TODAY THE WORDS are I SHALL REMEMBER YOU. This holiday especially, even though some of us still work on this day while others get to relax and enjoy celebration, is one for all of us, no matter where or what we do on this day, to take more than a few seconds and whisper to all fallen soldiers worldwide, not just America “I shall remember you”.
I would like to step outside the USA boundaries and give us something to ponder on this Memorial Day. A soldier is a soldier! A soldier is also a son or daughter of parents and when they came into this world, the entire world lit up in the same parents eyes.
God sees beyond nationality, ethnicity, social circles, wealth or poverty, and God tells us to love all people. With this in mind, God doesn’t agree with mistreating others and does not agree with evil in any form, shape, or religion. This may cause confusion to many. When a soldier gets an order it is an order and he will fight, he will save lives, he will rescue and/or destroy. He is not carrying out his personal feelings sometimes but is being a true soldier. So many times, in the heat of the battle, opposing soldiers have found themselves in a predicament and did a valorous deed and actually assisted his “enemy”. What is hard for all of us to understand is that war is the enemy, not the actual soldier. What is harder to understand; the soldier has to and will respond to enemy fire or combat without seeing the soldier as a human being. War, in any form, is a tragedy for so many and cannot be taken lightly. If, we as God’s people, can figure out a way to avoid war and share love for all mankind; we can say, “I shall remember” and remember how we were able to lie down like that lamb and the lion together (technically not the way it is actually stated as you will see below) in God’s love.
Happy Memorial Day to all members of the military, family and friends of those who have sacrificed and paid the highest price so that we can look around today and enjoy God’s beauty and freedom to breathe a sigh of relief and peace.
FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Isaiah 11:6 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (c) copyright 2013 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission
Note from Arline Miller, blogger: I apologize for the absence period of posting but I had the flu for several weeks and on the mend but not 100%. I don’t say this for sympathy as I am happy to be feeling a lot more normal the last couple of days. There are over 1000+ posts on here and if you want to browse older posts which are like the one below look at the right side of the home page and go down the dates. You may enjoy some of the oldies but goodies. Thanks for the support, comments, and likes and most of all the sharing.
IS BEING GOOD……GOOD ENOUGH? I see so many talented people falling short of greatness and I feel I am in this category. This post is not meant to be from a negative mindset but I think you will understand the message.
When there is a race, there are losers as well as one winner. Let’s think about that. All of the runners, drivers, swimmers practice for this race. Usually, they all practice about the same amount of time, methods, and effort. At the end of the race, it is not normal for there to be minutes between the winner and the second place runner up…it is seconds or even tenths of seconds. How about the photo finish races? Down to the wire?
Here is where the difference comes in? In the next race, the one who had finished in second place may get a better jump and win. Here comes the message….It doesn’t matter. As long as a person does their best, and given their absolute effort, life gives surprises even to the best and this is what keeps us from feeling that we can make no mistakes or come in second. We can; it is a given. The only factor that is consistent is the best athlete; the best scholar; the best writer; the best actor; the best cook will feel the pain of defeat. What makes the difference is how winners (and that includes winners who lose) react to the not so pleasant events.
Being good is good enough! As long as we are trying our best, we will succeed even with temporary losses. We will strengthen our minds and bodies by knowing there can be a next time and we will be better prepared by this experience. We can evaluate what we did last time and what we can do next time to improve…..OR…..we can stay consistent and confident our time will come. Not every race can be won by every participant so keep trying.
Here are some points to consider:
How many times do you think Julia Child burnt a dish?
Here’s Julia Child burning food — on purpose. A plate of steak, scalloped potatoes, and green beans. A gorgeous Gran Mariner souffle. NO! I can’t bear to look. There is a lecture at the end of the video on the importance of carbon, which you will probably want to just skip — apparently Julia burning food was supposed to illustrate his point. But it’s a hoot to watch Julia nonchalantly prattling on while she pulls blackened dishes out of her various ovens. (Note from Arline: I didn’t post the video but you get the idea, even Julia Child burnt food even if on purpose)
How many times did J K Rolling’s work get rejected?
The Christopher Little Literary Agency receives 12 publishing rejections in a row for their new client, until the eight-year-old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor demands to read the rest of the book. The editor agrees to publish but advises the writer to get a day job since she has little chance of making money in children’s books. Yet Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling spawns a series where the last four novels consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, on both sides of the Atlantic, with combined sales of 450 million.
How many times did Babe Ruth strike out?
Strikeouts All Time Leaders ‘Top 1,000’
Batting average: .342
Home runs: 714
Pitching W/L record: 94-46
How many times has Leonardo DeCaprio been nominated but didn’t win an Oscar?
At the 2016 Oscars there is no safer bet than Leonardo DiCaprio winning the Best Actor award. Poor old Leo has waited 22 years since his first nomination, for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and if he does in fact win for The Revenant it will finally kill the many memes about his many Oscar snubs.
I found this interesting and it makes sense, BEING GOOD IS GOOD ENOUGH and the key is to continue to use the skills and talents which will turn from GOOD to GREAT and maybe even FANTASTIC!
LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by continually moving and doing the things IN LIFE YOU LOVE!
(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party materials are linked to original location for reference credit.
I continue to repost this message that dates back to 2013 as it is one of my favs and I noticed this morning which is prior to Memorial Day someone had pulled it up on its own, so here goes:
This morning, Memorial Day 2018, I woke early and prayed a prayer for all of the brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I thought of how little people pay attention to the true meaning of Memorial Day and many don’t realize the difference between Memorial and Veteran’s Day. Both are respectful holidays paying tributes on Memorial Day for those who died fighting and Veteran’s Day for all who have patriotically served in the military and don’t forget Armed Services Day for those actively serving, but whether or not it is for the right reason, I believe in respecting those in our Military, past and present. I posted the TOY SOLDIERS in 2013 and I come back to it as my best post focused on Memorial Day.
TODAY THE WORDS are TOY SOLDIERS. In honor of Memorial Day, I am reposting a Memorial Day tribute posted in 2013. How many times have you picked up a toy soldier and really gave any thought as to what it actually represents? Probably, like me, not many times have any of us visualized the representation right in our hands. A toy soldier is not very big, no more than 3 inches or less and they come in bright colors or a muted green and come with a lot of them in a bag. Boys and some girls have played with them and knocked them down “killing” them. The kids would then pick them up at the end of the battle and either start a new war or put them in the bag for a future battle. A game of pretend enemies with usually the best of friends taking sides and a lot of “bang, you are dead” was heard. Children are innocent and learn from others and many people don’t see any harm in playing war or even violent video games but now for the deeper thought…..War is real and deadly……Soldiers can’t be stood up again in the real war games and lives are taken or forever changed by injuries.
As Memorial Day is here, my mind went to the toy soldier and it felt sad as if I had a soldier in my hands and wondered if he was alive or dead. Do we as humans try as hard as we should to avoid war? Are we so wrapped up in proving a point that we do the same as precious, innocent children do when they play toy soldiers and kill without thought and reality that some one’s son; some one’s husband; some one’s daughter; some one’s wife; and some one’s brother or sister can or will be killed. Soldiers face death on a daily basis if sent to a military zone. I can remember my brother Joe, who served two terms in Vietnam, and who retired after 21 years in the Army, when he said to me in reference to how the soldiers got booed at the airport by Americans, “Sis, a soldier doesn’t ask why, they are told where!” In other words a soldier obeys commands from a superior officer and is not in a defining position; he is in an obedient position. That tells me in order to protect us a soldier responds to an order. We should respect this demeanor and honor their willingness to serve. If there are opposing positions to a certain engagement, it should be brought to higher officials. Tomorrow, and every day, thank a soldier for our freedom which we value. Thank God for the highest protection of our life as God gives us every breath we take.
Excerpt from the following article on Memorial Day History (click on title for complete article)
The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, are unclear.
In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America’s need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.
After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.
No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and states observed the holiday on different dates. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress; it is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.
Since it all started with the Civil War, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of this event by visiting the Library of Congress Civil War collection, which includes more than a thousand photographs.
Now for the deeper thought…In a perfect world, there would be no soldiers; there would be no wars; there would be no hate. We live in a world where evil does exist and in a world where there will be wars and rumors of war. We, as humans, should put more value on human life, animal life, and our earth which are all blessings and are our treasures here on earth and are to be valued and protected. May I bow my head and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Nearly 500,000 military personnel died during the U.S. Civil War. That’s almost half of all Americans who have ever died during wartime, and more than a hundred times more than died during the American Revolution, according to the latest estimates from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. This Memorial day, we decided to take a close look at the number of American servicemembers who lost their lives during wartime in an effort to put their sacrifices into a broader perspective.
This excerpt was from the linked article in 2015 and the current number would be higher. May we honor our fallen and pray this number doesn’t have to rise.FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:Matthew 24:6-7And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced to the original location, if known, for credit reference.
INGREDIENTS IN AFRIEND. I think I can speak on this subject very profoundly as I have been blessed with a great assortment of friends throughout my lifetime. Some have come and gone out of my life; some have been there for a lifetime; some are very close and we keep in touch; and some are my infrequent friends with whom I communicate rarely but they are still dear to me. In thinking about friends and a person who loves to cook, I thought I would come up with a recipe for those friends we can’t do without (kind of like chocolate cake) and this was my thoughts:
Recipe for a Friend Cake: First, find a person or maybe they will find you. Blend your likes and their likes and see if they mix together. Stir up some fun and laughter. Slow down the mixer and just chill. Add some sugar and some seasonings as it has to be sweet but spicy. If the batter starts to separate, stir it again as you want it all to stay together. Pour it in a pan making sure you don’t leave any of it left behind. Bake with love, caring, sacrifice and charity to each other. Savor the taste of friendship and enjoy each bite of life. If the slice breaks, do everything you can to put it back together. And if you have to stop enjoying your friend cake, keep the memory of the taste. The good times, the sad times, the silly times and the times you wish you could do over again.
The next time you start to make a new friend cake, make sure you have all of the ingredients for being a great friend to them. Live life; love life; and live life to the fullest by adding friends to your life and keep the dear friends you already have!
Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can’t still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it’s probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it’s difficult for a friendship to thrive.
Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can’t be said to define a true friendship.
WHAT MAKES A FRIEND WORTHY OF THE NAME?
A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It’s said that “good advice grates on the ear,” but a true friend won’t refrain from telling you something you don’t want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you’re wrong. A true friend will confront you with your drinking problem as quickly as inform you about a malignant-looking skin lesion on your back that you can’t see yourself.
Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won’t ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.
You can check out the friendly article by clicking on the link above.
FEATURED BIBLE VERSE: Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (c) copyright 2012-2019 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material sourced to original location for reference credit.
SUGAR ME THIS? This morning I would like to walk down memory lane. I thought how much eating has changed since I was a lot younger and slimmer. Today’s world has changed a lot. After I explore the “sugary days” I will provide some healthy information on avoiding sugar in our healthy eating lifestyle but let’s reminisce first. We live in a world of instant this and instant that. We are blessed to have great cake makers and for everyone in my hometown, your thoughts probably went to Holt’s Bakery, home of the sugar adventure land. However, I want to walk some of you back to a time when we made birthday cakes at home. I realize I still make some cakes but now, with time restraints this process has been replaced by the commercial bakeries.
The time I am talking about was when it was usually the only way we had the birthday celebration with cakes baked by Mom and we helped decorate the cakes with the edible sugar decorations as seen in the picture. I searched to find a picture of the ones I remember so well and this was close but not the same. I remember the candle holders with different colors and we had to be careful when we put the candles in them. I remember the precision we peeled and placed the letters HAPPY BIRTHDAY in the direction we felt was the best one. We took pride, we discussed, we had fun decorating the cake and building up the anticipation of the surprise; though hardly ever was it a surprise since we had grown to expect the party.
All of this is hopefully to jog your memory and then to bring you to the focus of this message…..eating the decorations. Talk about sugar fixes; we ate them like we were never going to get any more….ever! How sugary they were but we didn’t mind.
We were into sugar thoughts and now I am diving into deeper thoughts……Life is somewhat like the sugar thoughts. We have to go through a lot of tasks in life; we build up anticipation on upcoming events like birthdays, weddings, church events, family reunions and during this anticipation of how good life is going to taste, we take pride in how we place our decorations such as our home, our cars, our clothes, etc. Then, it happens! We have the celebrations of life; our spouses, our children, our families, and our friends. Those are the sugar thoughts of life. When we witness a sweet thought of life like graduations, birthdays, new jobs, new children and for the lucky ones, grandchildren. This is when we know we have reached the time of life’s party when you get to pull of the sugary decorations and enjoy the sweet taste of life!
To Stay on Our Healthy Lifestyle read the article below from the American Heart Association. My thoughts: Reduce the Added Sugar and Add the Natural Love and Sugar from Life!
How to Reduce Added Sugar in Your Diet
If you want to decrease your risk for heart disease, it may be important for you to reduce the added sugar in your diet. As you know about sugar and heart disease, while sugars are not harmful to the body, our bodies don’t need sugars to function properly. Added sugars — sugars that are not found naturally in foods — contribute additional calories with zero nutrients to food. Depending on the foods you choose and the amount of physical activity you do each day, you may have calories left over for “extras” that can be used on treats like solid fats, added sugars and alcohol. These are discretionary calories, or calories to be spent at your discretion after you have met your daily calorie need. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. Finding added sugars in food The first step to reducing added sugars in your diet is finding them. Unfortunately, you can’t tell easily by looking at the nutrition facts panel of a food if it contains added sugars. The line for “sugars” includes both added and natural sugars. Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose). Any product that contains milk (such as yogurt, milk or cream) or fruit (fresh, dried) contains some natural sugars. Reading the ingredient list on a processed food’s label can tell you if the product contains added sugars, just not the exact amount if the product also contains natural sugars. Names for added sugars on labels include: Brown sugar Corn sweetener Corn syrup Fruit juice concentrates High-fructose corn syrup Honey Invert sugar Malt sugar Molasses Raw sugar Sugar Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose) Syrup Furthermore, some products include terms related to sugars. Here are some common terms and their meanings: Sugar-Free: Less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving. Reduced Sugar or Less Sugar: At least 25 percent less sugars per serving compared to a standard serving size of the traditional variety. No Added Sugars or Without Added Sugars: No sugars or sugar-containing ingredient such as juice or dry fruit is added during processing. Low Sugar: Not defined or allowed as a claim on food labels. Although you can’t isolate the calories per serving from added sugars with the information on a nutrition label, it may be helpful to calculate the calories per serving from total Keep in mind that if the product has no fruit or milk products in the ingredients, all of the sugars in the food are from added sugars. If the product contains fruit or milk products, the total sugar per serving listed on the label will include added and naturally occurring sugars. Tips for getting less added sugar Use these simple tips to reduce sugar in your diet: Remove sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses from the table — out of sight, out of mind! Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, pancakes, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean down from there, or consider using an artificial sweetener. Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages. Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, add fresh fruit (try bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots). When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half. Often you won’t notice the difference. Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange or lemon. Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar; try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg. Substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in recipes (use equal amounts). Try zero-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin in moderation. Learn more ways to live heart-healthy on Go Red For Women.
FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Ecclesiastes 5:18 ESV
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.
(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.
Years ago, I didn’t see myself as being a senior or old as it is described. Most of my generation see ourselves as unique, able to continue to live as if we are still in our 40-50’s but lately, more and more of us are facing health issues. In the last year, it has come home to roost with our daughter having to put her life on hold and come home to be the only caregiver for her Dad. This has shown a light that most of us never considered that it may be our turn to require care. I thought I would write on this sensitive subject from an outsider/insider view.
Missy’s father and I divorced when she was a teenager. We made sure she knew it was not her fault for the separation. We worked together, even though apart as parents. I recommend this thinking to all couples who find it necessary to part as we have maintained civility and Missy was never forced to choose or even asked to love one more than the other.
Her Dad showed signs of forgetfulness or repetitive stories at first. Missy noticed his confusion or the action of moving things back and forth. It progressed to a sense of questions being raised, “Was he okay?” Without going into details, it became more obvious he was in need of caregiving. It was not even a decision, even with a thriving career, our daughter came home on the shortest notice and began the biggest challenge in her life.
Every day, she faces a continual reminder that her Dad has less and less recognition or understanding of what is going on. He is a pacer, clapper, and vocal but even in the midst of all of the “noise he makes” I will be on the phone or get a text sometimes with pictures of their “good times”. It takes Missy to get a rare laugh or smile from him but she does and when it happens, she giggles. It is easy to see that is the small reward for a job which is incredibly hard on the emotions, physical stamina, personal care, and what possibly can be deprivations of sleep, rest, social interaction, and so many other sacrifices on the caregiver.
This morning, I saw a repost from my daughter with the caption above the photo and it inspired me to discuss the realization even when we feel invincible and it is hard to envision how a change in our health can change our world. Missy and I have discussed this mystery, “I would have never thought her Daddy would have dementia. He was a mechanical genius, could figure out how to make something work, was never overweight, worked every day whether it was steaming hot, icy cold, or pouring rain. He was not seemingly a risk for mental loss.”
Wise words from this young woman!
“Twice this week, I have watched an elderly individual, fade into the busy life in which we all live. One man just needed Panadol for his wife but the shop assistant simply said it’s in aisle ‘6’. But he struggled to navigate the supermarket and as I watched him go in the wrong direction, I left all my groceries and took him where he needed to go.”
“Today, I watched an elderly man struggle in the heat, who had obviously had a fall with a huge scrape and blood on his leg. He walked past people in the cafe, while he slowly made his way to his car. Not one person stopped. Or looked. Or acknowledged him. I took him to his car and checked he was ok. He told me he had a fall and wasn’t sure how the air con worked in his car so he just didn’t use it. I sat with him, until his air con kicked in and heard him talk about the old frail body that he is in, that fails him now, every single day.”
“When you see an elderly person walking down the street, searching in the supermarket or struggling to their car, take a minute out of your busy schedule and ask them if they need a hand. Think about your grand parents and your parents and how pissed you would be if someone didn’t stop to help them. But more, think of them as you.”
“Once upon a time they were you. They were busy, they had work, they had children, they were able. Today, they are just in an older body that is not going as fast as it used to and this busy life is confusing. They deserve our utmost respect and consideration. One day it will be you, it will be us. I wish more people gave a XXXX about them and acknowledged them for their admirable existence and jeez I hope someday, not that far away, someone does it for me.”
The struggle is real, the sacrifices are many, and it may be your turn so when you can reach out to the caregivers and lend a hand, it may be good experience to be there for those people who find themselves in a totally demanding world but they are there for those who have always been there for them……Until We Read Again…….Arline Miller, author/blogger but most importantly Missy’s Mom.
I wrote this post back in 2018 and I found the detoxing of my time more valuable that the detoxing of my body. I would recommend both types of detoxing. I have returned to writing, up early and getting at least a couple of chapters created, working all day, and returning to the keyboard for an hour or two at night. It is amazing to me how the scenes and the words flow early in the morning. I am now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and my goal is to treat myself with the third and final book in my series Reflections of Love. Yes, it takes discipline and I hope you enjoy my reposting of one of my favs. Here it is:
WHILE I DETOX, I CAN DETOX MY TIME is my message today. I started a 28 day detox tea regiment and it came to me that while I detox my body from those years of unhealthy eating, I could detox my time. I have been changing my WOE for a couple of years and have maintained my diabetes without having to go the route of insulin. I have decreased my meds through consistent changes and adjustments to my lifestyle. However, while changing my eating habits I became “addicted” to social media and maneuvered into a dependent state to post every thought and every food I prepared and I think I exchanged the toxicity of bad food to bad management of my time. Have you felt this same dependency? How many times a day do you check all of the social links such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, etc? Can you go a day without looking? If not, you may benefit from my detoxing my social life while detoxing my body. Let’s think about it.
To kick it off, I found a great article in Psychology Today
What can we do about it problematic, excessive use?
Posted May 07, 2018
The use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tinder has become the cornerstone of modern communication and connection as it allows users to create a sense of belonging and redefine their way of being. Despite the many positive benefits and impacts of these sites, the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal has reignited discussions about the place of social media and social networking sites in our lives.
From a mental health perspective, concerns have been raised about the negative impact of excessive use of social networking sites on the health and wellbeing of users, especially that of young people, who are enthusiastic users of this technology. Back in 2011, Dr. Daria Kuss and I were the first academics to systematically review the scientific literature on excessive social media use. Although there were few studies at the time, we did find that for a small minority of individuals there was a significant detrimental effect on many aspects of their life, including their real life relationships and academic achievement among those still in education. We argued that such signs are indicative of addiction.
Over the past five years there has been a proliferation of studies assessing how excessive social media use can impact negatively on health. In a recent paper Dr. Kuss and I again reviewed the latest research on the topic and showed that social media use for a minority of individuals is associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction. Because social media is most frequently accessed via smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO).
The good news is that very few people are genuinely addicted to social media. However, many people’s social media use is habitual and it can start to spill over into other areas of their lives and be problematic and dangerous, such as checking social media while driving. Other behaviors may be annoying rather than dangerous, but may be indicative of problematic social media use, such as checking social media while eating out with friends or constantly checking your smartphone while watching a movie at the cinema. Others may snub social contact with their loved ones or friends and prefer to check out social media on their smartphone instead (so-called ‘phubbing’).
If you want to check whether you may be at risk of developing an addiction to social media, ask yourselves these six simple questions:
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media? Do you feel urges to use social media more and more? Do you use social media to forget about personal problems? Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success? Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media? Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?
If the answer to all six of these questions is “yes,” then you may have or be developing an addiction to using social media. We say “may” because the only way this can be confirmed is through a diagnosis from a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist.
If you answered “yes” to a few of these questions, it is more likely that you are a habitual social media user and that what you should do is engage in ‘digital detox’ strategies that simply allow you to reduce the amount of time spent on social media. This can include simple steps, such as turning off sound notifications and only allowing yourself to check your smartphone every 30 minutes or once an hour. Other simple steps include having periods in the day where there is self-imposed non-screen time (such as during meal times) and leaving your smartphone in a separate room from where you sleep (just so you don’t get the urge to check social media before bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up).
At a societal level, steps need to be taken by governments or organizations to help minimize and (in some cases) prohibit the use of mobile devices. Some such steps are in place in many countries, such as the banning of smartphone use while driving. Given the loss of productivity in both the workplace and educational settings, employers, schools, and colleges need policies in place to ensure that individuals are focused on what they should be doing. Many schools ban the use of smartphones in the classroom. Prohibition in other contexts such as workplace settings may also be justified if it is practical to do so. Some restaurants are now providing discounts on food bills if customers refrain from using their smartphones during their meal. These positive reinforcement strategies may well be the way forward in trying to decrease time spent on smartphones checking social media.
Digital literacy and awareness of the effects of excessive social media use need to be embedded with work and educational settings. More controversially, social media operators (such as Facebook) could start using their behavioral data to identify excessive users and provide strategies to limit time spent on their products. This is already being used in the online gambling industry and could easily be applied by social networking sites.
For the small number of individuals that are genuinely addicted to social media use, treatment is warranted. However, the goal of treatment for this type of addiction (unlike many other addictions) should be controlled use rather than total abstinence, as it is not feasible to stop someone from using devices that have Internet access (i.e., their smartphone). The most successful type of treatment for online addictions appears to be cognitive behavioral therapy (which is a talk therapy designed to help people change the way they think and behave), although there are relatively few published studies examining its efficacy in relation to internet addictions. Other more specific ways of how to treat individuals with excessive and addictive Internet use, including social media use, have also been outlined elsewhere.
This probably has you thinking how much time you spend with social media. Please do not misunderstand as I am not advocating total withdrawal as in my eating program I allow myself some “good toxins” and they are my fixes. They allow me to continue the healthy way of eating by not being so rigid that I begin feeling sorry for myself. This same way of thinking can and should go over into social media activity. Use your time wisely; read encouraging posts; eliminate those negative nannies; and avoid arguments; and realize if people on social media are missing you when you take a break you must have done something right in your posting. But your social media life is not YOUR LIFE so we have to be careful, as I had to realize to not live your life online. LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; LIVE AND LOVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by living it and not posting it. Sharing is wonderful and reconnecting to friends but share yourself with your friends and family while we live.
Side note from blog author, Arline Miller: I have taken a break from regular posting on my social media links and have spread my blog posts slightly. I have noticed the internal detox seems to be calming my body and the break from social media posts have allowed me time to do some individual family things. I miss the interaction but I feel I have been freer to rest, meditate, and spend quality time. No, I am not giving up all of the interaction as a dear friend, Mary Kathryn Gentry, who had a precious fur baby Tobey and we said goodbye to him and we have watched her grieve. On a sneak in to Facebook, I see she is getting a new fur baby, a mini Aussie this Saturday and you can believe I will have to see those welcome to your home photos. She will have the best smile on her face and I do want to see both her and her husband happy.
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