• Jenny Christiansen

Social Media Sabotage

The adverse effects of social media can occur at any age. I grew up with a house phone and a TV that had three channels. OK, I know I sound like I'm old, but my age is irrelevant.

Today I utilize a cell phone in which I can access numerous social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Or, I can read emails, text someone, or watch a movie on Netflix. All with a device I hold in my hand. To be honest, it would seem strange not to be connected to the world of social media, even as an adult. What does social media do to our brains?

Dr. Caroline Leaf writes, "Today, most people can access vast amounts of information, yet few people know how to process this information and use it to be successful at school, work and life. "

We now have the world at our fingertips, yet, paradoxically, more and more of us live solitary, futile lives. Indeed, more and more of us, of all ages, prefer aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, online shopping apps, or random things on our smartphones or devices than just sitting and thinking. Although we are more connected, literally, we are more isolated than ever before. As a result, problems in schools, universities, corporations, and institutions and people's lives abound as we lose sight of the power that is in our minds.""

A recent article in' Reader's Digest suggests, ""According to new research, your social networking habits might be affecting your brain more than you know." Here are just a few of their findings:

1. You may spend more money

New research suggests that heavy social media use might be correlated to lower self-control, which marketing experts believe could lead to higher spending. "Ultimately, the way you counteract this is by raising your self-awareness," Columbia University Professor Keith Wilcox told TODAY. It's not about' don't spend time on Facebook, but just be aware of what it might be doing to you.""

2. It Can Alter Your Appetite :

Women's Health reported that food photos can activate the brain's reward center and compel viewers to overeat. One study suggests that even looking at food images after a meal can trigger hunger.

3. It May Affect Self-Esteem

Two German universities joined forces to investigate social networking. Researchers discovered that one in three people surveyed felt worse ("lonely, frustrated or angry") after spending time on Facebook. This is occurred because of the ongoing tendency toward continual comparison.

4. It Can Affect Sleep Patterns

Melatonin is the hormone in your body that regulates sleep. High levels of melatonin can help you sleep, while low levels can keep you awake. Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School says that any kind of light can reduce how much melatonin your body makes. This is why some people love wearing sleep masks or having blackout curtains. However, blue light, which is emitted from the screens of your smartphone, lessens your melatonin levels even more.

The utilization of technology and social media can be informative, fun, and useful. We just cannot let it control us or distract us from completing our tasks or accomplishing our goals.


Here are some fun ideas for spending less time on social media and more time positively affecting your brain:

1. Exercise.

Go for a brisk walk, bike ride, or attend a gym class. That will get your endorphins going!

2. Grab a good book.

Check out the library or your favorite bookstore and find a new book that interests you.

3. Find a new recipe and get cookin!

One recipe book I recommend is Geo Chef Treks: A Taste of Travel." By Paul McClanahan. The dishes are delicious!


4. Become a volunteer.

Every community has needs and opportunities to get involved in something that makes a difference.

5. Listen to uplifting music.

Music can inspire, energize, or calm us down, start building a new song list today!

Up Next: Part 2:

Social Media Sabotage Meets Self-Worth Strategies

(A guide to help tweens and teens)

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