What is it and why is it everywhere?
These days, wherever you look you can find someone with some piece of technology. Whether it be a child glued to an iPad or a high school student obsessed with their Instagram, technology has become a mainstay in people's lives and will continue to for a long time.
Being social in more ways than just a face-to-face
Social media has become a popular channel for people to build strong social connections with their friends and family, share interesting things going on in people's lives, and a place to get away and see what's going on in the world. Through the social connections people build on social media, people can offer social and emotional support during difficult times as well as act as a resource for people to share similar interests and goals.
Too much of anything can be a bad thing
At times, social media use can often become excessive and affect our health negatively when we start to depend on it. When we use social media to share things, we put ourselves at risk for engaging in negative behaviors such as comparing ourselves to our peers or having the need to constantly check the notification that pops up on our screen. Social media can make people feel inadequate about their life or personal appearance, lead to FOMO (Fear of missing out), feelings of isolation and loneliness, cyberbullying and even self-absorbed feelings. Ironically, social media was designed to connect people and bring them closer together. In reality, they have caused problems that have led to serious health consequences.
This video explains how social media affects the brain in different ways.
This infographic highlights the top 4 social media platforms used by teens and their use.
Did you know? When people get positive reactions to their posts on social media such as likes or shares, they will often experience a release of a hormone called dopamine. This hormone is the same hormone that is released when something good happens to us such as eating our favorite foods or winning in a game.
This infographic describes how technology and social media use can negatively affect mental health.
Social media is never going to be a replacement for real-life, human connections and we need to find ways to keep a balance between communicating. At the end of the day, we need to be able to draw boundaries that will prevent us from opening up our phones to see what our friend's have messaged us or check out what celebrities are doing. Whether it be setting a limit of screen time before bed or turning off all notifications, any efforts to reduce technology and social media use will help to prevent negative health outcomes.
What does being kind to others allow us to do?
Kindness requires us to open our eyes to see that some people out there just need the simplest gestures which could include a few kind words of encouragement, having a door held open for them or even just a smile directed at them. It isn’t your responsibility or necessary to go out of your way to perform an act of kindness for someone else, but when you do, you have the potential to make that person feel special and cared for.
Why be kind? What does it do for you?
Being kind to others can be as beneficial to the people performing acts of kindness as it can be to the person receiving it. Being kind to others has been shown to increase people’s energy, increase happiness, and even increase overall quality of life. When you do something nice for someone else, the brain boosts your serotonin which is the hormone associated with feelings of satisfaction and well-being. By being kind to others, having strong social networks and healthy relationships can reduce the risks of heart disease. Acts of kindness have also been shown to prevent the risk of illnesses, relieve anxiety and stress, and prevent symptoms of depression.
The video below looks at how kindness can be used to affect the world.
Here are some resources that can help us to spread kindness to others:
Random Acts of Kindness provides a variety of resources such as ideas for kindness activities, kindness stories and even a kindness blog.
12kindsofkindness provides 12 different ways we can perform acts of kindness for others.
Tolerance.org is a site that fights prejudice, promotes equality and celebrates diversity.
The next time you see someone having a hard day or maybe a teacher that you like but you never get to tell them that you enjoy their teaching, let them know that things are going to get better or tell them about the things you appreciate about them. You'll not only make them feel better, but you'll feel a lot better about yourself for doing so.
Exercising regularly allows us to maintain healthy physical health. What we don't often credit exercise for is the benefits it provides for our mental health. When you have the motivation to stay active and work towards a goal, you are able to increase your self-esteem and self confidence to take on new challenges or brainstorm new ideas. Everyone has their own reasons to exercise but everyone who chooses to exercise has their own goals they want to achieve through it.
In some ways, exercising can be a remedy or medicine that can be just as effective as traditional medicines. For example, a good night’s sleep is something that many students and even adults don’t get enough of or have a hard time getting. Exercising helps by calming the mind and makes it easier for us to fall asleep by making us feel tired. It is important to note that you should exercise in the morning or during the day and avoiding exercising in the evening.
Exercise helps to reduce anxiety and stress. With the constant pressure of things like school, work, and life, anxiety can build up quickly and can lead to stress and other significant health risks if not cared for properly. Exercise has proven to act as an “antidepressant ” which can help to prevent health problems like depression. Our brains require nourishment from a variety of sources. Exercising is one source and helps to give the brain a boost. It is also able to prevent memory loss as well as cognitive loss and it can help to improve our memory and learning capabilities.
Below is a video that goes behind the science of exercise's effects on mental health.
Here is an infographic from WebMD which shows where exercise affects our bodies., physically and mentally.
It’s recommended that you should aim to get 30 minutes of physical activity each day or 150 minutes per week. If this seems hard at first, try starting with a few minutes a day and increasing the amount you exercise until you’ve met your own goal. Walking or jogging around the neighborhood or just going up and down the stairs a few simple ways to get in your daily exercise. Anything that gets your heart pumping or helps you break a sweat will help make a difference in your own health.
Feel free to let me know some ways you exercise and how exercise makes you feel afterwards.
Eating healthy and nutritious food has shown to have many positive effects on people’s overall health. For physical health, eating healthy foods has proven to help maintain healthy body weights, a healthy heart, and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. In recent, attention has been gained regarding ways in which food can affect a person’s mental health.
We all know that eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and foods packed with nutrients is good for us physically but there are actually more benefits to eating these foods than we already know. Certain foods are high in essential vitamins and minerals that help to nourish the brain and protect it from stressors. For example, zinc, found in foods such as nuts, dairy, and, meat, has been proven to control the body's response to stress. Stress is a common factor in depression.
When we eat low-quality diets that consist of processed, refined sugary foods, we can actually put our mental health at risk. Sugary foods can be harmful to the brain as they have been linked with causing mood disorders such as depression. Studies have found that low-quality diets can increase a person's chances of getting some type of mental disorder.
Below is a video that reviews how the foods we eat can affect the processes that occur in our brains.
Things to do:
Limit sugary and high-fat processed foods and choose healthier alternatives like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Try eating a “clean” diet for 2-3 weeks, free of processed foods and refined sugars, to see if your mood states improve. Then when you start eating your regular diet, you can compare how you felt during your diet to your current diet.
How do the foods you eat affect your mood? Feel free to let me know!
With the recent Coronavirus outbreak swarming the news, the impact of the media has brought this newest disease scare to a global scale.
Many news outlets and media sites have taken to spreading misinformation or information about the virus that has caused unnecessary panic and fear in people around the world.
Media platforms such as news outlets are meant to be sources for people to acquire information about certain topics. We should make sure to double check the facts with other sources to confirm the validity of the initial source.
Discrimination against others as a result of lack of understanding should not be tolerated. We should aim to spread accurate information that is reliable such as promoting healthy behaviors and sharing information that can help people.
The video below looks at the spread of bacteria and how they can affect our physical health.
Here are some links that provide more information about understanding disease outbreaks, healthy hygienic practices and more:
Feel free to comment what you think about how misinformation affects disease awareness.