Side Effects of Social Media

Are you depressed, anxious, or feeling isolated? Are you suffering from low self-esteem? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you feel unproductive? Do you feel the need to check your social media feeds several times throughout the day? If you answered “Yes” to some of these questions, then you might be experiencing some side effects of social media use.

1. Poor Performance

Research shows that social media use worsens your ability to multi-task (truthfully, we are not very good at multi-tasking to begin with).

Possible Remedies:

Log off of social media whenever you are trying to get a task done quickly. You might want to refrain from social media use during working hours.

Create a vision board or set goals for the future. If you have concrete goals, you will be more productive and less inclined to use social media as frequently.

2. Insomnia

Any kind of light can alter the level of melatonin in your brain and interfere with the quality of your sleep. Because a lighted screen is required for social media, social media use at night may be an indirect cause of your insomnia.

Possible Remedy:

Turn off social media (and electronics) two hours before bedtime.

3. Loss of time

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? It’s 4:30 pm. In five minutes, I need to start making dinner, but I have to check my e-mail first. Oh, okay, I have 12 notifications. Cindy posted a new picture of her baby. Oh my! What a cutie! I forgot to send her a gift. Uh-oh, Carolyn changed her relationship status to single? I should call her to see if she is okay. Hmmm…Uncle Jarvis posted another political meme. That’s annoying. Oh man, what is the world coming to? Another school shooting? “Mama, I’m hungry!” Just a second…what in the world? It’s 6:30 pm already?!

Possible Remedies:

Set a time limit. Give yourself a limited amount of time to spend on social media each day. After you have met the time limit, close the app for the rest of the day.

Turn off social media notifications or remove social media apps from your phone. You will be less inclined to check your social media feeds throughout the day.

Only use social media when you need to. For example, only use social media for looking up someone’s contact information or for grabbing a good deal on a company page.

4. Strained Relationships

When you ask teenagers, ‘What’s the one thing you wish you could change in your relationship with your parents?’ The most common answer teenagers give to that question is, ‘I wish my parents weren’t on their devices so much and would actually listen to me.’

Andy Crouch, author of “The Tech-Wise Family”

Because I work from home and am a mother of three small children, I do not get out that much. So, whenever I am around someone that is constantly looking at the phone, I (like the teenagers in the above quote) become frustrated. Excessive social media use can affect marriages and other relationships as well.

Possible Remedies:

Eye contact. When someone is speaking to you, look up from your device and give them your attention.

Quality time should be quality time. When spending quality time with loved ones, do not log onto social media.

5. Anxiety, Depression and Low Self-Esteem

Research shows that people that spend more time on social media are more depressed and have lower self-esteem because they start to compare themselves to other “friends” on social media.

Possible Remedies:

Remember what’s real. Social media can fool you into thinking that all of your other digital “friends” are richer, better-looking, more exciting, more capable, more put together, etc. Don’t be fooled. Remember that most people only post their most exciting, polished, attractive selves on social media. Remember that scars, cellulite, emotional baggage, daily monotony, and extra padding are often omitted.

Focus on the good.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Even if you do not believe in the Bible, this is good advice. Instead of wishing for more money, a thinner body, a more creative mind, or a more powerful job, be grateful for what you have. Focus on the good.

Unfollow people that are toxic to you. On Facebook, you can remove someone from your newsfeed without unfriending them (and they won’t even know about it). This might be a good idea if your Facebook friend is posting things that make you upset.

Before logging into social media accounts, do something else that you love to do. Go outside, exercise, plant some flowers in the backyard, call a friend, meetup with a friend for coffee, play some sports, crochet a blanket for a baby, read, fly a kite, get your nails done, write in a journal, send a letter by snail mail, teach your nephew how to shoot pool, play some music, or do a jigsaw puzzle. You could also pick up a new hobby.

Ask for help. I believe that everyone can benefit from professional counseling.

6. Addiction

Social media can cause your brain to crave more “likes”, “friends”, instant responses, and more excitement from social media.

Possible Remedies:

Take breaks from social media. Don’t go on any of your social media accounts for half a day, a day, a week, a month, or a year.

Accountability. Tell someone that you want to cut back on social media use and ask them to keep you accountable.

Delete your accounts. A few years ago, I didn’t need any social media accounts for work, so I deleted my accounts for a few years. If social media is affecting your health, this might be worth considering.

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Recommended Resource

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane

References

Beres, Damon. 10 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/negative-effects-of-social-media/

Woods, H.C. & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41-49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27294324

This post was originally published on May 29, 2019. It was updated on October 9, 2020.

Coconut Oil Has Superpowers

I have come to realize that the simplest foods can be the most effective at combating health issues. If you are searching for a natural solution, I definitely recommend that you add coconut oil to your grocery list. Coconut oil has numerous health benefits—here are just three of my favorites!

Arthritis supporter

In an animal study, rats were injected with Freund’s adjuvant—mycobacterium that causes arthritis, ulcers, inflammation, and death of tissue. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of the coconut oil helped to decrease swelling and inflammation.

CANCER fighter

A study in Malaysia showed that coconut oil decreased the side effects of chemotherapy and it helped to improve the quality of life in patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Coconut oil has also been shown to prevent, stop, or slow the spread of colon, breast, and endometrial cancer cells.

germ killer

A study in Nigeria showed that coconut oil was active against Candida—a fungi that can be drug-resistant and can cause many health issues. An additional study showed that the growth of Clostridium difficile—an infection that can be severe and resistant to antibiotics—was inhibited when exposed to lipolyzed coconut oil. Another study showed that coconut oil was just as effective as chlorhexidine (a synthetic oral rinse) at reducing Streptococcus mutans—a common bacteria that can cause cavities.

Have I convinced you that coconut oil has superpowers? If so, go out and buy pure, organic, unrefined coconut oil and aim to consume 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day (max). The list of ways that you can use coconut oil is just as long as the list of its benefits. You can spread some on your sprouted-grain toast, throw some in your smoothie, or add some to your baked goods. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes—do this three times per week, spit the coconut oil in the garbage after you are done, and brush your teeth afterwards—to help prevent cavities!

How do you use coconut oil?

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DIY: How To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

What do you get when you have small kids and a small amount of time to clean? Well, I’ll tell you what I get. I get ANTS! Luckily, I found a cheap, natural, effective way to get rid of ants!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Borax
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastic bag

Please note that Borax is a natural powder. However, it is toxic if it is ingested by kids. Therefore, keep these “ant traps” away from small children and pets.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut the plastic bag into approximately seven small squares. The plastic acts as a disposable, waterproof plate for the cotton. In the past, I used a plastic container; later, I switched to a plastic bag so that the ants could get to the mixture faster. If you don’t want to use a plastic bag, you can use any small, shallow container or plate.
  2. Mix the water, sugar and Borax in a small bowl.
  3. Submerge a cotton ball in the mixture and place the cotton onto the plastic. Repeat until you have enough ant traps or until the mixture is gone.
  4. Place the plastic in the path of the ants. Keep the ant traps away from children and pets as the Borax is toxic if it is ingested.
  5. Throw the cotton and plastic away in approximately 48 hours.

These ant traps worked for odorous house ants (ants that like sugar). The ants will carry the mixture back to their home and the whole colony will die from the exposure to the Borax. Vinegar and essential oils are also great for repelling insects, but the ant traps and Borax were more effective because they wiped out the entire ant colony. This recipe came from DIY Natural. Mommypotamus also has some great ideas. 

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Essential Oils and Hair Restoration

I recently had lunch with a business contact who asked me if there were any clinical studies regarding essential oils and hair restoration. A search on PubMed for “essential oils and alopecia” revealed 14 hits—two out of these 14 hits peaked my interest.

The first study compared rosemary oil and a synthetic medication called minoxidil. The second study involved four essential oils: thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood. The writers of both research articles concluded that essential oils were effective treatments for hair restoration.

According to the drug label on DailyMed, minoxidil will not work for everyone and unwanted side effects can occur after use. In contrast to synthetic medications which can cause unwanted side effects, natural essential oils produce side benefits. The smell of rosemary oil can help with concentration; thyme can be used to purify the skin; lavender can calm the emotions and soothe the skin; and cedarwood can assist with mood stabilization.

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References

Hay, I.C., Jamieson, M., & Ormerod, A.D. (1998). Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of dermatology, 134 (11), 1349-1352.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867

Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E.T., & Sahebkar, A. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 13 (1), 15-21.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469

This post was published on April 19, 2019. It was updated on August 21, 2020.

What is the Secret to Vibrant Health?

Do you want to know the secret to vibrant health? The secret is—there is no secret! What works for me may not work for you. Do you want to know why?

Every Body is Different

When I was struggling with a painful psoriasis flare on my hands, I tried different things for six months. The major changes that helped me were changes to my diet, a visit to a Functional Medicine practitioner, and a cleanse. When I visited the Functional Medicine practitioner, my lab results revealed Epstein-Barr reactivation and possible MTHFR mutation. Another person with psoriasis would have different laboratory test results, which is why my protocol might not work for another person with psoriasis. Some people with skin problems might only need to make minor changes to their lives, while others might need to make more drastic changes.

Everybody Has A Different Health Background and Environment

Some people had some health disadvantages starting at an early age because they were born via Cesarean section or because they only drank formula when they were babies. Some people constantly ingest antibiotics and medications that are harmful for their gut health. Some people are exposed to occupational hazards or many poisonous chemicals in their homes. Some people are exposed to toxic people at work and at home, leading to excessive emotional and physical stress. The fixes that I have found for my particular health background and environment would not apply to you because your health history and environment is different than mine.

So, the bad news is that there is no secret sauce for vibrant health. But the good news is that vibrant health is attainable.

Be Your Own Lab Rat

Start by making some small changes. If you don’t get the results that you want, add another small change. Add more water to your diet, add some greens to your diet, get rid of endocrine disruptors in your home, eliminate some processed foods from your diet, learn a new stress management technique, or start doing yoga. Keep track of how you feel after you add something new or take something away.

Visit A Functional Medicine Practitioner

A conventional physician will spend a few minutes with you and write a couple of drug prescriptions for you (in the long run, these drugs might do more harm than good). A Functional Medicine practitioner will spend a lot of time with you, (the consultations with my practitioner lasted for 60-90 minutes) will work to find the root cause of your symptoms, and will create a special care plan for you. My decision to see a Functional Medicine practitioner was one of the best decisions that I made for my health.

Keep learning and listening to your body. Vibrant health is within your reach. Don’t give up!

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