Monday, June 12, 2017

Depression and tips to overcome Depression

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Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being.

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

People with a depressed mood may be notably sad, anxious, or empty; they may also feel notably hopeless, helpless, dejected, or worthless. Other symptoms expressed may include senses of guilt, irritability, or anger. 

Further feelings expressed by these individuals may include feeling ashamed or an expressed restlesness. These individuals may notably lose interest in activities that they once considered pleasurable to family and friends or otherwise experience either a loss of appetite or overeating. Experiencing problems concentrating, remembering general facts or details, otherwise making decisions or experiencing relationship difficulties may also be notable factors in these individuals' depression and may also lead to their attempting or actually committing suicide.

Types of Depression:

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.

  • Perinatal depression is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with perinatal depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany perinatal depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.

  • Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.

  • Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.

  • Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it is included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression (called “bipolar depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
Examples of other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of DSM-5  include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Signs and Symptoms
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few – but distressing – symptoms may benefit from treatment of their “subsyndromal” depression. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.
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How to overcome depression? Some Tips:
1. Get some Sun.

Expose yourself to sunlight at least 15 minutes of every day.

Sunlight is known to boost your mood and that might just make you feel a lot better. Be it a morning jog or gardening or hiking or taking a stroll outside during your lunch break, it will surely help you feel a bit better.

2. Reach out to people.

When you are depressed, you tend to withdraw and isolate yourself by cutting off from friends, family and the outside world in general.

However, you must realize that it is important to reach out to people to heal the pain that you are going through for it will only uplift your mood and spirit.

Be it in the form of talking to a friend or anyone who you think understands you better or joining a class or volunteering in a social event, being around people will certainly do the required healing.

3. Indulge in things that make you happy.

What is it that you really enjoy doing - painting, yoga, playing a musical instrument, reading, writing?

While you can’t force yourself to have fun but you can certainly push yourself to do things you like doing, even when you don’t feel like it, even when its difficult.

4. Have some physical activity in the day.

When you are fighting with depression, even getting out of your room can be a big task, forget indulging in a work out session.

But try and do some physical activity, be it as small as moving up and down a flight of stairs or walking because exercise is a powerful depression fighter and it will certainly make you feel a lot lighter and better about yourself.

5. Eat healthy.

Indulge in healthy eating, for the food you eat has a direct bearing on how you feel.

Grab a bowl of muesli with some yoghurt topped with fresh fruits instead of a burger with loaded cheese fries. Once you start taking care of your food habits, you will surely find a difference in your mood.

6. Think healthy and positive.

Thinking about the past isn't going to change anything. It's only going to make you feel more depressed. You will only end up hurting yourself and spoiling your present and eventually your future.

Don’t do that to yourself.

Take charge of your happiness and your life and start focusing only on the good and you will eventually attract all the great things back into your life.

7. Make it a point to go out at least once in two days.

Treat yourself to your favorite ice cream at the nearby ice cream parlour or go for grocery shopping or go for a walk in the park for it will only infuse some positivity and color into your life.

8. Find ways to distract yourself.

Whenever you feel that bout of depression coming, do something that uplifts your mood. Be it talking to someone whom you are fond of, playing a guitar, cooking, listening to music, watching your favorite series on Netflix and don’t let that pain take you in its grasp.

The tips to beat depression are given in brief in the following diagram:
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Medical treatments for depression

The main medical treatment for depression is antidepressant medication. There's a lot of misinformation about antidepressant medication and while there is no simple explanation as to how it works, it can be very useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety disorders.
If you're experiencing moderate to severe depression your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication, along with psychological treatments. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed when other treatments have not been successful or when psychological treatments aren't possible due to the severity of the condition or a lack of access to the treatment.
People with more severe forms of depression (bipolar disorder and psychosis) generally need to be treated with medication. This may include one or a combination of mood stabilisers, anti-psychotic drugs and antidepressants.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Income tax for Individuals for the Annual Year 2018-19(Financial year 2017-18) and Eligible deductions

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How Income Tax is charged in India?

Income tax in India is charged based on one’s income, more the income more the tax. India has four  income slabs or groups.Tax slabs keep on changing from year to year. Over and above tax, surcharge and education cess is also charged.  These are announced in budget by the Finance Minister every year.

Income tax for Individuals for the Annual Year 2018-19(Financial year 2017-18)

New Income Tax Slabs for FY 2017-18 (AY 2018-19) have been provided based on the Finance Budget introduced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister on February 01, 2017. 

While the income tax slabs have been kept unchanged, some interesting changes have been made which will have an impact on the tax liability of Individuals.
Individuals Below 60 Yrs – Income Tax Slab 2017-18 (AY 2018-19)

Income Tax SlabIncome Tax Rate
Income upto Rs. 2,50,000Nil
Income between Rs. 2,50,001 – Rs. 500,0005% of Income exceeding Rs. 2,50,000
Income between Rs. 500,001 – Rs. 10,00,000Rs. 12,500 + 20% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 5,00,000
Income above Rs. 10,00,000Rs. 1,12,500 + 30% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 10,00,000
Surcharge :
  • 10% of the Income Tax, where taxable income is more than Rs. 50 lacs and upto Rs. 1 crore. However, the amount of Income Tax and Surcharge shall not increase the amount of income tax payable on a taxable income of Rs. 50 lacs by more than the amount of increase in taxable income.
  • 15% of the Income Tax, where taxable income is more than Rs. 1 crore. However, the amount of Income Tax and Surcharge shall not increase the amount of income tax payable on a taxable income of Rs. 1 crore by more than the amount of increase in taxable income.
Education Cess : 3% of the total of Income Tax and Surcharge.

Income Tax Rebate Reduced

The income tax rebate continues but it is reduced now. The income tax rebate came down to 2,500. Last year it was ₹5000. Not only the reduction, the threshold for this rebate also came down. Now, the income upto 3.5 lacs is eligible for this rebate. Earlier, income upto ₹5 lac was eligible for the income tax rebate.
Because of this provision, those who earns up to Rs 3 lacs are not required to pay any tax. Rather, if a person uses the all available deductions, the income up to Rs 5 lacs can become tax-free.
Senior Citizens (60-80 yrs) : Income Tax Slab 2017-18 (AY 2018-19)

To avail the benefit of senior citizen’s income  tax slab of 2017-18, one should be born on or after 1st April 1937 but before 1st April 1957. These dates are applicable for the income tax slab rate of the financial year 2017-18.

Income Tax SlabIncome Tax Rate
Income upto Rs. 3,00,000Nil
Income between Rs. 3,00,001 – Rs. 500,0005% of Income exceeding Rs. 3,00,000
Income between Rs. 500,001 – Rs. 10,00,000Rs. 20,000 + 20% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 5,00,000
Income above Rs. 10,00,000Rs. 1,20,000 + 30% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 10,00,000

Education Cess

Senior citizens are also required to pay education cess similar to other individuals. The 3% cess is charged on the income tax of senior citizens. Due to this the effective income tax slab rate increases.

Super Senior Citizens ( above 80 yrs) : Income Tax Slab 2017-18 (AY 2018-19)

The senior citizens of above the age of 80 gets maximum tax concession from the government. They get this concession considering increased medical and healthcare expenses.
To get the benefit of this income tax slab rate, one should be born before 1st April 1937.
Income Tax SlabIncome Tax Rate
Income upto Rs. 5,00,000Nil
Income between Rs. 500,001 – Rs. 10,00,00020% of Income exceeding Rs. 5,00,000
Income above Rs. 10,00,000Rs. 100,000/- + 30% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 10,00,000/-.

Any NRI or HUF or AOP or BOI or AJP

Income Tax :
Income SlabsTax Rates
i.Where the taxable income does not exceed Rs. 2,50,000/-.NIL
ii.Where the taxable income exceeds Rs. 2,50,000/- but does not exceed Rs. 5,00,000/-.5% of amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 2,50,000/-.
iii.Where the taxable income exceeds Rs. 5,00,000/- but does not exceed Rs. 10,00,000/-.Rs. 12,500/- + 20% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 5,00,000/-.
iv.Where the taxable income exceeds Rs. 10,00,000/-.Rs. 112,500/- + 30% of the amount by which the taxable income exceeds Rs. 10,00,000/-.

List of Income Tax Exemptions FY 2017-18 / AY 2018-19 (Chapter VI-A deductions list)

Income tax deductions list Income tax exemptions tax benefits Fy 2017-18 AY 2018-19 Section 80c limit 80D 80E NPS Home loan interest loss

For full details of Income Tax exemptions click the following link:


To know about Income tax for Individuals for the Annual Year 2017-18(Financial year 2016-17) and Eligible deductions click the link given below

Friday, May 19, 2017

Know about Laughing Buddha

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Recently  I happened to see  a huge statue of Laughing Buddha in a temple very near to Chennai. It  was a surprise to me since I had not seen such a statue in any temple earlier. The picture of the statue is given below:
With the curiosity arisen by the statue in the temple, I searched the web and found the following information about the Laughing Buddha.

The Laughing Buddha is cherished all over the world. He is the Buddha of abundance and happiness. He is also known as the “Buddha of Wealth”. It is believed he will bring wealth and prosperity to a home or business.

Over the years, he has come to represent several beneficial attributes such as happiness, prosperity, contentment and joy. Consequently, people in East Asia such as China and Japan have placed the Fat Buddha statue in their homes and offices.
It is very easy to recognize the Laughing Buddha. He is shown wearing a robe and prayer beads often hang around his neck. He is bald and has a big fat tummy.He is always happy;   thereby the name the “Laughing Buddha”.
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Many claim he makes problems disappear. Keeping the Laughing Buddha in the home ensures a happy home. Who does not want to be happy?

The Laughing Buddha has become a common and popular  name for Budai. Some people from the West who are not  familiar with Buddhism, may mistake the Laughing Buddha  for Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha.So there is no connection between Gautama Buddha and the Laughing Buddha.
Actually his name was Quieci. But everyone called himBudai”. He was supposedly a Buddhist Zen monk who lived  in China over a thousand years ago.He was different from all other monks. Quieci was a jolly fellow. He often laughed whole heartily and reminded everyone to enjoy life and stay happy. He was very much loved.
One legend tells a story illustrating the claim that Budai wanted people to stay positive and joyful. When the beloved monk died many cried.A huge crowd gathered around to take a last farewell with tears running down their checks. The fire was lit at the cremation ceremony. Then to the surprise of most mourners  present there was a huge blast of fireworks.  
Before he died Budai had secretly asked that firecrackers were hidden under his robe.That did that trick. All who were present at the cremation found themselves smiling.
Even after his death he reminded all present to celebrate life. Just before he died it is told he said the following:
These words are by some interrupted to make him an incarnation of the Maitreya.The Maitreya is the future and last  Buddha who will bring ultimate love and enlightenment into  the world.

Rubbing the belly of Laughing Buddha:

According to legend, if you rub the Laughing Buddha's great belly, it brings forth wealth, good luck, and prosperity. Hotei is also referred to as the patron saint of restaurateurs, fortune tellers and bartenders. When one overeats or over drinks, friends jokingly attribute it to the Laughing Buddha's influence.