women’s health

Beating the Blues – 10 Ways to Have a Joyful New Year

When the glitter settles and the holidays bustle is finally over, many of us sink into sadness and feel blue and let down. Whether the causes lie inside, outside, or both, you can take a deep breath, refuse to feel bad, and get serious about taking control of your life and your emotions. Here are 10 proven strategies that will help you beat the blues and get your life back on a happy track.

  1. Grieve the loss. If past losses have caused your holiday blues, take time to finish grieving over your loss. It’s important to feel the sadness and grief and get clear about the reality of the loss. With acceptance, the intensity of the blues will lessen and a normal pleasure in life will return.
  2. Seek serenity. Many losses can be addressed through the principles of the Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Learning to identify which is which is a key to happiness after the holidays and all year round.
  3. Practice self-forgiveness. Repeat these messages:
    • “I deserve to be happy.”
    • “I am lovable.”
    • “I am valuable.”
  4. Stop obsessive thinking. Thoughts such as “I didn’t do it right, my gifts were lousy gifts, I said the wrong thing, it’s my fault, I woulda-shoulda-coulda,” can be stopped with a strategy of prayer or meditation.
  5. Avoid the ambush. Do not get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired, which can lead to poor judgment, bad decisions and regret. Stay away from substances and behaviors often used to numb pain, including alcohol, excessive spending or sexual relationships.
  6. Flee toxic people. Stay away even (or especially) if they are relatives. Increase time with people and environments of calm and good humor. Let go of resentments related to holidays past and declare an amnesty in family feuds.
  7. Take off the target. Some people’s families are downright predatory, turning as a group against one member. Being the target feels terrible, but don’t give credence to the criticism. Bring it into perspective by making a list of who was the target at the last six family gatherings.
  8. Practice extreme self-care. Manage stress by getting back to a normal routine as quickly as possible. Restore a balance of sleep, healthy eating, exercise and other activities. Exercise reduces anxiety and depression, so claim time for aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, spiritual practices or other calming activities.
  9. Reach out to other people. The blues naturally make a person withdraw,  instead seek out friendly nonjudgmental company.
  10. Volunteer. Helping someone in need will highlight the many reasons a person has for feeling gratitude despite the pain.

Is It More Than The Blues?

Depression can have many different causes and help is available. Please consult a mental health professional if three of these symptoms of real depression last more than a couple of weeks:

  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Dulled emotions, irritability, explosive anger
  • No enjoyment for usual activities
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Social withdrawal
  • Suicidal thoughts or gestures
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unresolved grief issues
  • Hallucinations or delusions

Thoughts of suicide should never be taken lightly. Instead, dial 911 in the USA or Canada or go to a hospital emergency room.

Know that happiness is your choice to make.  Focusing on loss and regret brings sorrow; focusing on gratitude and hope brings joy. Use your gratitude journal to get you started. Write down six things at the end of the day you are grateful for. You can start small and build from there. You’ll find when you turn the page and start being grateful for what you have that’s healthy and supports your happiness, more things, people, activities come your way.

 

Long Term Effects of Sexual Assault

Effects of sexual assaultWe know that sexual assault and harassment is psychologically traumatizing to the victim. As we have just witnessed in the recent Congressional hearings, these psychological effects are long lasting. Our understanding of the impact, however, continues to expand. A new study released last week shows that the trauma many victims feel is not limited to their emotional and psychological health. These attacks can impact their long-term physical health as well.

The study, published in Journal of the American Medical Association, found that both workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault had lasting, negative effects on women’s physical and emotional health. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recruited 304 women between the ages of 40 and 60 and recorded their blood pressure, weight and height. Through a brief questionnaire, researchers found 19 percent (58) of these women reported a history of workplace sexual harassment, and 22 percent (67) had a reported a history of sexual assault, and 10 percent (30) of the women reported they had experienced both sexual harassment and assault. The numbers for this study’s population are lower than national estimates, which indicated that 40-75 percent of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, and 36 percent have experienced sexual assault.

About one in four women in the study who had been sexually assaulted met criteria for depression, while only one in 10 who had not been assaulted were also suffering from depression. Researchers also found that those who reported having experienced workplace sexual harassment had significantly higher blood pressure and significantly lower sleep quality than women who had not.Their findings are adding to a growing body of evidence, expanded through more than a dozen other studies over the past decade. Researchers have now documented other physical symptoms caused by sexual harassment, such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems and disrupted sleep.

“When it comes to sexual harassment or sexual assault, our study shows that lived experiences may have a serious impact on women’s health, both mental and physical,” Rebecca Thurston, a professor of psychiatry at the Pittsburg School of Medicine and the study’s senior author said in a press release. “This is an issue that needs to be tackled with urgency not just in terms of treatment but in terms of prevention.”

The researchers are right, sexual assault and sexual abuse has a profound impact on victims, and efforts to improve women’s health must target the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, not just the treatment of its consequences. While the momentum surrounding the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements (as well as ongoing current events) has inspired and emboldened more and more women to stand up and make their voices heard, this study illustrates the fact that this is an unfolding crisis and will require diligence, education, and continued attention to eliminate.

The goal of sexual assault prevention is simple—to stop it from happening in the first place. The same can be said for workplace harassment. However, according to the CDC, the solutions are as complex as the problem. Preventing sexual assault requires prevention strategies that address factors at each level of the society. To help facilitate progress, the CDC has put together “STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence,” which represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities.

In terms of workplace harassment, it’s important to keep in mind that the same laws prohibiting gender discrimination also prohibit sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is the main federal law that prohibits sexual harassment, and each state also has its own anti-sexual harassment law. That being said, there is still a lot of work to be done. It is important that employers adopt clear sexual harassment policies and conduct regular sexual harassment training – even if your state doesn’t require or suggest training. It’s also crucial that complaints are taken seriously, and if the complaint is shown to be valid, it is followed with a swift and effective response.

Although the studies focus primarily on women, people with non-conforming gender identities also experience sexual harassment and assault at high rates. To make the changes so desperately needed, we must work together. This isn’t something that will go away, so now is the time to act. This is a health crisis we must address. We need to listen to the victims, hold attackers responsible, and create safe environments in which people to live, work, grow, and thrive.

Five Great Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

‘Tis the season to be stressed and anxious. There aren’t enough hours in a normal day for many of us, and now besides our daily responsibilities, we are adding holiday cards, parties, shopping, gifts, and opportunities to spend time with friends and family. In the quest to find the perfect gift or attend the next party, we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed and too exhausted to do or give another thing.
More than 40 percent of women rank stress and anxiety as a negative influence on their personal health according to Everyday Health’s Special Report: State of Women’s Wellness 2017. In fact, researchers found that 43 percent of the women surveyed name stress and anxiety as a top threat to personal wellness. Some 55 percent of millennial women ranked stress and anxiety at the top of the negative factors on personal health, while slightly fewer members of older generations said they considered it a negative (44 percent of Gen-Xers; 33 percent of baby boomers).
Stress and anxiety are factors in life that we learn — and continually relearn — to live with and manage, every single day. As Sharon Salzberg, meditation teacher and author, writes, “At best, stress is a constant hum, at worst, it’s an acute and insidious pain.” That means that we need to learn to manage it, and take extra care during the busy holiday season.
So, what can we do to reduce the stress and actually enjoy this time of year?
Get plenty of sleep – Adequate sleep is beneficial in so many ways, and Joy Bauer reports on the Today Show, this time of year it can help you strengthen your resolve, improve your sanity and maintain your weight. Some studies also show that when you routinely clock a good night’s sleep, you’ll be more likely to make better food choices. Science also shows that sleep deprivation can lead to higher levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, likely leading to a case of next-day munchies and a holiday of sugary sweet bad decisions.
Get some fresh air – Go into your calendar and schedule yourself 10 minutes of fresh air 3 days this week. Whether it’s going outside and feeling the cold air or the warm sun, going for a walk with no destination, or finding a favorite tree to look at, take 30 minutes this week. You won’t lose out by taking three 10-minute breaks. You will get a fresh perspective. Blood will flow better to your brain. You’ll return calmer and more refreshed. You’ll look at the list, do the next best right thing and say to yourself, “Oh, I have got this.”
Keep it simple – Stress levels can increase dramatically this time of year, especially if you have too much on your plate. That doesn’t mean that you have to cancel your plans, but make sure you’re not setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Remember, everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to do everything yourself. The holidays are the perfect time to delegate. Perhaps instead of taking on the responsibility of preparing an entire meal alone, you could ask for help in the kitchen or ask guests to bring a dish. Involve friends and family members in planning events, and split up tasks in the planning stages. Most importantly, know your limitations and learn how to say “no.”
Do the next best right thing – Kathy LeMay, founder, president, and CEO of Raising Change says that we should take one task on the list and focus on it. Don’t rush. Don’t speed through it. Breathe. Write that personal email to someone you haven’t connected with in awhile. Take a few minutes to cut the article out of the paper. Slow down. Don’t speed up. Take your time with each correspondence, activity, and phone call. You will be more creative. You’ll feel more relaxed, and suddenly you’ll find yourself enjoying year-end activities.
Know our spending limit – Set a budget, and stick to it. Never, ever buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.Give something personal or show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful. Instead of making the holidays a time where breaking the bank becomes the norm, make it a time to do meaningful activities that don’t revolve around spending unnecessary dollars. Set new traditions, volunteer, or work on projects to help others. Those types of activities can provide deep meaning and value, perhaps more so than a “thing” can. And you’ll show the next generation how we can work together to make the world a better place.
Ultimately, this time of year we need to manage our stress levels, be our best selves, and reach out and connect with the people in our lives. We can’t do that if we’re overwhelmed or frazzled. The season is about sharing love with one another, and no matter who you have to share yours with, share it with yourself. Be kind to you throughout the holidays and the new year. It will be the best present you will receive–guaranteed.
 

Shelter and Support for Expectant Mothers

pexels-photo-54289-largeFor most expectant mothers, pregnancy can be a source of great joy as well as a cause for physical and emotional challenges. Those challenges multiply exponentially for the women who are both pregnant and experiencing the hardship of homelessness. There are approximately 8,000 pregnant women in Los Angeles County seeking shelter and support on any given night, yet there are only 69 beds available for them. Located in Santa Monica, Harvest Home provides eight of those beds as a part of their residential program for women and their babies. For over three decades, the organization has been providing care and resources needed, not only for healthy and successful pregnancies, but also to help these women become wonderful mothers for their children long term.
Leigh Flisher currently serves as a member of Harvest Home’s board of directors but started volunteering with the organization as a part of a community service project through her daughter’s school. As a mother herself, Leigh observed firsthand the impact of the work Harvest Home was doing with these women and children and was compelled to invest more of her time and energy in that work. She transitioned from volunteer to mentor, which allowed her to provide counsel and encouragement through personal relationships with the mothers involved in the program. As a board member, she now spends her time advocating the work of Harvest Home in the community and fostering supportive relationships with local businesses. Leigh even returned to school to earn a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in order to expand her ability to help those in need.
Passionate about helping the mothers at Harvest Home, Leigh helps them become the best mothers they can be, achieving success in their lives. She also recognizes the lasting influence the program is having on mothers. Harvest Home has developed an alumni program to give those who have successfully completed the program the opportunity to pay it forward. In fact, Leigh notes that roughly 90% of alumni stay involved in the alumni program. This not only speaks to the effectiveness of the program, but it’s also another shining example of women helping women. When we are able to grow through the difficult lessons life teaches us and pour our care and wisdom back into others, we all reap the benefits of the sisterhood of success.
Women Connect4Good is honored to support Harvest Home with a donation of $20,000. When asked what this donation might to do to support the organization, Leigh said that it will allow them to move their offices off-site creating space for more open beds. She also noted that the organization is hoping to open another location in the near future to be able to meet the needs of more women and children in the area.
To learn more about the work of Harvest Home and help us support them with you’re your own personal contribution to their work, visit their website at theharvesthome.net.

The Little Pink Pill Update: One Year Later

medications-cure-tablets-pharmacy-51114-largeOne year ago, the FDA buckled to pharmaceutical company pressure and approved the female libido drug flibanserin (brand name: Addyi). Flibanserin had failed as an antidepressant but women taking it reported it gave them more good sex. The drug manufacturer hopes to develop it as a non-hormonal treatment for hypoactive sexual disorder, a condition in which women are not interested in sex, don’t desire it and don’t fantasize about it. Study participants took a daily pill and kept a diary about their sexual thoughts and experiences. As I wrote a year ago, if you believe that what you focus on increases, you might get most of the same benefit just by writing a sex diary without taking a pink pill.
In response to Addyi’s approval, the National Women’s Health Network (NWHN), a well-respected watchdog organization, launched the “Pass on the Pink Pill – Or Pass Out” campaign to warn women of the drug’s marginal benefits and serious side effects. Addyi’s life-threatening side effects were so grave that they warranted the strictest possible warning by the FDA—a “black box warning.” Those side effects include severe, sudden drops in blood pressure that can lead to loss of consciousness for prolonged periods. If you currently take or would ever considering taking this drug, PLEASE click and read these dire warnings.
While the drug company’s goal with Addyi was to create a drug that promotes a noticeable increase in libido, so far, studies show that Addyi has little to no effect. In fact, not only is it proving to be ineffective, Addyi’s market performance has been underwhelming, and the NWHN reports that at its sales peak in March, only 1,500 prescriptions were written. Do we really think a pink pill is capable of ”fixing” the vastly complicated makeup of female desire?
When Viagra went on the market, it aimed to treat a very specific disease: erectile dysfunction in a specific body part. Addyi, however, targets the brain, which may explain its many negative side effects. According to Emily Nagoski, sex educator and author of Come As You Are, there are two types of desire: spontaneous desire, which occurs without any physical prompting, and responsive desire, which comes from being in a sexual situation. Nagoski says it’s quite normal for women to only experience responsive desire. But, when comparisons are made men’s bodies, which work differently, women are led to believe that something is wrong with them if they don’t crave sex every day.
Enough already. The beauty and fashion industries have made us feel inadequate about our looks for decades and now the pharmaceutical companies want to make us feel inadequate about our sexuality. Postmenopausal women who don’t much care about sex anymore are being told they have a medical condition they should treat. Women have long been pushed to look and act a certain way, and now we’re supposed to be able to turn our sexual response on and off. In fact, if you listen to the slick ad campaigns, we’re supposed to be hot all the time.
A woman’s sexual response is complex and decreased libido might actually indicate other issues. Perhaps you need to work on your relationship. Maybe you (and/or your partner) are bored. Maybe you need to spend more time communicating what you like, or maybe you need to spend fewer hours at work, or get more rest. If sex hurts, by all means talk to your doctor, but if there’s another part of your life that is out of balance, a little pink pill isn’t likely to help.

Genie James Age Well – Feel Better Inside Out

Genie James, M.M.Sc.

Genie James, M.M.Sc.


Award-winning author and health advocate, Genie James says aging well and feeling better is an inside-out game. Her seventh book, THE FOUNTAIN OF TRUTH! Outsmart Hype, False Hope and Heredity to Recalibrate Your Age, focuses on keeping us healthy for life. Genie wonders why live 15 years longer if you’re fat, sad, sick and broke? She wrote this book for two reasons: First, a close friend who battled cancer for 25 years begged her to finish the book. Second, she saw a magazine cover showing three pubescent women under a headline, “The Future of Aging.” Her mission became focused on combating chronic disease, today’s byproduct of living longer, and the fiction promoted by our youth-obsessed culture that sets women up for shame and failure.
Genie had her own wake-up call when she landed in the hospital with transmittal angina, which is a stress-related heart attack. Her mother had died at 64 of a heart attack, so she understood her risk. She also understood how she had to field-test her most recent book and use the toolkit she wrote to survive and be well and healthy again.

 Fountain of Truth Tool Kit

Fountain-of-Truth-bookWhen Genie wrote the book, she was CEO of a 7.3 million dollar company with over 30 employees and running on a rabbit wheel. She thought she had it all together, but got lost trying to fix everyone else without paying attention to herself. So after she got released from the hospital, she dipped into her toolkit.
Tool #1: Faith in a higher power. There is incontrovertible evidence that people who have faith in something/someone more powerful than themselves, live longer, happier, healthier lives. Genie gets quiet a few times every day to pray or meditate and get in touch with her faith.
Tool #2: The Girlfriend Factor. Being with supportive, optimistic women in a social network of friends produces the oxytocin factor. This is a hormone that, for women, is released when you’re around other women and it’s sustained for a long period of time. When this hormone is released, we’re able to make better decisions about relationships, finances and goals.
Tool #3: Exercise. Genie likes to exercise outside, but recommends that we have a toy box of exercise options. An important point is that when our bodies get used to doing one kind of exercise, they start to conserve fat instead of working it off. So mix it up, join your girlfriends and have plenty of options to make it fun and rewarding.
Tool #4: The Money Factor. Women need to have their own money. Genie talks about how her mother had no choice. A man was her plan, but not for Genie. She wanted to make a difference. However, she didn’t bank on a nasty divorce liquidating her 7.93 million dollar net worth. She gave up everything to get out of her toxic marriage. Now she is starting over with her own money and she urges all women to protect their finances.

 Beauty and Youth Is Not An Age.

Women who came into Genie’s health center asked for help losing weight or looking younger, but what they really wanted was to be more comfortable with their lives. Throughout this interview, Genie stresses caring for yourself as the best treatment for healthy longevity. Listen to more great stories and advice in this podcast and check out Genie’s other books and her blog to learn about lifestyle choices that can help you stay healthy and age well from the inside out.

Women’s Health and Relationships

stockxpertcom_id6024201_jpg_d06d824a29fa2d6f5bfd723acb973282It has long been debated whether or not getting married to live “happily ever after” is good for you. Studies are proving it has no positive impact…on women’s health, that is. Men, on the other hand, seem to receive significant benefits from long term relationships or wedded bliss.

Does Marriage Bring Better Health?

Four years ago the idea that marriage is good for your health received a boost. Researchers at Ohio State University wrapped up a 20 year study of 90 married couples and found that couples who reported low levels of stress were less prone to illness than those who had conflict-ridden marriages. The key to these results may lie in the effects of conflict on the immune system. The researchers reasoned that positive marital relations help people avoid stress, which means that marriage partners produce lower levels of the stress-related hormones, such as cortisol.
When researchers looked at whether or not husbands and wives benefitted equally from a good marriage, the answer seemed to be “no.” Married men had fewer illnesses than the wives whether the marriage was good or bad.
Fast-forward to 2015, and a new study on health and marriage finds that women still hardly benefit from tying the knot. Research by University College London, the London School of Economics and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that single women do not suffer the same negative health effects as unmarried men. In fact, middle-aged women who had never married had virtually the same chance of developing metabolic syndrome as married women. Researchers also found that not marrying or cohabiting is less detrimental among woman than men.

How Women Respond to Breakups

Love and marriage sometimes end in divorce or heartbreak, and according to a new study published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences  women are more negatively affected by breakups than men, experiencing more emotional and physical pain after a split. However, women actually recover more fully than men.
Researchers surveyed 5,705 participants in 96 countries about their romantic splits—including the severity of their breakup, who initiated it, and what went wrong in the relationship. While women fared worse when it came to emotional pain, they were also more likely to do the breaking up than men—despite facing a more painful road to recovery.
Why are women more likely to pull the plug, if they’re going to end up hurt? Research points out that women take the risk because they “have so much more to lose” by being with the wrong person—at least according to evolutionary biology theory which teaches that men compete and women choose. Men are wired to gather resources and battle other men for the best female, whereas women are wired to be selective.

Be True To Yourself

Whether in a relationship, recovering from heartbreak, or relishing the single life, the most important thing you can do for your health and well-being is to be true to yourself. There has never been a better time to be a woman. Take time to truly connect with the women in your life, because connections matter. When women reach out and connect with each other, it not only helps each woman step into her own power, it changes their lives, and ultimately it can help us change the world.
 

Vacation or Stay-Cation, Empowered Women Need A Break

relaxThink you can’t afford to take a vacation this year? You may not be able NOT to afford to. Whether a stay-cation or a trip to some exotic location, you need to give yourself the gift that keeps on giving – real time to regenerate away from work.
Vacations alleviate job stress and burnout. That’s why smart employers offer them as a benefit. When you consider that chronic stress takes a toll on the body’s ability to resist infections, maintain vital functions and even the ability to avoid injuries, a vacation becomes more than a wish, it is a necessity. Unchecked stress increases the likelihood that you will get sick; your sleep suffers and even your digestion takes a beating. Mentally, the effects are just as harmful. Not only are you irritable and depressed, your anxiety levels increase and your chances of depression also climb.
Taking a vacation shouldn’t cause you MORE stress than not taking one. However, that’s often the case. Women tend check out of the daily grind to get away with dreams of relaxation, rejuvenation, and a fresh outlook. The reality is their vacations are usually so hectic that they need to get back to work to relax.
Vacations can quickly become overwhelming when you try to cram too much into too little time. Case in point, Disney World may be on every kid’s list of dream vacations, but does every family vacation need to include packaged thrills?  How about renting a cottage or camping on a lake with friends or relatives?  Take time to enjoy nature.  Swim, fish, play board games, look at the stars.  Relax—that’s what vacation is really about.
Don’t turn your vacation into a financial stressor either. If you are still trying to pay off one vacation while booking your next one, you need to back up and rethink your getaway. Perhaps instead of flying to a distant place and paying for a hotel, you could stay home and visit near-by attractions?  Eat out at restaurants you’ve always wanted to try.  Hike in the nature preserve or ride bikes on the municipal trails.  Take the kids to the water-park on a weekday.
According to David Ballard, Director of the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence. A good vacation (or stay-cation) must:

  1. Provide relief from doing or thinking about work.
  2. Provide time to relax. Twelve cities in 10 days probably doesn’t leave enough time for reading a good book, taking a long stroll, or enjoying your favorite music.
  3. Offer activities you find stimulating that are unrelated to work.
  4. Include a chance to catch up on sleep — the kind you wake up from and actually feel rested.

You can do that at home or away, if you plan it right. Whether you vacation or stay-cation this year, the key is to schedule some time, make a plan, and disconnect. Take time off from your devices, and only check your smartphone during short, pre-set times, or not at all! Try a week without TV. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but you’ll be amazed by how quickly you adapt and start to enjoy it. And most importantly, relax! Whether on a beach or in a lounge chair in your back yard, take a break, your health and well-being depend on it!
 
 

Leading Women Co-Author Writes on “Day Of The Girl Child”

RebeccaTinsley1Leading Woman co-author Rebecca Tinsley recently wrote in the Huffington Post about Mary, a ten-year-old girl in northern Uganda who was not aware the International Day of the Girl Child was October 11. Mary was not celebrating, she was in fact was being assaulted by a man who held her against her will for three days. The plight of Mary is not unusual; instead it reflects the low status of woman and girls in many traditional societies. It also highlights the powerlessness of children, as perceived by those who abuse them with impunity.
Rebecca writes, “The International Day of the Girl Child is on a par with the worthy treaties some world leaders sign and then fail to implement. 190 governments have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Children. Yet, each year three million girls in Africa alone are subject to female genital mutilation. Too many nations also turn a blind eye to the 15 million girls each year – some as young as 5 – forced into early marriage”

Working to Bring Positive Solutions To Heartbreaking Assaults on Girls And Women

A former BBC reporter and human rights activist, Rebecca founded Network for Africa to help survivors of war and genocide rebuild their lives. Network for Africa has schools and clinics in Rwanda and Uganda, and focuses on the survivors of African conflicts left behind by the world after the fighting stops and the humanitarian aid moves on. Ultimately, Network for Africa helps rebuild lives by providing people with access to education, health and the means to support themselves. Tinsley’s group is one of many doing good work in these ravaged areas, and in Huffington Post she mentions several other organizations working to bring positive solutions to heartbreaking assaults on girls and women worldwide.

To Make Long Lasting Change Empower Local Women

Through the years, Tinsley has realized that that the way to make long lasting change is to empower local women rather than simply deliver aid. Her long history of journalistic reporting and philanthropy in Africa have convinced her that cruel traditions that harm women and girls must be changed, and by working together we can change the balance of power that burdens women so unfairly.
Read more at Huffington Post.
Rebecca is one of 20 smart amazing co-authors of our new book, scheduled for release December 5, Leading Women: 20 Successful Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life. Rebecca learned about the needs of the survivors of genocide in the refugee camps and told their stories through a powerful novel, When the Stars Fall to Earth, A Novel of Africa.

Articles of Interest:

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The Downside Of Social Media For Women And Girls

SocialMediaWebTalking about something you saw on Facebook has almost become a social norm. Whether it’s your high school locker partner’s first grandchild, or you daughter’s third grade BFF’s wedding, social media has transformed the way we communicate with the larger world. Facebook is a great way to keep up with one another and Twitter is a non-stop conversation that you can step in or out of at any time, but what about the downsides?

Social Media Can Have A Negative Impact On Women

Just as social media offers an opportunity to inform, unite, and inspire us, it can also hurt us and tear us down. A recent article in Huffington Post by Jill P. Weber, Ph.D. perfectly illustrates the negative impact that social media can have on women and girls. Weber points out that there are limits to what social media can positively provide, and how women who don’t understand those limits may struggle in several ways.

Facebook Is Not An Emotional Support Network For Girls

One thing to understand up front is that social media is not an emotional support network. As girls mature, they want to be liked and Weber writes that they often feel like if they are not perfectly pleasing they risk losing connection with people. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide a broad stage for girls and women to try to people-please, and the vast amount of content and opportunities for empty interaction has the power to put the most vulnerable women on a merry-go-round to nowhere.

Posting And Sharing Is Not Validating In The Real World

Weber also debunks the myth that posting and sharing will bring validation. Think about that for a minute and ask yourself, “What kind of validation are we talking about?” I think any of us can agree that positive recognition feels good, and girls in particular really work hard to be “liked” by all. Social media provides a huge platform for us to get the attention we crave by the way of “likes” and “comments” on Facebook or Instagram. That validation can light up the brain’s reward centers and for some people, that is euphoric. The thing to remember is that validation coming from social media is really meaningless. Not only is it temporary and fickle, it isn’t well thought out or sincere. Online validation is usually just a quick “like” and doesn’t carry the meaning or intention that a kind word or offline social interaction can bring. In fact, many “likes” aren’t remembered after that quick click of the mouse. That’s why it’s important that as women we recognize that, and teach young girls to be aware of it too.

Social Media Isn’t Real

We all know how to put our best foot forward, and social media provides a platform for us to showcase our biggest and best accomplishments. Personally I don’t know too many women who stop to photograph the trauma of their middle-schooler’s broken heart or the devastation of aging parents, but they will document every moment of a professional accolade or European vacation. It’s important that we empower women and young girls to not put too much stock in what they see online. Facebook is our own personal reel and if we compare our lives to others we won’t have to look too far to see someone with a better body, higher achieving children, a hotter boyfriend, more impressive academic accomplishments, and sexier vacations. It’s like an endless stream of self-promoting Christmas letters. Bottom line, there is plenty of material on any social media site to support a negative self-appraisal and too much of that can easily lead to depression.

We Need To Celebrate Social Media For What It Is

We need to celebrate social media for what it is, a great way to connect, to empower, and to lead our sisters to equality! At no time in our history have we had the ability to connect on such a global scale and share events in real time. Social media has the ability to bring positive transformation to every corner of the globe, if we can avoid getting caught up in the downside.
To read more about what Weber has to say about the myths of social media, and learn how we can protect ourselves and all women and girls, go to Huffington Post.

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