It seems everyone is seeking happiness. For me, I prefer to look at it as the search for peace and joy in life, as I find happiness can be too conditional, and anytime we have to look for or chase something, we are looking outside of us. Surely some of this is just semantics, but happiness is, in my view, a state of being that comes from within and doesn’t shift with circumstance.
I came across this great article about the science of happiness and how researchers have been able to discover that we can adjust various things in our daily lives to bring more happiness to our state of being. Though, again, I believe happiness happens over the longterm. It’s not short spurts of emotion that we chase, but something that is born within and sustained naturally in our being.
1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough
You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different:
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes:
Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.
We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below.
2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions
We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves, and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out, it’s also important for our happiness.
In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects our positivity:
Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.
In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”
The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task over the course of a day, the researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive late in the day to negative emotions like fear and anger.
Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.
Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day. Especially this graph showing how your brain activity decreases is a great insight about how important enough sleep is for productivity and happiness:
Another study tested how employees’ moods when they started work in the morning affected their work day.
Researchers found that employees’ moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers’ moods.
And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.
Sleep is another topic we’ve looked into before, exploring how much sleep we really need to be productive.
3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house
Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to do this twice a day, five days a week, makes it unsurprising that its effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.
According to The Art of Manliness, having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:
… while many voluntary conditions don’t affect our happiness in the long-term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not. Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.”
We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work:
Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.
4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. If you want more evidence that it’s beneficial for you, I’ve found some research that proves it can make you happier right now.
Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel, generally.
I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:
We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.
George Vaillant is the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men.
In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”
He shared insights of the study with Joshua Wolf Shenk at The Atlantic on how the men’s social connections made a difference to their overall happiness:
The men’s relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states than your relationships are worth more than $100,000:
Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.
I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships.
The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:
We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest.
Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.
5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:
Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…
This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes are a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.
A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:
Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.
The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we’ve talked about more here. It’s fascinating what a small change in temperature can do.
6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number
One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.
If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:
…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities—such as concerts and group dinners out—brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.
The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:
Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.
So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people? A study of volunteering in Germany explored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.
In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:
…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.
7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain
Smiling itself can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:
A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts – such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital – improve their mood and withdraw less.
Of course it’s important to practice “real smiles” where you use your eye sockets. It’s very easy to spot the difference:
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.
A smile is also a good way to alleviate some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances:
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).
One of our previous posts goes into even more detail about the science of smiling.
8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one
As opposed to actually taking a holiday, it seems that planning a vacation or just a break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal, Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as employees enjoyed the sense of anticipation:
In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.
After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.
Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:
One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.
If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar—even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
9. Meditate – rewire your brain for happiness
Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it’s also useful for improving your happiness:
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life. I believe that this graphic explains it the best:
According to Shawn Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:
Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.
The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.
We’ve explored the topic of meditation and it’s effects on the brain in-depth before. It’s definitely mind-blowing what this can do to us.
10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction
This is a seemingly simple strategy, but I’ve personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.
In an experiment where some participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:
The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that used letters of gratitude to test how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:
Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period.
Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms.
Quick last fact: Getting older will make yourself happier
As a final point, it’s interesting to note that as we get older, particularly past middle age, we tend togrow happier naturally. There’s still some debate over why this happens, but scientists have got a few ideas:
Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.
Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods — for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over un-achieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing.
So if you thought being old would make you miserable, rest assured that it’s likely you’ll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound
- The Facts:
Multiple studies and examples have shown how sound, frequency and vibration can literally alter physical material matter. Research has also shown that sound, frequencies and vibration can be used as a significant healing method for various ailments.
- Reflect On:
How plausible would it be for these interventions to become a regular part of therapy, just as much as pharmaceutical drugs are now?
Cymatics is a very interesting topic. It illustrates how sound frequencies move through a particular medium such as water, air, or sand and as a result directly alter physical matter. There are a number of pictures all over the internet as well as youtube videos that demonstrate how matter (particles) adjust to different sounds and different frequencies of sound.
When it comes to ancient knowledge, sound, frequency and vibration have always been perceived as powerful forces that can influence and alter life all the way down to the cellular level. Sound healing methods are often used by Shamans, who employ drums and singing to access trance states. Research has even demonstrated that drumming and singing can can be used to slow fatal brain disease, and it can generate a sense of oneness with the universe . Sound therapy is getting more popular, and it can have many medical applications, especially within the psychological and mental health realms.
Sound, frequency and vibration are used all throughout the animal kingdom, and there are many examples. If we look at the wasp, they use antennal drumming to alter the caste development or phenotype of their larvae. Conventional thinking has held for quite some time that differential nutrition alone can explain why one larvae develops into a non-reproductive worker and one into a reproductive female (gyne). However, this is not the case, according to a 2011 study:
“But nutrition level alone cannot explain how the first few females to be produced in a colony develop rapidly yet have small body sizes and worker phenotypes. Here, we provide evidence that a mechanical signal biases caste toward a worker phenotype. In Polistes fuscatus, the signal takes the form of antennal drumming (AD), wherein a female trills her antennae synchronously on the rims of nest cells while feeding prey-liquid to larvae. The frequency of AD occurrence is high early in the colony cycle, when larvae destined to become workers are being reared, and low late in the cycle, when gynes are being reared. Subjecting gyne-destined brood to simulated AD-frequency vibrations caused them to emerge as adults with reduced fat stores, a worker trait. This suggests that AD influences the larval developmental trajectory by inhibiting a physiological element that is necessary to trigger diapause, a gyne trait.”
This finding indicates that the acoustic signals produced through drumming within certain species carry biologically meaningful information (literally: ‘to put form into’) that operate epigenetically (i.e. working outside or above the genome to affect gene expression).
Pretty fascinating, isn’t it? Like many other ancient lines of thought, this has been backed by modern day scientific research.
Another example comes from cancer research. In his Tedx talk, “Shattering Cancer with Resonant Frequencies,” Associate Professor and Director of Music at Skidmore College, Anthony Holland, tells the audience that he has a dream. That dream is to see a future where children no longer have to suffer from the effects of toxic cancer drugs or radiation treatment, and today he and his team believe they have found the answer, and that answer is sound. Holland and his team wondered if they could affect a cell by sending a specific electric signal, much like we do with LCD technology. After searching the patent database for a device that could accomplish this, they came across a therapeutic device invented by New Mexico physician Dr. James Bare. The device uses a plasma antenna that pulses on and off, which, as Holland explains, is important because a constant pulse of electricity would produce too much heat and therefore destroy the cell. For the next 15 months, Holland and his team searched for the exact frequency that would directly shatter a living microorganism. The magic number finally came in the form of two inputs, one high frequency and one low. The high frequency had to be exactly eleven times higher than the low, which in music is known as the 11th harmonic. At the 11th harmonic, micro organisms begin to shatter like crystal glass.
After consistently practicing until they became efficient at the procedure, Holland began working with a team of cancer researchers in an attempt to destroy targeted cancer cells. First they looked at pancreatic cancer cells, eventually discovering these cells were specifically vulnerable between 100,000 – 300,000 Hz.
Next they moved onto leukemia cells, and they were able to shatter the leukemia cells before they could divide. But, as Holland explains in his talk, he needed bigger stats in order to make the treatment a viable option for cancer patients.
In repeated and controlled experiments, the frequencies, known as oscillating pulsed electric field (OPEF) technology, killed an average of 25% to 40% of leukemia cells, going as high as 60% in some cases. Furthermore, the intervention even slowed cancer cell growth rates up to 65%.
You can read more about the story, find sources, and watch that TEDx talk here.
Another example occurred in 1981, when biologist Helene Grimal partnered with composer Fabien Maman to study the relationship of sound waves to living cells. For 18 months, the pair worked with the effects of 30-40 decibel sounds on human cells. With a camera mounted on a microscope, the researchers observed uterine cancer cells exposed to different acoustic instruments (guitar, gong, xylophone) as well as the human voice for 20-minute sessions.
They discovered that, when exposed to sound, cancer cells lost structural integrity until they exploded at the 14-minute mark. Far more dramatic was the sound of a human voice — the cells were destroyed at the nine-minute mark.
After this, they decided to work with two women with breast cancer. For one month, both of the women gave three-and-a-half-hours a day to “toning” or singing the scale. Apparently, the woman’s tumor became undetectable, and the other woman underwent surgery. Her surgeon reported that her tumor had shrunk dramatically and “dried up.” It was removed and the woman had a complete recovery and remission.
These are only a few out of multiple examples that are floating around out there.
Let’s not forget about when Royal Rife first identified the human cancer virus using the world’s most powerful microscope. After identifying and isolating the virus, he decided to culture it on salted pork. At the time this was a very good method for culturing a virus. He then took the culture and injected it into 400 rats, which, as you might expect, created cancer in all 400 rats very quickly. The next step for Rife was where things took an interesting turn. He later found a frequency of electromagnetic energy that would cause the cancer virus to diminish completely when entered into the energy field. You can read more about that story here.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease found that two months of drumming intervention in Huntington’s patients (considered an irreversible, lethal neurodegenerative disease) resulted in “improvements in executive function and changes in white matter microstructure, notably in the genu of the corpus callosum that connects prefrontal cortices of both hemispheres.” The study authors concluded that the pilot study provided novel preliminary evidence that drumming (or related targeted behavioral stimulation) may result in “cognitive enhancement and improvements in callosal white matter microstructure.”
A 2011 Finnish study observed that stroke patients who were given access to music as cognitive therapy had improved recovery. Other research has shown that patients suffering from loss of speech due to brain injury or stroke regain it more quickly by learning to sing before trying to speak. The phenomenon of music facilitating healing in the brain after a stroke is called the “Kenny Rogers Effect.”
A 2012 study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that active performance of music (singing, dancing and drumming) triggered endorphin release (measured by post-activity increases in pain tolerance), whereas merely listening to music did not. The researchers hypothesized that this may contribute to community bonding in activities involving dance and music-making.
According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, “Music effectively reduces anxiety for medical and surgical patients and often reduces surgical and chronic pain. [Also,] Providing music to caregivers may be a strategy to improve empathy, compassion, and care.” In other words, music is not only good for patients, it’s good for those who care for them as well.
Below is an interesting interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton. You can view his curriculum vitae here.
What About The Mind?
A few years ago, these scientists held an International Summit on Post-Materialist Science, and created a manifesto to explain its significance. The scientists involved were Mario Beauregard, PhD (University of Arizona), Gary E. Schwartz, PhD (University of Arizona), and Lisa Miller, PhD (Columbia University), in collaboration with Larry Dossey, MD, Alexander Moreira-Almeida, MD, PhD, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, and Charles Tart, PhD.
There are hundreds of published peer-reviewed publications showing statistically significant results for this type of science, yet unfortunately, it is still shunned by mainstream academia, even though so many mainstream academic scientists support it. What is going on here?
The idea that the mind affects physical material reality is not trivial, and it’s been demonstrated repeatedly with statistically significant results through fascinating research undertaken by government programs, places like the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Dr. Edgar Mitchell), and, in more recent developments, the group of internationally recognized scientists mentioned above.
Many studies have been conducted in these realms as well. Let’s look at water.
Experiments over the past four decades have investigated whether human intention alone can affect the properties of water. This question has been of interest to alternative medicine research, because the human body is made up of approximately 70% water. Interest in this topic has been rekindled recently by multiple researchers suggesting that intentionally influenced water can be detected by examining ice crystals formed from samples of that water. Scientists have hypothesized and shown that water influenced by intention can indeed influence the physical formation of the ice crystals that water produces. Consistent results commonly point to the idea that positive intentions tend to produce symmetric, well-formed, aesthetically pleasing crystals, and negative intentions tend to produce asymmetric, poorly formed, and unattractive crystals.
Dean Radin, the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, along with Masaru Emoto, Takashige Kizu, and Nancy Lund, designed an experiment that tested this hypothesis.
As the study’s description reads:
Over three days, 1,900 people in Austria and Germany focused their intentions towards water samples located inside an electromagnetically shielded room in California. Water samples located near the target water, but unknown to the people providing intentions, acted as ‘‘proximal’’ controls. Other samples located outside the shielded room acted as distant controls. Ice drops formed from samples of water in the different treatment conditions were photographed by a technician, each image was assessed for aesthetic beauty by over 2,500 independent judges, and the resulting data were analyzed, all by individuals blind with respect to the underlying treatment conditions. Results suggested that crystal images in the intentionally treated condition were rated as aesthetically more beautiful than proximal control crystals (p < 0.03, one-tailed). This outcome replicates the results of an earlier pilot test.
You can access the full study here.
If thought alone does indeed have an effect on physical material reality, just imagine what it could do to our body? Something to think about
The information presented in this article isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes the the medical applications of sound, frequency and vibration, which are all obviously correlated. One thing is clear, however, which is that there are many more methods out there, like the ones discussed in this article, that should be taken more seriously and given more attention from the medical establishment. It seems all mainstream medicine is concerned about is making money and developing medications that don’t seem to be representative of our fullest potential to heal. “Alternative” therapies shouldn’t be labelled as alternative, they should be incorporated into the norm.
New Research Shows What Too Much Screen Time Does To Developing Brains
- The Facts:
More research has emerged showing that too much screen time can be harmful to developing brains.
- Reflect On:
How has childhood changed for infants and young teens? Has appropriate safety testing been done on our favourite gadgets? Should they be allowed in school?
Within the past decade or so, the way we live our lives has drastically changed for many of us. Screens (smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions) have become such integral parts of our lives that we don’t even notice how much of our attention has been given to these devices. By default, children are exposed to more screen time as well and the implications of this are finally coming to the surface. New research shows how more than two hours of screen time per day can harm the structural integrity of white matter in the brains of preschoolers, potentially harming the development of their language and literacy skills.
Please understand — the intention of sharing this information is not to shame, judge or point the finger at any parents. I understand that parenting is difficult and stressful and that sometimes putting on a cartoon or letting them play a game is what it takes in order to get any kind of break for yourself. This is simply meant to raise awareness about an issue in hopes of mitigating the harmful effects.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting the use for 2-5 year olds to a maximum of one hour a day of what they consider “high quality programming” and ideally, watching it with them to assist them in learning and digesting the new information.
Any more than this amount of time has the potential to harm the brain development of children, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Those children with more screen time exposure had “lower micro-structural integrity” of brain white matter, an area that is linked to language and cognitive function.
During the study, which involved 47 children between the ages of 3 and 5, a technology called ScreenQ was used to track screen time in accordance with AAP recommendations. Factors studied included access to screens, frequency and duration of use, what sort of content was viewed and whether or not an adult was present during the viewing, and if the content was discussed with the child or not.
The higher the ScreenQ score, the more screen time occurred. MRI scans were used to evaluate the brain’s of the children. It was revealed that more screen time was harmful to the white matter in their brains.
“While we can’t yet determine whether screen time causes these structural changes or implies long-term neurodevelopmental risks,” Dr. John Hutton, director of the Reading & Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s and lead study author said in a news release, “these findings warrant further study to understand what they mean and how to set appropriate limits on technology use.”
Screen time is especially harmful for children under two and the AAP recommends that the use of digital media be avoided altogether, with the exception of occasional video chatting.
Avoid Or Limit Screen Time For Children’s Health
Keep in mind that if these screens are harmful to your children’s health, chances are they are impacting yours as well. Children learn by example, they like to copy what their parents and other adults do. If you are constantly on your phone or in front of the television, then your children might feel more inclined to imitate what you do. If they see you reading a book, getting outside and staying active, then they are more likely to develop those habits for themselves.
There is more research emerging on the potential health implications of too much screen time, but there is already enough to show that you can start monitoring and restricting that now. No need to wait, this will only benefit you and your children! Just imagine all of the quality time that could be spent if screens weren’t an integral part of the picture.
It’s not just the screens that are of concern, it’s also what comes along with them — too much screen time equals too much time spent sitting, potential damage to the eyes and more exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs.)
Of course our society is advancing towards the use of more and more technology in our lives, however there is a time and a place for tech. We have to make sure that we are using the technology, and not the other way around. Even if your children are older, you may want to consider screen-free activities and times during which you are all present together. Perhaps spending time outdoors, playing cards or board games, baking or cooking, going swimming — the possibilities are endless! We’ve just forgotten what we used to do before screens took over, and it hasn’t even been that long!
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What Can Happen To Your Body When You Ingest Okra
- The Facts:
Multiple studies show that Okra can have some amazing benefits.
- Reflect On:
Reflect on the western diet, and the fact that multiple diseases continue to be on the rise exponentially while the medical industry pays no attention to nutrition.
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”
— Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C
Abelmoschus esculentus, or Hibiscus esculentus, also known as Okra, is a widely used vegetable all over the world. While some people dislike it because of its ‘slimy’ texture, this vegetable is loaded with a number of health benefits that make it worth including in your diet.
Okra originated in Egypt, and people have been growing it since the 12th century. It can be consumed in a variety of different ways, such as stewed, fried, or even fermented, and is usually served with other vegetables and rice or put into soups.
The Many Health Benefits of Okra
According to a study published in 2005 in the Jilin Medical Journal, okra showed positive effects on nephropathy, or kidney disease. For the study, participants were put into two different groups — one was treated with okra, and the other was treated with traditional medical therapy. The study lasted six months, and while there were no changes among the group who used traditional therapy, those who took their treatment with the okra saw a reduction in uric acid and urine protein. (source)
A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal outlined okra’s ability to protect against liver disease. Because of its strong antioxidant activities, okra was found to protect against chemically induced liver damage. The study also found okra to have strong antioxidant and hepaprotective properties, comparable to milk thistle or silymarin. (source)
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences found that okra extracts could protect against diabetes. When rats with diabetes were given okra, they saw a decrease in their blood sugar levels and a normalization of their lipid profile levels. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies have found okra to be a major blood glucose-lowering food. It contains large amounts of soluble dietary fibre, which is why it has been used traditionally as an alternative treatment for diabetes.
Okra has also demonstrated its ability to fight cancer, having shown action against breast cancer cells, but only in preliminary lab studies. Researchers have discovered that a newly discovered lectin (a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes) in okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (AEL), actually induces cell death in human breast cancer cells, in vitro by 72%.
Research has also shown okra to effectively fight depression. Although some fruits and vegetables have been shown to have various effects on mood, including the ability to elevate mood (flavonoids and quercertin), Okra had not made the list until recently, thanks to researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Science. Their results showed that okra seed extracts acted as as strong agent for elevating mood, in some cases performing just as well as common antidepressants. Apparently, the positive mood effect of okra can be attributed to its high total phenol and flavonoid content. (source)(source)
When I come across scientifically validated information that sheds light on the knowledge of our ancestors and ancients, I am never surprised. This is commonly seen with quantum physics, astronomy, health, and spirituality, where our modern day measurements of ‘truth’ correlate with teachings of our ancient world.
It’s good to see science shed light on the healing properties found within nature, as it’s a branch of knowledge we have neglected for many years now. Chemical based health, and our reliance on pharmaceutical grade medicine, has completely taken over, which is perhaps one reason why chronic illness and disease continue to rise.
“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
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