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Why the World Sees Less and Less “Normal” People These Days

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Since childhood, we’ve been told that physical pain was the only reason to visit a doctor. We think that we’re always anxious due to a hectic lifestyle, sleepy because of an over-packed schedule, and exhausted because of our age. But doctors nowadays worry that these could also be the signs of mental disorders and diseases that affect how the brain works and are literally killing the body day by day.

Bright Side encourages everyone to take care of their mental health and wants to prove why we shouldn’t be afraid of going to the doctor in the 21st century.

Why are more and more people turning to psychologists for help?

Thanks to achievements in modern science, the inner workings of the human mind aren’t mysterious. There are tools that study the brain’s activity and methods of treatment and diagnostics have also changed. Traits that were attributed to a bad temper are now considered part of a mental disorder or a sign of a disease.

People don’t go crazy more often then they used to in the past, they just speak about what they feel and what worries them more. The Internet has given us access to all necessary information, so we read other people’s stories and find warning signs within ourselves. As a rule, turning to an expert helps to solve a problem and allows a person to resume an ordinary life.

We’ve started saying “goodbye” to myths. For example, the number of people with autism has grown since the 1980s. In the past, it was believed to be connected with vaccinations. But in fact, the diagnostic methods have changed and the definition of the disease has broadened.

Today, there are more concepts. For example, autism spectrum disorder includes infantile and atypical autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and Rett syndrome. Autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed in a person who looks shy and is considered to be an introvert, but this doesn’t stop the person from being a part of modern society.

Also, long-term observations help to detect such disorders in childhood. For example, if a baby is building a tower of blocks following a certain color pattern, it could be a good reason to turn to a doctor.

What kinds of diseases and disorders have appeared in the 21st century?

There are several diseases that doctors have just recently learned to diagnose, and in the past, they were considered to be a kind of emotional state. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the 1970s helped scientists to take a look inside the human brain and prove that depression is a disease that results in the failure of signals being sent between neurons.

What’s more, some emotions such as anger are considered to be as dangerous as depression or addiction and require treatment if a person can’t control themselves in such a state.

“My friend asked me to portray my depression. My treatment has started with this very picture.”

waynedewho

34% of people suffering from mental disorders don’t experience any evident symptoms. Most of them just think it’s all due to age, fatigue, a bad mood, or stress. Such people even don’t realize they need help.

For example, if a person often feels anxious or dizzy, experiences headaches, a rapid heartbeat, solar plexus pain, and sweats a lot, it might be more than just awe or excitement — it could be generalized anxiety disorder that’s almost impossible to treat with medicine. In 2011, more than 29 million Europeans were treated for this disorder.

But there are some disorders that have appeared as a reaction to the events of the new century. For example, cyberchondria, which is when people give themselves a diagnosis based on symptoms described on the Internet.

In the 21st century, experts have started to register more phobias that aren’t diseases but can be the first signs of one. Peladophobia, the fear of baldness caused by an urge to stay young, is one of them. Caligynephobia, the fear of beautiful women, is also getting more and more common today. As a rule, it’s often a result of a painful breakup with an aggressive and selfish woman who tried to be perfect due to her own inner problems.

There are also phobias that appeared because of scientific and technological progress like the fear of radiation, the fear of telephone calls, or the fear of robotic technology.

Many people think that they have to fight their fears. But it turns out that sometimes even medicine is useless: if you’re afraid of traveling by plane, a sedative pill wouldn’t help you, it would just slow down your reaction. But working with a psychologist on your fears and trying out a flight simulator can really help.

Phobias lead to panic attacks which can result in mental disorders. So don’t assume that your fear will go away if you don’t work through it.

Changes in lifestyle can also lead to new bad habits. Phubbing is one of them. It’s a person’s uncontrolled urge to spend time on their phone, constantly checking their news feed, looking at the screen even while talking to someone in person, or eating with a phone in their hands.

By studying the way this habit affects family life, scientists have found that 46.3% of the respondents deal with regular phubbing from their partners. 22.6% say it’s the cause of conflict, and more than 1/3 of all respondents claim it leads them to a depressive state.

Smartphones have led to phantom vibration syndrome which is when a person hears and sometimes feels their gadget vibrating or ringing. Some experts think that it’s something like an optical illusion like when we see a face or a silhouette in the clouds.

As for insomnia, it’s considered to be a dangerous disorder that should be treated. Sleep deprivation results in cell damage, so one’s memory suffers, the immune system fails to work properly, the metabolism worsens, and it puts a person at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Today, insomnia is considered the main symptom that triggers Alzheimer’s disease.

Other modern phenomena that may destroy us from the inside

Children develop poorly when they don’t play with other children. This makes them reserved, unable to empathize, cruel, and selfish. Playing with other kids has a good impact on a child’s personality since while interacting with each other, children learn to control their emotions, find common ground with different people, and so on. For other social creatures, games are the best way to explore the world — it’s in our nature.

Infidelity causes psychological trauma. Marriage isn’t an economic bargain anymore. Yesterday’s monogamy was the idea of the same partner forever and today’s monogamy means only one partner for this moment. We choose a person making them think they’re unique, and then we show them with our actions that they’re not.

Due to this reason, cheating is more painful. A person’s self-esteem plummets, they stop trusting people, and they experience depression or even degradation. It’s not about a broken heart, it’s about a broken life.

Obesity is a more common issue than hunger today. In the world, there are more people who suffer from overeating than those who suffer from hunger. Cheap, low-quality food availability and fast food popularization have led to eating disorder development. Some people suffer from anorexia or bulimia, trying to look like models, and others refuse to treat obesity. Most people say they’re all for “body-positive” thinking which truly teaches us to love ourselves, but it actually implies taking care of our health and body.

Social media doesn’t make us closer, it makes us feel isolated. Success and wealth cults make people compete for others’ attention and avoid communication so that they don’t have to worry that they’re actually uninteresting. People show their lives to others only if they correspond to common norms.

City noises shorten our lives. Each year, the city sounds louder: the noise level is higher than the level that is considered to be harmless to our health. Noises can irritate us and make our bodies produce a stress hormone called cortisol, reduce our productivity by 60%, and create vibrations that affect our inner organ function. We literally go crazy if we permanently live in a city.

What can we do?

  • Listen to yourself, not others.
    If you feel anxious, haven’t slept without sleeping pills for a while, and feel like you have no drive to do anything at all, turn to a psychologist. In most cases, the problem can be solved rather quickly, so you’ll see the effect after the first therapy session. Don’t be afraid of psychiatrists: there are many doctors who treat their patients’ health with respect and they can really help, especially if their patients are willing to be treated. It’s more difficult to deal with those who don’t think they’re sick.
  • Do what you really like.
    This is one of the main principles that helps one to get rid of low self-esteem and out of a neurotic state. For example, in a short time, you can achieve great results at work even if you hadn’t been doing what you liked from the beginning.
  • Follow a comfortable schedule.
    The body works best if most of your sleep lasts from 10 PM to 3 AM. It’s the time when the hormone that relieves us of stress is mainly produced. It’s recommended to perform work involving the brain’s activity in the first half of the day and leave the second half of the day for physical activities. Thus, you let both your brain and body get enough rest.
  • Surround yourself with things that calm you down and give you joy.
    Go for a walk more often. After a long working day, listening to sounds that help you relax can stabilize your breath and heart rate, according to scientists. Avoid nasty people even if they’re your relatives and spend more time with those who share pleasant emotions with you. Don’t forget to partake in sports.

Keeping calm and finding a path to yourself is a complicated task. What methods help you recharge your internal batteries and find an inner balance?

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11 Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders and Sculpt Beautiful Posture

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Modern life takes its toll on our posture when we spend hours sitting and neglect the position of our spine. Poor posture leads to an imbalance in our muscles which means that they can’t support the body properly. Luckily, this can be fixed by doing a set of effective exercises. Moreover, they can help you to reduce back pain, stop headaches, increase energy, and improve circulation and digestion.

Bright Side is ready to help our readers achieve a beautiful and healthy body, and found 11 simple exercises that can be done at home by anyone. At the end we included a small tip, as a bonus for those who enjoy massage.

1. Upper trapezius stretch

It’s better to start from your shoulders first to relax your upper muscles. An upper trapezius stretch is just perfect for this.

Initial position: For this exercise, you can stand or sit on your yoga mat, whatever you like. Keep your head straight.

What to do:

  • Slowly move your right ear toward your right shoulder. When you do this, it’s normal that your left shoulder might lift as well. If it does, bring your head back to the initial position and try to relax your left shoulder.
  • Put your right hand over your head and place it on your left cheekbone. Don’t push your head down with it, it should just lie there. This will stretch your upper trapezius muscles very gently.
  • Calmly breathe and sit in this position for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly remove your hand, come back to the initial position and repeat the same on the other side.

2. Superman

The Superman exercise engages your upper and lower back. It helps you fight lower back pain and prevents a curved spine.

Initial position: Lie face down on your stomach, on your yoga mat.

What to do:

  • Extend your arms and legs. Keep your neck neutral.
  • Keep your torso stationary and lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. Try forming a “U” shape with your body.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds, lower your arms and legs, and go back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Bridge

The bridge works out glutes and strengthens the lower back, which is important for good posture.

Initial position: Lie on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides.

What to do:

  • Engage your buttocks and raise them up, creating a straight line with your body. Your shoulders should be on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 15-20 times. Give yourself a rest for 30 seconds after every 5 reps.

4. Reverse shoulder stretch

This is an effective exercise to stretch your back and shoulder muscles and remove tension and pain in them.

Initial position: Stand on a yoga mat, with your feet wider than your shoulders, place your straightened hands behind you, and lock your palms together.

What to do:

  • Bring your shoulder blades together and start putting your arms up. Try to feel the tension in your spine and shoulder muscles.
  • For more spine stretch bend forward and bring your locked hands up. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Slowly return back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 20 times.

5. Foam roller exercise for upper back

A foam roller will help you to relieve pain in your back muscles, fix rounded shoulders, and improve your overall posture.

Initial position: Get a yoga mat and lie on it with your hips apart and your feet on the floor. Place your foam roller right under your upper middle back, in your shoulder blade area.

What to do:

  • Bring your hands behind your head, this will support it. Bring your hips into a bridge pose, and hold your balance, supporting your body with your legs.
  • Inhale, push your body from your heels, and roll on your spine. Stop when the roller reaches the top of your shoulder blades.
  • Exhale and roll back until the roller reaches the bottom if your rib cage.
  • Repeat this for 30-45 seconds.

6. Cat-cow exercise

The cat-cow exercise is perfect for stretching your back, lower spine, and core muscles.

Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, place your hands right under your shoulders, and knees and feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointing toward your body. Your spine should be natural and straight, no bending or arching.

What to do:

  • Cat position: exhale and engage your abdominal muscles. Arch your spine up toward the ceiling, bringing your head to your chest, aligned with your spine. Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Cow position: slowly start bringing your stomach toward the floor and try to feel the tension in your lower back. Bring your shoulder blades together. Hold this for 10 seconds and go back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 15 times.

7. Kneeling hip-flexor stretch

The kneeling hip flexor stretch will help to remove tension from your pelvic and lower back muscles.

Initial position: Kneel on a yoga mat, bring your right leg in front of you, and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Your foot is flat on the ground. Support yourself by standing on your left knee that is also bent at 90 degrees.

What to do:

  • Slowly start bringing your right knee forward and brace your core. Engage your glutes and keep bringing your hips forward.
  • Your left knee is already bent at more than 90 degrees. Keep your spine straight, don’t bend it forward or backward.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to feel the stretch in the muscles then slowly return to the initial position.
  • Repeat 10 times for both sides.

8. Bird dog exercise

Bird dog helps to remove back pain, strengthens the core, and promotes proper posture.

Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your spine should be straight and neutral.

What to do:

  • Raise your right hand and your left leg at the same time, bringing them parallel to the floor.
  • As you do this, lengthen your neck and bring your chin to your chest. Look down at the floor and remain like this for 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and then repeat the same exercise with your left hand and right leg.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

9. Forearm plank

Plank is not only effective at burning fat, but it also helps to strengthen the spine muscles, it prevents back pain, and it helps to improve your posture.

Initial position: Place your forearms on the yoga mat and align your elbows below your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance.

What to do:

  • You can clasp your hands together for more comfort. Correct your neck and spine by looking at one spot on the floor somewhere about 30 centimeters in front of your hands.
  • Pay attention, so that your head is in line with your back.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.

10. T-Spine windmill stretch

The t-spine windmill stretch can help you fight pain and tension in your lower back and trunk. Moreover, it works out your shoulder muscles.

Initial position: Lie on your side on a yoga mat and bend your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Extend and stack your arms together on your right side.

What to do:

  • Raise your left arm up and then place it out to the left, opening your body up. Right now, your shoulder blades should be on the floor and your legs should remain in the same position.
  • Hold it for a couple of seconds and return to your initial position.
  • Do 30 repetitions on each side.

11. Tight shoulder massage

A simple tennis ball can help you to remove pain in your shoulders in different areas and relax them. All you need here is a tennis ball and a wall.

Initial position: Stand next to the wall and face it. Place a tennis ball on the wall and lean on it. Your chest should push the ball inside your shoulder.

What to do:

  • Start making a circular movement around this muscle and try to find a trigger point.
  • Hold a ball on this point until you feel that the tension and pain are gone.
  • Keep doing this until you relax all of your trigger points.
  • Repeat on the other shoulder.

Bonus: Thai massage is amazing for your back and shoulders.

Thai massage is an ancient form of massage that uses stretching and gentle pressure on the body to relieve muscle and joint pain, and balance your body. This massage helps to make muscles more flexible and removes chronic stiffness. For better results in achieving a healthy back and good posture, you can try this type of massage, focusing on your spine muscles.

Exercises can be effective, but it’s also important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day and strive to keep your spine straight. Do you have good posture? Maybe, you have a couple of exercises that help you relieve back and shoulder pain? Let’s share in the comments!

Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova and Marat Nugumanov for BrightSide.me

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8 Top Technology Trends To Watch In China

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This is a preview of 2019 Technology Trends Report in China from Business Insider Intelligence and EqualOcean. Chinese high tech firms have been leading the way in innovation for many technologies, such as 5G. These technologies are either currently undergoing or about to undergo major phases of change.

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Why Iran is attacking oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz

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The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that lies between Iran and Oman. Dozens of tankers carry oil through the 21-mile-wide passage each day. This flow of oil represents 20 percent of the world’s supply.

Most of the tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz are bound for Asia. But an attack on any tanker there, regardless of its destination, can affect the price of oil everywhere. That’s because oil is a globally traded product — a drop in supply from the Persian Gulf can drive up prices from other sources around the world. After two tankers were attacked in June, the price of Brent Crude — oil sourced from the North Sea — jumped by nearly $2 per barrel.


The price of Brent crude, a global benchmark, jumped in response to the attack of two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

Vox/Danush Parvaneh

The attacks in June weren’t the only incidents in Hormuz in recent months. Several other oil tankers have been seized, attacked, and harassed. These tankers — and this narrow water passage — have become a center of conflict between the US and Iran. It’s a conflict with the potential to escalate in one of the world’s most important oil chokepoints, sending the global economy into a tailspin.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.

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