Last night, I saw a group of teens huddled at a table in a restaurant that was hopping with great music and food. Instead of downing milkshakes and causing a riot, these kids were completely focused on their phones. No one was talking, giggling or even making eye contact. Yet, their fingers moved at lightning speed across their screens. Had I just witnessed new-age communication at its finest – or worst?
A recent study says that there are now more than 3.1 billion social media users in the world.¹ With just over 7 billion people populating the earth, nearly half of the planet is now using social media to share their latest escapades, family photos, or simply what they had for breakfast. But, was this the true intention of social media when it was created?
At its best, social media allows us to share memories and highlights with others who can’t be physically with us. However, a study that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that men and women ages 19 to 32 with high social media usage felt more socially isolated than those who were not online as frequently.² So, why does something that was created to connect us actually end up doing just the opposite?
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” you understand that many of us care a whole lot about what other people think, how they look, or what they own. Social media encourages us to compare ourselves and flaunt our social status to anyone who will listen. And, let’s face it, people tend to feel bad when comparing themselves to others. Worse yet, social media has become an addiction for many. In fact, neuroscientists have shown that recognition by our peers activates a release of dopamine in our brain.³ That means, we’re chemically rewarding ourselves each time someone responds positively to our posts. Although it’s not as intense as a cocaine hit, that wonderful feeling leaves us wanting more.
Have you ever used a photo filter? Most of us have enjoyed making a blemish disappear or a wrinkle fade into oblivion. It’s fun to see our younger, prettier side emerge, and it’s even more exciting to see the reactions from friends who feel obligated to shower us with compliments. While it may be harmless to post your latest vacation photos or make the zit of the century a little less obvious, the truth is that we create a reel of life’s highlights. My guess is that you’ve never shared a photo of the mess your dog left on your new rug or the failing grade you got even after pulling an all-night study session. Those moments are so real, and yet, we have no desire to pollute our personal pages with negativity. When others see only our shining moments, they begin to wonder why their lives aren’t as beautiful and fun filled.
While social media certainly has its benefits, it seems to me that it’s left our youth unable to socialize. We keep our phones in hand just in case we’re needed – or the perfect photo opportunity arises. And while it’s easy for us to say “don’t believe everything you see,” it’s difficult to do that when scrolling through hundreds of photos that showcase a perfect existence. Unless people begin embracing themselves once more and accepting the good, bad and ugly that life can bring, social media will continue to torment our society. The next time you decide to check your Instagram or Facebook page, ask yourself first, “Is this really worth my time?”
Everyone loves an icy glass of lemonade, a sweet scoop of lemon meringue, or even decorating with a bowl full of these delicious tarts. But did you know that there are a ton of uses for lemons outside your kitchen?
It turns out that your skin and hair love lemons, too! Lemons have a wide range of beauty benefits, so check out our top ten list!
1. Skin Lightener (Your Knees and Elbows will Thank You!)
Lemons are rich with vitamin C, a natural brightening agent. If the skin on your elbows and knees appears to be darker than you'd like, simply rub them with half of a lemon and watch the magic happen! (You can even remove a fake tan!) Don't forget to apply your favorite SPF since lemon juice (and other citrus fruits) can make your skin extra sensitive to UV rays.
2. Refreshing Face Wipes
After a long day, your skin is need of a pick-me-up! Try mixing a couple drops of lemon and tea tree essential oil in six ounces of water. (Distilled water is recommended for the best results.) Then, dip a clean cloth or cotton pad in the mix and gently dab on your skin to feel refreshed!
3. Zesty Smile Brightener
If you've ever whitened your teeth with an over-the-counter product, chances are your teeth have felt ultra sensitive afterwards. Why not try something natural instead? Mix baking soda and lemon juice together, and apply it to your teeth with a clean Q-tip. Want a more tropical experience? Mix 1 part coconut oil to 1 part baking soda. Then, add a drop of lemon and brush away! Finally, rinse and check out your brilliant new grin!
4. Pimple-Zapping Moisturizer
Lemons have wonderful antibacterial properties, which makes them perfect for nixing breakout-causing bacteria. Mix an equal amount of coconut water and lemon juice in a small container. The coconut will hydrate your skin, and the lemon will leave your skin feeling clean and bright! If your skin is sensitive, consider testing a small area first.
5. Go Away, Blackheads!
Let's go beyond pimples to dealing with those pesky blackheads! Did you know that lemons contains citric acid, which is a natural form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). (Who knew lemons were our superhero?) After washing your face, rub a fresh slice of lemon over your T-zone and let the AHAs work their pore-clearing magic.
6. So Long, Shiny Skin
While we all love a good glow, sometimes our skin has other ideas! The citric acid inside lemon juice works as a natural toner. If you're prone to a more oily complexion, begin by cleansing your face first. Then, soak a cloth or cotton pad in few drops of lemon juice and gently wipe it over face. Boom! Shine is stopped in its tracks!
7. Strong As Nails
Are you prone to weak or breaking nails? We've got the fix! Mix olive oil with lemon juice and soak your nails for 10 minutes. Not only will this strengthen dry and brittle nails, but it's also a great way to whiten any yellowed tips!
8. Kiss Winter Lips Goodbye
If colder weather has left your lips a little lackluster, mix a few drops of lemon juice with some brown sugar to create your own lip scrub! The AHA in lemon juice will work to loosen dead skin cells while the sugar will help to slough off any dead skin. Of course, if your lips are severely chapped, this isn't a good idea! Visit your dermatologist for the best options on restoring your skin.
9. Summer Highlights
If your hair is already on the lighter side, you can add natural DIY highlights with a few drops of lemon juice. Simply pour lemon juice in a spray bottle and gently mist on your hair before hitting the beach. Score trendy ombré locks by just focusing the lemon juice on the tips of your hair instead!
10. Dandruff Flake Fix
While it won't cure the problem, this awesome fruit will help you take control over dandruff flakes! To get a handle on the issue, massage lemon juice into your scalp and leave it on for ten minutes. Afterwards, shampoo and condition as usual.