|ADHD, Millennials and the Media
||Every election year in the United States is a study in the limitations of “the media.” This year, the fact that Donald Trump has a legitimate shot at being elected … ...
|Calcium waves in the brain alleviate depressive behavior in mice
||Researchers have discovered that the benefits of stimulating the brain with direct current come from its effects on astrocytes -- not neurons -- in the mouse brain. The work shows that applying direct current to the head releases synchronized waves of calcium from astrocytes that can reduce depressive symptoms and lead to a general increase in neural plasticity.
|Best of Our Blogs: March 22, 2016
||The discomfort of not scratching an itch seems unbearable. A pause between a sentence is too uncomfortable. Not fixing a child’s problem feels like torture. But to fully be present in our lives, it takes inner strength. It takes stretching beyond what’s comfortable. It means … ...
|Placebos Catalyze Endogenous Drugs
||Many of the published case studies in refereed journals describe experiments on medical students. In this one, half the students of a pharmacology class in a medical school were given … ...
|Before You Scroll, Try This Mindful Social Media Practice
||How many times a day do you check into your social feeds? How many times do you hit refresh in one visit? Our need to be social can backfire on social media, when we accidentally activate the comparing mind, which is a source of much unhappiness. Of course, this can happen offline, too. But the toll looms larger online, with of all those perfectly curated images of people’s lives inviting us to compare our insides to other people’s projection of their outsides.
For teens and tweens, who are actually hardwired for self-consciousness, the constant comparing and curating—which used to end with the final bell of the school day, when kids could go home and put on their sweatpants—is a twenty-four-hour-a-day job. Socializing and social comparison begins first thing in the morning and ends last thing at night. Predictably, psychology research consistently shows that social media is making kids unhappier and more narcissistic.
The sheer volume and instant nature of digital media means that when we log in, we are drinking from a fire hose of emotional stimulus. We can be anywhere in the world and be met by friends’ posts that trigger joy, resentment, sadness, laughter, grief, jealousy, and more—all within moments. None of us, adults or children, are wired to take in that much emotional content at once without reacting.
Research also reveals that social rewards and punishments feel the same online and off. If someone interacts with us in a positive way online, we get the same neurochemical rewards in our brain as we would in person. When we (or our children) are rejected or ignored online, we get the same feeling of rejection as we would in person. More interestingly, the sense of emotional attack activates the same part of the brain as physical attack does. Emotional pain is just as painful, just as real, as physical pain, whether it comes from the virtual world or not.
So, can we teach ourselves, and the young people around us, to approach social media feeds with mindfulness, even occasionally?
Mindful social media
Yes, social media is contributing to a new era of adolescent (and adult) social stress, but when we accept that it is here to stay, we can also see it as a new opportunity for connection and mindfulness, if we build it. Mindfulness tells us there is insight to be found in anything when we approach it with mindfulness, and that even includes social media.
Try this social media mindfulness practice to explore what your favorite sites are communicating to your subconscious:
Find a comfortable, alert, and ready posture. Shrug your shoulders, take a few breaths, and bring awareness to your physical and emotional state in this particular moment.
Now open your computer or click on your phone.
Before you open up your favorite social media site, consider your intentions and expectations. As you focus on the icon, notice what experiences you have in your mind and body.
Why are you about to check this site? What are you hoping to see or not see? How are you going to respond to different kinds of updates you encounter? By checking your social media, are you interested in connecting or in disconnecting and distracting?
Close your eyes and focus on your emotional state for three breaths before you begin to engage.
Opening your eyes now, look at the first status update or photo, and then sit back and close your eyes again.
Notice your response—your emotion. Is it excitement? Boredom? Jealousy? Regret? Fear? How do you experience this emotion in the mind and body? What’s the urge—to read on, to click a response, to share yourself, or something else?
Wait a breath or two for the sensations and emotions to fade, or focus on your breath, body, or surrounding sounds.
Try this practice with one social media update, or for three or five minutes, depending on your time and your practice.
Noticing how social media makes you feel can help you discover how to use it more mindfully. As you become more aware of the emotions you’re actually inviting into your day when you visit social media sites, you’ll be able to make better decisions about how often to visit those sites.
And, keep in mind, the science of social media is more complex than we might think. For example, research shows that the more we look at others’ carefully curated social media status, the worse we tend to feel. But, the opposite is also true: if we look back at our own updates, we often see the positive aspects of our life presented and tend to feel better. So consider scrolling through your own updates sometimes, as you look at everyone else’s.
Technology does not define us, despite social media trying to put us into categories and reduce us to a series of likes and interests. Examining and changing our own relationship to technology opens the door for us teach through example and to practice new ways of making technology foster community and wellness.
This article was originally published on Mindful. Read the original article.
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|APA Centralizes All Business Units Related To Its Seminal Style Manual
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|Beyond the catchphrase
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|Do Transparency and Vulnerability Go Hand In Hand?
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|Hunting the genetic signs of postpartum depression with an iPhone app
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|What Refugees Can Tell Us About The Future Of Work
||We can learn from the refugee crisis in Europe to prepare for the looming mental health epidemic, as up to 50 percent of workers are expected to lose their job to automation.
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|Narcissistic artists sell more art — for more money
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|Cognitive psychology experiment reveals the invisible world of human perception
||Stage magicians are not the only ones who can distract the eye: a new cognitive psychology experiment demonstrates how all human beings have a built-in ability to stop paying attention to objects that are right in front of them. Perception experts have long known that we see much less of the world than we think [...]
|Seeing isn’t required to gesture like a native speaker
||People the world over gesture when they talk, and they tend to gesture in certain ways depending on the language they speak. Findings from a new study including blind and sighted participants suggest that these gestural variations do not emerge from watching other speakers make the gestures, but from learning the language itself. “Adult speakers [...]
|Women with blonde hair are not dumber than other women
||The “dumb blonde” stereotype is simply wrong, according to a new national study of young baby boomers. The study of 10,878 Americans found that white women who said their natural hair color was blonde had an average IQ score within 3 points of brunettes and those with red or black hair. While jokes about blondes [...]