Indian Tattoos: Mysterious Origins and Polarized Visions

Indian Tattoos

Indian culture is, without a doubt, one of the richest and most unique cultures in the world. It is also full of folklore and mystery, something reflected on its tattoos. This article of the series explores the still mysterious origins of Indian tattoos, their different meanings, and current polarized state.

Ancient Times and Indian Tattoos’ Mysterious Origins

Tattooing has been a tradition in India for hundreds of years. In fact, Indian tattoos are so ancient that it’s still impossible to tell exactly when the practice first started. Tattoos are widely popular in practically the whole country. They go from deep in the Eastern jungles of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, to the western deserts that surround the India-Pakistan border. Throughout history, tattoos in India have had different purposes, ranging from beautification of the body to acting as a protection against bad spirits.

There’s a number of myths and explanations surrounding the origins of tattooing, or godna, as the practice is called in Hindi. For instance, a group of people in Central India, called the Gondi, have a legend focusing on Lord Shiva, a Hindi deity. According to the story, Shiva once hosted a feast to which he invited all the other Gods. The Goddesses were also there. However, they were sitting in a different group. A Gond God was present in the event as well. When he went to get his wife, he accidentally mistook her for Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife and the Goddess of love and fertility. The Gond God put his arm around Parvati, which enraged her. This caused her to command the tribal women to wear specific tattoos to differentiate themselves from others. Tattoos supposedly became a tradition after this.

Indian Tattoos
Member of the Apatani Tribe

Other explanations for the origins of Indian tattoos are much rougher. An example of this is the Danuks, a tribe established in Bihar, in the North-centre of India. The Danuks believe tattoos reduce the attractiveness of women, thus making sexual predators less interested in them. The same is true for the Apatani, another tribe that inhabits the north of the country. This tribe tattooed young girls to make them look less attractive in the eyes of neighboring tribes that would otherwise be more likely to abduct them.

Different areas, different tattoos, and different meanings

Tattoos have different meanings and purposes in different areas of India. For instance, the North-eastern Noctes and Wanchos tribes associated tattoos to strength and courage due to the pain getting a tattoo involves. The Munda tribe in the North-east used them to record important events such as winning battles. On the other hand, the Korathi, a nomadic tribe got tattoos that represented the kollam, a labyrinthine in which they believed evil beings would be trapped. This was done in order to keep them safe and to make sure they had a mark that would allow their relatives to recognize them in the afterlife. Something similar is true for the Kutia Kondh tribe of the East. The members of this tribe tattoo symmetrical lines on their faces to make sure that they’re able to recognize each other in the spirit world as well.

Indian Tattoos
Indian warrior with a face tattoo. In certain tribes, tattoos were seen as symbols of courage and strength.

Another North-Eastern tribe called the Singpho has very specific rules regarding tattoos and women. If a woman is not married, she’s not allowed to get any tattoos. Then, once she gets married tattoos are done on both of her legs, starting in her knees and going all the way to her ankles. This example actually leads us to the next topic…

Current Rejection to Certain Tattoos

In the past, if a woman did not have a tattoo, she used to be seen as impure and untouchable. Girls used to get tattoos as they grew up. As previously mentioned, they would get a tattoo after getting married, but this was not the only benchmark that led to one. Tattoos would also be done to indicate a girl was part of a certain tribe, after she turned 10 years old, or after giving birth. It is estimated that millions of women were tattooed forcefully throughout their lives. However, modern media, the internet, and people in rural areas more commonly being in touch with urban areas, have led young girls to start refusing being marked in any way.

Indian Tattoos
Tattooing young women’s faces used to be a popular tradition in India. It is still common in certain tribes.

Tattoos on women used to be done using very rudimentary methods. These included needles heated with fire, and a black pigment. These procedures were extremely painful and would more often than not lead to bleeding. Furthermore, they did not include any sort of anesthesia and the process of healing would take up to a month. Young Indian women believe there’s no place for such a procedure anymore.

Rejection to this kind of tattoos is not new. The Indian Government actually banned tattooing young girls’ faces back in the 1970s. This led to a decrease in girls with this kind of tattoos in urban areas. However, there’s still criticism amongst the older members of society. These members insist tattoos are all what’s left of them after their deaths. They are not willing to lose an ancient tradition.

Modern Indian Tattoos

Certain aspects of ancient Indian tattoos have started to be rejected. However, modern tattooing is starting to be seen as a form of art and self expression. This a phenomenon that is also happening in other cultures around the world. It is now common for young, well-informed, Indian people to get tattoos. Popular modern tattoo designs include realistic portraits, nature-related imagery, dot work, watercolor, and religious tattoos. This last type of tattoos includes Gods, mandalas, chakras, and their corresponding mantras. Religious tattoos are associated with luck and prosperity for those who wear them.

Indian Tattoos
Just as in other societies, tattooing is now prevalent amongst the Indian youth.

Tattooing in India has developed so much in the last ten years that being a tattoo artist currently is an extremely viable profession with a good reputation. Tattoo parlors in India are equipped with high tech equipment. Furthermore, Indian tattoo artists are starting to make a name for themselves in the international scene. These artists are now combining international influences, cultural heritage, and the wisdom passed from older generations to create unique pieces of work.

The World-Famous Mehndi Tattoos

Indian Tattoos
Example of a Mehndi tattoo.

Just as modern Indian tattoos are making their way through the international scene, there’s a type of Indian tattoos that became famous worldwide during the 1990s. This was in part due to its representation on Western media.

Mehndi are temporary tattoos Indian, and other groups of people such as Pakistanis, make with henna. People who do them usually mash Henna leaves until they form a paste. They then add oil to the mixture.

Indian Tattoos
Henna leave paste used for Mehndi tattoos

They are usually done as a hobby or as part of special occasions such as weddings and religious festivals. The most common spots for them are the hands, feet and, legs. Their primary focus are women, who wear them as a rite of passage in the aforementioned celebrations. It is believed that applying henna on bride before a wedding is a sign of prosperity and good luck.

Some designs for Mehndi tattoos include mandalas, mantras, and Indian motifs that include the bela, creeper vine, peacocks, and flowers such as lotus.

Also, as a random fact… It is possible to find tenths (if not hundreds) of very hypnotizing YouTube video-tutorials showing the steps to follow to create a Mehndi tattoo. You can watch one here:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZUyB4jmt2c[/embedyt]

The history and current state of Indian tattoos is extremely polarizing. The true origins of the practice are still pretty much unknown. Furthermore, there are two extremes in the current Indian tattooing scene. On one hand, certain groups see ancient practices and types of tattoos as degrading and even dangerous for women. Thus, those affected by them are trying to stop them. On the other, certain groups of people are becoming fond of tattoos, giving modern Indian tattoo artists a prestigious position.

Indian tattoos, are, without a doubt, a unique mix of present, past, and future.

What does VPN stand for? Are you using VPN? You should start today!

What is a VPN?

It is well known that the internet is not a safe place to be due to the number of different hackers and troublemakers who are ready to capitalise on errors in your system and hack your PC and steal your identity while you are streaming that free video online. Not only this, but the government agencies are also very keen to track your online activities and your personal information. This puts you in a situation where the “bad” and “good” guys are also monitoring you and are curious in your online behaviour.

VPN to protect data

For many years now your privacy is at risk, and if you are following the news, you probably heard about CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA case, which is a great example of “good” guys selling your data. Between all this, you all are well aware that the public internet is very much prone to get your identities and data stolen. This is the case with cafe’s, public libraries and sometimes even public transport.

We live in a world where everyone is willing to know what you are doing online and is trying to breach your privacy all the time, and this is where and when the time to think about VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) come in to play. Once you start using them, you are taking a first step of minimizing the risk of your identity and data being tracked and using the internet becomes safer and allows you to sleep at night.

So what does VPN mean and how does VPN work?

What does VPN stand for?

VPN – a Virtual Private Network, is a protected and secure tunnel between two or more devices.What does VPN stand for?

You are accessing the internet via your system that connects you to a server (it is usually a website). So, when you are connected to that server (aka website), at that point your internet activity is accessible to hackers and the agencies.

On the other hand, when you use a VPN, it establishes another connection (a middleman) that involves a private server (VPN). In this case, your connection is routed through the private server which keeps your online activity and personal information hidden. In simple terms, you have got yourself a new server by using a VPN which is a buffer between you and the website.

So now, all you do on the internet passes through that server which is a powerful gateway that opens a new path to access the public internet. So if anyone is looking forward to recording what is being done by you, they will trace you to an anonymous server, not your original location. Which of course means that your identity is now protected.

VPN is NOT a PROXY

A very important thing to understand is that a VPN is not a proxy. Getting this out of the way is very important, so no mistakes are done. A proxy is similar to a VPN but it is not a VPN. It also hides behind a server when you are using internet through a proxy, nevertheless, usually, the quality of the paid private proxies does not devote resources to encrypting all traffic that passes through them, and therefore can accept simultaneous connections from many more users. See a simple explanation below:

VPN and Proxy difference

The functioning of VPN: How VPN works?

As previously mentioned, VPNs offer you a very safe and encrypted gateway to access the internet without revealing your true identity. So when you are assessing internet from just anywhere in the world, any person who would be willing to track your activities will find nothing. So the answer to the question: What does a VPN do? Is:

VPNs are all about encryption where P2P (peer to peer) connections safeguards your data and connections. Just in case the snooper gets his hands on some of the data, he would not be able to access the servers due to secure encryption at both ends.

It is not the only protection of your identity; it is also allowing you to have a whole new location and a new IP address for yourself where you can access the internet without any content filters and intermediation by any of the government agencies. Even your internet service provider will have no clue about what is going on at your end. This allows you to watch Canadian Netflix, or access Linked in if you are in Russia (yes, it is banned in Russia), or use google in China.

Why VPNs are effective?

However, keeping into consideration the utility and effectiveness, VPNs are a high tech product for the people that are looking to keep their private data safe and secure. It is also well known to the people who like their online privacy to be visible only to them.

Which VPNs to use for better safety?

So now since you are aware of why a VPN is extremely necessary and how it works, it is time to introduce you to some of the famous and easy to use VPN services.

Some of these services are free while some are paid. But the one thing that is common in both of them is the quality! They both work fine. It only depends on what you are planning to use the VPN for. I will start with my favourite ones:

  • NordVPN:

NordVPN top VPN

It is one of the VPNs that serve from a lesser number of locations and just around 5000 servers. However, they make sure that their servers are not flooded while they maintain the privacy to hold their brand name and reputation strong as they position themselves as the most secure service you would ever find. Its connections are an end to end encrypted and can be used on as many as six devices in a single time. As far as the prices are concerned, its longer duration plan is very economical while the short-term ones are equally ridiculous in my opinion.

  • Express VPN:

ExpressVPN free trial

It is one of the most reliable VPNs with over 2000 servers in 148 locations that are supported on three device types. It is well known among the users for its fast speed and efficient customer support. However, it is a paid service and comes in various packages. Each of the packages has certain perks that come with it for you to choose from. You can even opt for its free trial in the start which is something I like that companies do.

  • IPVanish VPN:

IPVanish VPN service

It is known for its superb speed although it has about 1000 servers in 60 countries only and does not offer a trial (which is a pitty from my point of view). Still, it is widely known across the world for its connectivity and a well-built client support. The only drawback it has is that it is much more expensive than the other VPNs, but the point here is; here, you get what you pay for! Seriously!

  • VyprVPN:

vypr VPN security

It is the VPN service we would recommend you if you want to remove the data limits while streaming from your VPN clients. They offer unlimited data usage and are supported by 700+ servers. Not only this, VyprVPN has about 200,000+ IP addresses for its users which means you can do just about anything you wish! It even supports above 3-5 devices which is another plus in comparison with other competitors. The only issue you might have is, its monthly plan is a bit expensive especially in the case when your usage is not that big.

  • TunnelBear:

Tunnel Bear VPN

This one is one of the trending VPNs. Its 1000 servers are located around 20 countries while they are proliferating. TunnelBear is the easiest VPN to use with a free VPN as a free trial backed by 500 MB data limit tool! Regarding pricing, they offer a competitive price on all kinds of packages.

  • Ivacy

The company has servers in 50+ countries, with 1000+ servers in 100+ locations. They have a variety of uses they supports which in my understanding other companies should build their content around. I had a chance to use their VPN across my devices, and most of the time the connections was stable, nevertheless, some applications refused to connect through the recommended servers. They are a competitor in their market and can be considered as an option.

  • NameCheap VPN

This service provider I am using for many years to host my websites, buying domains, using website builders and other services they provide. Everything is working great on their end, except a little bit uneducated service support. The pricing is very competitive on the market, and the quality represents and over delivers with the prices they have.

In short, if you want to stay safe while browsing online, do use a VPN to make sure your privacy and security are both upheld.

Polynesian Tattoos: An Ancient Tradition

An Ancient Tradition – Before a written language there were tattoos

Tattoos have been an important part of Polynesian cultures for the last 2,000 years. In ancient times, the Oceania region lacked written forms of communication, making tattoos a way of expressing a person’s personality, identity, rank in society, and passions. Polynesian tattoos were common amongst a large number of the members of society. Inhabitants of the region saw them as a way of obtaining strength, power, and protection.

Polynesian tattoos were a way of expressing self-identity and passions

Tattoos firstly developed into a highly sophisticated form of art in the islands of Tonga and Samoa. In the former, Tongan warriors used to get tattoos from the waist to the knees with patterns that included bands, triangles and areas of skin fully covered in black. In Samoa, tattoos played an important role in religion and the lives of warriors. The tattoos are done in warriors used to begin on the waist and continued until below the knee.

The Role of Polynesian Tattoo Artists

The role of tattoo artists was passed from generation to generation through an apprenticeship system. In addition, Polynesian tattoo artists were highly privileged and venerated members of society. The early Polynesians often regarded as spiritual leaders. Their responsibilities included not only mastering the tattooing process but travelling to neighbouring islands to perform rites. The tattooing process was so spiritual that tattoo artists would often restrict the person getting the tattoo. These restrictions included eating certain foods or ordering them to abstain from intercourse or contact with women for a fixed period of time.

A Painful, Loud, and Risky Process – Still worth it though…

Man with Polynesian Tattoos

Ancient Polynesians would endure intense pain whilst getting a tattoo and the risk of infection was ever-present. Nevertheless, if they backed down they would risk being insulted or labelled as cowards. If men could not stand the pain and stopped the process, they would have to carry the shame of an incomplete tattoo for the rest of their lives.

The first step to follow when tattooing an individual was to map out the design using materials such as charcoal. The tattoo artist would use a tattooing comb or needle for the rest of the process. This tool was typically made of shark teeth or bone attached to a piece of wood. The artist would then tap into the person’s skin and deposit ink. This would create the desired design. Once the tattoo was done, the recipient would usually wash it using salt water to avoid further infection. Those being tattooed would often scream or cry so that others in the village could hear how brave they were and see the extreme amounts of pain they could endure.

Tattooing sessions used to last until the person could no longer stand the pain. The whole process of finishing a tattoo could actually last up to four months. The healing process that came afterwards could last up to a year. Since tattoos often covered large portions of the recipients’ skin, it was common for the families and friends of the tattoo recipients to take care of them while they healed.

Polynesian Tattoos and Social Classes

The higher the social class of the person being tattooed, the bigger the ceremony was. When it came to middle-class people, their tattoos were usually done in the house of the tattoo artist. Lower classes were tattooed by novices. Members of the lowest classes, such as fishermen, were rarely ever tattooed. This system led tattoos to become a mean of social class distinction in some Polynesian cultures.

Different Meanings and Locations

The body part where a tattoo was located could mean different things in ancient Polynesia. For instance, tattoos on the head meant spirituality, wisdom, and knowledge. Tattoos on the lower trunk were related to independence, energy and sexuality. Upper arm tattoos meant strength and bravery (this kind of tattoos was often done on warriors). Lastly, higher trunk tattoos meant generosity and honour, and arms and hand tattoos meant creativity and creation.

Polynesian tattoos in different areas of the body had different meanings

Some Polynesian tattoo designs included “Enata” (human figures that often represented people and gods), shark teeth, the ocean, tiki figures symbolizing semi-gods, guardians or ancestors, and animals like turtles, lizards, or stingrays. These designs were always symmetrical and aligned with other tattoos in the body. The figures and patterns were also passed down from generation to generation, meaning tattoo artists never really created new designs.

Another interesting fact is that Polynesian tattoos on the left on the body were mainly associated with women, whilst tattoos on the right side of the body were associated with men. Women were not as often tattooed as men. Tattoos for women were usually located in their arms, feet, ears, lips, and hands mostly for beauty and aesthetic purposes. Tattoos on women were made up of delicate designs and often resembled gloves or stockings.

Unfortunately, the meaning and purposes of the designs of a large number of Polynesian tattoos were lost after the arrival of the Europeans.

Dark Times

After the arrival of European colonists, missionaries also arrived in the islands expecting to convert the natives into their European way of life. The missionaries opposed the art of tattooing and tried to convince the islanders of focusing on God instead. Afterwards, the colonists forced the natives to cover up their tattoos and work while they sacked the islands. Tattoos were then outlawed.

The Europeans also started taking tattooed islanders back to their continent to display them as “curiosities”. One of these islanders was known as Prince Giolo, or the “Painted Prince” a fully tattooed islander that was taken to England from the Philippines by adventurer William Dampier. Dampier thought he could make money off Prince Giolo by displaying him in London, which proved to be successful. Dampier had portraits of Prince Giolo done to show his tattoos and created a tale of how his tattoos helped him drive away snakes and other poisonous animals, making him absolutely formidable. Prince Giolo died a while after his arrival in England, and a piece of his persevered skin was the first documented collection of tattooed skin in England, making it an anatomical curiosity in the country.

Prince Giolo Polynesian Tattoo

Prince Giolo was not the only Islander to die due to the mistreatment of the European colonizers. Around 85,000 islanders died due to illnesses that included syphilises, smallpox, and measles. The secrets and meaning of their tattoos vanished with them and the records created by the European colonists are either inaccurate or incomplete.

Revival and Polynesian Tattoos Today

The art of Polynesian tattoos was deeply affected after the arrival of European colonists. Nevertheless, it is now common for younger generations in places such as Tahiti, to proudly display Polynesian tattoos. This new phenomenon started in the 1970s, 1980’s, and 1990s with the youth trying to achieve an identity revival and a greater acceptance of tattoos in the area.

Polynesian tattoos have adapted to modern times

The Polynesian diaspora has also taken the art of tattooing to places as far as Los Angeles, where groups of Filipino descendants are looking to preserve their heritage and traditions by getting Polynesian tattoos often based on their family histories and life events to create unique designs.

While some young people now incorporate color and modern designs into tattoos that consisted of traditional black patterns, there are also some islanders trying to preserve the art of ancient Polynesian tattoos.

Polynesian Tattoo artist

An example is Whang-Od, a Filipino tattoo artist that started tattooing over 80 years ago and lives in a tiny town in the middle of the mountains named Buscalan. She first learned the practice of traditional tattooing from her father and has now passed the knowledge to her niece, whom she has trained since she was nine years old and who she hopes will keep the tradition alive. People from all over the world travel to Buscalan just to get a tattoo from the one and only Whang-Od. You can learn more from her here:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57ozdNDqDKM[/embedyt]

The original techniques for Polynesian tattoos have changed in the last decades and have now been modernized. Nevertheless, this kind of tattoo is recognized and admired worldwide due to its beauty, uniqueness and cultural significance.

History of Tattoos and Tattoo Evolution Through Decades

history of tattoos

No doubt, the history of body art falls back several centuries, and over the centuries, the tattoos have a significant place in the lives of people. Ethnographic and historical texts also divulge that every human culture has practiced tattooing during some part of their history and are taking a new form in modern time.

History of Tattoos

The history of tattoos and the word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word “Tatu”. Tatu means is to mark something. However, it is claimed that the history of tattoos on the human body has existed since 12,000 years BC. The purpose of inking body varies from culture to culture. The trend of inking your body is not new but the culture, the social revolutions have a significant impact on what styles one should choose to get inked.

According to Research, the trend of getting permanent marks has been evolved a lot in the last years, transferring from an underground culture, sordid practice to a middle-of-the-road, blasting and mainstream industry. We can see a drastic change in the ways of getting inked, the designs and the purposes.

Anyhow, let’s have a look at how tattoos have changed over the years, and especially over the last century in the USA.

Tattooing trend earlier in the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s

Well, at the beginning of 20th century, tattooing was considered as a seedy act and was only related to those people or a society which perceived as an insalubrious one or to others like sailors, circus freaks, prisoners, etc.

That is true to some extent because at those times it was common for some social groups to ink their body. For example, sailors were using (and sometimes still use in some cultures) tattoos as a symbol of their traveling or to showcase nautical tattoos. One is very popular which everyone knows and is an anchor. All tattoos related to this field had specific meanings in the nautical community. Another great example is a swallow tattoo which was used a lot by the sailors who had traveled over 5,000 miles. Similarly, a turtle tattoo was used by those people who have crossed the equator as a status of completion.

In those days, tattoos were not an art form or a common practice, therefore people used to pay thousands of dollars to see people with full body tattoos in a freak circus. This is a great example when it comes to contrast what tattoos were representing back then and where they are positioned nowadays in our lives.

The pain!

Another other reason for rejection for having tattoos was the fact that they hurt like hell and were usually made in a not very sterile environment which was causing many infections and even deaths. Tattoos were done in a very old and traditional way with a “Stick-and-Poke” method. Not everyone was able to survive such high levels of pain.

The evolution of tattoos happened when in 1904 Charlie Wagner invented the coil and the tube tattoo machine 1904. making a tattoo became a less painful act, and a large number of aficionados were ready to tattoo their bodies.

Tattoos in the 1940’s:

There was no acceptance of getting inked back in those days, nevertheless, World War II enabled men to show their love, respect, and patriotism toward armed forces. Men in the 1940’s were able to easily get tattoos to honor their services. However, women were also at war, that made is acceptable to make tattoos to show their love towards their nations.

That was the time when getting inked was no longer for circus freaks as it was becoming a practice among the society. it was the beginning of a new art form which was exposed, endorsed and started being loved by many.

The most famous tattoos at that time were of Sailor Jerry tattoos. Yes, these were the simplest, two dimensional and colorful design tattoos. I found a few examples below:

Sailor Jerry Tattoos

The downfall of tattoos in the 1950’s

In 1950’s tattoos lost all their charm and went back to their original roots which were the underground practicing of the art. It was basically the post-war period when the United States chose a more conformist society where the focus was on different social issues.

The rise of patriotic tattoos in the USA in the 1960’s

The 60s can be referred to the middle age of tattoos. This was the time of various campaigns due to the Vietnam War and protests for women’s rights. Thwas wa the peak of the revolution for that time. People were more aware of the civil right movements in the United States, rock and roll was the devils music, TV was a magic box etc. 60’s were the times when the society was disturbed by cultures and at that time tattoo industry started reflecting that rebellious spirit of people which started to split themselves into subcultures, social classes and categories.

However, many people were not in favour of the Vietnam War, and many people were raging against all sort of injustice. So in that beleaguered era, the only thing which was getting popularity day by day was the “peace sign tattoo”.

1970’s – The evergreen tattoo period

It was the time when tattoos start gaining popularity and becoming convoluted in the 70’s. The trend of getting full-sleeve tattoos was at a hot note. And the artwork itself became more detailed. So the art took a step into the right direction where people became aware of shading, shaping and creating depth in their tattoos.

But there was no option of getting tattoos of your choice as people had to pick from the drawings that parlor offered them. However, the most iconic, famous and eye-catchy tattoo of that time was Janis Joplin’s tattoo.

Janis Joplin’s tattooJanis Joplins tattoo

Yeah, that was a wrist tattoo which was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone and encouraged most of the women to ink it.

Janis Joplin cover

Whacky tattoo 1980’s fashion

In the 1980’s, the trend of having long hair and tattoos was trending like never before, and the biggest reason for this was  probably MTV. This channel had encouraged thousands of people to get tattoos as a form of self-expression while featuring different TV shows, shoring and sharing punk music, indie cultures, street style, skateboarding etc. This was the boom of the 80s!

The most famous tattoos at that time were the tribal tattoos, the thick black line or colorful tattoos which were of a different kind at that period. However, the New Schools Tattoos was also at their peak point in the 80s. We can say the time of tattoos had come! Zany 1980’s

History of Tattoos - New Schools Tattoos History of Tattoos - New Schools Tattoos History of Tattoos - New Schools Tattoos

The rise of Feminine tattoos – 1990

These were the days when the feminine tattoos like hearts, stars and butterflies were enjoyed a lot by the masses. This is probably the ones we can see a lot still on older people.

Tattoos of 2000’s and today

Till 2000’s the concept of getting inked was evolving and is considered as the coolest thing that one can do. The main role of doing so was reality TV shows and Social media that played a big role in encouraging people for tattooing. Kat Von D is a celebrity which with her tattoos has boosted the tattoo culture in the 2000’s. She allowed the spread of the trend by representing herself on TV and different media at that time.

However, with the advancement in the processes of getting inked have changed the way of people’s thinking when it comes to getting a tattoo. In the beginning, people were afraid of catching a disease from the so-called seedy tattoo parlor, but now this process is fully risk-free thanks to growing professionalism, sterile environments, and progress of the industry in general.

No more worries! Tattoos today

Nowadays getting a modern tattoo is no more considered as a weird thing. From 2000 to today’s day, the discouragement against tattoos went down day by day, and for a good reason. Due to social media and reality shows, people started knowing more about inking, and now people like to get inked from lower back to inside lips. Which is a little bit weird yet becoming more acceptable in our society.

Almost everyone gets tattooed these days, it does not matter whether you are an employee or a pre-school teacher, therapist or someone else, inking your body is no more a seedy act or is shameful in any way. If there is a desire to get a tattoo, I highly recommend going for it.

What is Instagram Shadowban?

instagram Shadowban ban

There is a great buzz about Shadowban and people are looking for the most proper information about what is it and how it is affecting the social media presence. Today we have come up with the latest information about Instagram shadowban as well as twitter shadowban, what it is, how to get it, avoid it, and the reasons why are people getting it.

So, to know more about this, all you need is to read this article for the better understanding of the whole process.

What is Shadowban?

The term Shadowban refers to ghost banning, and sometimes as stealth banning. This banning type is affecting the online accounts that are found to be violating the rules and terms of service and conditions of a specific social media platform which regulates online community’s ethics.

You might have heard about Instagram shadowbanning and shadowbanned twitter accounts. These are the most known bans, which are affecting the users and are very frustrating because it takes you some time to realize what had happened. What to do when you get shadowbanned?

 

  • Instagram Shadowban
    instagram Shadowban

Before going deep into the Instagram Shadowban, it is necessary to keep in mind that Instagram has been implementing different algorithms since 2016 and as a result of this, there are accounts which have got affected and now are experiencing decreased engagement on their channels, decreased post visibility and likes.

This still does not mean that your account has been shadowbanned, it might be that the content on your account is not engaging enough. Due to all the updates Instagram releases, it has become very difficult to have engagement like it was 2 years ago.

In 2018 Instagram shadowban happens when an account has violated Instagram TOS or does not fulfil the requirements of rules and terms and services of the platform. And because botting and other violations, Instagram started filtering out those accounts more strictly and are looking even into real peoples accounts which are not satisfying their terms of service

When your account is Shadowbanned, it becomes practically invisible and blocks your ability to engage new people. In more simple words, the account will no longer be able to share your images by the use of hashtags which people who are not already following you. Research by hashtags is still a very powerful and popular way of engagement on Instagram, and by blocking all the tags on your photos is equal to yelling under water.

Your photos are still can be seen by your current followers but will they not appear in the news feeds of other people when they use your specific hashtags. This is bad news for new accounts because nowadays building a following is much harder than ever before in the history of Instagram.

How to check if your Instagram is Shadowbanned?

There is a website which allows you to check if your Instagram account was shadowbanned, of if some posts or hashtags which you have posted are shadowbanned by the community. To check:

  1. Go to Tribberr
  2. Fill in your usernameInstagram Shadowban
  3. The tool will analyze last 10 posts and checks if you have any hashtags which are banned
  4. Instagram Shadowban dexter_rullez
  5. Remove the hashtags which are affecting the post from being visible on that specific hashtag

Twitter Shadowban

twitter shadowban

A very similar case with Twitter; because they have rolled out stealth banning by merely cracking up their algorithms. So if your account is suffering from Twitter Shadowban, means that your tweets will be harder to find and will not appear on everyone’s feed who is following you. Therefore, as we have mentioned above, the reason for both platforms is a same-the violation of terms and services.

If you think that you can get more followers, or tweet replies by bots or some other manipulation, then you are wrong. The reason is now the social media platforms are securing their platforms for the purest and fair search results and user experience, and using bots, buying links, buying shares and reposts is not going to benefit you account in the long run.

How to know if my account is being Shadowbanned?

The simplest way to check whether or not shadowban has targeted your account is simply asking few people who do not follow you to check your specific photo with any hashtag or use the website I have mentioned above. We aware that sometimes the number of hashtags can also be an indication of a shadowban of your account, as abusing those to get more likes is just not going to work.

But in another case, if there any hashtags banned on your account, it must be a problem with your engagement strategy, which is most often the issue. The positive side of it is that you can work on it!

What are the reasons for Shadowbanning?

Until now Instagram and Twitter have not clearly defined what the main reasons behind shadowbans are, but according to professional internet marketers, there are more of your actions which are responsible. For example spamming people, commenting the same comment always, getting reported for something insignificant already puts you on the list of accounts to be aware of.

There are a couple of well known and popular reasons why you can get shadowbanned:

  • Using Bots and Scheduling Software

If you are using Instagram bots or software for your Instagram, then you are violating the terms and services of Instagram. Scheduling software allows posting images on your behalf regularly, follow and unfollow users, like pictures, comments on pictures etc. These actions are forcing the application to send push notifications to more users by abusing the system, and that is a violation of terms and conditions as you are exploiting the software abilities in an unethical way.

  • You are abusing Hourly Limits

Instagram has a limitation of likes, comments, messages per day. If you are abusing those limitations, then surely, you will be penalized for it. Some penalties mean that you cannot like, comments or follow others anymore. This can last to a couple of days, or in a shadowban or a ban of the account, which is, of course, everyone wants to avoid.

  • Broken Hashtags

Most of the time the platform categorizes your content by hashtags which are being used. Which is why it is essential to choose hashtags which are in a very unsaturated, not shary or grey area niche. For example, if you use an innocent hashtag #beautyblogger, then might be it can overrun with inappropriate or adult content, which can count as spam and Instagram can take notice of it and ban your account. Keep in mind that this is just an example and Instagram is not that radical, nevertheless, this is a flag which is not beneficial for your account.

popular banned hashtags

How to avoid being shadowbanned?

  • Stop using automated software and bots

It is essential to remove all kinds of bots and software to report, reschedule, and re-comment on your account posts. The reason is if you are using multiple accounts with the same bot, the chances you might get suspected when using same IP address is very high.

It is always better to have 100 followers who love you and support you than to have millions of followers who do not know you, or are bots themselves or irrelevant to your niche.

  • Take a break of 48 hours from actions from your account

Please hold on and do not get your account overloaded with a bundle of images, comments, likes, personal messages, follow and unfollows. It might be considered as spamming if you are doing more than the limit that has been defined for your account. IF your account has more than 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, 100k of followers, the limits for actions differ.

Conclusion

Use Instagram responsibly, do not use bots, engage with your audience, get into a niche which can bring value to the followers and audience of your account. Do not abuse the system, because it will backfire on you sooner or later.

You can follow me on my Instagram

Effects of Overeating and How to Stop

Overeating

Are you suffering from overeating? Are you one of the compulsive eaters and desire to stop eating? Well, it is common and you do not need to panic. All you need is to find a solution that can help you to overcome this issue.

Today we will look into the problem which some people struggle with – overeating. As well as we will answer how you can overcome it, and what are the solutions you can consider to solve it. Moreover, we will discuss the effectiveness of overeaters anonymous and what are overeaters anonymous meetings are all about.

If you are one of those who likesDoritoss and mountain dew while watching Bojack, I want to prove to you that there is hope and you can achieve anything with sheer will-power and courage.

Definition of overeating

Overeating Anonymous

“The simple meaning of overeating is the excess relationship to the energy that organism starts to consume, which lead to weight gain and often obesity. Overeating is also known as an eating disorder that can target anyone”

Moreover, the term overeating also refers to specific over-consumption episodes. Means, people start to over consume during festivals, binge-watching Netflix, stress, boredom etc. If we look at the symptoms of overeating, then anorexia, bulimia, nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common one.

The reasons why some people over consume varies. For example, some people overeat in stress, to relieve depression, while some do when they have feelings of helplessness. Noticed that happy people do not overeat?

Problem Statement: Overeating

Overeating

No doubt, global overeating has become the most common and even bigger problem than world hunger. More people are now overweight than underweight. However, the biggest study of worldwide trends in body index has recently revealed that, over the past 40 years, the rate of obesity has increased up to 2.6 fold and that the number of obese people worldwide has blown out from 105 million to 641 million.

Well, why we are discussing this issue at a worldwide level? Let us have a look at on our overeating patterns.

We all are overeater from time to time, and take an extra hand when drinking with friends and family dinners, when you are full but still having dessert is like a religious thing to you. However, this is the case with ordinary people. For binge eaters, it is almost uncontrollable to stop overeating. With this disorder, the patient finds himself helpless to stop this bad habit and consume a normal amount of food.

The symptoms of Binge Overeaters usually begin in early adulthood or late adolescence. The episode in such state remains last for two hours or might be a full day long. It is not necessary to be hungry to overeat; they eat because they “just feel like it”. It is more like a cycle when a person consumes when in a good mood. The same as when a person is in depression and to sate food cravings.

There are many reasons for overeating, but the most common is to sate body needs. However, if it becomes an eating pattern for someone and he gets easily compromised with it, then overeating can lead to many eating disorders.

overeating

So, the people with disorders like binge overeating and Bulimia Nervosa use food for the following reasons:

  • To escape from anxiety and depression
  • To reward themselves
  • There is a stressful issue, or they need to get away from some problem
  • Soothe fear, shame, and sometimes loneliness
  • Might be eager or frustration.

However, it is not necessary that overeating will remain for a short time like during holidays. It will not remain for a short time as in most cases overeating can cause long-term damage to individual health due to over-consumption. With the passage of time, overeating can further lead to obesity and heart diseases which can cause medical complications. Which are:

  • Gallbladder disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High Blood pressure (mostly in elder people)
  • Heart disease
  • Different types of cancer
  • High cholesterol
  • Joint and Muscle pain etc.

We have reached a conclusion that almost everyone is dealing with overeating disorder, therefore special treatment is necessary for recovery. There are a variety of treatments available on the market such as level of care, interventions, clinicians who are ready to help obese people and of course the overeater’s anonymous meetings, which are trending nowadays.

However, binge eating disorder is commonly treated as an outpatient because the condition can be controlled with the help of specific programs which offer a variety of treatments. Therapists are also available to work with people who have an eating disorder and work privately.

After reading this, you may be asking yourself if you are overeating and what will be the most effective way to treat your habit of overeating. What about discussing your issue with another person that has the same problem? This can motivate you and also provide you with enough information about what are the eating patterns, reasons, why people do so, and how to overcome this while not being alone.

Online there is a club called “Overeaters anonymous.” Yes, you have heard it right. Let me tell you what overeaters anonymous is all about and how they can help you or other overeaters.

What is Overeaters Anonymous?

Overeaters Anonymous is a community or fellowship of different individuals who share their experience, hope, strategies, and strength to overcome the habit of compulsive overeating. This club is specially designed for the people who want to recover from compulsive eating habits.

The best thing about this program is you don’t need to pay fees, nor it takes any donations. There is no involvement of outside organizations, nor is a political movement, the sole purpose of this program to educate people about compulsive food behaviors and to carry the simple message of recovery through twelve step of OA.

The primary focus of this plan is abstention from overeating behaviors rather than weight loss. The best part of this plan is you do not need to be overweighed to join OA. It is a perfect choice for you if you:

  • Obsess about food, and more food
  • Obsess about your body weight
  • Consume diet pills for weight loss
  • Or a binge eater

Overeating is physical, spiritual, and emotional, so with the help of the 12-steps program, you can get the goal of looking slim and being smart about it. This program includes group meetings, recovery tools/lessons, and dietary plans for everyone.

You can have a real-time meeting such as telephone meetings, face-to-face interaction, and even more options available to choose from.

What is the most highlighted advantage of this plan?

  • One of the highlighted advantages of this plan is it is fully individual, based on the best results for you and ways comfortable to you. You can create your own eating plan that can support you in a long term.
  • Another benefit is whether or not a specific plan is helpful; you can shift it out and again start from scratch.

So, what are you waiting for? Just plan what will be your next step to overcome your overeating habit and share it with us.

Top 8 violent video games

top 8 Violent video games

Every year, different gaming companies introduce different violent video games with the enhanced graphics in comparison with the previous years. The reason behind this is, now youth is more interested in playing violent games than any other genre. It is all due to very realistic and immersive graphics that attract the attention of all the gamers around the world. The games that come up on the market are now closer to reality and immersive storylines than ever before.

However, all the excitement and “hype” in the youth is due to the marketers’ using sneaky advertisements which insist on people to try the beautiful graphics at least once. They put more oil in the flame by releasing unlimited trailers, game demos, ads on every available website, and blogs which only increase the popularity and creates a crazy hype among the audience. Therefore, the more violent video games are, the larger the hype and excitement of the gamers.

Are violent video games harmful?

The thing that matters here is the concern of people toward these kinds of video games. People think that such stuff is harmful to the mental growth, behavior and the temperament of the youth. They think that these games are the reason of rising risk factor for aggressive nature. They are becoming more aggressive and these techs them brutality. The concern of parents for their children’s future is fair and justifiable. But this is one side of the story, many of us unaware of the positive effect of these violent games that are shaping the young people thoughts in a positive way.

What is the positive aspect?

Apart from the aggressive behavior, desensitization, and violent thoughts, these addicting games are famous for a good cause. According to researches, those players who are addicted to playing such stuff have shown good civic behavior. Similarly, youth who played video games, take an interest in games as a fun activity to release stress. Further, consistent studies have shown evidence that youth often turn to action and drama oriented games to reduce stress and improve mood.

In the end, games are just games!

So it will not wrong if we say that games are just the games and everyone has its taste and preferences. Some people like to dress up Barbies and some love gun violence and fighting against rivals which does not mean they will become criminals, it is just for fun, and the experience which young children get from these addicting games can never have in real-life.

Whatever we say about it or no matter how much we discuss it, in the end, these are addictive games, and the whole idea of games is entertainment, attractiveness, and fun. They made so to attract the audience, and that’s it.

Anyways, moving on to our main topic and that is a list of top violent video games. If you are one of the addictive of violent games, then here is a list to consider.

  1. Bulletstorm:

violent video games Bulletstorm

The number one on our list is Bulletstorm. Yes, this sci-fi action game is full of thrill, fun, and entertainment. It primarily focuses on players using guns, electric whip-like device, kicks to destroy the opponents. You will experience the bloodshed, gore, and mutilation by playing the game of Bulletstorm and you will get a reward each time for extremely killing enemies.

  1. Conan Exiles:Violent video games Conan Exiles

Another amazingly thrilling and action-filled video game and that is Conan Exiles. You can experience the level of brutality with beheadings and maiming. The mission of this game is to destroy your enemies. In this journey, you will face the cruelty of Conan’ world, its surroundings, and cannibalism. There will be the human sacrifice, and that’s all.

  1. Dark Souls III: The Ringed City:

Violent video games Northern Warrior in in Dark Souls III

There will be smashing of enemies into pieces; everything will look like the dome. There would be bloodshed everywhere with creatures moan and the terrifying noise of guns and medieval weapons. Yes, we are talking about Dark Souls III: The Ringed City. Just hold your breath and feel the fear of war.

  1. Dead by Daylight:

Violent video games Dead by Daylight

Dead by Daylight another violent video game that has gained massive fame due to its aggressive category, fear, and thrill. In this assailer game, a merciless killer hit the players to sacrifice them to an evil entity. All these are done with different kinds of weapons, twinge, and spike the characters. All the injured players crawl on the ground to save their lives and even hung on the hooks grimly. Admittedly, this would be the cruelest game of the year.

  1. Outlast II:

Violent video games outlast 2

Bloodshed monsters run throughout this violent and bloody gameplay, thus forcing the players to run as much as they can to save themselves from weapons and farm implements. This horrible game aims to catch the player and then torture him in a ghastly way, with different scenes of innards and the death. Moreover, the birth of the most violent Antichrist.

  1. Resident Evil 7 Biohazard:

Violent video games Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

Bloody monsters are not the only fun of this thrilling game. But the blood-packed game also offers to glorify of the player who fights against cruelty shotguns and the explosives. There will be the exchange of shots between humans and the creatures. It is the fight for victory, and for this, there will be open wounds and injuries.

  1. Sniper Elite 4:

Violent video games Sniper Elite 4

There would be no casual scene in this electrifying game but will be a shooter who will act as a sniper. So, are you ready to experience the fear of different locations? There will be a tremendous use of sharp knives, guns, explosives. All you will need is to run and hide by finding a location to conduct surreptitious attacks against dangerous Nazi Soldiers.

Admittedly, there would be no peace and nonviolent attack option; all will be just cruelty and bloodshed.

  1. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds:

Violent video games Battlegrounds

You will need to show teamwork, cooperation with your other team members to win the game. You have to try your best to face each attack and give back a rapid answer in the form of explosion and shooting. Nothing could save you from enemies but to bravely fight. Each move will get a reward for you, and a single mistake can destroy everything.

These are some top violent video games on our list. Make sure to choose the game according to your stamina and mind level.

Check our article about a Mysterious Japanese Game: Yume Nikki 

[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqdbJwsRWtg[/embedyt]

What is “Dark Social” and how to track it?

What is dark social 2018

A senior editor at The Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal, devised a term “Dark Social”, to refer to the social sharing of content that cannot be tracked by Web Analytics Programs like Googla analytics or bit.ly. This means that one cannot monitor website referrals and social media activity. in 2018 Dark Social challenges marketers to trace the origins of traffic and engagement.

Through an analytic platform, you can tell if a visitor came from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But this isn’t possible in the case of dark social. In the past, when everything was link-based, we discovered something through links/search or by browsing via bookmarks. So, the site visitor who arrived on a site without referrer he/she had to be the direct visitor. But now it’s not the same.

Simple Sharing

Dark Social Traffic comes with no apparent evidence of a consumer visiting and interacting with the business website. But being able to detect traffic, it gives you a complete picture of your content.

Now let’s get this straight. When someone publishes a website link from his Facebook page, his/her goal is for as many of his/her customers as possible to see it. The customers can now like, comment or share it on Facebook elsewhere. This is a public social media someone uses to gain an audience and drive traffic to his/her website. This is one kind of sharing. Now let’s see another way of sharing and gathering an audience.

Dark Social Sharing

Suppose that someone finds a great blog on a website. Now instead of sharing it on his/her Facebook page, directly paste the link into a message and send it to his/her friends using Facebook messenger. Now, this link is available for their friends to click and explore. This type of sharing is known as Dark Social Sharing.

 

Dark Social Marketing

Using private messaging, for example, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc. to connect with your customers is an old traditional method of sale and customer service. This can be referred to as the Dark Social way of marketing experience.

Dark Social Dominates Over Sharing Activity

According to Researches and Reports, dark social accounted for 84% of the content shared online in 2016. However, this shows it’s important for the marketers to find a better and relevant way of sharing experience.

 Well, according to a report, almost 85% of all the sharing occurs with copy/paste action of URL. However, the rest of the 15% is done with the help of the sharing button. So, it is concluded that still a significant amount of visits are unknown according to Dark Social Traffic to the marketers. The only option that left is to track the audience by tracking activity via Dark Social.

How to hunt down Dark Social Traffic

The best way to track Dark Social Traffic is to use the Google Analytics to find out the unidentified traffic.

1.   Google Analytics

Google Analytics Dark Social

The best way to perform is it by creating a new section in Google Analytics.

•   Click on Audience, then on Overview and then Add Segment

•   Now select Direct Traffic

•   This helps you only to access traffic marked as “direct.”

•   Now click on Advance which is on the top right

•   Add the pages that are super easy to keep in mind in the following format:

§ Jobs/blog/contact/about

After doing this, the results which will be displayed will be those links that consider as DARK SOCIAL TRAFFIC. Many other different tools are targeting to lessen the probabilities of traffic being checked off as “Direct” even though without acknowledging where it comes from.

2.   Add This

add this dark social

AddThis helps you to track traffic simply from Dark Social by generating a share button for your website, moreover, it also helps you to simply copy/paste the code for tracking. However, It is also probable to include sharing to more than 200 networks with this. Plus, the customization options it offers assure you that the browsing isn’t interrupted.

3.   GerSocial.io

gersocial.io dark social

GerSoical.io is a tool that helps you analyze different kinds of shares. Once you install this tool, it allows you to copy/paste the code to site, and thus aid you to track all the copy/pasted shares by offering real-time data analysis. GetSocial.io also offers you a cross-device sharing measurement, makes all types of sharing visible.

4.   Po.st

po.st dark social

With the help of Po.st, you can have link shortening and at the same time social sharing option to track the messages that directly come from Dark Social.

Moreover, it enables the different marketers to check out the Dark Social Traffic simply by copy/pasting the URLs.

This tool enables marketers to monitor that dark social traffic from copy-paste URLs. This tool is beneficial for marketers to dig into for audience. On the other hand, it also provides visitors with an opportunity to revisit the page where they clicked through copy/past by single click.

5.  Bit.ly

bit.ly dark social tracking

Bit.ly is a popular tool which works by shortening the links and also helps as a useful assistant in tracing the dark social traffic. The best way to use this tool is by providing a abridged link to your every post and to embolden the visitor at your site to share the useful content through this link. In this way, you can have check and balance on the traffic.

Overview

With the evolution of social platforms, and the rapid change of social networks, it is getting quite difficult for the marketers to comprehend all the changes just to keep their value audience in touch and active.

With the passage of time, the users now tend to opt using mobile applications, messaging services, and private networks; however, dark social will get higher from now on.

Yes, it’s true that dark social traffic can prove as a headache for many business owners. But on the contrary, there are many tools available to detect such traffic. No doubt, it can be quite challeging to go through such tools and analyze, but we believe that marketers can easily detect and undertsand from where the traffic is coming from.

Dark social shares may be difficult to track, but this doesn’t mean that the marketers should give up on acquiring insights into their user’s behavior. Howeever, with the help of testing different tools, one can be able to find the perfect solution to detect dark social traffic by assisting you to understand consumers behavior.

Read more interesting articles about Bitcoin InsecuritySME CybersecurityDeepWeb Investigations and more here on our website.

Sources:

3 Realizations About ‘Being Fit’ That Turned My Lifestyle Upside Down

Fit

But Be Aware, This Is Not Another 5-Step Beach Body Guide

The Moroccan sun was hitting the small surfer town Taghazout hard this afternoon. ‘You lookin’ really fit’, a blond English girl tells me, while we were sipping our wine on the rooftop of our hostel. I had to laugh. Fit? Me? Definitely not. I had not seen the inside of a gym in months, maybe went for a run twice this whole year and my favorite walks have been to the donut shops in Melbourne downtown.

The term fit has been defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “sound physically and mentally: healthy“. However, my motivation to work out, to be fit physically and mentally, simply to be healthy, had seen better days.

If you are reading this article, chances are, you’ve been there yourself:  The couch calls your name in the evenings, your bed does not let you go early in the morning, especially not for a run and only the thought of going to the gym is nothing but torture.

That has been me, for basically the whole year. Until about two weeks ago.

Thinking about the role of media, different types of motivation and mindfulness have turned my lifestyle upside down.

The realizations I have made recently will not give you a six pack in 2 weeks, will not make you run a marathon and most definitely will not make you loose 10kg.

They might, however, make you think differently about ‘being fit’. And maybe, they will also turn your lifestyle upside down.

The media tells us how to be physically fit

fit
Photo by Cristian Baron on Unsplash

Shockingly, almost 80% of U.S. women and 34% of men are dissatisfied with their own bodies, according to a study conducted by Park Nicollet Merlrose Center.

Most commonly, women strive for weight loss while men tend to focus on building strong muscles and a six pack.

But why is it, that we think skinny women and big men are fit?

The answer is simple: Because we are told so from all sides: magazines, social media and our peers.

Fit girls lifting dumbbells in leggings in NY warehouse
Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

The Men’s Health Magazine which reaches over 21 million men worldwide, claims to be able to tell all men whether they are weak or strong. One article states: ‘you’ll find our definition of fit—10 simple (though by no means easy) things every man must be able to do before he stamps himself “in shape.” Says who? Says us.’ It is no surprise that men feel a pressure to lift heavy and squat low, when they are confronted with such made up benchmarks.

However, the definition of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, brings a little twist to our notion of fit. Their definition of physical fitness says, it is “a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.”

At this point I would like to shortly introduce you to Ismail, a 23-year-old surf instructor from Morocco. He is no taller than me, if you count his blond curly hair, he might be as tall as 1.70m. His body is skinny and it is impressive how he jumps over the rocks with a surf board that is far too big and probably weighs as much as he does. He paddles strongly, moves quickly through the ocean, catches every wave. Going to the gym was never an option for him. He would probably not be able to satisfy the author of the Men’s Health article, but he has taught himself the needed attributes that relate to the ability to surf like a pro. Ismail is physically fit in surfing.

What does fit even mean?

Jen Sinkler, a writer and personal trainer, poses an interesting question in one of her articles: ‘What is your personal definition of fit?’. She explains how she is personally very fit lifting weights, but due to personal conditions, very unfit when it comes to hiking.

When we talk about physical fitness, we should move away from asking: Are you fit? And instead, as Jen Sinkler recommends, ask: What are you fit in?

I realized that the media cannot tell me how fit I am. They cannot tell me what I should look like.

It is a matter of our very own perception and feeling of well-being.

We do not need the media to determine our personal fit.

Fitness is not just about your motivation

Fit
Photo by Tommy Lisbin

If a little motivation were the key, we would all be active regularly. But how often have you found yourself in the evening on the couch with the option of binge watching some Netflix with a glass of wine, or hitting the gym, going for a run or doing some yoga? More than once I assume. Lately, I have found great excuses: No time, no energy and my favorite one, no motivation. I kept telling myself, the motivation would come back eventually and then I will start being active again.

Fact is, that mindset did not get me off of the couch and before I knew it, seven months had passed.

When it comes to motivation, it is important to be aware of two different types: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Ryan and Deci have studied the scale of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, explaining the drives of human behavior.

fit

To sum it up: working towards that beach body, fitting into those new jeans or wanting approval from your peers, all fall into extrinsic motivation. It is an award from the outside which is out of our control. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from the pure joy of doing it. It is a matter of personal fulfilment, which is entirely up to us and our mind.

I asked Ismail, the surf instructor, why he spent so much time surfing. ‘It’s only happiness. You go in the water with a problem in your head but come out with nothing but happy feelings. I just love to surf, always have.’

Talking to various people who have continuously advanced their fitness level in a certain area, it seems like passion and consistency are the key factors, rather than relying solely on extrinsic motivators.

At the end of the day, it is up to each one of us to find out what works best. Most common seems to be a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to keep us going.

The magic link of mindfulness and fitness

Fit
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Brian Grasso, author of Mindset Matters Most, says that mindset “refers to the stories you tell yourself, about yourself”.

While our mind can be our greatest fan, it can also be our greatest hurdle. We decide the role it plays and how it shapes our perception of reality.

As Buddha once said:

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

So how will mindfulness lead our way to a fit lifestyle?

If goals such as a number on the scale, fitting into jeans again or decreasing our body-fat-percentage do not motivate us, we should take a closer look at our mindset.

We must move away from numbers and towards the goal of making workouts a time of pleasure and most importantly, a habit.

If you hate the sticky air at the local gym, try and go for a run. If you do not enjoy the exhaustion, try a dance course with some friends. And if you feel like no workout has brought you any joy, try something new. The options are countless: climbing, cycling, swimming, volleyball, soccer, basketball, hockey…

We should spend some time on figuring out what we enjoy doing, what we do not, and why.

Once you have found one or more sports, make it a habit to work out regularly.

Believe in yourself and find joy in the exercises. Being mindful during your training will help you to identify moments of happiness. They might be a runner’s high, your team winning a match, or lifting that extra weight that seemed impossible a week ago.

When we are mindful about our feelings while working out, we can consciously create a joyful habit.

Suddenly, we will actually look forward to getting off of the couch and becoming our personal fit.

Tell yourself the right stories. Tell yourself: You are fit.

How these realizations turned my lifestyle upside down?

fit
Photo by Allison Heidrich

Out of frustration with myself, I felt like I needed a drastic change. I was sick of being lazy and thus came the spontaneous decision to go to Morocco for one week.

Seven days of surfing and yoga.

Forcing myself into this new situation, I finally found joy in working out again.

Now that I am back home, I still do yoga every day, my love for running is suddenly back and I am even hitting the gym again.

Realizing that I was doing it for myself and not with the goal to please anyone else, was the first step. Then realizing that I had to find joy in the actual exercise was the next step.

And now, I am making it a happy habit. I am becoming my own fit.

What are your thoughts on ‘being fit’? How would you describe the role of media when it comes to body image? How do you motivate yourself to keep going? What kind of sports do you enjoy?

Share your thoughts, spread some knowledge and be a motivation 🙂