Is Social Media Negatively Affecting Your Health?

Technology, science, and research have taken us into a brave new world. We are now living lives that were once only visible in the “Jetsons” Saturday morning cartoons and futuristic Hollywood movies. As a kid, I remember riding Epcot’s “Spaceship Earth” that zoomed us through the ages, and into the future, where people used to talk to each other through their TV’s and computers. I’m not sure whether scientists back then even envisioned we would have what is now social media, or that we’d be accessing it through tiny devices that act as a phone, calendar, and computer, all in one. Technology and cell phones have no doubt changed the way we live and interact, keeping us connected with friends and relatives we may have otherwise lost touch with.

But there is also a dark side. Research has emphasized some of the serious side effects that technology and social media may have. But the convenience of having everyone accessible at your fingertips does come with a price. Adults and children are starting to see the effects, and more connections are being made between technological advances and significant health problems. One of the biggest concerns surrounding social media is that it is changing the way we communicate and interact, and more importantly, how we feel about ourselves, both mentally and physically.

The Dark Side of Social Media

According to new research, the more time children, teens, and adults spend on social media, the greater the risk of developing mental issues. Disturbingly, there is a direct correlation between online social networking and psychiatric disorders including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, ADD, and ADHD.

Addiction

The most pronounced concern lies in addiction. The phenomenon is so new that research is only just starting to come out about this issue, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest the internet and social media addiction is real and extremely intrusive. In fact, there is a diagnosis being called “Facebook Addiction Disorder” and it meets all the criteria: neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, and the tolerance and concealing of addictive behavior.

Connected, but not Connected

You may be connected to hundreds of “friends” on social media, but studies are showing that these connections are actually linked to greater feelings of social isolation. As it turns out, the more time you spend on social media sites, the more you perceive yourself to be socially isolated. These negative feelings are one of the worst things for our bodies and can have tremendous side effects.

Is Social Media Negatively Impacting Our Mental Health?

Healthcare professionals have been taken aback by the huge inflow of patients affected by social media. Psychologists and psychiatrists are seeing depressed and anxious teenagers at alarming rates. Why is this? Subconsciously, social media scrollers are taking note of all the contrasts they find between their own lives and those of the perfectly presented lives they glance over. Although common sense tells us what we’re looking at is probably a fake portrayal of reality that has been photoshopped and edited, the comparison still takes place in our minds and tends to lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and other depressive symptoms. Body type, family composition, lifestyles, and social preferences have become so idealized that it’s easy to feel inadequate about our own lives, appearance, intelligence, and success. The outcome? Moral integrity gets lost.

Let’s be honest. How do you feel after your sessions on social media platforms? Do you feel distracted, jealous, or unnerving? Take a few minutes to examine the list below:

  • Do you find yourself comparing your life to others based on social media content?
  • Do you feel a level of distress while viewing your feed?
  • Are you frequently envious of others while engaging in posts?
  • Is social media your primary leisure activity?
  • Are you connecting with friends and family more often on social media than in person?
  • Has your ability to concentrate decreased?
  • Have you noticed an unusual social anxiety when you interact with people offline?
  • Do you feel the need to share everything you do on social media?
  • Do you experience FOMO—fear of missing out—when you view other people’s activity?
  • Do you turn to social media as a distraction or to suppress unpleasant emotions you may be experiencing?
  • Have you developed sleep disorders along with increased fatigue?

If you notice any of these symptoms, you may want to reevaluate your stance on social media. Take some time away from it and focus on healthier alternatives. Many therapists and healthcare practitioners are readily available and equipped to discuss social media issues with you.

Addiction Is Real

Addiction in any form is real and very dangerous. Although the study of social media addiction is fairly new, without a doubt, it stimulates pleasure centers and dopamine in the brain, just like drugs and other addictive substances and practices. When your posts are given a “like” you receive positive reinforcement, so you continue posting and checking for more “likes”, which then becomes a need. The habit is hard to break since most humans are wired towards good feelings. However, the line between healthy fun and addictive behavior can quickly be crossed. So much so that the Journal of Psychological Science has declared that social media platforms may be as addictive as alcohol and cigarettes.

Here are a few addictive behaviors to watch out for:

  • Is your social media usage compulsive? Do you feel like you “have to” use it?
  • Are you having a hard time not engaging in social media, even when you don’t want to?
  • Is your use of social media growing and taking up more and more of your time?
  • Do you feel a sense of negative emotions arise when you aren’t engaging in an online platform?
  • Do you become preoccupied with social media and lose track of reality? Have you lost track of what’s going on in the here and now?
  • Have you neglected your “real” relationships with family and friends and find engaging in social media more appealing?

If you answered yes to quite a few of these, chances are you may have a social media addiction. It should be treated just like any other addiction. There are a few methods, listed below, you could try on your own. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and have lost control, consult a professional so you can get back to a healthier lifestyle as quickly as possible.

How To Cut The Addiction

Hanging out with friends can help to cut back your social media usageRecognizing the need to cut back on your social media usage is the first step in any addiction program. Next? Get offline. Here are some tips on how to break the habit:

  • Reach out to friends and family offline. Use the phone to speak to them, or even better, meet face-to-face.
  • Put down your phone. Turn it over, or even off, when you’re with company.
  • Turn to physical activities that don’t allow you to look at your phone even if you want to. Join a gym, take a jog, or start a dance class.
  • Meditate. Everyone should learn the art of controlling their thoughts.
  • Find a new healthy hobby, learn a new skill, or take up a foreign language. No time is better than the present to be proactive.
  • Get some sleep. If you have an addiction, chances are you’ve been waking up often to check your status updates. If sleep eludes you, look into healthy sleep aids like melatonin.
  • Uninstall apps on your phone and remove shortcuts. This has been proven to work miracles by removing the need for a quick fix.
  • Set yourself some guidelines that include when and for how long you are allowed to engage in social media. If you need to, set a timer!

What Does This Mean For Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue and Social media

As much as possible, sufferers of Adrenal Fatigue Treatment must create a stress-free environment for themselves. With stress being the root cause of this debilitating ailment, avoiding stress-inducing activities is the key to healing. With new evidence surfacing daily on the negative effects of social media, it may be a good idea for AFS patients to limit their online interactions even more than the average person. Especially due to the fact that social media has now been linked to anxiety, an issue that can handicap even the healthiest body.

Although there is no direct connection between AFS and anxiety, they are definitely intertwined. Stress affects the entire NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system. When something affects all six of the major systems in the body, it needs to be addressed. If social media is causing you anxiety and you suffer from AFS, speak to your healthcare practitioner about creating an action that will work best for you.

Content Source

Don’t Stress Too Much, or Your Autonomic Nervous System Will Suffer

Try as you might, stress in daily life is ultimately impossible to avoid. Triggers for stress tend to surround you. They can be connected to your family, career, finances, health, dating life, and other factors. What you may not realize, though, is that every time you go through an intense time of stress, your autonomic nervous system (ANS) does more work than you can imagine. And if there is no end to your stress in sight, your ANS can easily become compromised to the point that your adrenals and overall health suffer too.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System?

The nervous system is mainly divided into two parts. First is the central nervous system, which includes the spinal cord and brain. Secondly, there is the peripheral nervous system, a part of which is composed of the autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system covers a vast network in the body, including the cardiovascular, genitourinary, GI, ophthalmologic and thermoregulatory systems. Hence, it affects various critical organ muscles and glands. These include the heart, eyes, stomach, esophagus, small intestine, trachea, kidney, bladder, sexual organs, and the adrenal glands.

The ANS performs several critical functions within your body on a regular basis. It does so without the need for any voluntary action on your end since its responses are always done reflexively. In fact, with the assistance of the adrenal glands, it kick-starts a response to stress without you having to do anything.

Critical Response: How the ANS and Adrenal Glands Work Together in Times of Stress

When you are faced with stress, your brain’s hypothalamus essentially functions as a command center. It starts communicating with the rest of your body through your autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system is made up of five separate systems, with the sympathetic and the parasympathetic system is the most recognized. When faced with a stressful event, the hypothalamus proceeds to activate the sympathetic nervous system by having the autonomic nerves send signals to your adrenal glands, via the sympathomedullary nervous system.

This kick-starts your body’s fight-or-flight response to the stress. When this happens, your adrenals start pumping the hormone epinephrine, or adrenaline, into your bloodstream. Once the epinephrine starts to circulate throughout your body, you can expect a number of key physiological changes.

First, your heart will start to beat faster than usual. As your pulse rate goes up, so will your blood pressure level. You will also start to breathe more rapidly. The small airways in your lungs will open wide. This allows the lungs to take in as much oxygen as they can with each breath. This extra oxygen will then be sent to the brain to increase your body’s alertness.

When this happens, you will feel all your senses becoming sharper, including your sight and hearing. Around the same time, the epinephrine will trigger both blood sugar and fats to be temporarily released from storage within the body. These nutrients will then make their way to your bloodstream and supply energy throughout your body.

Meanwhile, as the stressful episode wanes, the initial surge of epinephrine throughout your body will subside. However, should the brain still perceive an event as dangerous, the hypothalamus will release a corticotropin-releasing hormone that will make its way to the pituitary gland? In response, the pituitary gland will release an adrenocorticotropic hormone, which then triggers the adrenal glands to start producing cortisol.

Once the threat or stress is gone, the cortisol levels in the body will begin to fall. The parasympathetic nervous system will then dampen your body’s stress response. As this happens, the body will also begin to recover from the stress.

Your heart rate will drop, and your muscles will start to relax again. Meanwhile, you will experience an increase in saliva as digestive enzymes are also released in your body. Your body’s urinary output will also increase to help you further flush out any toxins from the stress you just experienced. At the same time, any adrenaline left in the body will be metabolized. Norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter as well as a hormone, will be released, starting at the brain. This will cause a sense of alertness and results in insomnia for many, as well as pounding in the chest and possibly dizziness in some who are sensitive. Blood pressure tends to rise, though for sufferers of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), who are commonly in a state of low blood pressure, this is seldom noticed except by a small number of people.

As you can see, your overall autonomic nervous system and adrenals are very much capable of handling stress. When the stress has become chronic, however, it overworks your body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response to the point that your adrenals experience fatigue.

How the ANS and Adrenals are Compromised Under Continuous Stress

Adrenals and Autonomic Nervous SystemWhen stress is continuous, your body is not able to effectively modulate its parasympathetic nervous system. This means it does not have any chance to recover. In fact, the secretion of epinephrine is continuous, as your body is constantly preparing for a fight or flight.

At the same time, as mentioned earlier, norepinephrine will continue to travel to your heart and brain to keep you more alert. As a result, you may feel that your heart is beating harder or faster than normal. If left to persist, it can trigger serious cardiac problems.

Meanwhile, that surge of adrenaline in your body is a phenomenon that no opposing hormone is capable of neutralizing. As more of it is released, it leads to significant instability within your body, as is evidenced by what happens to your health soon after.

Chronic Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

When your body’s fight-or-flight response is activated too often, you can end up suffering from adrenal fatigue without warning. The continuous presence of stressors can cause your body to release significant amounts of various stress hormones, including cortisol.

Over time, your constantly elevated stress levels would cause your internal organs to become depleted of the raw materials they need to produce more neurotransmitters and hormones. Essentially, your body would experience a burnout, and this is what triggers AFS.

Once you have adrenal fatigue, your health will become compromised almost immediately. For starters, you will experience extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, and difficulty sleeping. A study conducted by several institutions in Spain and Cuba also found that high cortisol levels are linked to increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and reduced immune function.

Furthermore, you can end up suffering from hair loss, muscle loss, and bone loss. You may also suffer from hormonal imbalance, skin ailments, insulin resistance, and even brain fog.

Aside from everything being experienced in your body, you may also find that you are not emotionally well. This is because adrenal fatigue can trigger feelings of depression and irritability. Hence, it may also affect your ability to focus and be effective at work.

How to Prevent Chronic Stress

As you can see, it’s important for you to better manage your stress so that your autonomic nervous system and adrenals don’t get overworked and compromised. There are several ways to deal with stress and keep it from getting worse. Before you try any remedy, however, it is always recommended to consult with your physician first, especially if you are trying a new supplement or therapy. In this way, you can be certain that the remedy you are trying is suited to your condition.

That said, here are helpful tips on how you can effectively manage chronic stress:

Check if Your Stress has a Biological Cause

Stress affecting a woman's Autonomic Nervous SystemIn some cases, there are some biological factors contributing to and exacerbating chronic stress. For instance, having vitamin B12 deficiency can readily trigger fatigue, anxiety, depression, weaker memory function, and a reduced attention span. If you happen to be B12 deficient while facing chronic stress, your adrenal fatigue can easily go from bad to worse.

Similarly, magnesium deficiency can also trigger several symptoms of stress, including fatigue, anxiety, and increased depression. Furthermore, a study conducted by the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and Ministry of Health of Russia found a link between stress and magnesium deficiency. Hence, it is believed that compensating for your depleted magnesium levels can enhance your ability to handle stress.

On the other hand, certain allergies and toxicity are also believed to cause stress. One study conducted by the Sapthagiri College of Engineering in Bangalore, India found that constant exposure to heavy metals can trigger oxidative stress. In fact, a study done by the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil also found that mercury toxicity can induce oxidative stress among growing cucumber seedlings.

Meanwhile, many who suffer from gluten sensitivity also report feeling fatigue. Some also report experiencing brain fog and sleeping problems. As you can see, these are all symptoms that people suffering from adrenal fatigue also experience.

If you believe you are suffering from any of these conditions that cause stress or make it worse, it’s best to have yourself checked out right away. Make an appointment with your physician. It is likely that they will recommend some laboratory tests to check for any sensitivity or deficiency you may have. Once they have determined what type of food or toxicity is causing you to become more stressed, make a conscious commitment to avoid these as much as possible.

Given that deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals cause fatigue and stress, it makes sense that taking supplements can help you combat these conditions. Ideally, you should opt for a supplement that helps your body balance its stress response. This can be a multivitamin that already contains B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium. You may also want to consult with a physician regarding what other vitamins and supplements you should take to help improve your body’s stress response. Unfortunately, this only applies to those with very mild forms of AFS. The weaker the body, the greater the tendency for the body to become sensitive to these nutrients. Paradoxical reactions can occur and adrenal crashes may be triggered.

Try Adrenal Breathing

Adrenal breathing is a special technique form of intentional breathing that is designed to help the body heal without stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. It is something that you can consciously practice in order to keep stress from taking over the rest of your life. The best part about it is that it’s quite easy to learn and practice regularly.

With every breath you take, you will find that you are becoming calmer. Hence, you will also be able to have better control over your reactions to stress.

Commit to Improving Your Sleep Quality

A woman improving sleep quality to support her Autonomic Nervous SystemYou may not realize it, but the quality of sleep that you get greatly affects how you are able to cope with stress. According to the American Psychological Association, a survey conducted in 2009 found that 47 percent of Americans cannot get proper sleep due to stress. If you can improve the quality of your sleep and sleep for around seven to eight hours regularly, you will feel more revitalized and rested upon waking up. This puts you in a much better position to deal with stress.

Take note of these tips and you will become better at handling any stressful event that comes your way. Remember, stress doesn’t just make you feel bad emotionally. It compromises your overall health, too. This is why it’s most important to keep its presence to a minimum in your daily life. With reduced stress, you will immediately feel much healthier. In addition, you will also become happier and more energized.

7 Natural Sciatica Nerve Solutions

Sciatic Nerve pain, also known as sciatica, can cause throbbing pain from the lower spine all the way to the buttocks. If you have sciatica, you may face high levels of discomfort. Natural sciatica nerve solutions can help relieve pain without causing any side effects. Moreover, natural remedies are often considered safer and more effective than surgery or anti-inflammatory drugs. ( https://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp )

What Is Sciatica Nerve Pain?

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body; it runs from your lower back all the way to your feet. Sciatica nerve pain itself is not a condition; this term is used to describe the painful symptoms that occur in your lower back and lower limbs. Sciatica occurs when The sciatic nerve gets pinched which can result which can result in intense pain in the lower back and lower limbs. Many people describe this pain as intolerable.

Bulging spinal discs can press on the nerves causing conditions such as arthritis and bone spurs which can irritate the surrounding nerves. When the space around your spinal cord narrows, it can exert pressure on the adjacent nerve roots causing discomfort and pain.

Other causes of sciatica include:

  • irritation or pressure on sciatic nerves
  • bad posture
  • trauma
  • spinal misalignment
  • bulging discs
  • degeneration of spine or discs or lower back

For people with sciatica, simple activities such as bending to wear your socks or getting up from the chair can cause pain and be stressful. Stress from sciatic pain can make you feel fatigue. Sciatic nerve pain can also indicate symptoms of spinal stenosis. The condition is also closely linked to piriformis syndrome as the piriformis muscle is located nearby the sciatic nerve.

Your body is equipped with a NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response which acts as a natural defensive shield against stress. During stressful situations, the NEM stress response signals your adrenal glands to secrete the anti-stress hormone, cortisol. However, repeated stress overburdens your adrenals lowering cortisol production. This reduces your body’s stress-fighting ability leaving you fatigued. Stressors such as sciatic nerve pain can cause stress on your body triggering symptoms of AFS and further worsen the condition.

Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Pain

Estimates reveal that one to two percent of people experience a herniated disc which can further lead to sciatic pain. The condition is more common in men than in women. People over 30 years of age are more likely to develop the pain. Sciatica can affect almost anyone including athletes, people who are physically active, lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Some of the common sciatic nerve pain symptoms include:

Lower back pain and natural sciatica nerve solutions

  • Frequently experiencing sharp and shooting pain in the lower back. The pain can travel down to the buttock, thighs, and feet
  • Pain during sleep
  • Tingling and numbness in lower limbs
  • Stiffness and trouble flexing feet
  • Trouble moving around or exercising
  • Inflammation and throbbing in lower back and thighs when sitting or standing for prolonged time

Depending on the type of damage, sciatic pain can last for up to six weeks. The inflamed bulging tissues do recover with time. In some cases, the pain may subside on its own after a certain period. However, in cases of acute pain, the symptoms may re-emerge. When sciatic pain lasts for more than six weeks, then it is unlikely for the pain to recover without any therapy. Natural sciatica nerve solutions can always be of great help in correcting the problem. Read More Article

Dealing with Chronic Adrenal Fatigue

We all are struggling to cope with life on a day to day basis. We want the best for ourselves and our families. We want the best career, the best house, the most luxurious lifestyle, a good and supportive family and lots of money in the bank. We have a lot of expectations from ourselves and there are others who also expect a lot from us, thus surmounting the pressure on ourselves. All these wants are positive, but in securing them the trade-off is ill health and stress. These days a lot of people are suffering from a condition called chronic adrenal fatigue.

So what exactly is this chronic adrenal fatigue? This is a condition which affects our adrenal gland. This gland is a very important and essential part of our body, as it produces as well as releases pertinent hormones such as adrenalin, endorphins, testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. The function of this very important adrenal gland is also to regulate the hormones in our bodies. These hormones are produced when our body is under stress. These hormones reflect what we feel and think. The response of the body to deal with stress and pressure is the secretion and release of these various hormones.

When someone suffers from chronic adrenal fatigue, the production of hormones is affected. The body secretes too many hormones in large amounts to deal with the stress. This means the adrenal glands are working overtime which will only result in exhaustion of the adrenal glands which will, in turn, lower the hormone production in our bodies. The consequence will be that we will feel tired easily and we will be exhausted most of the time. Even a sound sleep cannot replenish the energies of chronic adrenal fatigue sufferers. They will also feel irritable and moody which can further lead to depression.

The best way to deal with chronic adrenal fatigue is to give ourselves ample amount of rest. Along with rest, proper nutrition and techniques to deal with stress need to be taken into consideration. The little bit of self-indulgence and pampering will also contribute to the treatment of chronic adrenal fatigue.