Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Amazing Power of Humour

The effects of humour on our body are quite dramatic. Dr. William F. Fry, a psychiatrist at the Stanford University School of Medicine has been studying laughter for more than 40 years. He says that 20 seconds of intense laughter, even if faked, is equivalent to 10 minutes spent rowing. Many businesses are now beginning to realize that the punch line can benefit the bottom line. Robert Half International, an executive recruitment firm, conducted a survey of 1,000 executives and discovered that 84 percent of respondents felt that workers with a sense of humor do a better job. Another survey by Hodge-Cronin & Associates found that of 737 CEOs surveyed, 98 percent preferred job candidates with a sense of humour to those without. Employers are looking for the same characteristics which are inherent in those people who have a good sense of humour, namely; more creativity and productivity, fewer absentees and sick days, and better decision-making capabilities.

The Four Senses of Humour

Humour can have many positive or negative effects. Most people have witnessed or have used any one of the following four general types of humour.
1. Self-Deprecating Humour - Poking fun of oneself can provide a much needed relief from tense situations. Conversely, an excess of this type of humour may make other people uncomfortable and lead to serious low self-esteem issues.
2. Put-Down Humour - This type of humour involves teasing, sarcasm and ridicule and it tends to be a popular form of humour around the water cooler. If aimed at politicians, actors etc. it is harmless and can help to form social bonds, although if aimed at fellow workers, it can become a form of social aggression.
3. Bonding Humour - People who exhibit bonding humour are generally fun to be around. They tell funny jokes, lighten the mood and partake in witty banter. Bonding humour can either provide a sense of togetherness or it can isolate individual employees.
4. Observational Humour - Observational humour is the healthiest of all of the four types. People who use this type of humour have a unique outlook on life. They are always able to see the bright side of things and they don't take themselves too seriously. This enables them to deal more easily with daily stress in their life at work and at home. Observational humour is the only type of humour which can be enjoyed alone. As a result, studies linking humour with health have tended to concentrate on this type of humour.

Humour has the power to do many positive things to our bodies. It's responsible for elevating our mood, breaking up boredom and fatigue and giving us more resilience. It also boosts our immune system, reduces stress, relaxes muscles and lowers our blood pressure. With the increasing age of the Baby Boomers, these benefits are proving to be no laughing matter! Women consistently cite, "having a sense of humour" as one of the top three characteristics they find attractive in men. They feel a comfort and a security in knowing that they don't have to engage continually in serious conversations. Laughter lightens the mood of almost all situations.

Your humourous personal health also has positive repercussions at work. Because of humours' social nature, those people with a healthy sense of humour are less overwhelmed in tough situations, more cheerful and less rigid. They are also able to use laughter to diffuse hostility and encourage cooperation when working in a team and completing projects. People who laugh well together work well together. Infusing more humour into the workplace will increase creativity, teamwork and ultimately productivity. The reality is that the best people are attracted to working environments where there is an element of fun. If good people are placed in an environment that is impersonal, cold and unfriendly for an extended period of time, that is how they will eventually behave.

If you're interested in lifting your laugh ability factor, or maybe finding your inner funny, here are a few tips on how to do this at work.

  • 1. Suffocate sarcasm - It has too much potential to be taken the wrong way in a work environment.
  • 2. Justify your jokes - Don't just memorize the latest joke making the rounds on email. Tailor your jokes to the individual and keep them clean.
  • 3. Be frugally funny - Making a funny comment to diffuse tension during a meeting is a great idea, but don't overdo it.
  • 4. Join a friendly neighbourhood - Hang around funny friends. Spend time with those who are upbeat and avoid negative people whenever possible.
  • 5. Giggle with the gang - You can be seen as having a great sense of humour without ever telling a joke. Just listen to those around you and share in their laughter.
  • 6. Get with it - Remind yourself to have fun everyday. Place humourous cartoons and quotes in your personal workspace.
  • 7. Partake in periodic personal putdowns - This can put others at ease and you don't risk offending anyone. Be sure to keep a light mood and don't make it a habit.
  • Just remember:

    "The ultimate test of whether you posses a sense of humour is your reaction when someone tells you you don't."
    - Frank Tyger.

    Source :

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    Our New Post Graduates' Annexe

    Finally, we managed to provide our Post Graduates (PhD students and Masters' students by research) a convenient working space for them to do their research works. The annexe, which is situated behind Block D 06, consists of 4 rooms (5-6 students per room) and one hall (for discussion, presentations, meetings etc), well equipped with facilities such as computers, internet, air conditioner, sofa, desks/chairs, etc. Only full time, male, research students are eligible while the female students will occupy another working space at Block D 06, Room 418.

    1. Only students who have been given permission by the faculty are allowed to use the working space.
    2. Students are not allowed to surrender or loan their keys to unauthorized person.
    3. All students must leave the premise by 12.00 midnight.
    4. Students must be accountable for their own belongings. The faculty will not be responsible for items lost or theft etc.
    5. Students must ensure that the doors are locked and computers/ air conditioners are properly switched off before leaving their rooms. The main door to the annex/ D06 418 must remained locked at all times.
    6. Occupants of the rooms are responsible for maintaining the safety and cleanliness of the working space. Please do not leave food and drinks unattended overnight.

    Our new PG Annexe =>>

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Strive For Excellence!

    Striving for excellence is the key to living a super-charged life. In practical terms, it means seeking continual improvement in everything we do. We never actually achieve perfection. Products, processes, attitudes, beliefs, all aspects of life can always be improved upon. Think about it. What if the automobile, light bulb, or telephone had been declared perfect even 10 or 20 years ago? These products are continually being improved upon. The original inventors are gone, but others are still striving for excellence with these items.

    We should likewise continually seek to improve our work and ourselves. We need to reevaluate our thoughts, habits, and lifestyle. What worked yesterday may not be working today. Results are what count. Are you getting the results you want in each area of your life? If not, then take the time right now to write down 5 to 10 ideas on how you can improve what you are doing to achieve better results. Experiment. There is no one right way to live life. You have to find the combination of behaviors that suit your circumstances, personality and desired outcomes. Again, the key is to continually strive for excellence.

    Here are some tips that will help you in your quest for excellence:

    1. Be Open to New Ideas. Seek ideas for improvement. Adopt an attitude of continual self-improvement. Read books and blogs on self-improvement. Ask others for their input on what you can do to improve. Be specific. Tell a trusted friend that you are trying hard to improve in a particular area (listening, positive thinking, taking action, etc.) Ask them for one or two suggestions on how you can improve in this specific area in the future.

    2. Dress for Success. If we feel we look great, then we are more likely to have the confidence to strive for excellence. Also, like it or not, we are judged by our appearance. People react to us based on how we look. If we look sharp, then people often assume good things about us. This can open doors of opportunity. Pay attention to the details. Ask for help from someone you trust. Is it time for a super-charged makeover?

    3. Seek Inspiration. Read The Elegant Solution by Matthew May. In his book, Matthew details what he learned about striving for excellence and innovation while consulting for Toyota Motor Company. Toyota has an incredible culture that promotes continual improvement. Matthew does a great job of inspiring us all to apply these principles to our lives and work.

    4. Do a little more in all we do and do everyday tasks exceptionally well. This does not just apply to our Jiu-Jitsu training but everything we do. Success should be deliberate and not a mistake or something that we stumble upon. If we all do more in all we do and do the best job possible then success will undoubtedly follow.

    5. Don’t stand on the sidelines and watch others succeed but make a difference by joining in. Don’t strive for excellence later or when you think that you might have more time or money, do it some time between yesterday and tomorrow. Apply this to all we do and success has to follow. Be an example to others and also look for better ways of doing something.

    6. Don’t look for excuses. Take responsibility for your own actions. If we are to take credit for our successes then we should also assume responsibility for our failures. If we make excuses enough then they become a habit and then a belief. We should have Self Respect and pride and win the trust and respect of others.

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Visitors from UIB

    Date : 27 April 2009
    Time : 10.30am
    Venue : Bestari 1
    Agenda : An academic discussion with delegates from Universitas Internasional Batam (UIB

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Managing Arguments

    Friendship isn't always easily described. The Eskimos are said to have a hundred different words for snow. Unfortunately, the English language isn't quite as innovative, though it has vast opportunities to differentiate meaning. Certainly, Love is one of those opportunities. And so, too, is Friendship.

    Instead of different words, however, we're stuck with simple adjectives. Close friend. Best friend. Childhood friend. Intimate friend. Trusted friend. Beloved friend. But whether you use adjectives or different words, few could deny the nearly infinite meaning in such a simple word.

    Friends are special people. We can't pick our family, and we're sorely limited in the number of them at any rate. Society and mores (and often our own conscience) dictate we select a single mate. But our friends can be as diverse and infinite as the adjectives we choose. Our friends, in a very real sense, reflect the choices we make in life.

    Sharing ideas and opinions with each other is part of having a friendship. Holding different ideas is normal and these differences may lead to arguments. You may feel hurt, disappointed, angry, sad or lonely when you disagree with a friend. These feelings may make it difficult to manage the argument.

    Working through a disagreement may make the friendship stronger. Some suggestions for helping to resolve an argument and disagreement with friends may include:

    Wanting to Stay Friends - Wanting to understand and accept the differences gives you a place to start. Doing this still allows you both to have to different opinions, however through understanding each other you may be able to agree to disagree.

    Speak to Your Friend
    - Letting your friend know how you feel may be helpful. Keeping stuff to yourself may make you more angry. It is a good idea to speak to them when you both feel calm. It may help to write down your thoughts before talking, this may help you to be clear about what you want to say. Talking to someone else you trust can also help you to work out how you are going to approach your friend. People you could talk to may include another friend, a family member or youth worker. If you decide to talk to someone, try focusing on how you feel rather than what the friend has done or said.

    Listen to your Friend - Allowing your friend to tell their side of the story and really listening to them may be helpful in managing the argument. It may be tempting to interrupt, but instead, try and wait until they have finished.

    Try to Avoid Blame - When you are hurt and angry it can be normal to want to blame someone. Laying blame may make a situation harder. To avoid laying blame it may be helpful to stay focused on how you feel.

    Ending a Friendship - Over time your interests may change, which can mean you have less in common with your friend and ending the friendship may be the best thing for you. When a friendship ends it may involve several people and it may be difficult to stay part of a group. This may be lonely and it can take time to move on. Talking to someone you trust like another friend, family member, youth worker or counsellor may be helpful.

    A Friendship Poem

    by Tara Simms

    When you need a shoulder to cry on,
    Remember that I have a warm embrace,
    Ready to offer comfort.

    When you think I'm being too tough,
    Remember that which does not kill you
    Makes you stronger.

    When you need a friend to listen,
    Remember that I am here for you,

    When you doubt me,
    Remember that I once knelt at your feet,
    Washing them in service to you.

    When you lose faith in yourself,
    Remember that I never did,
    Nor ever will.

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    How To Relax Before Final Exams

    How to Relax Before Final Exams
    By eHow Education Editor

    For most people, relaxing before final exams may prove just as difficult as learning advanced calculus or chemistry. The extra stress affects your overall health and well being, as well as your grades, so steal a moment to take a deep breath and relax.


    Prepare for the exam prior to the night before. The earlier you start studying, the more comfortable you will feel with the material. Give yourself at least a week (or two) to review course material. Stop cramming about an hour before the test, so you can focus on relaxing instead.

    Step away from the computer and books every now and then. Physical activity lets you relax, focus your thoughts better, clear your head and get your juices running. Take regular breaks while studying, and then try taking a short walk just before final exams start.

    Breathe deep and easily. Deep breathing offers an easy method of reducing stress. Simply close your eyes, relax your body, breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat until you feel calm. This works while studying and just before the actual exam. Try it in your seat instead of cramming!

    Laugh out loud. If you have a problem laughing alone, watch a short movie or sitcom. Instead of having a breakdown, let yourself laugh and find humor in any situation. This keeps anger, depression and anxiety from setting in.

    Visualize yourself calm and in control during your exam. Visualization techniques help reduce anxiety and prepare you for exams. Spend a few moments the night before and in the last moments prior to an exam visualizing yourself relaxed and ready to work.

    Rest the night before a final. You will do better on a good night's sleep, as opposed to fighting to stay awake during a test. You also need sleep for your mind to comprehend and answer complex questions, so make sure you arrive to exams well rested.

    Arrive early. Double check the location and time of your exams and plan on arriving early, so you do not feel rushed. This also gives you time to practice a few relaxation exercises.

    Friday, April 24, 2009

    A Sociological Perspective on Physical Attractiveness

    Cultural, social, or time period environments can have a strong effect on the degree to which people determine certain traits to be attractive. As part of the socialization process, children typically learn what their culture or time period considers attractive. Media, including written as well as visual forms, such as films and cartoons, for example, frequently portray "villains" or "bad" individual as less attractive, while protagonists are frequently depicted as attractive. This often leads to the perception that beauty can be equated with goodness or virtue in certain ways and certain time periods or cultures. Indeed, the term for "beautiful" or "attractive" in many languages, is literally that the person "looks good". Children are shown examples of what is considered beautiful in the form of dolls and pictures on magazine covers. Perception of what is considered as attractive and appealing is also very heavily influenced by other dominant cultures and the impact of their value systems.

    One of the more important properties is symmetry, which is also associated with physical health. Large, clear eyes are also important. Large eyes are often considered to mark a high degree of attractiveness in East Asia, perhaps because some Asians consider large eyes relatively more rare in Asian populations, and are often spoken about in Asian culture; Asian culture often notes ethnic non-Asians for the size of their eyes. (Nose size and structure can also be determinant in attractiveness, especially in Asian cultures.) Facial symmetry is seen as a universal determinant of health and therefore of beauty. A person of either gender who is considered as attractive in various cultures has been found to have facial symmetry based on the golden ratio of 1:1.618. Plastic surgeon Stephen Marquardt developed an ideal beauty mask marked with various outlines of facial features based on the golden ratio. The faces that are judged as most attractive are found to fit the mask.

    Olfactory signals, or smell,can influence the perception of attractiveness. Almost universally, the heavy body odor emitted by those with strongly smelling sweat or those who have not frequently bathed is considered unattractive (with the occasional exception of certain fetishes). However, the smell of the human body, that is, insofar as it has not reached the unpleasant degree of body odor, is often considered a sexually attractive factor. Indeed, organisms, including humans, emit pheromones, which frequently cause them to be perceived as sexually attractive to others. Moreover, many human cultures favor the use of fragrant substances, such as perfume or cologne, or of fragrant soaps and body products. Individuals using such fragrances are typically considered attractive in such cultures, and not exclusively sexually. Additionally, individuals who have freshly bathed, including young children, can often be considered highly "pleasant", "clean", or "beautiful".

    Determinants of male physical attractiveness
    Sexual attraction for males on the part of females is determined largely by the height of the man. Males at least a few inches/centimeters taller than prospective female partners are more likely to be perceived as handsome. It would be preferable if the man is at least a little above the average in height in the given population of males. This implies that women look for signs of dominance and power as factors that determine male beauty. Other properties that enhance perception of male attractiveness are a slightly larger chest than the average, and an erect posture. Women seem more receptive to an erect posture than men, though both prefer it as an element of beauty; this fact appears correlated to the preference for males who demonstrate confidence, physical strength and a powerful bearing.

    During the social revolutions following the Second World War, the concept of male beauty became increasingly accepted by mainstream male populations in the West (previously, the idea of a man being preoccupied with his appearance was considered slightly abnormal; there are still some proscriptions in many societies of the world, including that of China, where the term choumei 臬美 (literally: stinking beauty) still has some strength). The beginning of the rise of the gay movement in the late-twentieth century Western world began to influence consideration of what was physically attractive in men (leading to the formation of the metrosexual, a heterosexual man who embraces the traditionally feminine concern for his appearance.

    Today, certain characteristics are generally accepted throughout the Western world as signs of physical attractiveness. These are, of course, far from universal:
    The attractiveness of a muscular physique largely arose as a social backlash against effeminate homosexual men - in order to set themselves apart, many straight and gay men built muscular bodies as a symbol of their masculinity. Today, muscular physiques are generally desired by most men in the West, but extreme over-development can be viewed as undesirable to some women. This stems from the differing reasons for homosexual men versus heterosexual women to prefer muscular physiques. Gay men consider muscularity attractive for the above cultural reasons. Heterosexual women, in the United States, tend to prefer muscularity because of its association with a working class occupation. (It is important to note that, while women in Western societies prefer wealthy men, they can be attracted to lower class personality and physical traits.)

    The popularity of particular hairstyles changes constantly. Hairstyles are very easy to alter, are generally the least conformist expression of individuality, and as a result men can be regarded as attractive regardless of the form of their hair. Differentiation line between forehead and hair-mass is an indication of masculinity. A hair-line with a degree of protrusion over the temples is typical of masculinity. In certain cultures, like India, having a big forehead is considered a sign of good fortune.

    In Western societies, men and women of all races often agree that a face with pronounced cheekbones and often a heavily-set jaw is physically attractive. These are currently viewed as indicative of a "masculine personality". These skeletal features in addition to a slightly elongated face can make the masculinity more heightened and the male much more attractive. A dimple in the center of the chin is also often regarded as an attractive feature.

    Determinants of female physical attractiveness
    The determinants of female physical attractiveness include those aspects that display health and fitness for reproduction and sustainance. These include correlates of fertility such as the waist-hip-ratio, mid upper arm circumference, Body mass proportion and facial symmetry. Scientists have discovered that the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a significant factor in judging female attractiveness. Women with a 0.7 WHR (waist circumference that is 70% of the hip circumference) are invariably rated as more attractive by men, regardless of their culture. Such diverse beauty icons as Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Sophia Loren, Kate Moss, and the Venus de Milo all have ratios around 0.7. The ratio signals fertility—as they age, women's waists thicken as their fertility declines.

    The Body Mass Index (BMI) is another important universal determinant to the perception of beauty. The BMI refers to the proportion of the body mass to the body structure. However, in various cultures, the optimal body proportion is interpreted differently due to cultural learnings and traditions. The Western ideal considers a slim and slender body mass as optimal while many ancient traditions consider a plump body-mass as appealing. In either case the underlying rule applied in determining beauty is the BMI and hence displays how cultural differences of beauty operate on universal principles of human evolution.The slim ideal does not consider an emaciated body as attractive, just as the full-rounded ideal does not celebrate the over-weight or the obese. The cultural leanings are therefore just social emphasis on specific phenotypes within a parameter of optimal BMI.The attraction for a proportionate body also influences an appeal for erect posture.

    As with males, a slightly larger chest in females is considered in many cultures to be an attractive sign of reproductive fitness.Besides biology and culture, there are other factors determining physical attractiveness. The more familiar a face seems, the more highly it is judged, an example of the mere exposure effect. It is seen that when many faces are combined into a composite image (through computer morphing), people find the resultant image as familiar and attractive, and even more beautiful than the faces that went into it. One interpretation is that this shows an inherent human preference for prototypicality. That is, the resultant face emerges with the salient features shared by most faces and hence becomes the prototype. The prototypical face and features is therefore perceived as symmetrical and familiar. This reveals an "underlying preference for the familiar and safe over the unfamiliar and potentially dangerous" (Berscheid and Reis, 1998). However, critics of this interpretation point out that compositing computer images also has the effect of removing skin blemishes such as scars and generally softens sharp facial features.

    The degree of skin complexion on the spectrum of dark to light also plays a role in determining male attractiveness, but has historically been more prevalent as a determinant of female attractiveness, although by the 20th century this had begun to change. It is inconsistent between cultures whether darker skin or lighter skin will be favored: in some, lighter tones are preferred, while in others, tanned or darker skin is preferred.In the 20th and 21st century Western world, tanned skin has been considered highly attractive for both men and women. A theory for why this is so is that sometime during the 20th century it became possible for those with higher incomes to travel around the world. Many of these people would travel to the French Riviera, and upon returning, would have a nice tan. Thus, the tan became a symbol of status.Another reason that tan are now favored (especially to Western Society) is that tanning will give a glow and "make skin shinier", which is more appealing to the skin that is pasty (rather than pale), rough (dry), not "glowing".

    Prior to this, lighter skin was preferred, as this was considered a marker of a more "cultured" individual or "gentlewoman" who could spend time indoors or undershade, and did not engage in outdoor labor. Also, racism was involved in this situation as a lot of people associated darker skin tone with negative impact such as "dirty" and "low-status', etc. One example is the segregation between "White" people and the "Coloured" people in the United States in the early years. In eastern parts of Asia, including Southeast Asia, this preference for lighter skin remains prevalent. (However, certain sub-cultures, such as the ganguro of Japan, indicate preference for a darker-skinned ideal as an ironic version of the California beach girl and as a statement against mainstream Japanese standards of beauty).

    In Asia (East Asia in particular), fair skin is associated with youth, since skin darkens with exposure to the sun and ageing. This appreciation of youthful beauty is not exclusive to East Asia and can be linked to the phenomenon of neoteny. Thus, it is hardly surprising that sales of skin whitening products in East Asia contribute significant profits to the cosmetics industry. This liking for fair skin however is not a recent development and, in China, for example, can be traced back to ancient drawings depicting women and goddesses with fair skin tones. In those periods Chinese brides were often described and praised to suitors as being fair-skinned, a trait usually only associated with girls from royalty or nobility who could afford to stay indoors most of the time.

    Adapted from the Wikipedia article "Social effects of attractiveness", under the G.N U Free Docmentation License.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Exhibit Your Winning Personality

    Personal development blogger Alex Shalman explains that those who have winning personalities are loved and respected. These individuals are not thinking of themselves. Instead, they have everyone's best interests at heart. So how, then, do you achieve a personality that everyone loves? Be kind and compassionate. Believe in yourself. Exhibit integrity and optimism. Have an open mind. Do not speak negatively of others. Take responsibility for your actions. Help others when you can. Be persistent, and don't give up. With a winning personality, you attract more friends and can enrich the lives of anyone who comes into contact with you.

    A winning personality is someone that is trusted, loved, and respected. To you, it may mean someone who is rich, charismatic, or successful. We won’t dwell on semantics during this post, and just stick to my initial definition. In order to have a winning personality, it is of utmost importance to have everyone’s best interest in mind.


    1. Exhibit integrity

    One is said to have integrity to the extent that everything he does and believes is based on the same core set of values. While those values may change, it is their consistency with each other and with the person’s actions that determine his integrity.

    2. Do not speak badly of others
    When you confide in a friend and speak badly of others, what’s to say that you won’t speak badly about the friend to someone else? When you establish yourself as someone that does not speak badly, you will find that more people confide in you.

    3. Stay optimistic

    I don’t mean blindly optimistic where you think it’ll rain money tomorrow. I’m talking about putting aside what’s going wrong in order to focus on what’s important and stay on course.

    4. Help others when you can
    They say you don’t know how much money you have until you give it away. I think the same goes for knowledge and all of our abilities in general. I think part of our purpose in developing ourselves, our skills and talents is to be able to share it.

    5. High ambitions
    This is one of the most contagious qualities. The reason is that your dreams or goals not only bring you hope, but hope to the people around you. You enroll (or recruit) them into this dream, and it inspires and motivates them to dream goals of their own.

    6. Kind and compassionate

    One of the most important qualities a person can possess. The ability to feel the suffering of others, and to care and possibly do something about it. If you think it sucks to feel someone else’s pain in addition to your own, you can also consider the feeling of unlimited love and joy that others experience as well.

    7. Believe in and respect yourself

    If you don’t respect yourself, you can’t honestly expect others to do it. When you make decisions, with love and respect of yourself in mind, you’ll be pleased to see yourself taking action on a higher level.

    8. Persist until you succeed
    Being ambitious is not enough. In The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich, Brian Kim talks about persistence as the key to succeeding. It’s when you fall down, realize that your set back is a lesson learned, and get up to persevere.

    9. Open mindedness
    If you aren’t open minded, than your set in your ways, doomed to never discover a newer and better way. Than again, you might already know everything you need to do to be happy (you are special!)

    10. Take responsibility
    Blaming others doesn’t really solve problems. A person with a winning personality will take responsibility for what happened and take measures to prevent the situation from repeating itself.

    When you constantly exhibit the above qualities, you will be forging a name for yourself as a person with a winning personality. A winning personality will not only enrich your own life, but also open many doors for you as you interact with others. Eventually things catch up to you. If you’re known as a crook than the people around you will figure you out and distrust you.If you’re a person of integrity, than people around you will trust and confide in you.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Adopting Anxiety Management Techniques


    1. Thought-stopping technique
    When we become anxious we begin to have negative thoughts ('I can't answer anything', 'I'm going to panic' etc). If this is happening, halt the spiralling thoughts by mentally shouting 'STOP!'. Or picture a road STOP sign, or traffic lights on red. Once you have literally stopped the thoughts, you can continue planning, or practise a relaxation technique.

    2. Creating mild pain
    Pain effectively overrides all other thoughts and impulses. Even very mild pain - such as lightly pressing your fingernails into your palm - can block feelings of anxiety. Some people find it helpful to place an elastic band around one wrist, and lightly twang it when they are becoming anxious.

    3. Use a mantra
    Derived from meditation, a mantra is a word or phrase which you repeat to yourself. Saying something like 'calm' or 'relax' under your breath or in your head, over and over again, can help defuse anxiety.

    4. Focusing
    Looking out of the window, noticing the number of people with red hair, counting the number of desks in each row... all help to distract your attention from anxious thoughts and keep your mind busy. Mental games such as making words out of another word or title, using alphabetical lists etc are all good forms of distraction.

    5. Bridging objects
    It can help to carry or wear something with positive associations with another person or place. Touching this bridging object can be comforting in its own right, then allow yourself a few minutes to think about the person or situation which makes you feel good. This can have a really calming effect.

    6. Self-talk
    In exam anxiety or panic we often give ourselves negative messages, 'I can't do this' 'I'm going to fail' 'I'm useless'. Try to consciously replace these with positive, encouraging thoughts: 'This is just anxiety, it can't harm me', 'Relax, concentrate, it's going to be OK', 'I'm getting there, nearly over'.

    Whichever of the distraction techniques has worked for you, finish by going through the refocusing exercise (it only takes 30 seconds or so, but may have a profound effect on your ability to believe in yourself and the task in hand). Different techniques work for different people, so it's worth experimenting to find the ones that are right for you. Developing techniques for managing panic can take time, so it pays to keep practising.

    Source :

    Overcoming Exam Anxiety

    Almost everyone feels nervous before an exam. Butterflies in the stomach and worrying thoughts - 'Will I be able to answer the questions?' 'Have I done enough revision?' - are indications of exam nerves that are probably familiar to all students. In fact, a certain amount of nervous tension probably helps us perform to the best of our ability, producing a rush of adrenaline that helps us to feel alert and focused. But too much anxiety can BLOCK thoughts, create a negative frame of mind, and lead to panic and potentially poor exam performance.

    There are a number of things you can do to help manage exam anxiety and turn uncomfortable, panicky thoughts into more creative tension.


    It's hard to panic if you are feeling relaxed. Try to establish a pattern of revision that gives you time to relax, especially last thing at night. Experiment until you find the best way of relaxing to suit you - a long bath, exercise, listening to music, a relaxation tape (available from the Medical Centre)

    1. Relaxation and positive stress management techniques can be learned and acquired with practice (see Stress Management: A Guide for Students). Knowing how to relax is invaluable in the lead-up to exams, and on the day itself. If you think you are under-performing in exams due to exam anxiety or panic, do think ahead and seek help. It helps to feel as well-prepared as possible.

    2. As well as thinking about the subjects you are revising, it can be useful to pay attention to practical aspects of the exam. Find out where it is scheduled to take place and how long it will take you to get there. It's a good idea to go and look at the room/building so that it feels more familiar. Make sure you know the rules and regulations about what you can take into the exam room etc.

    3. Put yourself into a positive frame of mind by imagining how you would LIKE things to go. Imagine yourself turning up for the exam feeling confident and relaxed - try to picture it in as much detail as possible. Rather like rehearsing for a part in a play, this can replace negative, anxious thoughts with more positive ones. Don't work to the last minute on the night or morning before the exam. Last-minute revision may leave you feeling muddled and anxious.


    Here are some tried and tested remedies to the 'I can't answer anything' feeling and other worrying thoughts about exams.
    When you get into the exam room and sit down, the following approach can help settle your nerves:

    1. Take a deep breath in and a long breath out
    Breathe in again and straighten your back - as if someone were pulling a lever between your shoulder blades.

    2. Look straight ahead at something inanimate (the wall, a picture, the clock...) and focus your mind on the positive thought 'I CAN DO this exam' as you breathe out.
    Take another deep breath in and a long breath out. Then breathe normally.

    3. You have 15 minutes to read the paper, so do so thoroughly. If you begin to feel panicky again, repeat the focusing exercise. Panicking will stop you reading carefully, so it is important to keep yourself focused and positive. Read the whole paper once, then read it again and mark the questions you think you can answer. Then read those questions carefully - make sure you understand what is required - and select the ones you are going to answer.

    4. Decide on the order in which you'll answer the questions.
    It is usually best to begin with the one you feel most confident about. Think about how you will plan your time, and stick to your plan.

    5. Plan out your answer for each question as you go. If you find that thoughts or ideas about other questions come into your head, jot them down on a separate piece of paper - don't spend time thinking about them now.

    6. If your concentration wanders or you begin to feel panicky, you could try the focusing exercise again, or use one of the following techniques to help you overcome anxious thoughts. If you are worried that you haven't got time to spare on this, remember that taking 5 or 10 minutes NOW may save you spending the rest of the exam in a state of panic.

    Source :

    A Workshop on MQA

    Date : 21 April, 2009
    Time : 8.30am to 5.00pm
    Venue : Cengal Suites, Pulai Springs Resort, Skudai, Johor
    Participants : Head of Departments, Head of Programmes, Head of Panel of Courses

    * Note : MQA stands for Malaysian Quality Assurance

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Department of HRD's Annual Dinner 2009

    Date : 20 April, 2009
    Time : 8.30 pm
    Venue : Pulai Springs Resort, Skudai, Johor
    Event : Department of Human Resource Development's Annual Dinner 2009

    This event was specially held to honour our staff's hardwork and effort that have contributed to the success of our 1st Regional Conference on Human Resource Development (RESERD 2008), which has taken place at Primula Beach Resort, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu from 14 - 15 January, 2008. It was a grand affair and a successful one so far since it was officiated by the former Menteri Besar of Terengganu, YAB Dato' Seri Haji Idris Jusoh.

    As the Director of the conference, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have supported and contributed to the successful implementation of the conference. My heartiest gratitude goes to the top management of the university and also to the smart partnership extended by the Terengganu State Government, especially the Terengganu Development (TDI), headed by Dr. Azmi Omar. I would also like to thank the faculty, our former Dean, Prof. Dr. Durrishah (and also my very best friend! ;-), Thanks, Durri!) for the support given to us, and most importantly to my team for their hard work, innovativeness in their approach and, for being incredibly committed, till the very end of the road.

    Apart from this, the annual dinner also warmly welcomes our new Head of Department, Dr. Hashim Fauzy Yaacob. Thanks Dr. Rozeyta Omar (our former Head) for her contribution in leading the Department for about three years. We certainly hope that Dr. Hashim will continue doing whatever task needed to the betterment of the Department and finally, the achievement of our KPI's!

    Some memorable moments for the album....

    The handling of "power" =>>

    Me and Dr. Rozeyta =>>

    Our new boss =>> Dr. Hashim Fauzy

    Me and my dear friend, Akmar (who's leaving for her PhD soon in New Zealand)

    The annual dinner's organizing commitee. (From L-R: Dayana, Irma and Akma). Well done, dear! Good job!

    The Director's Pose for the Night=>>

    The feast =>>

    The Heroes of JPSM :-) =>>

    Pretty ladies all in a row :-) =>>