Feel Some Peace Again

Calm Amid the Chaos
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As if there wasn’t enough to be stressed about already — climate change, the economy, politics — now the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the globe.

Fact is, there are always going to be a million reasons to feel anxious, coronavirus or not. But anxiety won’t help.

I know, it can be annoying to be told to calm down when you’re stressed. It’s true — optimism, mindfulness, and deep breaths won’t make the coronavirus go away.

But neither will freaking out about it.

So let’s take a minute. Breathe. Focus, for a moment, on what can help you deal with the stress, anxiety, and the fear of the unknown.

You can’t control what happens. But you can control what you do right now.

In fact, what you do right now is literally the only thing you have control over.

So what can you do? Take coronavirus seriously. But don’t be scared. Be prepared:

  • Wash your hands. This remains the single most important thing you can do. Wash your kids’ hands while you’re at it.
  • Don’t touch your face. Especially your eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s how germs get in.
  • Stay home if you can. Work from home if you are able.
  • Avoid crowds if you do leave the house.
  • Use telemedicine if you can — not just for COVID-19 questions but other health problems. Doctor’s offices and hospitals are overwhelmed right now.
  • Wash your clothes and (of course) your hands when you get home. Coronavirus can stay alive and active on surfaces and clothing for up to 3 days.
  • Limit contact between kids and those at high risk. It’s a relief that this particular pandemic doesn’t seem to hurt kids as much, but they are excellent disease-carriers — and they often don’t show signs of infection.
  • Stock up on dry goods, nonperishables, and medicines. Planning ahead means fewer trips to the store. But be considerate. Don’t hoard. There has to be enough for everyone.
  • Disinfect your phone every day. Cell phones can be germier than toilet seats, studies show.
  • Disinfect your laptop, keyboard, and computer mouse while you’re at it.
  • Keep your immune system strong. Practice healthy habits. Eat smart, take your meds and vitamins, get good sleep, and manage your stress level.
  • If you feel sick, avoid spreading germs. Call your doctor and follow their instructions.
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Jerry Gulley currently serves as EdLogics’ Chief Content Officer. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and has held positions with Cooking Light, Health, and AllRecipes. 

AJPM Article of the Year, by One of Our Own

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine honors EdLogics advisor Dr. Brian Primack for his article on social media & loneliness.
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We’re proud. But we’re not surprised.

A study by the University of Pittsburgh’s Brian Primack, MD, PhD — an EdLogics advisor — has been named Article of the Year by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). The study, “Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the US,” examines whether time on social media actually helps — or hurts — our personal connections.

From the journal: “The Article of the Year is selected by the AJPM editors and one representative from each of the journal’s two sponsoring professional societies, the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research.” The honor was announced late last year.

Remember Dr. Primack?

Brian Primack, MD, PhDYou might recall our recent webinar, “Improving Health Literacy: What Works & Why,” featuring Dr. Primack and EdLogics advisor and health literacy expert Dr. Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Primack made some illuminating, thought-provoking points on the effectiveness of gamification and game-based learning for improving health literacy.

In addition to being an EdLogics advisor, Dr. Primack is the director of Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh. For this study, he and his colleagues surveyed 1,787 adults in the US ages 19–32, asking about their social media habits across 11 different social networks. They also asked about loneliness and isolation, gauging the correlation between social media use and feeling left out.

What they found surprised them.

Social media, social isolation

You’d think that social media connects us. That’s the point, isn’t it?

But the more people use social media, the more lonely they say they feel. In fact, those who used it more than 2 hours a day were twice as likely to report feeling socially isolated, compared to those who spent a half-hour a day or less.

“The people in the highest quartile of social media use [more than 58 visits a week] … had about 3 times the likelihood of having perceived social isolation,” Primack says. “Social media does not translate directly to better social connectedness.”

He goes on:

“It may be that people who are already socially isolated are turning to social media to try to fill that void. However, if that is the case, the results of this study would suggest that that self-medication is not working so well.

“On the other hand, it may be that people who use more social media are being exposed to highly curated messages suggesting that ‘everyone else has more connections, a better life than I do.’ And in comparison, people can feel sad or they can feel socially isolated. … It may be a combination of the two.”


American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2017 Article of the Year

Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh discusses “Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S.” This article was chosen by the editors of AJPM as the top article published in the journal in 2017.

But social media isn’t all that bad — necessarily.

It can depend on how you use social media. Primack is already making plans for future studies that get into more nuanced detail. That way, we can see what types of social media use correlate to feeling more — or less — lonely. We can see which social media behaviors correlate to which feelings.

Until then, Primack says, everyone can judge for themselves how social media affects them:

“Is their social media use making their lives better, is it inadvertently detracting from them?”

Further reading

The study: Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the US

NPR: Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why

Today: Feeling lonely? How to stop social media from making you feel isolated

CBS (video): Study: More Social Media Use Tied To Increasing Feelings Of Isolation

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