What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

Social Media Day is observed every year on June 30th. It was launched by Mashable in 2010. This day’s main purpose is to recognize social media’s impact on global communication and to bring the world together to celebrate it.

Social media is a way of communicating. It’s how people interact and share things with their family, friends, and the world in a simple and fast way. Moreover, it has become a big part of our lives and many of us use it every day.

Social Media Day: What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

3 Facts About Social Media

  1. Young adults spend more time using social media than doing any other activity. 
  2. Sixty-five percent of all American adults and 90% of young adults in the U.S. now use social networking sites.
  3. According to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report, the participants who spent the most time on social media throughout the day had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media.

Effect of Social Media on Our Eating Habits and Diet 

Around 40% of the world’s population spends an average of two hours every day using social media. With social media playing such a big part in our lives, how does it affect our well-being and eating habits? Does it trigger emotions like anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, and loneliness? Or does it make us feel better about ourselves and the world around us?

Social Media Day: What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

Did you know that the most-liked photo on Instagram is an egg, and pizza is the most Instagrammed food? Food is a big part of social media. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to scroll through any feed without seeing pictures of food, recipes, and food-related videos. Have you ever wondered how all of this exposure to food affects your eating habits?

Related: A Guide to Intuitive Eating

Positive Impacts of Social Media

Social media can have many positive effects on our eating behaviors.

  • It can give you the opportunity to reach out to anyone. For example, you can connect with life coaches, doctors, or dietitians via direct messages.
  • Social media helps us express ourselves through what we cook or eat.
  • It makes us creative and allows us to share with other people.
  • Viewing social media inspires and motivates us to try new things.
  • It gives us easy access to healthy recipes.
  • We can learn more about nutrition and diet from social media.

Social Media Day: What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

  • It can be a great way to relax, which can also be positive for your mental health and well-being.
  • Social media helps us to find other people like ourselves. This can be especially important for people who are dealing with eating disorders or body image issues as it allows them to build a community.
  • It can connect you with similar people, which can make you feel accepted and support you emotionally.

Negative Impacts of Social Media

There can also be some negative effects of social media on our eating behaviors.

  • Social media is directly associated with negative body image and the idealization of thinness, which is associated with eating disorders.
  • You can experience bullying or harassment about your body image on social media.

Negative Impacts of Social Media

  • Inactivity caused by excessive viewing of social media can increase body weight, which can lead to obesity. Studies show that television viewing time is positively associated with BMI (Body Mass Index).
  • If you compare yourself to social media models, it can make you feel inadequate and lower your self-esteem.
  • It may increase the use of laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics to lose or control weight.
  • Social media can take over your world and distance you from real-life and in-person communication.
  • Not all online information is true. It is easy to be misled by false information found on social media.

Positive Impacts of Social Media

  • Staying online instead of doing other important things like eating, sleeping, spending time with others, or exercising can have a negative impact on your health.
  • Social media can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety, which can cause emotional eating

Conclusion

Social media makes our lives easier and has both positive and negative effects. It would be wrong to say that it’s only bad for us. However, it affects people differently, depending on conditions and personality traits. Just be sure to spend a low to moderate amount of time on social media. Therefore, don’t let it take up the major part of your day or your life. If you feel that it has a negative impact on your life or you are experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, talk to someone or seek professional help. You don’t have to deal with this on your own.

 

Related: Steps to Building a Strong Relationship with Food

 

National Men’s Health Week

On the 10th-16th of June, the world celebrates National Men’s Health Week. This week’s main goal is to raise awareness of preventable health issues that affect men and focuses on early detection and treatment of diseases.

Top 3 Health Facts Men Need to Know

  1. Men live 4.4 years less than women because of health risks and must be more careful.
  2. The top cause of death in men is heart disease.
  3. Other death causes are cancer, injuries, stroke, HIV, and suicide, which is higher in men.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men in the United States (according to the National Cancer Institute). About 30,000 men die of prostate cancer each year.

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, which is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Some men are at higher risk than others. These risk factors are age, race, family history, and obesity.

Obesity Among Men

Weight is one of the important factors in men’s health. Men generally carrying weight around the stomach area have an increased risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers, including kidney, prostate, and bowel cancers. According to an American Cancer Society study, obesity increases the risk of future prostate cancer.

If you have a waist size of over 102 cm (about 40 inches) or if your BMI is higher than 27.5, you are at a higher risk.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is higher in men, which risks the general quality of men’s health. Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week risks damaging your health and can contribute to an increased risk of cancers, heart disease, and stroke, liver disease, brain damage, and damage to the nervous system.

National Men's Health Week

To keep health risks low, you should:

  • limit the total amount of alcohol drunk
  • switch to lower alcohol percentages, like wine or gin-soda
  • drink slowly, with food, and alternate with water

Exercise

Increasing physical activity has potential effects on improving physical and mental health. It also helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improves sleep, helps with stress management, and weight maintenance.

National Men's Health Week

Exercise recommendations for adults are:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
  • OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
  • OR a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.

Related: 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

Top Tips For Men’s Health

1. Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight or obese is a risk factor.

2. Eat more fiber – add oatmeal, wholewheat pasta or bread, brown rice, beans, and legumes to increase fiber intake.

3. Keep track of your red and processed meat intake – aim to eat red meat less than 2-3 times a week. Instead, add chicken, turkey, and fish.

4. Reduce saturated fat consumption– reduce or cut out packaged foods like biscuits, cakes, pies, chocolate and cream, and fried foods. Choose unsaturated fats, such as avocado, olive, or coconut oil.

5. Eat more fish – try to eat at least two portions of fish a week.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

6. Eat more fruit and vegetables – try to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

7. Watch your salt intake – aim for less than 5 grams a day. Check the nutrition label on foods, and don’t add extra salt at the table.

8. Stay active – aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity.

9. Limit alcohol intake – If you drink alcohol, try to drink no more than 14 units a week, with several alcohol-free days each week.

10. Seek help if you need it – if you are worried about any aspect of your health, don’t keep quiet. Speak to your doctor.

 

Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health

Health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, when you decide whether you are healthy or not, you tend to focus on your physical health. On the other hand, as you see in the definition of health, mental health, and physical health are always linked together. Can you think of your body and mind separately? Most probably, the answer is no, because the reality is that an unhealthy mental life impacts you physically, and an unhealthy physical life increases the risk of problematic mental health. 

Physical health is visible and observable by you and everyone. There’s lots of evidence when determining whether you are healthy physically or not, such as blood tests, coughing, shortness of breath, and so on. However, when you want to determine your mental health, you might have difficulty. Mental health issues do not always show physical symptoms. Therefore, most people think that the problem is temporary, other people do not recognize the problem, thinking there is no need to care. 

It's Mental Health Awareness Week | May 18-24, 2020

There are clear signs that affect your physical and mental well-being,

Along with your quality of life, mental health disruptions, such as headaches, sleeping problems, fatigue, loss of appetite, overthinking, focusing problems, and so on. Do you want to continue with those symptoms? Most probably, your answer is “no”, because the symptoms affect your business life, financial status, relationships, physical health, and life quality in a negative way. How can we fix it? Put simply, to have a successful business life, quality social life, and strong physical health, you need sufficient energy, motivation, and desire. The definition of mental well-being includes the requirement of energy, motivation, and desire. Consequently, you have no chance to ignore your mental health all your life.

Let’s analyze why mental health is just as important as physical health. 

1. Your mental health can affect your physical state.

People who experience any mental illness tend to have problematic immune systems. Therefore, those people can easily have physical illnesses such as colds, headaches, and so on.

Physical symptoms of mental illnesses also affect your physical state. For example, if you experience depression, your appetite may decrease, causing you to lose weight. In addition, if you experience post-traumatic stress disorder, you may have difficulty sleeping, so you may generally feel tired.

Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health

2. Your mental health can affect your financial stability.

Most of you do not think about whether mental status affects financial status or not. However, since mental status affects your productivity, concentration, and memorization, your business and work performance suffers. Therefore, you may have difficulty getting a promotion or finishing responsibilities on time. Your salary may not increase as much as you want.

3. Your mental health can influence your family life.

According to studies about the causes of mental illnesses, it is determined that children of people who suffer from mental illnesses tend to experience abuse, neglect, and some emotional and behavioral issues from childhood. Those results continue to show their effects in adulthood as mental problems in general. Think about a mother who experiences a general anxiety disorder. The mother may be sick to her stomach while helping her daughter with homework. Unfortunately, even if the mother may sad at that time, she may not help her daughter because of the symptom. Because of the mother’s difficulty with anxiety, she may have difficulty assisting her child. Another example is an unemployed father who has four children whose stress levels are elevated. Because of that stress level, the family environment might be affected in a negative way. 

Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health

4. Good mental health can give you a cheerful, productive, and qualified life.

Symptoms of poor mental health decrease the quality of your life, such as sleeping problems, loss of appetite, eating too much, tachycardia (fast heart rate), shortness of breath, and so on. 

Care for yourself and value yourself. Exercise physically, do yoga and meditation, avoid too much alcohol and cigarettes, do things that cheer you up and allow you to spend quality time with yourself and loved ones.

If you continue to have good mental health, you might feel more physically energetic. Therefore, when you continue to exercise, physical activity and productivity can help you feel cheerful.

Mental illnesses may lead to dangerous behaviors

5. Mental illnesses may lead to dangerous behaviors.

Mental illnesses, such as chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety, may cause loneliness. To forget these negative feelings, people might start to use drugs or alcohol. While using drugs or alcohol, physical symptoms might become worse, like sleeping problems, eating problems, focusing problems, violence to others, and so on. Because of that, a person loses his consciousness because of too much alcohol or drugs, the person may both hurt yourself and harm others physically with a knife or gun.  

 

Related:  Freelance Stress: How to Maintain Your Mental Health When You Work From Home

 

World Meditation Day | May 21st

We would like to introduce you to World Meditation Day!  May 21st marks a day organized to bring awareness to the benefits of meditation around the world. Organizers are lobbying for the official implementation of World Meditation Day, but despite the lack of official status of the day, support for the movement has grown.

Stress and daily problems can create a lot of pressure on people, and despite the fact that many smaller stressors may seem insignificant, they add up to big problems. This build-up effect can cause our overall wellbeing to suffer. Reducing that stress becomes critical for a person’s physical and mental health. Because of the negative effects of stress, organizers of World Meditation Day seek to bring attention and awareness to ways that people can reduce that pressure, maintaining a healthy physical and psychological lifestyle.

World Meditation Day | May 21st

What is meditation, and how does it help us?

Let’s be honest, when we think of meditation, we think of someone sitting cross-legged and chanting, “Ohm.” That stereotype isn’t all-encompassing, though.

Meditation is simply an action that makes one focus on what is going on in the present moment by purifying the mind. Sitting in a certain manner, or chanting a specific word, are simply tools used to focus the attention within, but neither tool is necessary to meditate. Meditation can be everything done with a concentrated action. Because we are unique human beings, we all may have different methods and tools of meditating. The point is to be acting mindfully in the present moment.

Meditation has a long history around the world. We can see depictions of meditation in the Vedas written around 1500 BCE in India. However, if you look further back in India’s wall art, we can see pictures of people in a meditative position with half-closed eyes around 5000 BCE. Perhaps that is where we get the stereotype of the cross-legged meditator.

For some religions, meditation is an important aspect of worship. This association is likely where we get the idea that meditation is a religious practice. In today’s world, however, meditative practices have expanded far beyond the ideological confines of religion. Meditation has evolved into an activity that can be done for the sole purpose of relaxation and stress relief, easing the daily burden of our hectic lives, and bringing mindfulness into the present moment.

Benefits of Meditation

Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation have been widely researched since the practice gained popularity. While research on the extensive benefits continues, here’s three established facts about meditation:

1. Meditation reduces stress. When used with concentrated breathing exercises, meditation can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. That’s a win-win for your mind and body.

2. Meditation helps with anxiety and panic disorders. Focusing on one’s heart rate and breathing brings attention to the present moment. A person utilizing meditation techniques can find that, over time, they adopt those mindfulness techniques into normal practice, thereby reducing their anxiety levels.

3. Meditation increases productivity. Some employers have started integrating meditation into the workplace, inviting employees to take some time in their workday to meditate. Since meditation hones the ability to focus, employers see that ability translated into increased productivity.

How can I start meditating?

What’s really amazing about meditation is that it can be practiced by anyone, so don’t stress out over how to start. You don’t have to sit cross-legged if you don’t want to. You can do meditation while you lay down, sit, shower, or even walking down the street. There are tons of different techniques for meditation, but we brought you the five basic steps of simple meditation.

1. Sit upright with a long spine, cross-legged, or in a chair. If you are not comfortable sitting upright, laying down is completely ok.

2. Allow your eyelids to relax and be heavy.

3. Focus on your breathing, concentrating each time you inhale and exhale. This will help draw your attention to within.

4. You may find your thoughts drifting to different things while you meditate, and that’s ok! Just acknowledge the thought, and refocus your attention on your breathing cycle.

5. Meditation is completely customizable to you, so you can practice it for 5 minutes or an hour. You’ll start noticing that you feel more calm and peaceful.

Join in on celebrating World Meditation Day!

Join in on celebrating World Meditation Day!

This year, May 21st could be a great day for you to try meditation. Just find someplace where you can relax and be comfortable. You could light some candles, playing calming music, or light incense to create a soothing atmosphere that encourages meditation. If you’re someone who has difficulty sitting still for a period of time, try exercising before you meditate! Yoga, walking, running, or any other exercise is a great way to help you focus on meditation.

If you’re curious about other techniques, there are meditation apps or guided meditation videos on YouTube, which are helpful resources. However, you choose to meditate, join us in celebrating World Meditation Day by creating your own meditation journey. 

 

Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

 

National Women’s Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

National Women’s Health Week is an awareness week that encourages women of all ages to become conscious about their health. In 1983, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided to identify important women’s health issues. A committee was established under the leadership of the Public Health Service, and this committee started working on all issues related to women’s health. In 2000, HHS launched the National Women’s Health Week to help women become aware of their health

1. Visiting Health Professionals And Health Screening

Visiting your doctor every year is an important way to stay healthy. Well-woman visits include complete check-ups rather than treatment. These visits are of great importance in that they include early medical tests and scans that contribute to treating diseases.

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

There are different methods used in the diagnosis of diseases, including serious diseases such as cancer. Physical examinations check for general health issues, such as looking at any unusual symptoms. Laboratory tests use samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body to detect anomalies. Medical imaging procedures create pictures of the areas inside the body. Genetic tests are laboratory tests in which cells or tissue are analyzed to investigate changes in genes or chromosomes.

2. Prevention from Diseases

We have realized how important it is to avoid disease due to the COVID-19 virus. Now that we understand the importance of preventive care, we can gain awareness about diseases due to National Women’s Health Week.

Cardiovascular (Heart) Diseases

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the USA. It affects 42.1 million women over the age of 20 in the U.S. and is the number one cause of death in women. According to the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2007 update, 1 out of 30 deaths in women can be attributed to breast cancer, while almost 1 in 3 women died from cardiovascular disease. It is theorized by specialists that particular issues found only in women, such as menopause, PCOS, and lactation can also trigger cardiovascular disease.

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

Breast Cancer

According to available data, 12.8% of women born in the United States will get breast cancer during their lifetime. The risk of developing cancer is an age-dependent factor. The risk of breast cancer is 1 in 208 people at the age of 30, 1 in 65 people at the age of 40, 1 in 42 people at the age of 50, 1 in 28 people at the age of 60, and 1 in 25 at the age of 70. These data clearly show how important screening tests are for women. 

Stroke

Stroke affects more women than men, and the death rate for stroke is higher in women. There are several factors that may explain this discrepancy, including pregnancy, hypertension during pregnancy, and the use of birth control pills. It is very important that you practice good self-care. Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat the right foods, be physically active, and don’t smoke. 

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

Obesity

Obesity is a well-known metabolic disorder and is one of the most important causes of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. In general, obesity is an indication that you are not at a healthy weight. Finding your Body Mass Index (BMI) is an easy way to find out if you are at a healthy weight.

Remember that obesity can cause metabolic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer) and try to reach your ideal weight. If you are in the normal weight range, continue your physical activity, and balance your meals to maintain your weight. If your weight is below the ideal weight, contact your dietician for healthy weight gain advice. 

3. Exercise

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Every woman should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day for her health. Physical activity or exercise will help you feel better and be healthier. It protects you from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and mental problems. It also protects you from severe pain during the menstrual period of exercise.

Related: Yoga and Menstruation: Poses to Avoid and Poses that Help

You should also pay attention to your diet for weight loss, which is the best-known benefit of exercise. Exercise alone may not work if you do not reduce calories. You must be realistic in your weight loss process. Achievable goals such as losing 1-2 pounds per week and gradually increasing the intensity of exercise will motivate you.

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

4. Mental Health

Good mental health is essential for women. More than 20% of women in the United States have experienced depression or anxiety. Many mental health conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder, affect more women than men

The preventive daily routines mentioned above, such as losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising, are also very beneficial for your mental health. In addition, you need to add sufficient and restful sleep to these routines. Changing hormones during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can affect how well a woman sleeps. Restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea are other factors that can cause sleep deprivation. Creating certain routines before your sleep, keeping the place where you sleep dark, not drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon, and stopping food consumption at least three hours before sleeping are some suggestions that will help you get the rest you need.

Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

Mental health is not just anxiety, stress, or bipolar disorder. Problems such as body image disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism, insomnia, and trauma due to sexual assault are all sub-topics of women’s mental health.

You may be wondering what is considered to be “normal” mental health. For example, when does sadness become depression? At what point is “attention” called obsession? When does “control” really become a problem? A mental health professional can help you understand the tipping points. Treatment is available, and many women who have sought help have been able to recover.

5. Importance of National Women’s Health Week

National Women’s Health Week is a very important week for helping raise awareness about the most common diseases for women and the importance of preventive care. Be sure to visit your doctor, and do not forget your scans. Keep in mind the prevalence of metabolic disorders in our country and do not neglect exercise, good sleep, and healthy nutrition. Do yourself the favor you deserve! Health is possible at any age. If you agree with the importance of this week, use the hashtags #NWHW and #FindYourHealth on your social media posts! 

 

Related: Vivoo UTI Box

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

Some people keep a very strict diet for a healthy life, and some exercise daily, but only a few of us spend as much time focused on a good and healthy night of sleep. A good night’s sleep is very significant for our health and wellbeing. It keeps you healthy while building the body’s defenses against infections. Moreover, a good night’s sleep makes you more energetic and happy, as well. Therefore, having a quality night’s sleep becomes very important. Meditation for sleep can be a great option.

It may be difficult to get good and wakeless sleep as we get older. On the other hand, problems in life, such as anxiety, stress, depression, or even a huge workload, may cause a sleep disorder. It may be very difficult to get a good night’s sleep while struggling with many problems. Sleeping problems may lead to insomnia symptoms related to those stress factors that cause anxiety and tension. Furthermore, it is found that serious illnesses, like obesity and cardiovascular diseases, are very much related to the quality of our sleep cycle.

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

In these situations, meditation is an effective option for a good night’s sleep. It is obvious that meditation may help us to reduce the impact of daily stressors. Meditation designed for sleep may decrease stress levels in the body and prevent problems, like insomnia and stress-related anxiety and tension, by building inner peace. While it reduces the risk of having serious physical problems, it also helps us to be healthy psychologically, which is definitely related to sleep quality.

How Does Meditation for Sleep Help Us?

Basic meditation techniques are grounded in the idea of training oneself to be more aware of the present moment. In our daily lives, we are mostly in our heads, thinking about the past and planning for the future. Thoughts come and go, and we cannot even recognize our breath cycles. Also, most of us hold our breath while we are in a workload.  This situation may increase in bedtime. Thoughts come and go, and it becomes harder to fall asleep.

Meditation helps us to recognize our breathing and to be aware of the present moment, teaching us to be conscious of what is going on right now in both our body and mind. It offers us healthier sleep by teaching to get rid of the thoughts of the day and enables us to rest the entire self. Furthermore, meditation for sleep is more specific and easy to follow. There are many options for those who don’t know how to practice meditation on their own.

In addition to the psychological benefits of meditation, a variety of physiological changes occur.

In daily life, we mostly activate our sympathetic nervous system, which creates the fight-or-flight response in our body. That’s why anxiety and stress levels in the body may increase. Meditation helps to activate parasympathetic nervous systems, which helps the body to lower the heart rate and slow the breathing. This leads us to have a more restful night’s sleep, as well.

Moreover, research shows that mindfulness-based meditation practices help older adults to overcome sleeping issues. When meditation is used as a relaxation technique, it is useful in the treatment of insomnia, builds sleep hygiene, and helps to facilitate falling back to sleep.

Meditation for sleep may decrease the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other chronic illnesses if it is practiced regularly. Although these are serious problems, if we set up a good and healthy sleeping ritual, we can not only help prevent these problems, but meditation may improve some cognitive functions, such as focus and decision making. By building mental clarity, it makes us produce more melatonin and serotonin (hormones of sleep and happiness).

Meditation Techniques for Better Sleep

Although it may seem complex if you’ve never tried sleep meditation, there are tons of techniques for meditation, from simple to complex. Here are some of the basic meditation types that can be used before falling asleep.

1. Guided Meditation

If you’ve never meditated before, guided meditation for sleep can be the best option for you to try. Guided meditations are easy to follow and let yourself go from thoughts. It is led by an experienced practitioner and walks the listener through each step of meditation. The guidance instructs you when to breathe and what to visualize. In most guided meditations for sleep, you lay down on your bed. To practice guided meditation for sleep, you can use meditation apps like Insighttimer, podcasts on Spotify, or Youtube videos. The rest is simple:

  • Lay down on your bed.
  • Slow your breathing and relax.
  • Start to listen and focus on the guidance.

2. Shamatha Meditation

Shamatha meditation can be described as a mindful concentration. It stabilizes the mind and creates awareness by using the breath as an object to be focused on.

The basic principle of shamatha meditation is to allow one to experience the mind extrajudicially, as it is. One can recognize when the mind is full of thoughts and learn to accept it naturally by using shamatha meditation. That’s why it can also be practiced as a meditation for sleep before going to bed.

Here are the steps of shamatha meditation:

The shamatha meditation technique is practiced when the spine is vertical. That’s why you should first sit cross-legged or on a chair, sitting straight up in a quiet area.

  • Put a pillow underneath your hips to continue to sit upright through the practice.
  • You can choose to position your hands in your lap or on your knees.
  • Relax your shoulders and jaw and lower the chin a little bit, bringing it close to the chest.
  • The eyes can be closed, slightly open, or focused on one point.
  • Bring your awareness to your breath. Notice the inhalation and exhalation.
  • If any thought arises, don’t judge yourself. Just recognize the thought, let go, and return to your breathing again.
  • Keep following your breathing and refocus each time you are distracted by something.
  • Continue to practice for a minimum of 3-5 minutes before going to bed. Slowly increase it to 10 to 15 minutes.

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

3. Body Scan Meditation For Better Sleep

Body scan meditations take more time, approximately 30-40 minutes. It is basically grounded on scanning each part of the body. When you focus on each part of the body, you can learn how to bring your full attention to the present moment. The main idea of the body scan meditation is to be aware of both pleasant and unpleasant feelings in the body and accept them as they are.

If you don’t know how to practice a body scan meditation, you can be guided through it. There are many guided body scan meditations on different platforms. Otherwise, you can follow the instructions below.

  • If you are using body scan meditation for sleep, you can lay down on your bed. It is better to close your eyes to focus your attention.
  • Bring your awareness first to your breath and notice the pressure between your body and the bed you are on. Just scan the feelings on your back or a part of the body that you want to investigate.
  • You don’t need to start from head to toe while scanning, but it can be easier to identify problem areas and add more focus if you follow this way.
  • You may feel differences in temperature, pressure, tightness, or some other feelings. Be gentle and just notice without judgment.
  • Take time and go slowly without holding your breath. If you are interrupted by any kind of thought or judgment, just acknowledge them and go back to scanning.
  • When you finish noticing all of the feelings in your body, just take a deep breath, let everything go and relax.
  • You are ready to have great sleep.

Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

4. Concentration Meditation

Concentration, of course, is the basic principle of any kind of meditation. In this type of concentration, however, you choose a specific object or thing to focus on. Having a focus point may be very useful to quiet the mind and relax more easily. This object may be a candle or a mantra.

·    If you choose a physical object, rather than focusing on an abstract thing, focus on something in front of you. Try to find something about three feet up from the ground.

·     Sit upright comfortably and focus your gaze toward the object.

·    You may choose to close your eyes a bit and stay concentrated while you are breathing in and out.

If you’d rather choose a mantra to concentrate on, you have many options, but you don’t need to chant a specific one. You can choose words that may make you feel more relaxed or comfortable for that day, such as ‘I am safe’.

After that, whether you lay down or sit upright, start to repeat the mantra out loud for 3-5 minutes.

In conclusion, we all have different daily life problems and most of us have sleeping issues from time to time, whether we are young or old. Meditation before bed is one of the best options to keep our wellbeing up by creating a healthy and restful night’s sleep. We all should keep in mind that there are thousands of options to meditate, and no matter which type of meditation for sleep you choose, meditation can be a healthy and helpful addition to your routine.

Related: Resistance to Bedtime

 

Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is one of the most essential vitamins for our bodies. Getting enough vitamin D has many health benefits but it is best known for assisting in calcium absorption and contributing to bone health. What is vitamin D level and why is it so important to our bodies?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is contained in some foods and is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Getting enough vitamin D is important for strong bones. It is a vital nutrient for the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for making bones. Adequate absorption of calcium protects older people from osteoporosis. In addition, getting vitamin D is essential for the movement of muscles, for carrying signals from the nerves to the whole body, and for the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. Research shows that vitamin D has beneficial effects on ovarian, prostate, breast, and colon cancer. It has also been shown by studies that vitamin D has positive effects on the intestinal microbiome.

Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can have negative effects on intestinal microbiota as well as causing diseases such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and rickets. All nutrients are essential, and they have major functions for our bodies. But vitamin D is vital because it helps maintain the bones that keep our bodies upright and standing. That’s why getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is crucial for us. But how much vitamin D do we need to take in per day?

The body’s need for vitamin D varies according to age. The amount required increases as we get older. When the level of vitamin D in the body drops too low, the bones become thin and brittle and may become deformed. It should be taken daily at different amounts according to age group.

Vitamin D should be taken daily at different amounts according to age group

Life Stage                                                        Recommended Amount

Birth to 12 months                                                                                10 mcg (400 IU)

Children 1-18 years                                                                               15 mcg (600 IU)

Adults 19-70 years                                                                                15 mcg (600 IU)

Elders 71 years +                                                                                   20 mcg (800 IU)


In nutrition, the main two forms of vitamin D are D3 and D2. Vitamin D3 is more crucial because it increases blood vitamin D levels more than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is found in animal products such as fatty fish and seafood and is also produced by our skin in direct sunlight and Vitamin D2 is found in vegetables.

First, let’s list the animal products that contain vitamin D.

Oily fish: Salmon, tuna, and mackerel contain high amounts of vitamin D. The health benefits from consuming these fish is much higher when the fish are raised in their natural environments. Try to ensure that they were not produced on a farm. Since these fish are already high in fats, oil is not needed when they are cooked in an oven.

Salmon, tuna and mackerel contain high amounts of vitamin D

Salmon, tuna and mackerel contain high amounts of vitamin D

Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in liver, egg yolks, and some cheeses. These foods can be included in our diet to help us reach the daily recommended intake for vitamin D.

Vitamin D2 can be found in mushrooms, and the level of vitamin D can be increased by keeping the mushrooms indirect sunlight. Unfortunately, other vegetables and fruits are not good sources of vitamin D..

Today, vitamin D is added to many popular foods, especially in the United States.  There are many options, ranging from orange juice to milk, from cheese to yogurt, and many portions of cereal are fortified with vitamin D as well. The goal is to prevent vitamin D deficiency by consuming these foods, but unfortunately, that is not the case. We also need sunlight for our bodies to use and produce vitamin D.

Is It Possible to Get Vitamin D from The Sun?

Food is not our only source of vitamin D. Our bodies can make it when exposed to the sun. UVB rays in the sunlight act on cholesterol in the skin to make vitamin D. Depending on the month, time of day, and our skin tone, spending time in the sun can provide us with some or all of our daily recommended intake of the vitamin. 

Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

Unfortunately, due to our lifestyles, increases in cases of vitamin D deficiency are on the rise. Much of our time is spent indoors, whether at work or in shopping malls or homes. This habit decreases our time in the sun and reduces our rate of vitamin D production. Even if we eat foods that contain vitamin D or take supplements, our bodies may not be able to utilize vitamin D properly. 

These studies indicate something important to us. Spending time outside in the sun increases the vitamin D in our bodies. For this reason, we should try to get direct sunlight at least a few days per week.

How Do We Know That We Have Vitamin D Deficiency?

If we have a vitamin D deficiency, symptoms will occur. Some of the symptoms that may present include:

How Do We Know That We Have Vitamin D Deficiency?

Weakness:

If it is difficult for you to get out of bed, even if you have slept enough or if you feel tired during the day, you may be experiencing vitamin D deficiency.

Depression:

Feeling unhappy for no reason, a disinterest in socializing, not wanting to talk to people, or even make eye contact with them, may indicate a need for more vitamin D. 

More brittle bones

The most important nutrient to help our bodies absorb calcium is vitamin D. If there is a vitamin D deficiency, calcium absorption will be lessened, and this will result in more fragile bones.

Weight Gain

Weight gain

You are eating well but can’t seem to lose weight. This is an important symptom of vitamin D deficiency. A simple blood test can determine your vitamin D level. If it’s low, you should consume foods that are high in vitamin D. If necessary, consult a medical doctor who can guide you in taking vitamin D supplements. 

It is important to have your blood vitamin D level checked if you have been experiencing one or more of these conditions for a while. You should definitely share the results of the analysis with your doctor, and if necessary, begin taking supplements. While taking supplements, you can also spend more time outside on sunny days and increase your fish consumption to give your vitamin D level a boost.

 

Related: 4 Steps For a Healthier Diet

 

What Can I Do to Relieve Menstrual Cramps and PMS?     

Your period gives some signals to you before it starts. If you have mild symptoms, you are lucky, but if it limits your daily routine, you might have PMS, also known as Premenstrual Syndrome. These limiting factors can be physical, emotional or behavioral, and occur 1 or 2 weeks before your period. The most frequent symptom of PMS is menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Many women have these cramps at different levels of severity before and even during their menstrual periods. It might affect their quality of life and make it difficult to maintain the same daily routine during the menstrual cycle. These cramps are generally felt in the lower abdomen and may affect the lower back and inner thighs. First, let’s understand PMS and menstrual cramps, their root causes and see the methods that we can use to relieve cramps and other PMS symptoms.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome comes after ovulation and before the menstrual period starts. Rapid estrogen and progesterone hormone level reduction causes these physical and emotional symptoms, while the increase of these hormones removes them. The symptoms may range from mild (with almost no sign of them) to severe (limiting or even restricting everyday activities). PMS is generally seen more frequently in women who have high-stress levels, and those who are genetically prone to depression or have a history of depression. The severity of symptoms also varies according to age. As women approach menopause, hormone levels change drastically, which worsens the cramps and other symptoms. That’s why PMS is generally seen in your 30s and 40s.

Symptoms of PMS

75% of menstruating women go through Premenstrual Syndrome, which can show itself with various symptoms. These symptoms can be separated into two categories, emotional and physical:

Physical Symptomps of PMS

Physical

  • Cramps
  • Headache or backache
  • Lower tolerance
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Acne

Emotional Symptomps of PMS

Emotional

  • Mood swings
  • Tiredness
  • Change in sleeping schedule
  • Food cravings
  • Tension or anxiety
  • Feeling sad and crying

Relieving PMS Symptoms

Relieving PMS Symptoms

Exercise: Having physical activity in your life reduces emotional symptoms.

Eat healthily: Try to avoid salt, sugar, and caffeine two weeks before your period and eat calcium-rich foods.

Sleep well: 8 hours of sleep helps to sustain your health and help with the emotional symptoms of PMS.

Try to reduce your stress level: Find ways to reduce your stress, such as yoga, meditation, and talking to friends and family.

Quit Smoking: If you are smoking, you are worsening your PMS symptoms.

Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual Cramps

Cramps are the most frequent symptom of PMS and can limit daily activities. They cause trouble for women dealing with heavy lower abdomen cramping pains while they are busy with other things. The cause of these cramps are uterus contractions and triggered by prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances. Prostaglandins also cause nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea during menstruation. There are some methods you can try to lower the severity of the cramps to a level where you can continue to your daily routine. Here are some tips to relieve cramps during PMS and during your period:

Instant Ways to Relieve Cramps

Instant Ways to Relieve Cramps

1.Heating pad: Place it on your lower abdomen, the heat will relax uterus muscles and relieve cramps.

2. Hot bath: A hot bath will relax your abdomen and back.

3. Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory functions, which will inhibit prostaglandins.

4. Massage: You can relieve cramps by massaging the area with essential oils.

Make these changes in your daily life to relieve cramps in long run

Make these changes in your daily life to relieve cramps in long run:

Exercise: Studies showed that exercising 3 times a week reduced cramps during PMS.

Drink water: Increase your water intake to reduce bloating and cramps. You can add lemon or mint to your water. Increasing fluid intake is a good solution to relieve cramps both during your period and off your period. So add tea, mineral water or juices to your daily fluid consumption.

Reduce salt intake: As we all know, salt causes dehydration and bloating.

Reduce your alcohol consumption: Alcohol is another factor that causes dehydration and bloating. 

Lower your stress: Yoga, meditation and focusing on positive things can help to lower your stress level.

Have a balanced diet: Consume anti-inflammatory foods (like cherries, tomatoes, blueberries, squash and bell peppers) and calcium-rich foods (like beans, almonds, and dark leafy greens). Try to avoid or lower your consumption of refined foods and trans-fatty acids, which increase inflammation. 

Sleep well: According to some studies, a healthy sleeping schedule reduces cramps and PMS, while women with insomnia have severe symptoms.

Vitamin D: Prostaglandin levels can be lowered by vitamin D. Try to get enough sunlight or consult your doctor for vitamin D supplements.

See Your Gynaecologist

Don’t forget to visit your gynecologist at least once a year for a routine check and consult your doctor about your cramps. Bear in mind that severe PMS and menstrual cramps may also be caused by a medical condition. You might have vitamin E, vitamin B1, omega 3, calcium, vitamin B6 or magnesium deficiency that may be the reason for your menstrual cramps or there might be an underlying disease that should be treated.

 

Related:10 Self-Care Strategies to Help Manage Your Depression

 

 

10 Self-Care Strategies to Help Manage Your Depression

In today’s world, one of the most common mental health problems is depression. Experiencing depression and managing the symptoms of depression can be difficult for most people. However, there are several strategies that can help people cope, many of them easy and effective.. Self-care strategies can alleviate some symptoms of depression and set you on the road to recovery. Here are 10 self-care strategies to help you overcome your depression.

1. Relaxation Techniques

Some of the simplest techniques support both mental and physical comfort. Relaxation techniques can be done at home and can calm you down in just moments, especially if you face intense symptoms. They can soothe your mind and reduce the stress level of your body.

Experiencing depression and managing the symptoms of depression can be difficult for most people.

Here are 4 common relaxation techniques that you can try at home:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Guided Visualization 
  • Repeating Constructive Sentences to Yourself (I can handle everything because I am strong)

       Some methods may work better than others for you so it is important to note which techniques are the most effective in alleviating your symptoms.

 2. Self-Help Books

Self-help books that are written by psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health professionals generally have effective problem-solving strategies. These books can teach you how to recognize the effects of negative thinking on your decision-making and emotions, and how your negative thoughts cause the symptoms of depression. Self-help books generally teach you to change negative thoughts into positive ones. These changes in mindset can help you think and live in a positive way.

Self-help books that are written by psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health professionals generally have effective problem-solving strategies.

3. Setting Small Goals

Setting goals can give you motivation and encouragement. They can help you establish daily routines and keep you moving at a steady pace… It is important to minimize uncertainty in your life when you are experiencing the symptoms of depression. The main idea is to set small, manageable goals like finishing a book or trying to cook a new meal. Setting big goals that cannot be completed may increase stress levels and depression symptoms.  Keeping things simple with tasks that can be easily accomplished can help you feel inspired to keep moving forward.

etting goals can give you motivation and encouragement. It is important to minimize uncertainty in your life when you are experiencing the symptoms of depression. The main idea is to set small, manageable goals like finishing a book or trying to cook a new meal.

4. Keeping a Diary

Writing in a diary allows you to see your mood change day by day. It can help you to remember whether activities, places, or people make you feel better or not. Furthermore, when you try other self-care strategies and write about the positive changes in your diary, you may gain a sense of control over your life. It could increase your self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-control, and help you handle the symptoms of depression.

when you try other self-care strategies and write about the positive changes in your diary, you may gain a sense of control over your life. It could increase your self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-control, and help you handle the symptoms of depression.

5. Smiling

Look at yourself in the mirror while smiling, and then look at yourself in the mirror when you are sad. There is a huge difference between them, not just in how you look, but in how your brain perceives them as well… The act of smiling releases chemicals in your brain to feel better and make you feel happier. When you continue to smile at other people during the day, they generally will smile back. This can lift your mood as well as the mood of those around you.

The act of smiling releases chemicals in your brain to feel better and make you feel happier. When you continue to smile at other people during the day,, they generally will smile back. This can lift your mood as well as the mood of those around you.

6. Connecting with People

People who experience depression generally withdraw from social life. Even if you don’t feel like spending time with a lot of friends, talking to even one friend who respects you and your thoughts and feelings can help you feel better. When a person takes the time to listen to you and shows that they care, it may help you start to feel happier. 

Even if you don’t feel like spending time with a lot of friends, talking to even one friend who respects you and your thoughts and feelings can help you feel better.

7. Developing A Healthy Life Routine

Developing a healthy routine can help to minimize the symptoms of depression. You can start by getting enough sleep. The hormones released during the sleep cycle can make a huge difference in your psychological and mental health. Exercising regularly increases your energy levels and hormones such as endorphins. Exercising is a natural antidepressant, and just walking for 30 minutes can be beneficial. Using alcohol and drugs in order to cope can cause your symptoms to worsen so avoid the use of alcohol and drugs. Finally, eating healthy foods is important for overcoming depression. Avoiding sugar and fast foods and getting necessary vitamins will improve physical health. And improved physical health can lead to improved mental health.

Related: Emotional Eating Is Not the Solution

 

Eating healthy foods is important to overcoming depression. Avoiding sugar and fast foods and getting necessary vitamins will improve physical health

8. Spending Time with Animals

Spending time with animals may be another way to alleviate the symptoms of depression. You can share your feelings and thoughts with them without fear of judgment, and they are always ready for a hug. Having a furry friend around can help you feel less alone at home, and you can have fun while playing together. Both of these things can help improve your mental health. There are many wonderful pets available for adoption at animal shelters or local pet adoption days. When you see a happy pet, you can feel happier, too.

Spending time with animals may be another way to alleviate the symptoms of depression. You can share your feelings and thoughts with them without fear of judgement, and they are always ready for a hug.

9. Spending Time in Nature

Being alone in nature can provide you with the opportunity to think deeply and reflect on things in silence. You can go for a walk or read a book at a local park or beach. Even growing plants at home can be beneficial. Deep thinking allows you to recognize which thoughts affect you negatively. In addition, fresh air may help to clear your mind and improve your mental health.

Being alone in nature can provide you with the opportunity to think deeply and reflect on things in silence. You can go for a walk or read a book at a local park or beach.

10. Listening to Music

One of the simplest and most effective techniques to change your mood is to listen to music… Certain songs may bring to mind happy and lively memories. You can listen to these songs when you feel down in order to improve your attitude. Using music to inspire happy thoughts and memories is a quick and easy way to make yourself feel better.

One of the simplest and most effective techniques to change your mood is to listen to music..

 

Related: Negativity Harms Your Body, Your Mind and Unfortunately, Your Life

 

 

Yoga and Menstruation: Poses to Avoid and Poses that Help

Practicing yoga while on your period is still a controversial issue in the yoga world. Many practitioners believe that practicing yoga should be minimized. The poses practiced should be selected carefully during this time. Others feel that it is time to just rest. Menstruation is, of course, not a reason to avoid practicing yoga. But many women prefer to rest during those days of the month and spend time looking within. Each woman should decide which practice is appropriate for her body. It is important to listen to your body during this time. Each woman looks at menstruation and the need for her body and soul differently.

 

On the other hand, practicing yoga can have a positive effect on hormonal, mental, and physical health during this time. Despite the fact that there are some asanas that should be avoided during the menstruation period. There are also many beneficial asanas that help reduce its unwelcome effects.

Doing Yoga in Nature

Benefits of Yoga during Menstruation

The menstrual cycle of a woman can vary depending on the weather conditions, her diet, her stress level, and other factors. Women can become more sensitive, increasing their level of awareness…

Mood swings due to hormonal changes may be an unfortunate side effect. Practicing yoga can help to minimize these hormonal imbalances. Meditation and breathing or yoga nidra are good choices for those who prefer to rest during this time. The yin poses of yoga, which can be described as gentle poses, can be practiced longer. This type of practice helps women to become more grounded and tap into their inner strength.

Practicing yoga may also improve the quality of sleep by prolonging a deep sleep state, which helps women allocate some time for themselves.  Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, may also be practiced by women who prefer to take things easy during her period.

It is believed in yoga that energy flows to a chosen point by focusing the attention on a specific area of the body (dharana).  Sending deep breaths to a cramping area may relieve specific pains. Using this concentrated breathing during practicing yoga poses could also minimize the cramps in the abdominal area.

Yoga Poses to Practice during Menstruation

If you decide to practice yoga while menstruating, you should be sure to listen carefully to your body’s cues. The following poses can help you reduce the side effects of menstruation.

1) Forward Fold Poses

Practicing gentle forward bend asanas ensures that the blood flows towards the uterus by gently increasing intra-abdominal pressure. This creates a massage effect on the abdominal and pelvic areas and eliminates cramping and heavy bleeding. Combining the poses with concentrated breathing can help to calm the mind.

Forward Fold Poses

The following three forward fold poses can be practiced during menstruation with the support of cushions or a bolster. Be sure to fold forward gently while doing yoga during your period and do not force yourself…

Here are some basic forward fold poses that you can try:

  • Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Forward Bend Pose)
  • Seated Forward Bend (Place a bolster on your quadriceps.)
  • Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Place a bolster on your leg.)

2) Gentle Twisting Poses

Gentle twisting asanas with an accurate exhalation can help your lower back pain, cramping, and congestion. It is important to take a deep breath before getting into position and twist when you exhale. However, some of the specific twistings pose in yoga can be overstimulating for your pelvic and abdominal areas so it is recommended that they are practiced with caution during menstruation…

Gentle Twisting Poses

Practicing the following twisting yoga poses gently can massage the pelvic area and minimize lower back pain. Remember to use blankets or a bolster under your knees, and don’t forget to breathe.

  • Parivrtta Sukhasana (Easy Twist Pose)
  • Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclining Spine Twist)

3)  Gentle Backbend Poses

Supported gentle backbends could also be very efficient in reducing menstrual pain and pelvic discomfort. Backbend poses to open the front of the body and allow the breath to reach the pelvic area more comfortably. Strong backbends should not be practiced as they may cause undue pressure to the pelvic ligaments.

Yoga and Menstruation: Poses that Help

The following backbends not only help to relieve menstrual cramps but also are good for pains in the shoulders and back…

  • Supported Supta Vajrasana (Supported Reclined Thunderbolt Pose – Place a bolster or pillow under your back.)
  • Cobra Pose
  • Supported Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose – Place a yoga block under the sacrum.)

Yoga Poses to Avoid during Menstruation 

Some yoga poses are described as ‘contraindicated,’ which means that they are inadvisable for the practitioners. The more known yoga schools forbid some of the yoga poses during menstruation and encourage women to take a break during that time of the month.

Backbends and Inversions

Although some poses help to reduce the side effects of the menstrual flow. Poses like inversions should not be practiced as they may affect the expulsion of the menstrual blood.

It is believed that gravity helps the downward flow during menstruation and practicing inversions causes the direction of the blood flow to change due to gravity. But researchers have proved that gravity has no effect on this downward flow by observing the menstruation of women astronauts in the zero-gravity of space.

In the yoga world, the reason why inversions are inadvisable during a woman’s period is that the energy flows downward in the body at this time. This energy, called apana-vayu, naturally helps to move the urine and blood safely out of our bodies. Therefore, practicing inversions may negatively affect this energy flow.

Yoga and Menstruation: Poses to Avoid

Furthermore, you should not be practice deep backbends because they may create undue pressure and stress on the pelvic area. You should also avoid deep twisting for the same reason. Practicing these types of deep poses may cause an increase in contractions if there is still pain and spasms in the pelvic area.

Here are some yoga poses you should avoid while menstruating:

  • Adho Mukha Vrksasana – Handstand
  • Salamba Sirsasana – Headstand
  • Salamba Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana – Full Wheel Pose
  • Navasana – Boat pose

There are many asanas to choose from when practicing yoga during your period and some to avoid. But you should choose for yourself the ones that are most comfortable for you during this time. You know your body best., Remember these useful tips to help you listen to your body and follow your feelings while practicing yoga.

 

Namaste.

 

Related: What You Should Eat While on Your Period