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How to Use Hashtags on Social Media?

Gone are the days when hashtags were just used on Twitter. It is hard to spot a post without hashtags on social media these days. They are not only ruling the digital space but influences the way we speak too.

What are hashtags?

#flashbackfriday, #dogsoginstagram, #travel are some of the top hashtags we see on social media. But have you ever thought what was the actual purpose behind it apart from following the hashtag trend like the rest? Many may know the motive behind it while others use it for fun.

Hashtags are used in social media posts or content to help us lead to the events that are currently trending or help a business to promote its products. Through these hashtags, your content is easily reachable to millions of users worldwide.

Hashtag strings represent how they are connected to each other in the world of social media.
Hashtag connects people and brands.

Why do we use hashtags?

1. Easily discoverable for target audience.

Your target audience will find you through the hashtags they search on social media. Using relevant hashtags in a post is important that is related to your brand.

2. Help to engage with your followers.

Including a hashtag related to a current trend in your field will help increase engagement with your followers. It paves a platform for public discussions and the brand could even receive more attention and publicity.

Engagement with followers on social media can be defined by the number of likes, comments, shares and tags.
Be an influence.

3. Create social awareness and support.

In difficult times like the pandemic or a flood, we can see social media users include hashtags on their posts or messages while sharing important information regarding the issue. This way, hashtags create general awareness among the social media users and helps the matter revolve around a large number of users.

Hashtags make us aware of an issue or a social cause.
Support for a social cause.

4. Creative hashtags> Longer captions.

Sometimes when you run out of space to fill your caption, you can always add creative hashtags that call out your brand and its followers. Adding suitable hashtags instead of captions can tell the audience the message you are trying to convey.

How to use hashtags on social media?

Here are a few tips on how to use hashtags effectively on social media:

1. Include trending hashtags.

Make use of the trending hashtags to increase engagement with the followers. It can lead to followers talking about your post and sharing it.

Hashtags on social media have become a trend.
Twitter – Where it all started.

2. Use simple and specific ones.

A good, discoverable hashtag is short, precise and easy to spell. One would never suggest going for a generic or an unprecedented hashtag. To make a conversation out of your recent post, you can always create a unique hashtag that defines your brand.

3. Avoid spamming.

Do not overuse hashtags which can cause lesser engagement. That is why social media platforms have set a limit on hashtag frequencies.

4. Always double-check.

Always search your hashtag on the respective social media platform before using it. Check if the hashtag has any negative impact or controversies surrounding it. Using such hashtags can bring down your engagement with your followers and most importantly, affect your brand.

Conduct thorough research on the hashtags on social media.
Know what you search for.

So we know that hashtags are essential while promoting a brand or its product on social media. Regular engagement with its followers is the principal key for a brand to become successful on social media platforms. Hence, with the right hashtags and motives, one can stand out from the rest.

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Ways to Pursue Stand-up Comedy.

Have you ever thought about ditching the normal route, that is engineering and pursuing something you’re truly passionate about? Maybe something like stand-up comedy?

It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s easier to learn what you love in today’s time as more offbeat careers are starting to take over the professional world.

Stand up comedy is definitely one of those professions!

What is Stand-up Comedy?

To express the art of comedy.
Comedy is a form of art.

Stand-up comedy is a comedy performance where a comedian is on stage in front of an audience and delivers a pre-prepared routine.

Usually, the material used is prepared and tested by the comedian before it is performed on stage and the genre of the material varies based on the comedian’s humour.

But there are some things that are pretty universal when it comes to standup comedy as an art form;

1. Solo gigs.

Stand-up comedy is considered a one-man or woman show. If you’re more comfortable performing as part of a team or ensemble, improv can help you scratch that itch. 

2. Pre-prepared material.

To express the importance of creating a set.
Comedians prepare their sets beforehand.

No, don’t even think about “winging it”, that’s just the best recipe for disaster. The most iconic stand-up routines are the result of lots of practice and precise refinement.

3. Performance is art.

Stand-up is one of the hardest forms of comedy to master. Being able to write out a couple of jokes isn’t enough, it’s being able to find your voice on stage and making sure your presence leaves an impact.

How to Get into Stand-up Comedy?

Since getting started is always the scariest part, here are a few ways for aspiring comedians to try their luck in the world of standup:

1. Standup comedy classes.

You don’t have to take classes if you don’t want to. But if you’re having trouble getting started then a class might help you set your goals and options straight.

2. Open mics. (use them to your advantage)

To express the importance of open mics while pursuing stand-up comedy.
Go out and perform at open mics.

Open mics will give you the chance to perform and tune your set in front of a live audience. They’re also a great place to network with other people in the industry, from fellow up-and-comers to bookers who can eventually land you for more professional gigs. 

3. Find your voice.

As tempting as it may be, don’t try to imitate your standup comedy heroes. Instead, try to think deeply about who you are in real life and who you want to be on stage. You could also come up with an alter-ego to help you find your stage voice.

Stand-up Comedy tips for Beginners.

Get your stand-up career started at open mics.

While getting your stand-up comedy career started is hard, no part of the journey is going to be easy. Stand-up is not for the weak or faint of heart, it takes a certain kind of strength to see beauty in the broken pieces.

Here are a few tips for those strong enough to choose this path,

1. Keep performing as often as you can.

You can write jokes alone, but you can’t actually practice standup comedy alone. Stand-up comedy can only really exist with an audience. The more time you spend performing in front of people, the better your set will be.

2. Take notes.

To express the importance of taking notes.
Always be ready to take notes.

Inspiration can strike at any given time. Don’t miss out on what could be your best ideas just because you forgot to write them down.

3. Give it all you’ve got.

As a stand-up comedian, you’ll soon realize that the audience can sense the energy that you bring to the stage. Whatever emotion you’re feeling, the audience is going to feel as well.

So bring your A-game and charm the room.

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12 Steps to Start Writing

So you want to get into writing..

Maybe you have journals full of scribbled poems, or people have told you you have a way with words. 

And so you want to try. See if you can be a writer. Express emotions you’re feeling or experiences and anecdotes with just words.

But where do you start? 

Nobody is born a writer. You become one, much like the oft-quoted rough diamonds that undergo a brutal polishing process to result in bright jewels. 

So this is where you can begin.

1. Read.

To express that reading is important to write.
Reading can help improve your vocabulary.

It is an almost unspoken rule that to write well, you must read well.

This is something very important, and the reason is simple. Reading helps you find inspiration, increase your vocabulary, understand grammar rules– the list is endless.

It doesn’t matter what you read– fiction or nonfiction, blogs or newspaper articles. This is where you start.

Read everything you can get your hands on because that will subconsciously become a part of you. You’re only the sum of everything you’ve seen, heard and read.

So read, and then read some more.

2. Start Writing.

Now, you actually start.

Write a sentence every day.

If you don’t know where to begin, use a prompt list. They are a great place to start, if you need inspiration or want to challenge yourself.

All you have to do is to get up and write every day.

Set a target for yourself, whether it is a word limit or a time duration.

And write, write, write.

3. Keep going (Discipline).

If writing is your priority, as it must be if you’re reading this, you need to set goals for yourself.

You need to stick to those goals. And they need not be big things. Even writing for 30 minutes daily is a good goal.

Motivation is one thing, but you can’t always be motivated- so you have to learn to be disciplined. You need to hold yourself accountable for those goals.

Catch yourself slacking off, and reward yourself if you’ve done well. But keep going.

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.”

4. Learn (Take classes).

To learn more to write.
Take classes and improve the way you write.

There’s no limit to how much one can learn. Choose your means of learning, and dive right in.

There are thousands, if not more, of YouTube videos on any given particular topic that you can watch and understand.

Alternatively, there are courses that you can take, both online and offline, that can help give you an overview of all things writing. 

5. Create a swipe file.

This may include your favourite blog posts, stories, poems, articles, headlines and emails.

Every writer, marketer and designer has one- it mainly serves as inspiration for you to go through on a certain rainy day, where you can’t seem to come up with anything to write. 

6. Don’t edit (yet).

Austin Leon, author of Steal Like an Artist, mentions, “The computer is really good for editing your ideas, and it’s really good for getting your ideas ready for publishing out into the world, but it’s not really good for generating ideas. There are too many opportunities to hit the delete key. The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist in us–we start editing ideas before we have them.” 

Writing and editing are two different steps in the writing process; do not mix up their order.

I have caught myself doing this as well, and the only solution I’ve found to it is to actively stop myself from using the backspace key before I’m actually done with a piece. 

7. Explore.

Explore different types of writing.
Explore the different writing styles to find your niche.

Now that you’re in the flow, try out different things.

Maybe you like to write poems. Still, push yourself to write things you may not like, like longer articles.

Understand what you like and why you like it, and also what you don’t like and why. You might realise things about your writing that you haven’t noticed before like maybe you prefer poems without a rhyme scheme, or opinionated pieces do not resonate with you.

This helps you understand your work as a writer, and what you can do best.

8. Edit.

Now is when you use the backspace key.

In fact, editing is like rewriting your piece. And rewriting might sound like a terrible thing, but it doesn’t need to be so.

You now know the thoughts that were running through your head when you were writing, and you get to rethink the way the sentence is written. And so you have a better chance to shape these words the way you actually want. 

9. Put it out there.

There are multiple benefits to putting out your work online– whether you start a blog, website or even an account on social media. 

-Your account essentially becomes an online portfolio, and everyone can see the work you do. This is especially beneficial if you’re interested in freelancing or getting commissioned work and earning a little, on the side.

-It could help with consistency. Obviously, there’s a fine line between posting regularly and obsessing over your content. But in a sense, it keeps you accountable for your writing, especially if you need an external push sometimes. 

-You could join related communities online. They have competitions, e-meets, and you could connect with people in your field and increase your network as well. In fact, you could also ask for feedback regarding your work. But tread cautiously, the internet is a crazy place.

-Your stuff could go viral! It’s not something you can aim for–but again, the internet is a crazy place, who knows what could happen!

10. Focus.

Focus on improving your writing.
Focus is key to being a good writer.

You’ve probably written a bunch of stuff by now, experimented with things you know you don’t like or think are tedious.

Now, it’s time to choose a niche.

Becoming a writer doesn’t just include writing books or blogging. In fact, there is a wide variety of types and styles of writing that you could explore–copywriting, social media content creation, journalism, content writing, microblogging, scriptwriting, novel writing, creative writing and humour writing are just some of them.

11. Try (freelance writing).

Now that you know your niche, and you have at least a few people in your network that you have had conversations with, it is time to step out and look around for gigs you might be able to help with.

Consider your existing skills as you talk to potential clients, and, especially as you are just starting out, prioritize experience over a paycheck. Gradually, your portfolio will develop, and you can dive head-first into the world of freelancing.

12. Continue to keep writing.

Consistency is key, and that’s all there is to it. Follow steps 1- 12, and repeat, in any order.

Keep writing, keep your social media account/blog/website active, and you will definitely start to get various opportunities to write.

And voila, somewhere between the editing and re-editing of your two-page document, and a few (hundred) cups of coffee, you are now a writer. Not to say you always weren’t– you just had to hone your skills, as any craftsperson does.

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10 Tips on How to Balance Work and Studies

It is an incredible bonus for the students who work when they are in college. Be it an internship or a part-time job, it helps them have a few skills to add to their resume or to meet their financial needs. While seeing a successful outcome, there is a certain amount of hard work and dedication put into it. Many can get stressed or feel overwhelmed in the race of trying to balance work and studies, especially when the exams are around the corner.

So, here are ten tips that could help a working student like you or a friend of yours who might be struggling to balance work and studies.

1. Create a to-do list

Sort out your tasks for the entire week on the night before a new week starts in your planner or notebook. Take time and think thoroughly about every single task that you have to do. Learn how to prioritize duties according to their level of importance. Keeping a buffer time with each of them will also help you save extra time for leisure. Always stick to the schedule.

To express the importance of balancing work and studies.
Organize your tasks.

2. Stop procrastinating

It’s always better to say done than to put it on hold. Avoid negative self-talk when you feel the urge to procrastinate. When you feel like not working, you can incorporate other activities that indirectly support your work; like reading an interesting blog that can help you get an idea of what you are doing or going through tutorials. This way you can not waste your time too.

To avoid procrastinating.
Keep up-to-date with your work.

3. Follow a healthy timetable

There is nothing better than following a proper diet and getting sufficient sleep than skipping one’s food or staying up late at night to finish pending work every single day. Always keep yourself hydrated and remember to take short breaks in the middle of all the juggling. Do not forget to save some “me time” every day despite all the work, where you can listen to your favourite music or go for a walk.

To express the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

4. Avoid distractions

Stay away from anything that can distract you while you work. It could be your mobile phone or the loud music from the next room. You can always find a solution to keep yourself from getting distracted. One can work with music while the other cannot. So do what you think is best for you to improve or balance work and studies.

To express the importance of avoiding distractions.
Choose a method that works out for you.

5. Taking care of yourself

As important as your assignments and deadlines are, so is your health. At one point, one can get tired and stressed out, so taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for you. To keep yourself calm and focused throughout the day, you can save 20-30 minutes of the day for exercise and meditation. It can help your mind and body relax.

To express taking care of yourself.
Health comes first.

6. Communication is important

Be it personal or professional, it is always important to share what you feel with your family, friends, teachers and manager. Let your teachers and manager know you are a working student and you have your set of tasks and assignments and need time to manage everything without exhausting yourself. Sharing needs and feelings with others can bring a lot of differences to your workflow.

To express the importance of communicating.
Make your point.

7. Active social life

Despite all the work, never forget to spend time with your family, pets and friends. Isolating yourself when you are busy is not the ideal way for your brain to function. But learn to set boundaries and know where and what to prioritize. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice going to the movies with your friends to prepare for an upcoming important exam.

To express the importance of a social life.
Spend quality time with your loved ones.

8. Rewarding yourself

Don’t forget to treat yourself to a dinner or a movie date when you cross off your last important task on the list or after going through a hectic week. Never save the celebrations for later when you can celebrate it now because you worked hard for it. Remember to go easy on yourself.

To express rewarding yourself to strike a balance.
Pamper yourself with treats.

9. Ask for help

If you feel things are going out of your hands no matter what, get help. You can always ask your friends, teachers or co-workers to help you out when you feel you cannot handle everything at once. It doesn’t make you worthless; it is normal to have pressure when you have a lot going on your plate. But don’t think twice about getting professional help if you think you really need it.

To express asking for help to balance work and studies.
Communication is the key.

10. Take a break

It is necessary to take a stress-free break from all your work once in a while. A day off or a vacation can help you rejuvenate and prevent yourself from being burnt out. Spend your holiday by doing something you love or by visiting an old friend or writing a letter to your grandmother. Try not to think about work or studies until you get back fresh from your break.

To express taking a break to balance work and studies.
Hit the pause button once in a while.

You don’t have to follow all the tips at once. You will see the difference and feel more organized when you apply them slow and calmly. In the middle of all the hard work and deadlines, always remember to have fun!

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Work From Home and its Effects on Mental Health.

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced most, if not all, organizations to switch their workers to work from home. It was supposed to be a positive situation for employees but now the studies show the outcome has been the opposite.

Some most commonly reported issues that remote workers face are : 

To express stress.
Work isn’t just supposed to stress you out.

1. Isolation

Work from home during the pandemic has forced us to stay inside, but as much as we loved it initially, the camaraderie with our coworkers is a little too hard to communicate over slack.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety caused by working from home can show up in many different forms. The pressure from feeling like you have to hustle 24/7 can get to anyone. Without giving yourself time to disconnect, you put yourself at risk of burnout. 

3. Stress

Work from home can blur some boundaries for people who work where they sleep, which results in feeling pressure to work even when they’re off. Working from home is a lot of work and requires time management, IT troubleshooting and much more. Switching between these same routine tasks over and over every day will end up stressing anyone out.

4. Depression

Depression tends to occur when people start feeling stuck. Without celebrating milestones with coworkers, it may not feel as if a person is achieving as much as the rest.

Things like anxiety, stress and isolation can also lead to or worsen a persons depression.

Work From Home Effects on Mental Health

Mental Health Matters.
Mental Health Matters.

Work from home can really challenge your mental health. It can turn an optimistic, productive worker into feeling tired, unmotivated and irritable.

It is important to look after physical health during the Coronavirus pandemic but, it’s also important to keep an eye on how you are feeling.

So before you start to sink like a stone, learn how to spot the signs of declining/bad mental health so that you can begin to plan out your next step.

1. Assess your mental health

If you have begun to notice a change in your mental health now that you are working from home, Or if you feel more stressed despite not having to commute to the office every day, that could mean it’s time to assess the state of your mental health.

2. Reach out for help

If anyone feels like they are under too much pressure, they should reach out to teammates or higher-ups. Reaching out could help you make sense of the situation and could help shed some light on the stress you’re facing.

3. Get professional help

As taboo as it may seem, going to a professional can help give you a proper diagnosis. It can also help you understand the triggers, treat and improve your mental health.

Handling Mental Health while Working From Home

Here are some tips to help protect your mental health when you are working from home.

1. Set up a routine for your day 

Make a routine.
Routines help you feel like you’re in control of your life.

Setting up a routine for yourself can help create boundaries between work and home life which can minimise the possibility of work being carried into your free time. Give yourself a start and stop time, just as though you are at work.

2. Create a place to work from home

Working from home interferes with sleep, studies have shown. While working from home, working in your bedroom should be avoided as much as possible as working where you sleep can train your body to think that’s where you’re supposed to work instead of sleep. It will then become associated with being alert and awake.

3. Stay connected with other people

Staying connected will help to reduce stress and help you feel less isolated, and also stay productive. It also helps to communicate with your manager and keep them informed of what is being worked on.

4. Try to get some fresh air 

Going for a walk and getting some fresh air and sunshine can help elevate your mood for the rest of the day. If you are self-isolating, you can go to your garden or your balcony and enjoy the fresh air outside.

5. Continue activities that make you feel relaxed

Activities that help you relax.
Do things that relax you. Read a book, maybe write again.

By continuing activities that you would do at the end of the day, you can unwind after a tough day of working from home. It can help make things feel like they have the smallest sense of normalcy.

By following these tips can help you manage your mental health while handling work from home stress until our world goes back to normal.

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How to start up while in college with Ruhan Naqash

Ruhan Naqash is one of the Co-Founders of MyCaptain. He is also the Head of Customer Acquisition as well as a Captain for our Digital Marketing and our Advertising and Marketing course. He has mentored 1000+ students.

He was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Special Mention. In his free time, he is a trilingual poet and shares his amazing poems with all his followers on social media.

A glimpse into the session.

Captain Ruhan started the session by letting the attendees drop in their questions and promised that he would answer them all by the end of the session. The attendees then heard about how he and our other Co-Founders, Captain Zeeshan and Captain Sameer, started MyCaptain as a way to help other students like them to pursue their passion

After that, we dove right into the questions that the attendees had asked, the questions ranged from how to come up with an idea for your own start-up to how to build a team while being a student to how to secure investments for your own start-up.

How to come up with an idea for a startup?

The best way to come up with an idea for your startup is by finding a problem that people face and then find out if you can come up with a solution. That solution could be your way of coming up with your own start-up.

Captain Ruhan gave a brilliant example by using something we could all relate to. He used Swiggy and Zomato’s packaging issues, mainly the drink packaging issues we’ve all faced.

When you order a drink on either platform, it normally arrives and you have to struggle trying to get all the cellotape off it. That is an issue that most of us face every other day or so, but what if you could use that to create a business to help improve the packaging and make it more convenient for the customers?

How to build a team?

While you’re in school or college, you can build a team by asking your friends and family to help you out. This could help solve the issue most young people face while trying to start their own business, it eradicates the financial pressure as well as the workload.

It also can give experience to the people who come on to help you, which is a win-win situation for everyone.

How to secure investments for a startup?

As a student, the finance of it all can be daunting, to say the least. But while you starting your own business, getting people to invest in your company should come second or even third. This is your time to build, build your social profile, promote your business and get your name out there.

Once you’ve built your brand, you can then start looking for investors to further your business. You can look for businesses in your field with investors and find out which investors are looking to invest in companies like your own.

Once all the questions were answered. The audience seemed to love that they could ask questions about their own experience and were given answers that could help them with the struggles they faced while trying to start their own start-ups.

Overall, it was an amazing session that taught all of us in attendance that no idea is too small and that you can find ideas for your startup all around you.

Reach out to publishers and make time for writing while working with Madhura Banerjee.

Madhura Banerjee is a published writer that has 2 books of poetry to her name and has contributed to Scholastic India’s books. She has also written freelance articles and children’s fiction for The Telegraph and has had her thoughts preserved in a few other portals as well. 

She is 25 years old and is also a TEDx speaker and has conducted numerous events across India. She was born in Kolkata and currently works in Bangalore while pursuing her passion for music. Apart from being trained in Hindustani classical vocals, she plays the piano as well.

Madura Banerjee is also a Captain for our very own Creative Writing course. 

A glimpse into the session.

After a brief introduction and a lot of love from the attendees, Captain Madhura took over to talk about her life.

From writing her first poem at 7 years old to becoming a published author, we heard about how she wanted people to know about places like Kashung and Kalipur and how she could enlighten people about these places through her poems.

By the age of 21, she knew she wanted to be published so she compiled a bunch of her poems and met with various publishers. As she was a first-timer, she faced rejection but turned it into a positive by self-publishing her first book.

How to get published?

There is a lot that goes into becoming a professional writer, from coming up with ideas for your book to building a writing habit to finding agents and getting published by a publishing company.

Trying to figure out all of this at once could overwhelm anybody, even the best aspiring writers. But if you properly plan out your steps, it could make getting published a lot easier. Whatever your aspiration, the key is to come up with a plan and stick to it.

A few things to keep in mind while trying to get published.

While getting published can be a hard task, here are a few things all writers should do before trying to get published;

  1. Talk to other authors:

Getting to know your fellow writers and making connections can help you understand the industry better. It can also help you meet the right publisher for you.

  1. Put your work up on social media:

Getting your work out there before getting published could give you the much-needed headstart that you require. It can also help you make a name for yourself and you might even end up having some fans out there.

  1. Prepare yourself for rejection: 

While no one likes to be rejected, it can be inevitable in the world of writing. All you can do is brace yourself and handle it well. One rejection isn’t the end of the world, you just have to make sure to not give up on your dream.

  1. Don’t give up:

There are always going to be people that tell you that you’re not going to make it, but what do they know? The only person in charge of your life is you, so keep the hope alive and never give up.

How to get published?

The best way to get published is to network. You can make connections with people that are already in the industry and can help you take your first few steps.

  1. Expand your network:

Meeting and connecting with people in the field can help you understand what the right steps to take are.

  1. Identify your target audience:

Find out what group of readers that you want to read your work, they are the people you are designing your work to intrigue. A target audience should understand everything you write.

  1. Look for potential agents:

Find the right literary agent, take note of some books that are similar to your own and shortlist the ones you think would be the best fit for you.

4. Submit a book proposal:

A proposal helps you summarise your book, its aims, goals, main features and an explanation of the market that it’s meant to intrigue.

How to make time for writing while working a full-time job?

Making time for writing comes from a place of being meticulous and compartmentalising different parts of your life. Balancing your time also heavily influences your ability for finding time to write 

There are multiple ways to make sure you don’t miss out on ideas or forget them, one way is to jot down an idea or a plot or even a prompt the moment it comes to you.

Tips for balancing writing and a full-time job.

  1. Set a schedule for your writing:

             Find a time in your daily routine where you have the freedom to spend time on your 

             writing, make it a habit and do your best to stick to it.

  1. Prioritise your writing:

              It might seem as though there’s always something more important that you should be    

              doing, setting time aside to work on your book or on your poems should be prioritised  

              over things that can be saved for later.

  1. Keep yourself motivated:

Motivation is a huge factor in whether or not you really stick to a new way of doing things. So keeping yourself motivated to write and to find time for it, can help you go a long way in finishing whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

  1. Set reasonable targets:

             Don’t set your expectations too high, start by setting small reasonable goals that are feasible. Writing one page or one mini poem a day can be a good way to start small and then expand your expectations.

  1. Create the perfect environment:

             Find a spot where you can focus and be left alone, make sure you have all your necessities around and easily accessible for you when you need them, this can help make sure that your mind doesn’t wander while you are focusing on your writing.

Once we heard about ways to get published and how to make time for writing while working a full-time job, it was time for the Q&A session.

All the questions were answered. The audience seemed to love that they could ask questions about their own experience and were given answers that could help them with the struggles they faced while trying to get into the industry.

Overall, it was an amazing session that taught all of us in attendance that no matter what the obstacles in front of you are, if you have a plan and if you stick to it you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

How to control anxiety with Hema Mutreja.

Hema Mutreja is a very well-experienced counselling psychologist with 15 years of experience in the field of guidance and counselling. She has done her M.A in Psychology and MSc in Family Therapy, with a specialization in Marital Counselling.

Her educational qualification also includes the highly esteemed Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from NCERT, Delhi along with a Diploma in Community Mental Health from NIMHANS, Bangalore.

She is a certified NCERT counsellor who has also had the privilege of being on the panel of NCERT for their exam helpline as well as a TV Program called Sahyog, a live interaction on mental health and well-being. 

The MHRD, Govt of India selected her to be a part of Manodarpan, a helpline for psychosocial support for citizens of India during the corona pandemic.

We were very glad that she agreed to host a live session for our amazing mentees.

The session was extremely insightful and she made sure to answer every question that we received. To say that it was an overwhelming response, would not do the session justice.

What does a counselling psychologist do?

A counselling psychologist helps people deal with emotional, physical or mental health issues. Through the course of the direct sessions, they can provide assessments, diagnoses and treatments for severe psychological problems.

A glimpse into the session.

Our wonderful guest, Hema Mutreja, started the session with a 3 min meditation video while asking all the attendees to close their eyes and to focus on their breathing. We can’t explain how the entire vibe in the room changed after that short video, it was like a feeling of calmness had swept over all of us in attendance.

It was an excellent way to calm our bodies and minds down after a day of hard work or school. Can’t help but wonder how many of us are using that video after realising how the video helped soothe our nerves.

After a brief meditation session, we were taken on a journey of understanding and learning to cope with anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear about what’s going to happen or the future. Getting ready for the first day of school, going to a job interview, or giving a speech can bring about feelings of anxiousness.

But if feelings of anxiety are extreme and are interfering with daily life, it may be an anxiety disorder.

How to cope with anxiety?

There are many ways to calm anxiety, some of the ways we were taught are by following the 3 A’s.

The 3 A’s are:

  1. Adjust:

Learn to adjust your standards. You don’t have to be perfect and it’s normal for people to have bad days. Focus on yourself and take care of what you think is important.

  1. Avoid:

             Avoid situations that are going to cause you stress. If being late to an event causes your anxiety to flare, you can leave earlier than you had planned to make sure you’re either ahead of schedule or on time.

  1. Accept:

You must learn to accept the things you cannot change. There’s no point in sitting and thinking about the future if all you think about are problems you might face. Instead, try to change what can be changed and learn to accept that some things are just inevitable.

Some other coping mechanisms that you can use are, 

Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises like the butterfly hug can help calm you down during an anxious episode. All you need to do is cross your hands across your chest while resting your middle fingers on your collarbones. Raise your elbows to create your butterfly wings and slowly tap hands on your chest, alternating between left and right. While tapping, breathe in through your nose and exhale through your nose until you start to feel some relief.

Journal writing

Journaling can help reduce anxiety, lessen feelings of distress, and increase well-being. It’s not just a simple technique; it’s an enjoyable one as well. Writing down your feelings or emotions at the end of the day can help clear those thoughts from your mind.

Self-awareness while coping with anxiety.

Self-awareness is a form of stepping back and observing your thoughts and feelings as they come forward. It is simple as noticing what emotions you feel when you’re around certain people or the thoughts that run through your head when you feel scared about something.

3 Ps of self-awareness:

  1. Purpose : Set clear goals for yourself to define your purpose of being self aware. What do you want to gain from it?
  1. Practice : Keep practicing the goals and routines you’ve set. Practice makes perfect so, keep your hopes up and keep trying.
  1. Patience : A change can’t be made overnight, so have patience and you will start to see the progress you’ve made.                    

Once we heard about ways to cope with stress and anxiety, it was time for the Q&A session.

All the questions were answered. The audience seemed to love that they could ask questions about their own state of mind and were given answers that could help them cope with the stress and struggles they faced.

Overall, it was an amazing session that helped all of us in attendance understand ways to control anxiety as well as taught us ways to cope with obstacles that we face in our everyday lives.

The Influence of an Audience in a Sitcom

We all need a laugh. A stress-buster. And could there be anything better than sitcoms for that? Have you ever wondered how a sitcom like Friends is so popular with people?

We all know that the cast and crew have delivered a stellar performance, but it is us- the audience, who still celebrate the show, that keeps it evergreen.

A view of the Central Perk window

Audience Is Key

Believe it or not, to write for a sitcom and make people laugh is not very easy. Like every scriptwriter, a sitcom writer has to do their homework before developing the plot and the characters.

But, a tremendous advantage of writing a sitcom is that you can change your script as the show progresses. And the audience has mass influence over it without them realizing it.

Quite a few sitcoms are filmed in front of a live audience for indoor scenes. 

Types Of Audience

  1. Primary audience :

    The laughter you hear in the background while watching a sitcom is usually an actual live audience. Most sitcom producers allow a selected group of people, usually aged between 18-35, as their audience. The character and the lifestyle in the show reflect the audience or are familiar to them.

    Based on their reaction, the writers make changes in the script during the shoot and re-shoot those scenes. The Friends actors have admitted that having a live audience boosts their energy and encourages them to give their best. 
Live audience in a studio
  1. Secondary audience :

    Viewers are the secondary audience with no age limit and may not have direct experience of life seen in the show. Their reaction to a particular scene can make a vast difference in the show.

    In Friends, when Chandler and Monica get together, the viewers reacted unexpectedly- they clapped and cheered. This gave the writers an idea to bring a twist to their friendship.

    They made Chandler and Monica a couple who eventually get married in a later season when initially, it was supposed to be a one-night thing between them!
Watching from the comfort of home

And Action!

The idea of a live audience is to create a comfortable environment for viewers around the world. The audience plays a huge part during the production and also the airing of the show.

Based on their reaction, it gives writers the space for improvisation and makes the required changes in the script. But a live audience may not be present while filming cliff-hanger episodes since the makers don’t want to give away any spoilers. 

For every ardent fan, being able to reunite each night with the characters they have grown to love is bliss. The best part of Friends is that we can relate to the characters and never get bored watching it.

The love, wit, beauty, and chemistry of the cast and crew are still winning hearts. And this makes the show successful even after 17 years of its final airing!

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