The Local Optimist Digest #56

Déjà vu explained, the mental health realities of location sharing, and the brain benefits of incorporating more greens into your diet.

Welcome to The Local Optimist Digest, your crib sheet for the latest news in mental health. Whether you want to know how the government is (or is not) investing in our well-being, discover the latest research on how the mind impacts the body, or find out which celebrities are helping continue the conversation by opening up about their own mental health struggles, we’ll be covering it all here every week. This week, we're looking at the science behind gut feelings, how location sharing affects teenagers’ mental health, and what it means to experience déjà vu.

Understanding Gut Feelings And Their Meaning

Have you ever wondered if there was any truth behind the commonly given advice to “trust your gut” when making a decision? In a recently published study, Harvard researchers outline their findings relating to a connection between certain bacteria in our stomachs and positive emotions such as happiness and hopefulness. The study reveals data that highlights how our gut bacteria and brain communicate in ways that affect our overarching decision-making abilities. These findings come with a variety of potential advantages and experts speak to the importance of repeating the study with more diverse populations and a more extensive emotional survey to fully understand our “gut feelings.” READ.

The Mental Health Benefits Of Eating Vegetables

If you’ve been looking for a sign to eat more greens, you’ve come to the right place. Recent studies indicate that increasing vegetables in your daily diet can have a positive impact on your mental well-being, comparable to the benefits of getting a new job or going for a daily walk. Researchers examine how these foods, ranging from leafy greens to juicy fruits, significantly affect our mental health, enhance brain function, boost mood, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, experts offer practical tips to simplify the process of incorporating these foods into your everyday meals. READ.

Navigating Friendships And FOMO In The Era Of Location Sharing

It has become common practice for many of us to share our locations with friends and family. As more social media and phone applications, such as Snapchat, Apple's Find My, and Life360, offer tracking capabilities, it is becoming easier and easier to know someone’s every move. However, the allure of using location sharing can quickly turn sour, causing painful emotions and self-consciousness. Beyond concerns about privacy and potential stalking, some teens have reported an increase in their fear of missing out when both opting in and out of sharing their location. Experts explore the complexities of location sharing, highlighting its contradictory effects of fostering connection and amplifying feelings of exclusion and anxiety. READ.

7 Simple Ways To Do A Social Media Detox

  1. Set a timeline: If you don’t want to give up social media forever but would like to take a break from it, you should set a timeline for when you’ll return to your platforms. It could be as simple as taking a social media cleanse for one week to several months.

  2. Get an accountability buddy: Reach out to a trusted friend to let them know about your social media detox plans and invite them to join you so you can have support and an accountability buddy.

  3. Delete your social media apps: Once you have your social media detox timeline, scrub all social media apps from your phone, so you won’t be tempted to use them.

  4. Reframe your mindset: It’s time to evaluate where your attention is going. Use your energy and attention to social media and pour it into a new hobby or community.

  5. Intentionally place your phone elsewhere: Set a bedtime for your phone (like 9 pm); your phone should be placed outside your bedroom to monitor your social media usage. The less you have access to your phone, will help you limit your social media activity.

  6. Set time limits on your apps: If you aren’t ready to delete your social media apps, you can set limits through your phone settings or independent apps.

  7. Practice meditation: Meditation has plenty of benefits, like managing stress and improved sleep, and can distract you from time-wasters like social media.

Read MORE.

The Psychology Behind Déjà Vu

Have you ever entered a room and been overcome with a sudden feeling of having been there before, even if you know you haven't? This strange feeling is called déjà vu. Experts say that déjà vu, which translates to 'already seen' in French, is not only a sense of familiarity but also a recognition of misplaced feelings. Researchers explore what happens in the brain during déjà vu and why certain individuals experience this phenomenon more frequently than others. READ.

Family To Family Support Network

This week, we are excited to highlight Family to Family Support Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, resources, and advocacy for families who have children with disabilities. Through their programs and services, such as parent-to-parent mentoring, workshops, and support groups, the Family to Family Support Network strives to ensure that families have the necessary tools and networks to advocate for their children's well-being. To learn more about the Family to Family Support Network and ways to support, head HERE.

Get Rewarded For Sharing The Digest

Welcome to our new referral program, in which we give you some goodies for sharing the Digest with people who might enjoy this mental health news recap (and its bad jokes) as much as you do.

Here's how it works:1: Use the 'Click To Share' button below to access your personal link.2: Send this unique referral link to friends or family through email or text.3: Earn rewards like Local Optimist stickers, The Madhappy Journal, and Madhappy hats when they subscribe to the digest. Must be based in the U.S.