How Social Media Creates Loneliness

I haven’t updated in a while, but I found this, ironically, via Facebook today. It goes through how social media can help us feel connected yet make us vulnerable to feeling alone.

How Different Types of Happiness Affect Human Health

Sorry for the drop in posts this week. I had a few night shifts, so I have been trying to rest the past couple of days.

I wanted to share this interesting article I read about how human cells respond to types of happiness. While happiness in general is associated with better health, Science Daily explains the difference between hedonic and eudaimonic happiness.

Terms sound familiar? Probably because you have heard of them in your Philosophy 101 class. Hedonic happiness is defined as a simple happiness derived from a pleasurable experience. Eudaimonic happiness is a “deeper”  type of happiness that is driven by a noble cause, or as my Ethics prof taught me, a sense of duty.

happygrasscells

Figure. This picture has really nothing to do with the article, but they look like smiling, happy cells! It is actually grass cells seen under a microscope. Image source was provided by my friend, Christine: http://haha.nu/arts/photography/grass-cells-under-microscope/

Researchers have found  that people with eudaimonic well-being had a positive affect on their gene expression, showing decreased levels of CTRA in immune cells, whose expression is associated with stress. In contrast, hedonic happiness showed higher levels of CTRA expression, possibly because this happiness  is associated with consumption of “empty calories.” I’m not entirely sure what they mean by “empty calories” but I would assume that  hedonic happiness can be derived from drinking alcohol or eating food in larger quantities or lower quality (IE- fatty foods and sweets, yum!). These things may trigger the reward circuit in the brain, but also eventually lead to a negative impact in health if done excessively.

These findings may indicate  how important it is for humans, on both a mental and physiological level, to have a sense of purpose in their life. In discussions I have had in literature and philosophy classes, we have always talked about how this drive for greater meaning in life is what makes us humans so uniquely human, setting us a part from other species. It’s really cool to see how this can been reflected both on a biological level and not just a  “spiritual” one.

Got to love connections made between humanities and science. Deep stuff, man.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729161952.htm

How Healthy are High Heels?

I have received a bunch of shoes over the course of 2 months. Maybe It’s because I typically wait until all my shoes are broken to buy replacement pairs. Lucky for me, my mother is concerned that I am always on my feet. Besides a few pairs of boots, she has also graced me with these 2 gorgeous pairs of heels from Lord & Taylor for days when I need to be more trendy.

The first is this pair of beautiful satin nude peep-toe heels with black lace over it and a brooch at the front. I drool every time I see them! But I gave them to my sister. While I completely adore the shoes, I love my sister waaaaay more (and luckily we are +/- half a size a part). I knew she would appreciate them very much and wear them more, especially at work (she’s an electrical engineering consultant).

Besides, my mommy also gave me a pair of these black satin sling-back Steve Madden pumps with sequined giant bows. She is convinced I should wear them with jeans when I go to class if I can’t use them during formal occasions only. I said I’ll think about it. I’m always deathly afraid of walking in heels, so I usually opt for flats because they are comfy and dress appropriate for work, class, and volunteering.

After my two flats got destroyed by rainstorms (on separate occasions), I bought this nifty pair at the GAP that had a gold chain anklet on sale before break.

And what would this blog be without a scientific point of view!

This great infographic from the Washington Post gives an overview of negative health effects of high heels. While these effects are over very extreme cases when high heels are overused, the infographic is still a great precautionary guide.

According to the graphic, the main source of problems caused by heels are stemmed from the body being in an altered and unnatural position. This further causes more problems such as:

  • Hips & Spine misalignment
  • Excess force on knee, the front of the foot, and toes
  • Overly tightened muscles
  • Impaired balanced
  • Increased chance of injury

Now all these risks seem scary, it doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy your beautiful heels! According to a ScienceDaily article written in 2010, women who tend to wear high heels felt discomfort when they walked flat footed. The studies expected to find that high heel wears had shorter calf muscles, but instead found that they actually had shorter muscle fibers than women who don’t wear high heels often. The article suggests for avid high heel wearers to try stretching to avoid discomfort caused by heels.

There are also some positive psychological effects high heels have on women and how they view themselves.

  1. Generally makes women feel taller & more confident.
  2. Raises the butt about 20 to 30 degrees.
  3. Because of point #2 on this list, heels make a women appear more youthful.
  4. Makes legs appear longer and balances out body shape.
  5. Not a psychological plus, but apparently heels are suspected to lead to a better sex life for women (check the BBC source below)

The interesting things and tidbits of information you learn with the power of the internet.

Sources:

  1. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715194407.htm
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2007/05/07/GR2007050700484.html
  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715194407.htm
  4. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/homo-consumericus/200902/why-are-high-heels-so-enticing
  5. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7225828.stm

New Eating Disorders Proposed

Rather interesting  news I found on Yahoo today: two new eating disorders have been defined.

According to WebMD, an eating disorder is defined as “conditions that cause a person to have unhealthy thoughts and behaviors related to food and body image.” They go on to give examples such as anorexia (severe restriction of food intake), bulimia (drastic prevention of weight gain), and binge eating (overconsumption).

http://www.webmd.com/hw-popup/eating-disorders

As a person who has a constant struggle with my body image, I have had my share of eating disorder temptation, and I can say from personal experience it is not good for you physically and mentally. It changes your mood and gives you low self esteem. You feel like you lack energy and are weak. You beat yourself up for what probably is an occassional indulgence or for skipping out on the gym.

Not to say that you shouldn’t attempt to control caloric intake/outake, but it was so easy for me to skew to an extreme I cannot stress to be careful.

Anyways, the two new disorders scientists are trying to recognize are:

  1. Adult Selective Eating: where a person is extremely picky about their food, but not because of body image or numeric caloric intake.  Theories run that these adults haven’t outgrown child eating patterns or have a strong sense of taste that hinders them for liking certain foods. Typically they characterized as liking very bland foods.
  2. Orthorexia: obsessively wanting to only consume “healthy” foods, only “pure, natural” items. Again not because of body image or weight reasons. They shy away typically from anything artifical or processed.

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/new-eating-disorders-are-they-real

I don’t know if I would classify either of them as a disorder per say, but it’s health news nonetheless.