In today’s fast-paced, Facebook and Twitter obsessed world of over abundance, studies are finding that less can definitely mean more, both physically and mentally. According to Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, a psychology professor at the UCLA, and co-director of the UCLA Center for Community Health and the Global Center for Children and Families, cheap and convenient food, busy work and social lives and a constant barrage from media sources have overloaded Americans and are having a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health.
In a recent article from HealthDay.com, Rotheram-Borus explains, “Cheap fast food has led to Americans eating an average of 1,000 more calories a day than they need. Constant media exposure creates stress while also numbing people to normal human interaction. And to pay for it all, people are working longer hours and enduring longer commutes. But doctors are finding that when people cut back — by eating less or reducing their media viewing, for instance — their mental and physical health improves.”
Additionally, Dr. Felicia Wong, a Los Angeles psychiatrist and a member of the American Psychiatric Association, said that the advent of text messaging and smart phones has added to people’s stress because they “create a pressure to be constantly available” that used to be endured only by doctors, police officers, firefighters and other professionals who spend much of their lives on call.
In the article, Rotheram-Borus and Wong provide suggestions for people who want to improve their health by cutting back:
- Set a consistent routine that is aligned with the values they want their children to have. For example, make family dinners the norm, rather than an occasional treat. “If you value your kids more than your job, you need to be at home for dinner,” Rotheram-Borus said. “If you want your kids to be balanced human beings, you can’t work 100 hours a week yourself.”
- Take a time out before making a purchase. Be clear about what you need when you go into a store.
- Cut back on your food intake, and choose healthy foods. Throw out all the junk food in your house. “Once you have it in the house, you’re very likely to eat it,” Rotheram-Borus said.
- Turn off the cell phone and disconnect from other media for a set period of time each day. “The reality is, in most situations a text message can wait,” Wong said.
- Remember that gifts don’t always have to be purchases. Experiences, favors and thoughtful gestures can be just as meaningful.
To read the full article and begin de-stressing your life, click here.