How Social Media Affects Our Mental Health

How can we manage our minds during the social media age? How can we best support our children and monitor their time on screens? How does “influencer culture” affect our kids’ mental health? Whether you’re using social media for entertainment, information, or to grow a business, excessive time on our devices can take a toll on our mental health.

Reena B. Patel is a renowned parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, board-certified behavior analyst, and author of Winnie & Her Worries. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children, supporting all aspects of education, mental health and positive wellness. She works extensively with typically developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social/emotional development.

In this episode, we dig into all the hot topics in social media, and we discuss solutions and ways to use positive psychology work for your brain health. Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts!

Key Topics:

  • The way our brain has changed from social media
  • The negative impacts of social media on our mental health
  • The impact of influencer culture on adults and children
  • The use of positive psychology as a solution
  • The impact of gratitude
  • How help kids identify feelings and the physical symptoms of anxiety
  • The effect of screen time fatigue

To learn more about her books and services, visit her website here, and to get more parenting tips, follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.

This episode is sponsored by Indeed. Get a free $75 credit on Indeed at indeed.com/spark.

More Stories from the Mental Illness Memory Vault – My Surprise Pregnancy

My baby graduated high school this weekend! It brought up so many emotions for me. I can’t help but feel weepy and nostalgic as I reflect on her life – and who I was when she entered my life.

In case you don’t know my story… I found out I was pregnant with her my senior year of college.

I was not stable mentally and taking a pretty heavy dose of Depakote at that time – something you definitely should not be on if you’re going to get pregnant, due to major risk of birth defects. I was encouraged to terminate the pregnancy.

Continue reading “More Stories from the Mental Illness Memory Vault – My Surprise Pregnancy”

Top Brain Health Killers and How to Flip the Script

Five things will always sabotage your mental well-being:

  1. Lack of sleep.
  2. Lack of nutrients.
  3. Lack of sunshine.
  4. Lack of movement.
  5. Lack of community.

I could leave it at that. It’s a whole post in itself.

But I want to flip this, because most of us know these things on some level. However, during times of stress, we often forget to take care of ourselves. We forget that we humans are basically just plants, and plants left without care will wither and die.

We were not designed to stay inside all day, blinking back at a screen with artificial light, head and neck perpetually tilted downward while the rest of our body is unmoving, eating food that is filled with hard-to-digest chemicals and additives, with a schedule so packed we don’t make time for people who are important to us.

Yes, I know that was a massive run-on sentence. It was exhausting (and convicting) typing it out.

Times of brief stress and opposition can be helpful for the body, but when we are continuously stressed, doggy-paddling up to the surface of the water all day long, we will start to feel side effects. It will impact our physical body’s health, and it will most definitely affect our brain’s health. It will cause us to be unable to make clear decisions, show empathy, and connect well with others – because we are in survival mode.

Our bodies are amazing at survival – that’s why you’re here. You’re here because your ancestors survived during difficult times. You gain weight after you diet because your ancestors were able to store weight during famine and not die. Your digestive discomfort is physical evidence that your body knows how to respond to mental stress and anxiety. Your blood sugar fluctuates in order to adapt to emotional stressors and physical stressors on your body. Your hormones are wacky, because duh, it’s never optimal to reproduce when there is a famine or threat to your safety (remember – your body doesn’t know the difference between a stressful job or a T rex chasing you). Even your afternoon fatigue that hits you like a load is a sign that you are overflowing with stress chemicals, and your body’s response system is working properly.

Your body is doing all the right things it is supposed to do. Your body is on your side.

Continue reading “Top Brain Health Killers and How to Flip the Script”

Feast 2 Fast: Purpose of the Body

Summer is right around the corner and I’m here to remind you that the purpose of your body is NOT to get swimsuit ready.

The purpose of your body is to be “fit to serve” right where you are, with the body you have.

Here’s the thing, though – sometimes we get into a food rut, due to stress and factors outside of our control, and we find ourselves fueling on food sources that aren’t optimal for our unique bodies. It can lead to blood sugar instability, poor gut health, brain fog, fatigue, and overall blah.

Feast 2 Fast is a complete reset for nutrition, mindset and spiritual health! No calorie-counting, no macro-counting, no deprivation, no complications – just real food, the way God made it!

Continue reading “Feast 2 Fast: Purpose of the Body”

How to Find Out What Foods Are Harming Your Health

Dr. Brent Dorval is the creator of the Food Inflammation Test. He was involved in the creation of the first HIV/AIDS rapid diagnostic assay and held a number of management positions and served as an adviser to the World Health Organization committee on vaccines and diagnostics. He has several patents covering rapid assays, novel biomarkers and a novel polio virus vaccine.

In this episode we discuss the patented food inflammation test that has helped many people get to the root of their health concerns, including IBS, brain fog, headaches, skin issues, and mental health function.

Key Topics:

  • The difference between an allergy and an delayed food sensitivity
  • How an inflammatory response from food shows on a blood test
  • Why there is an increase in food sensitivities
  • How food sensitivities impact brain health and how leaky gut = leaky brain
  • Why KBMO FIT test is different than any other sensitivity test
  • The independent clinical studies showing the effectiveness of using the FIT test

To watch the entire interview and view the PowerPoint presentation, click here.

To learn more about the FIT test or set up a provider account, head to kbmodiagnostics.com

To get the FIT test for yourself and a customized plan, contact me!

Don’t forget to get $15 off your first visit with a board-certified dermatologist at apostrophe.com/sparkingwholeness and use the code sparkingwholeness.

A Glimpse into the Mental Illness Memory Vault

“Sometimes I feel like being me takes up too much energy.” – me, 20 years ago.

In 2001, I started documenting my journey with what we then called “manic depressive illness,” after being unable to return to college with my friends due to my instability and frequent med changes. I forgot about the following journal pages, but they are so telling. I struggled with intense lows, wanting to leave this earth and end my pain, then I would experience shooting and soaring highs where I wanted to conquer every goal in a day.

Here are some of the entries:

8/27/01: “All I want to do is cry. I haven’t told my friends that I’m not coming back this quarter… What kind of trick are you playing on me, God? What lesson am I going to learn from this?

9/5/01: “Sometimes I really do wonder if I should just end it all. I really do. Even when I’m stable, taking my 600 mg of Lithium, 100 mg of Topomax, and 25 mg and counting down of Zoloft (I’m hopeful that one day soon I’ll end this vicious charade with Zoloft).

What good am I doing here? What help am I to myself? Honestly? Why must I keep keeping on? Isn’t it ironic that the most inspiring thing I heard the other day came from the stupidest move, Joe Dirt. The main character, who lives a life of utter hopelessness, keeps quoting, ‘Life is a garden – dig it!’ I thought, that’s pretty inspiring. Unfortunately, I feel like any garden I’d be digging would only end up looking like weeds.

Continue reading “A Glimpse into the Mental Illness Memory Vault”

Changing the Conversation on Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a tricky subject. While on one hand, there seems to be a greater awareness of what it is and how to find support, it still carries a bit of a stigma and there are many misconceptions. For that reason, I don’t approach the topic lightly. Like all mental health issues, there is no one size fits all cause OR solution.

Walker Ladd, Ph.D. has been a thought leader in the field of maternal mental health for nearly two decades. Her writing and research challenge paradigms of motherhood and mental illness, using women’s stories to reveal the hidden truths and extraordinary dimensions of the lived experience of motherhood.

Continue reading “Changing the Conversation on Postpartum Depression”

A Functional Nutrition Approach to Children’s Mental Health

Children’s mental health issues continue to rise, and now one of every four children will be diagnosed with a chronic condition by the time they are eight years old. How can we support the health of our children through nutrition?

Reed Davis, Founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, joins the podcast once again to offer his expertise after decades of helping thousands of clients get to the root of their health issues. Download the episode here or find wherever you get podcasts.

Continue reading “A Functional Nutrition Approach to Children’s Mental Health”

Building a Healthy Brain for a Lifetime

We are all at risk for cognitive decline. While there can be a genetic component to Alzheimer’s, that is not the only factor. There are so many ways to protect your brain and prevent cognitive decline – and it starts 20-30 years before a diagnosis!

In this episode of the podcast, I speak with Cathy Williams, who I found on Instagram and instantly was drawn to her clear information and beautiful graphics. She gives simple tips for improving brain function that everyone can employ. Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts!

Continue reading “Building a Healthy Brain for a Lifetime”

Spicy Black Eyed Peas with Bacon and Bone Broth

Happy New Year!

I woke up with a pep in my step today, not so much because it’s a new year, but because December is OVER. Historically, the month of December is rough on my mood and this year was no exception. Too much activity, too much planning, too much sugar and alcohol always puts my sensitive brain on overload.

But today marks a new month and whole new year! My newest Feast 2 Fast nutrition coaching group starts on Monday, and I can’t wait to get back to allllll the veggies!

At the last minute, I decided to whip up some lucky black eyed peas in honor of a fresh start. Full disclosure: I’ve never made black eyed peas. I remember my grandparents always had them on New Year’s Day, and as a little girl I turned up my nose at them and thought they were icky.

Not to brag or anything, but I made a mean red beans and rice one time, so I figured it couldn’t be that different. The ingredients are simple and tasty. The bone broth gives your gut microbiome some love, and the bacon adds an extra kick of flavor that partners well with the spice from the jalapeno pepper (which is an idea from my brother when I told him I was attempting to make black eyed peas).

Like all legumes, black eyed peas are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps support healthy blood sugar metabolism. Soaking them overnight can help reduce the antinutrients in order to make them more tolerable for digestion and to optimize health benefits. They’re very high in folate as well, which is a brain-boosting bonus. I enjoyed a bowl of the spicy peas right after my New Year run, and I may even end up blending some up to make a hummus dip – who knows!

 

Ingredients: Continue reading “Spicy Black Eyed Peas with Bacon and Bone Broth”