Is texting good for your mental health?

Hannah Natanson shared in The Washington Post that texting gets a bad rap. It’s blamed for everything from fostering social isolation to increasing teens’ risk of ADHD to driving down adolescent self-esteem to damaging the spine — a phenomenon known as “text neck.”

But some technological and medical experts say the negativity is unfair and overblown. Texting can and should be a positive force in people’s lives, both in terms of emotional and physical health, they say — so long as it’s used correctly.

“I have a reputation as sort of being the Darth Vader of anything that has to do with texting,” said MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle, author of “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.” “Which, of course, is not really what I have said or am saying — the problem really isn’t that people have this new, interesting, intimate way of touching base … the trouble is what happens to a face-to-face conversation if your phone is always there.”

If done well, Turkle and other experts said, texting can improve interpersonal relationships, help people deal with traumatic events and bridge intergenerational gaps.

Research backs this up: A 2012 study conducted by psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley found that sending and receiving text messages boosted texters’ moods when they were feeling upset or lonely. Read more

Screen Time Use Linked to ADH

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked 2,500 teens over two years and monitored their usage and symptoms.

It doesn’t prove a causal link. The study also didn’t rule out other possible causes such as lack of sleep, family stress at home or a family history of the disorder. But it was the first longitudinal study to follow so many teens over a two-year period, according to experts, going straight to an issue that pits parents and teachers against the tech industry in a battle for children’s attention.

“I don’t think it’s reason for panic. But I’m a clinician who sees kids with ADHD all the time, and I don’t want to see an increase,” says Jenny Radesky, a University of Michigan assistant professor of pediatrics, who specializes in developmental and behavioral health.

“Executive function and flexible problem solving—all that matters for long-term success,” she said. “Even if it’s a small increase in ADHD, I think that’s important.” Such skills are often affected by ADHD. Dr. Radesky, who wrote a JAMA editorial about the new study, wasn’t involved in the work.

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Self-Care: The Journey to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Paired with our expertise, the team at Jumo Health shared that encouraging a healthy lifestyle is essential for the growth and development of our youth. When we teach our kids self-care practices, they are likely to maintain these practices in order to evolve and thrive from adolescents into healthy adults. Self-care does not just pertain to physical health but it includes mental health as well. While childhood obesity and mental illness are not always mutually exclusive, they are commonly diagnosed as a result of the other.

Nearly 1 in 5 school age children and young people (aged 6 to 19 years) in the United States has obesity. Children who suffer from obesity are teased more than their peers of healthy weight, and therefore are more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and lower self-esteem. However, there are ways in which we can encourage our children to take care of their body and their mind. Here are three self-care practices to start incorporating into our everyday lives:

 

Power a Healthy Mindset with Knowledge

According to Sarah Katula, an Advanced Psychiatric Nurse, conversations about the mental health of another person should begin with a casual chat. This facilitates the opportunity for a loved one or friend to point out a noticed behavior without accusation. In the particular scenario of childhood obesity, this is a conversation that will likely be started by a parent who notices a change in their child. Coping with any diagnosis can be challenging, and growing up diagnosed with obesity has its own particular set of challenges. Read more

The Habits of Highly Successful People

     Milan Krstovic, Jr. Media Relations Associate, at  Porch and her team shared that perhaps we should forget “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” These days, gurus across the internet claim dozens of routines will put you on the path to fulfillment. In one camp, there are the evangelists of wholesome habits: Get up early, make your bed, and exercise, and you’ll inevitably encounter success. Then you have the mindfulness contingent, who says daily meditation will deliver clarity to even the most frazzled capitalists. Other habit-based programs take consistency to the extreme, suggesting eating and wearing the same things each day. If you’re skeptical of these well-intentioned suggestions, don’t kick yourself for your cynicism. It’s hard to know if any of these habits truly work for you––or anyone.

That’s why Data for Stories  experimented on its own, surveying over 1,000 people on how successful they feel in several major life areas. They then asked them about their habits to gain a statistical view of the practices that correlate most closely with fulfillment. If you’ve wondered which habits allow other people to achieve their purpose and prosperity, you won’t want to miss the results. Read on to see how successful people consistently spend the one resource they can’t replenish: their time. Read more

Summer Reading Programs 2018

Below you’ll find a list of summer reading programs that will get your kids free stuff like free books, money, gift cards, movies, and more.

Having a tough time getting your child interested in reading this summer? Try downloading a free kids book on your Kindle to get them on board.

Between these summer reading programs, free summer moviesfree summer bowlingfree summer skating, and all the other summer freebiesyour kids will be very busy this summer! Read more

The Best Diet for Depression

Depression presents a baffling evolutionary puzzle. Despite its negative effects, it remains common and heritable, meaning a large part of the risk is passed through our genes. Presumably, there must be some kind of adaptive benefit or it would have been naturally selected against. Could depression be an evolutionary strategy to provide a defense against infection? Infection has been the leading cause of mortality throughout human history, making it a critical force in natural selection. Indeed, because of infections, our average life expectancy before the industrial period was only 25 years, and it was not uncommon for half of our children to die without reaching adulthood.

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The 1 Thing Happy People Do Every Day

 wrote for POPSUGAR that growing up with a mother as a counselor definitely had its perks: she was incredibly patient, a supportive listener, and always gave the best advice. Even though my mom is retired, she continues to help others by sharing her years of wisdom on what it takes to be truly happy. She’s told me time and time again that while material goods might make me happy in the moment, that feeling is fleeting. I’ve learned people who are the happiest don’t have the most money or aren’t the most attractive, but they all share one thing in common:

Happy people practice gratitude every day.

While this may seem simple enough, our minds tend to focus on what we’re missing out on instead of being grateful for everything we already have. Our generation has it even harder because we are living in a social world where we are constantly connected. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have enough when everyone on your social feed appears to be doing cooler things than you.

Good news: there are ways to practice gratitude each day to live your best life. Here’s how. Read more

The health benefits of volunteering

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital shared that when you think about activities that help with stress, depression and even physical health, a variety of ideas may come to mind: yoga, meditation or even a trip to the gym. But recent studies show another activity is also associated with positive health benefits: volunteering.

Studies have long shown that people who volunteer feel more socially connected, less lonely and less depressed. In fact, one study out of the UK surveyed over 600 volunteers and found that almost half of study participants who had volunteered for more than two years said it made them feel less depressed. In addition, almost two-thirds of those surveyed said volunteering reduced their stress levels.

“I frequently suggest volunteering to my patients,” says Dr. Daniel Lazar, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “Many of my retired patients become restless, and some even start getting depressed, as they feel like they are no longer contributing to society. Retiring can also adversely affect family dynamics and relationships, but volunteering can abate this in many ways.”

And the act of volunteering is not only gratifying for the mind, but also for the body.

A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University found that adults who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure compared to those who didn’t volunteer in the age group over 50.

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Why You Should Visit The Beach Regularly

MELISSA LOCKER wrote for Southern Living the following article that was recently published in Costal Living.  She writes  that when you’re on vacation on St. Simon’s Island, sitting by the water in Hilton Head, or Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have a care in the world. It’s not just the fact that you’re on vacation that is relaxing, though, but the ocean itself. According to several scientific studies, the beach is good for the brain as it makes happy, relaxed, and reenergized.

In a 2011 study, researchers at Washington University and UC Irvine asked over 1,000 beachgoers about their mental state before and after trips to the ocean. They found that beach trips reduce stress, increase creativity, and can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and were overall restorative for our psychological well-being. Those who experienced more stress and fatigue in their daily life found the beach the most reinvigorating. As for conditions, they found that mild temperatures, low tides, and sparse crowds were the best conditions for restoration, which sounds like a great reason to visit the beach off-season. While the researchers focused on California beaches, there’s no reason the same theory wouldn’t apply to the Gulf Coast, the Outer Banks, or the Florida Keys.

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The Food That Helps Battle Depression

Elizabeth Bernstein wrote for the Wall Street Journal on April 2, 2018 that sychiatrists and therapists don’t often ask this question. But a growing body of research over the past decade shows that a healthy diet—high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and unprocessed lean red meat—can prevent depression. And an unhealthy diet—high in processed and refined foods—increases the risk for the disease in everyone, including children and teens.

Now recent studies show that a healthy diet may not only prevent depression, but could effectively treat it once it’s started.

Researchers, led by epidemiologist Felice Jacka of Australia’s Deakin University, looked at whether improving the diets of people with major depression would help improve their mood. They chose 67 people with depression for the study, some of whom were already being treated with antidepressants, some with psychotherapy, and some with both. Half of these people were given nutritional counseling from a dietitian, who helped them eat healthier. Half were given one-on-one social support—they were paired with someone to chat or play cards with—which is known to help people with depression.

After 12 weeks, the people who improved their diets showed significantly happier moods than those who received social support. And the people who improved their diets the most improved the most. The study was published in January 2017 in BMC Medicine. A second, larger study drew similar conclusions and showed that the boost in mood lasted six months. It was led by researchers at the University of South Australia and published in December 2017 in Nutritional Neuroscience.

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