctor friend immediately advised me to be careful because lacking sleep and eating a lot is a dangerous combination.

When we feel like staying up late, going out with friends, and having a great night, you should remember that sleep is always important to our body as it affects our cognition, skin aging, and our weight.  Medical journals recommend eight hours of sleep, but achieving these hours can be hard for some people, especially those who love partying and going out late in the evening.  Since value health and lifestyle, we must learn to balance our activities with sleep.  I recommend that when we struggle to complete eight hours of sleep, we need to have a special place for sleeping and relaxing where there is no distraction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.  He is studying to become and lawyer, and he wants to improve his English before going to law school.

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The Three C’s in Practicing for Success

The Three C’s in Practicing for Success
by Christian Quadra

PracticeWhen do we feel like giving up on something we love to do just because we are not good at it?  Do we move on to the next one because we feel like it’s not meant for us?  There comes a time where we do something that we like and then eventually give up because we feel that we lack the talent to do it.  Whether it’s painting, dancing, and cooking, we can master these things through constant and deliberate practice.

For most of us, we can focus on one hobby and be great at it because we are motivated to practice. In my case, I have been playing the guitar since 2005, and a lot of my friends and relatives give me positive remarks about my playing, so I decided to keep on practicing and become great at playing the guitar, a new-found skill I used to serenade people.  There is a saying that goes, “If you fail to practice your art, it will soon disappear.”  It means that when we don’t practice our talents or passion, we forget how to do it, and we lose our progress and start to become bad at it.  When I stopped playing the guitar because of my studies, for example, I slowly forgot how to play it, but since I am practicing again, I am becoming great again.  Therefore, I’d like to share the three C’s in practice that would make us achieve our desired results.

1.  CONSISTENCY is when you are able to practice gradually and continually.  It is making sure that you follow through at the times you set aside to practice.  It is not practice when you have the time; you must make the time.  No excuses.  If you keep on practicing, you will eventually become one of the greatest.  A lot of successful persons are great at their job because they practiced consistently.  Michael Jordan, wasn’t always a great basketball player since he wasn’t even part of the high school varsity team and was not a top player in college, but through consistent practice, he eventually became one of the greatest basketball players ever.  The best athletes, doctors, lawyers, actors, and managers cannot be where they are without consistency in practice.

Practice2One of the things I have mastered is cooking Korean fried chicken, which can rival Bon Chon’s; it is a combination of sweet and tangy flavors, but with a dash of salty spice.  In every family social gathering, whether it’s a birthday or an anniversary, everyone always asks for my specialty.  It took me around 30 trials before I could perfect it, and it was my consistent trials or practice that led me to my own Korean fried chicken concoction.  I was so obsessed about mastering that I actually tried cooking at least twice a week, and before I knew it, I was serving it at the many big family events.

2. CONFIDENCE.  We look up to the people who are successful in their chosen career or hobby, but when it comes to ourselves, we move from hobby to hobby when we feel that we are not good at them.  We tend to lose confidence in ourselves when things get difficult, and it is easier to move on to something else.  Instead of giving up, we must do the opposite and become more confident than ever so that we can continue to gain improvement.  It is at the toughest moment where we need our confidence the most.  Lacking confidence would just make you quit practicing, and you eventually just quit altogether.

PracticeConfidenceI remember back in 2012, I was asked to perform at a birthday party with my band.  I was really nervous because I wasn’t comfortable yet playing in front of an audience, and all of the attention was directed to us.  It made me forget the chords, and I also forgot some of the lyrics.  It was so embarrassing that I almost wanted to stop performing in public, but my close friends heard me singing and encouraged me to sing for them.  Since I was confident about my singing, I didn’t mind performing for them.  I relied on this confidence to get me to practice again.  Instead of feeling down and quitting the band, I regained my confidence and continued to practice.

3.  CHALLENGE.  Practice doesn’t have to be constrained around hobbies and sports.  Practice can also be an important aspect of improving our  career and studies.  Ask yourselves, why do we fail at things that should be easy for us?   It is because we lack practice.  We never learn from our mistakes, and we never aim high.  We should always set to challenge ourselves, or aim for the the biggest prize.  Instead of settling for less, we should settle for the best.  There’s this quote that goes, ” Always aim for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”  It means that when you challenge yourself with high expectations, even if you don’t reach it, you will still reach something high, like the stars.  It is when you challenge yourself that you will continue to practice until you accomplish that challenge.

PracticeChallengeMy dream is to become a lawyer, to finish law school with flying colors and with honors.  So how can I do that?  From learning through experience.  During my college years, I was always laid back, not studying, and never giving 100 % effort, but now that I have enrolled in law school, I challenged my self to improve my skills.  For example, I look for seminars that would improve my personality, and I enrolled at the American Institute For English Proficiency (AIEP) to improve my writing skills, critical writing, and public speaking. One of the challenges that my mentor gave me was to write more, since the more I write, the more I will have the chance to see my strengths and weaknesses as a writer.  Instead of complaining about the amount of writing I would have to do, I took it on as a challenge, which in turn, made me practice more and more.

In times where we feel rusty and demotivated because of our performance, always remember that constant and deliberate practice will get you out of that rut you’re in. Just because we know how to do something doesn’t mean we should stop.  Instead, keep sharpening your tools.  Remember the three C’s to improve your practice: consistency, confidence, and challenge.  There will be times when people doubt your skill, but because of practice, you can overcome these doubts and become confident in whatever you decide to do. We value character and personality, and it is the person who chooses to keep improving through practice who will ultimately become successful.  I recommend that when we feel powerless, and we feel like we don’t have the skill or God-given talent, do something about it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency in Quezon City.  He is on his way to becoming one of the best lawyers of the Philippines.

Finding Inspiration

Christian is a student at American Institute for English Proficiency, and he is planning to become an attorney.  Visit AIEP at www.aiepro.com.
Christian is a student at American Institute for English Proficiency, and he is planning to become an attorney. Visit AIEP at http://www.aiepro.com.

Finding Inspiration
by Christian Quadra and Chris Delacruz

When do you usually feel like life is so hard that all you want to do is just throw in the towel and give up?  Does it get harder when you don’t know what to do?  There comes a time in our life when things get so difficult that we lose our sense of direction.  Whether it’s because of work, family, relationship, or even money, as in most cases, we tend to lose sight of our goals, and all we have is the feeling of doubt and confusion.  For most of us, we can get out of a rut and continue to pursue our life-long dreams.  In my case, I have been looking for a job for the past six months, and they have all rejected me.  It has gotten to the point where I was no longer motivated, and all I wanted to do was stay at home.  There is a proverb that goes, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”  It means that when we have nothing to do, we become filled with negativity, and we continue to lose that inspiration.  Fortunately for me, I am starting to find my way back because I have seen signs of inspiration.  Now, I would like to share these signs of inspiration with you so that you can get back on track towards your dreams.

  1. Source: Google Images
    Source: Google Images

    We really do take nature for granted sometimes.  Those who live in the city are so busy living the corporate life in a concrete jungle that traffic, pollution, nice, and congestion have become the norm, and they have been desensitized to these things.  Once or twice a year, we remember to commune with nature because we have had it, and we were always busy.  Little did we know that nature can help inspire us in so many ways.  Nature is beauty.  And what is beautiful is inspiring.  Get out of the city as much as you can.For me, I love going to the beach, and Batangas is one of the closest place to go to.  If you can, go to Pagudpud, Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, or  Calaguas.  The more “virgin” the beach, the better.  When I am at the beach, I am in awe because of it’s beauty: the azure mountains in the backdrop, the white fine sand, the crystal clear water, and the clear blue sky.  The sunrise and the sunset are definitely my special moments because it is quiet, and I feel positive and peaceful.  When I get back to the city, I am inspired to go at it again.

  2. Source: Google Images
    Source: Google Images

    Sometimes, we lose inspiration because we are stuck with the old.  In Ilocos, where my English mentor is from, he told me that when he goes there, he would always ask everyone, “how’s  everything?”  They would always answer with, “Kastoy latta,” which means, “It’s the same.”  This kind of mentality that the people have makes it an uninspiring one because everything is always the same.  Nothing ever changes.  I would highly recommend that you find something new because when it’s new, there is a certain kind of excitement and enthusiasm that goes with it.  Have a new hobby, a new set of clothes, and new friends.  You can even have your mind and body renewed.In my case, I did something new, and it completely inspired me.  I got a new bike as a gift, and for the first time in my adult life, I felt like a kid again as I took my bike for a spin around the neighborhood.  When you feel like a kid, you get more energy, and this energy converts into excitement and enthusiasm, which are fuel for your inspiration.  I also took up a new class, where I am developing my English and communication skills.  Yes, I had these classes before, but this is new again for me because I am learning new things, such as advanced grammar, public speaking, and even critical thinking.  With new activities, I have reinvigorated my passion for learning and revived my child-like qualities, both of which give me a renewed energy for me to continue pursuing goals.  As for you, you may want to pick up a new hobby, go to the gym, or even meet new friends.

  3. youth-bible-studyAnd if you can’t do it alone, find someone who can help to inspire you.  Sometimes, our pride gets the best of us, and we would rather keep the problem to ourselves until we find our own ways of solving them.  This can be unhealthy or even dangerous to your progress because you are bottling things up until it explodes.  No man is an island, as they say, and so sharing your difficulty with others can be a great way to find solutions to your lack of inspiration or lack of motivation.  There are people out there who are willing to help out such as your friends and family.I had a support group.  Every Friday night, we would all gather and discuss the gospel and how it affects our lives.  We reflect on this, and we share our life stories so that the other members of the group can relate, and sometimes, even give the most creative solutions.  Every time I was with them, I felt so inspired, especially when Lani shared her story about her medical school plans.  To make a long story short, Lani struggled throughout her childhood and even into adulthood, but she managed to be a successful doctor.  Support groups, even like a bible study group, can truly inspire you with their stories of hardships and success.

When we lose hope, when the candle burns out, it is difficult to have that spark once again.  We begin to burn out ourselves, and we realize that it is so much harder to get back on track.  However, there are sources of inspiration where we can get back on track again.  Whether it’s nature, in new things, or in support group, there is always a way back.  The road to success isn’t an easy one, but it can surely be an amazing journey if we know how to find inspiration.  We value success, and it is only when we focus on our self, to improve, to strive, and to pursue that we can reach our dreams.  I recommend that when the going gets tough, relax because the inspirations could just be right in front of your eyes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency where he is focusing on critical writing, advanced grammar, and public speaking.