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Mendi Ncute

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An unknown author once wrote “there is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” Love is one thing that is most valued, sought after and desired. It is one of the most talked about subjects, yet it remains elusive to some of us. What is love? Love is defined in many ways, with maybe no agreed upon definition,this however does not lessen its impact precisely because love is more easily experienced than defined.

It is one of the greatest forces in the universe.It makes us look at and do things differently.  What you look at and find unattractive ordinarily, when you look at it with the eyes of love it suddenly looks perfect. It remains one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Love, for no reason has power to put a smile on your face. It is strong enough to make a grown men act like a teenager simply because we thrive when we are loved and we have power to do more when we are loved!

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Many say it is not a feeling that you have when you see someone, it is not the butterflies in your tummy, the heart that beats fast, but love is in fact more than that. Many believe if we only attached it to these physical reactions, we would reduce its significance, because after all the physical reactions are gone love still remains. It is a decision that you make and are willing to stick to it even when you don’t feel like it.Love is a connection between two people.

 It is not just confined to what you feel for your partner, there is love for family, friends and love we have for humanity at large, the God kind of love. It does not matter the kind of love you are all about, to be able to love others you need to love yourself first. You should be able to appreciate yourself before you can appreciate others. You need to be able to care about yourself before you care about others. The truth is, you can only give what you have.

As we celebrate the month of love, let’s remember to spread love and make giving and receiving love a daily experience and not just something we feel for each other only in this significant month! Let’s choose the beauty of love! People need love: a friendly face, a smile, a warm hug or a kind gesture goes a long way. If we loved each other more, I believe, the world will be a better place. I have decided to love more!!!

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As we grow and experience life, we go through some experiences that leave in us indelible imprints. Those imprints stay with us and form part of us. They can either be scars or stars. They are either what breaks us or what makes us. That which we shun or that which we are happy about and that which we celebrate. It is interesting to note that normally our stars seldom take precedence over our scars. Amazingly, it is the negative things that remain mostly in our minds for long. Our experiences tell us that we have failed before and that we will not make it again. This affects our self-esteem and our view of life and ourselves generally.

Some of these experiences get so engraved in our hearts that we tend to believe and think that they are a permanent part of us. But those things are not permanent, they are just a view of life that you have because of what you have been through. Those are views that we can change. We were never born with those thoughts about ourselves but life has thrown them at us such that we believe that they are real.We can, however, deal with this and change these views about ourselves. It starts with you changing your view about yourself. Circumstances around you and even your background cannot define you. Life has happened, but you are not your own circumstances.

Of great importance is that you need to understand where it all started. You do not like your body because someone told you that you were overweight , you were not looking pretty and you believed it. That’s exactly the thought you need to deal with. Write for yourself positive affirmations contrary to what was said to you. For every negative word that was said to you find a positive affirmation. Put them in a place where you are able to see and say them to yourself everyday. Say them repeatedly to yourself till they become real to you. Your mind, the most significant part of you, absorbs and believes these facts about you.

It goes the same way that negative things were said about you and you somehow believed them. As these facts become real to you; as you begin to believe them, you will act contrary to your old beliefs and more towards your new confessions. Tell yourself that you are not your own experiences, that you are bigger and better than that. Tell yourself that your life is not determined by what you went through years ago or even yesterday for that matter. Refuse to be defined by that circumstance.

Surround yourself with positive people that will impact positively on your life. You don’t need people that will impact you negatively anymore. There has been enough negativity already.You need people that will help you believe that you can make it in life. Generally as people we are known for pulling each other down, what is known as PhD syndrome. We sometimes specialize in pulling each other down. Maybe the change needs to start with you. You need to tell yourself that you will no longer weigh others down, but will say to them that which makes them feel better and allow them to grow, thrive and be better people. As you do that you will feel good and empowered as well. The same love and goodness you give to others will come back to you in one way or another.

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As the year comes to a close, it is again that time of the year where once more we are looking forward to enjoying the festive season and finally rest. It is however also that time where some of us have to face exams. You have put in a lot of effort during the year, so you cannot afford to have all that in vain. The two or three hours that you will spend in the exam room require hours and hours of hardworking, studying and preparing.

 Here are a few tips that can assist you during the process:

Create a study schedule

You need to formulate a schedule of how long you are going to study each day. Dedicate time that you will use for studying each day, for example using 2hours a day. You also need to decide how you are going to use your study time. Divide your time according to the subjects that you want to focus on depending on the amount of work that you have for each subject, your knowledge and understanding of the subject as well as when your exam date is for each subject or how far or close the exam date is.

Find a study place

You need to identify a place where you can study. Check and understand what works best for you. You may choose to study in the library, a quite classroom or in the comfort of your own room. It should be a place that enhances your ability to focus and apply your mind. It is always better to use a place with minimal distractions so as to enhance your concentration. Use the same place almost every day.

 Eat healthy

Eat foods which nourish your body and enhance your brain functioning. Remember as you study your brain and body need to be fed, its thus important to eat a balanced diet. There is a tendency to take in too much caffeine as a way of helping us keep awake for longer hours. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and it temporarily wards of drowsiness and restores alertness for some over indulgence may lead to insomnia.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise on the body cannot be over emphasized, even during this time you need to exercise. Exercise helps in pumping more oxygen to your brain and helps improve concentration. So make exercise an important part of your study routine. You do not have to join a gym but can for instance walk for 30 minutes each day preferably in the morning so as to give you energy to face the day.

Take Breaks

We tend to want to study nonstop, either because we are studying under pressure due to the stress/pressure of an exam that is in a few days or we want to catch up with everything as we are studying on the last minute. Take breaks in between as you study. What is the use of studying for hours when you can no longer concentrate? Take a walk in a different environment and refresh your mind. Come back refreshed and continue studying.

 Rest

After long hours of studying, rest to allow your mind and body to recharge. Maintain enough hours of sleep to be rejuvenated for the next day. Lack of sleep may cause your mind to be lethargic and lead to poor concentration. So it’s always best to start studying on time and not wait until a few days before the exam so as to avoid those sleepless nights. Remember it is your future, so take responsibility and own your success. All the best as you prepare for your exams!

 Remember it is your future, so take responsibility and own your success. All the best as you prepare for your exams!