If your children are fasting, do ensure that they understand what’s happening to their body, and when they will feel comfortable and stabilised.

TODAY marks the eighth day of Ramadan where Muslims worldwide observe a strict diet routine from dawn till dusk. Beyond limiting their food intake, it is also a time of spiritual discipline, where negative thoughts and emotions are curbed. Yes, these are challenging tasks even for the pious. Yet during this month, it seems that ordinary people are able to adjust to the demanding rigours of Ramadan in just a matter of days.

PHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS

Scientists generally agree that fasting, when done correctly, can be good for the body. This can be explained from a physiological point of view. If your children are fasting, do ensure that they understand what’s happening to their body, and when they will feel comfortable and stabilised.

According to an article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Ramadan fasting causes many physiological, biochemical, metabolic and spiritual changes in the body.” It claims that fasting can increase the red and white blood cells, while decreasing the blood cholesterol levels. In short, fasting can heal the body and even possibly prevent cancer in some cases.

MENTAL BENEFITS

The first rule of fasting is to simply make a decision to do it, and to set your mind on it. It’s like sending an important signal to the brain to prepare the body for the drastic changes that will come tomorrow. Our minds are really more powerful than we can imagine.

Napoleon Hill once said: “What our minds can conceive and believe, we can achieve.” This is true not only in the act of fasting but also in all other aspects of life. People have achieved the impossible simply by starting to think that they can do it. Our children must harness the power of their minds too. Encourage them to achieve the “impossible” by believing in the possibilities. Be concerned if they easily give up and find ways to motivate them further.

FINANCIAL BENEFITS

If done well, we can actually save money during Ramadan. But first, we must learn to avoid the many temptations. Just look at the endless spread of colourful, delicious and glorious food at the bazaar. Then comes the expensive but attractive buka puasa buffets. On top of that, there will be the ubiquitous Hari Raya sales. A lot of wastage occur because of this.

Our job is to find creative ways to combat the temptations. One way is to bring a limited amount of cash if we have to visit the bazaar. Better still, gather the family and have a cooking session at home. As for the sales, don’t fall for the usual discount spiels. Analyse our needs and wants. Get the family involved and we may be surprised to discover that we don’t really need many new things.

SOCIAL BENEFITS

The best part of this season is seeing friends from different races and religions wishing “Happy Ramadan” to one another. I’m proud when my non-Muslim friends send me Ramadan wishes. I’m even more proud when I know that they are trying their best to respect my religious beliefs and practices.

This proves that we can put our differences aside and focus on the uniting factor of Ramadan. This is also the time to mend broken relationships. Friends, neighbours and colleagues can also help to spread love during this month and beyond.

At the end of the day, Ramadan is not just about fasting, but so much more. Once we open up our minds, there are plenty of benefits that this holy season has in store for everyone.

**The article above was brought to you by AmMetLife Insurance Bhd

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