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Need easy to make, additive free, organic, fresh superfood recipes that do you whole body and brain good? I recently posted this article on MindBodyGreen.com
The irony of social media, a way to connect us and yet leave us entirely disconnected. More and more, the idea of “smart” social media usage is getting into my professional sphere. This is no longer something we can ponder about, it’s time to start making your own set of rules on technology based social interaction, or lack there of!
A NEW STUDY FINDS, FACEBOOK USAGE CAUSES MORE SADNESS AND LESS SATISFACTION, duh!
There is no doubt about it, social media sites and applications such as Facebook enable us to stay in touch with many more friends and family members, wish hundred of people a happy birthday and connect with people we have never ever met in the flesh from across continents. All good. But, why then are more and more users of such sites feeling dissatisfied and disconnected?
A new study done at the University of Michigan surveyed 82 college-aged participants on their moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction while they were using Facebook by texting them 5 times a day between 10 am and midnight over a 14 day period. The results, although not surprising, were clear and significant: the more one uses Facebook, the less happy and satisfied they feel.
Although the study did not program measures to indicate the specific reasons for the decline of affective wellbeing, a likely cause is the inevitable “social comparison” that happens with Facebook usage. It is more likely than not, that a person posting pictures or updating their statuses will be curating their most happy moments or ideals. Now you have hundreds and thousands of “friends” updating your feed with recent engagements, pregnancies, the funniest stories, the most amazing nights out, the overly composed selfies and many reasons to believe you have the most popular, ecstatic “friends” traveling the world and never experiencing a tough moment. So now what? You are inherently, even unconsciously comparing your life, which in that very moment, what are you doing…. on a computer looking at other people’s lives, to their seemingly awesome life. In that very moment… boom, mood decline. But, what’s more amazing, the study also revealed that when asked in those moments the participants also reported overall and future life dissatisfaction.
Another factor within all of this is the idea that when we appear to have too many “connections” we actually feel less connected altogether. There have been studies done on the idea of humans as social animals and as a healthy happy human we need to be surrounded by other humans, but how many? Is there a limit? Can we go overboard? The answer is FACEBOOK (and Yes). Studies show that the upper limit for human social cohesiveness are groups of 150, any higher involves far too much “social grooming” and is costly upon one’s sense of self and the greater good of the group which can cause the opposite of what was intended, disconnection.
* A compelling takeaway in the study was that there were no declines in happiness or overall life satisfaction when looking at other forms of social connection, such as, phone calls and in-person interaction.
This doesn’t mean it’s time to disengage from social media, or that you should deactivate your accounts. This just means it’s time to (re)design your very own relationship with social media.
- BE MINDFUL: When you are using Facebook and other social media platforms be aware of how you feel and what you are thinking.
- PUT A LEASH ON IT: Before limiting yourself, allow yourself to use social media sites as you usually do for one week, while being aware of how much time this generally accounts for. Keep track of this and set goals for yourself over the next 2 weeks progressively using these sites less. Make a deal with yourself and find a number of hours to limit your usage to that feels good to you and stick to it!
- IN THE FLESH: Increase your out of the media sphere interactions. Get out of your house and off the computer… go connect in the flesh.
DR. DEEPIKA CHOPRA
FIVE (very simple) REASONS TO DRINK FRESH COCONUT WATER:
ANTI -bacterial, -viral, -inflammatory
Scoop out the meat of a young coconut after drinking the water because it’s a great free radical fighting, highly plant nutrient, age fighting snack or smoothie additive.
DR. DEEPIKA CHOPRA
With so much information, technology and connection at our fingertips, choices have become abundant. It is pretty amazing that we can find out answers to almost anything we question, find out how to build most anything we dream up and participate in both casual and meaningful transcontinental conversations. Who doesn’t love to have the power to choose? Having choices allows us to be unique and to create our own thoughts and practices. Choices allow us to live as we want to. But, at what point does having too many choices become overwhelming and beyond that…even, paralyzing? How can we maintain a sense of confidence in our instincts or security in our decision making?
having too many choices make us less likely to actually choose something…
This issue travels up and down the hierarchy from simple choices such as shopping, to bigger decisions such as career paths and marriage. In a recent experiment conducted at a grocery store, shoppers were presented with 30 different jams to taste in the hopes that these tasters would buy a jar. As expected, many tasted the jams but only 3 percent of the samplers bought a jar of jam. The next day, the same store sampled 6 different jars of jams and roughly the same amount of people stopped to have a taste, but there was a significant difference in those that actually made purchases: with fewer jams to sample, 30 percent of samplers bought a jar of jam.
Just go to the grocery store, walk down the cereal aisle… Unless you know exactly what you are looking for, and even that is a challenge, as it’s in our brain’s makeup to question further, “I know I came here for the Kashi Lean, but, look at all these other new boxes!?”, this is a difficult task. This is the first problem. Having too many choices heavily weighs upon the actual act of making a decision.
Now, you’ve picked a cereal, you go home and try it for breakfast the next morning, if this cereal doesn’t absolutely set your taste buds on fire with excitement, most people start thinking about what they should have chosen, and how they perhaps made the wrong decision. Sometimes, leading them straight back to the store to attempt making another decision. This is the second problem. Being exposed to too many choices sometimes leads to a very quick judgement of dissatisfaction, regret or guilt, and eventually results in a lack of commitment.
Of course we are just talking about cereal here, but now let’s go further up the hierarchy, like a career or a relationship. In working with young adults, I have found almost all of them are having a tough time figuring out what it is they want to pursue and furthermore, motivation to stick with something they have initially chosen. Once making a decision, the difficulty doesn’t stop there. Due to the constant widespread exposure of opportunity, we are at a time now, where we are much more likely to move towards a quick judgement of dissatisfaction or regret when something isn’t working out exactly as we would like it to. This could mean a few bad days at work, or a fight with a companion, or merely getting to know someone else’s faults or insecurities.
So where do we go from here? Choices are not slimming down any time soon, but we can learn to skillfully make decisions in a more effective way. Is the magic number of choices that leave us with opportunity but not paralysis? The research says any number up to six is a healthy amount of choice to consider when making a decision. In n Out is a perfect example of a successful business selling products within the framework of limited choice. Yes, they have a secret menu where you can alter your order, but on site, there are basically 3 choices on the menu. Perfect.
make a choice on how to choose…
On the lower end of the hierarchy, (shopping) use the magic number! Allow yourself up to 6 choices, and then narrow down from there.
For the bigger decisions (career, relationships, etc), the best way to navigate through effective decision making is to know what you value and to remind yourself of these values often. If you make a choice that is clearly consistent with a value you are cognizant about, you are more likely to A) make a decision quicker B) feel really good about it and C) stick to it even in times of hardship.
How to identify your Values:
Exercise: Start a Value Journal. Knowing your values comes from allowing yourself time and space, mentally and physically to tap into what it is that is really important to you. Spending the time connecting to this is greatly effective, not just in making choices but to leading a happier life.
Start a sentence with “I value ____________” and see what comes up. Once you feel a sense of completion with that thought, start another sentence with, “These are the most important things to me ___________” and see what comes up. Read over what you wrote and if you need to lump together some of what you wrote, that is fine, just try to highlight 3-10 values. Now write them out as a list and look them over every day, this will train your brain to have these thoughts available to the executive functioning part of your brain and you will start to make choices and take actions that are in alignment with your value system. Believe me, this is valuable.
DR. DEEPIKA CHOPRA
Do you want to win the lottery? Chances are, you answered Yes. Okay, so you’ve got the first part down. It’s a fact, focusing on what you want rather than what you don’t want is key to improving mood and living a better life. But, where do you go from there…what about taking action… making change… actually achieving what you want? Do you buy a lottery ticket everyday? Chances are, you answered No. This is because our brains spend energy and currency (thoughts and actions) on things and events that we actually expect to happen, not on things we just merely want to happen. If you truly expected to win the lottery, you would most likely buy a lottery ticket each and every day.
I worked with a patient who wanted so badly to be in a mutually loving and committed relationship. She created vision boards, collaging pictures of happy couples and she wrote daily about the happy relationship she desired so strongly. After spending time researching and writing about the cognitive power of anticipation, I asked her, out of 1-10 (1 being the least likely and 10 being the most likely) how much she actually expected to be in the type of relationship she wanted, and she replied, “2, sometimes 3”. Right there I knew she barely stood a chance. She could go on wanting a relationship every day, just like you and I, who want to win the lottery, but without a strong expectation that she was likely to be in one soon, she would be spending very little brain currency on allowing herself to meet her match.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS LEAD TO GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS
I have spent a lot of time working specifically with people on identifying their wants and expectations, revealing huge gaps between the two, then guiding the work and efforts to close this gap, making the relationship between wants and expectations much more symbiotic and positively correlated. Achieving your goals and dreams require you to know what you want but, beyond that, it requires work and a shift in your expectation. So, next time you set a goal or have an intention or desire, ask yourself these questions: What is it that I want and How much do I expect this to happen?
There is a RIGHT way to Want:
- Identify what it is that you want. This can be surprisingly difficult. Unfortunately, at times, it is much easier for us to identify what it is that we don’t want, rather than what it is that we do want. You can use this as a tool to identify what you do want.
- Once you figure out what it is that you do want, write it out clearly, as a positive statement. Our brains work much better within these contexts. For example, when presenting our brain with, “I want healthy lungs” rather than “I want to quit smoking because it is bad for me” our brain tends to have more availability to create positive steps of action to achieve goals. Our brains don’t tend to work well with negative statements which is why many times telling yourself “Quit smoking” or “Quit bitting my nails” is not an effective way to cease habits or addictions.
- After identifying a clear and positive want or goal, identify why it is that you want this. What about this would make your life that much better? Psychologically speaking, Change has been proven difficult for humans across the board, the only way change happens, is if you can identify wanting something so much more than what your current state is and why. If you want to have healthy lungs, what for?
- Now you are ready to ask yourself the magic question, “From a rating of 1-10, How much do I expect this to happen?” The lower the number you rate, the more work around improving your expectation you will have to do. Regardless of your answer, go on to step 5.
- Now that you have identified what it is that you want and why it is that you want it, spend some time visualizing what it is like to have this already. Visualize, using all of your senses, having healthy lungs, or that new job, or a secure and loving relationship… Many studies have proven that if you can visualize a goal, especially utilizing all of your senses (what does it feel, smell, taste, sound and look like) you are much more likely to achieve it … this is because you are much more likely to increase the likelihood of EXPECTING that this could happen for you!
- Now, make this very important statement, “Now that I can (see myself achieving that new job/ feel what it is going to be like to be in such a loving relationship/ feel how easily I could breathe and how my healthy lungs enabled me to become a runner… ) my new expectation of how likely it is for this goal to occur is ___ (this number will definitely increase)
After going through these sets and mapping our a goal or a want in this way, you are significantly more likely to develop the small steps and actually take action towards achieving your goal.
DR. DEEPIKA CHOPRA
Okay, so most of us now are aware that MILK does NOT do our bodies good, contrary to what our parents and grandparents thought… But, what about the dairy alternatives… almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk…?
I love almond milk and have been drinking it for the past 5 years, but only recently have I started to make my own almond milk from scratch due to the superfluously dangerous ingredients found in almost every store sold milk alternative.
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze is the most popular store bought almond milk and after surveying most of the LA based coffee and tea shops this is the most used almond milk amongst them.
*ingredients listed in Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original
Of course the preservatives listed are not uncommon to us as most grocery store products have a list of hard to pronounce preservatives. However, most of the dairy alternatives have a deadly carcinogenic ingredient, carrageenan, which is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed. Carrageenan, used as a thickening agent to improve the texture of many dairy and dairy alternative products such as, milk, ice cream, yogurt etc, has NO nutritional value and has actually been linked to some very detrimental and concerning health risks.
Multiple studies have linked a causal effect between carrageenan and inflammation, especially within the digestive system. This is cause for alarm as we already are aware that chronic inflammation is at the root of many threatening diseases (cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer’s) and chronic inflammatory bowel disease, including Chron’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
So, next time you reach for a nut milk or dairy alternative at the store, hoping to gain health benefits from the undeniably- good-for-you protein packed super food (almonds), make sure your brand doesn’t include the big, bad, ugly C word.
Recipe for a simple homemade Almond Milk that really does do the body good:
1 cup raw almonds | 4 cups water | 1 teaspoon vanilla extract | 1 teaspoon raw blue agave
place 1 cup raw almonds in blender with a cup of boiling hot water, let sit for 35 minutes. Add 3 cups of filtered water, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of raw blue agave into blender and blend until frothy. Pour mixture through a very small sieve. *you can use all the non liquid as almond flour to bake with later!
DR. DEEPIKA CHOPRA