"One Year On: Unhealthy Weight Gains, Increased Drinking Reported by Americans Coping With Pandemic Stress" says the American Psychological Association’s latest Stress in America® poll. LINK
OK - so it's great we have these polls, doing a little self-analysis and 20/20 hindsight, but what do we actually do about it.
First, understand that most are aware that obese people and people with weakened immune systems are most likely to succumb to the added body stress of handling a strong viral attack. It's a bit cold to say, but that is natures way of selecting the strongest to survive. Staying fit and healthy best you can, is an every day thing, or at least should be.
WHY ARE MANY DOING THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY NEED?
In a word, advertising. As the founder of Sober World, I am also a career marketing person. Marketing and influence and repeat messaging influences behaviors, or else we would not do it. Specific to Alcohol, a multi Trillion dollar industry globally, they spend billions of dollars annually convincing us to poison ourselves willingly with diluted Ethanol, a known carcinogen and brain neurotoxin.
Other industries like Fast (and sugar laced addictive) foods, send a consistent stream of messaging in various media showing positive rewards of consuming their products. We are 'fed' mental images happy people in restaurants, gleefully accepting 1,500 Calorie Plates, and toasting with addictive cancerous glasses of diluted ethanol - the brain numbing neurotoxin we call alcohol.
Simply put, our brains are being pre-conditioned through ingesting advertising, to crave what is perceived as fun and happy. We seek the brands and marketing and slogans and images that lull is into a thinking that ingesting their stuff will make you happy. We want what we have seen. To be honest, it most often does taste great, for that brief moment, and then you look for the next happy meal... and the next happy meal... one fast food chain is training kids with that exact slogan. Come here, eat our products, be happy and hooked for life on our sugar laced addictive products.
IT'S ALL LEGAL SO HOW DO WE FIX IT, CONTROL IT, LEGISLATE IT?
You don't. Sort of. We have learned that you cannot 'prohibit' people from doing dumb things to harm themselves. Taxes and fear tactics certainly help, a little. In the USA, Cigarettes are about $8 a pack, in the USA (the huge majority of that being taxes) and there is still a large market for the product.
What we CAN do, is do a better job at helping young people be fundamentally happier. We currently freely give young people addictive devices with little knowledge or restraint. We maintain hypocritical "Age Limits" on addictive activities like drinking and gambling, There is a sub message implied that "it's OK" after a certain age, these are activities addictive and toxic at any age and the age limits, well intentioned, actually create a challenge or a goal for many youth.
It's about being aware in your brain, can consciously controlling the volume of how much harm you inflict eating and drinking the advertised decadence. Only You can control You.
There is a 13 Year old kid named Logan who did a Ted Talk and he shares how we don't teach young people to simply be happy. "We just assume they are happy." he says. Many are not, and don't know how. If we do a lot better job at teaching stress management. less is more, the value of spirituality from a practical standpoint, how exercise helps your brain and more... think about how much better we can stage these young people for success.
Clearly tens of millions were mildly mentally ill with bad mildly addictive habits, and ill prepared for this pandemic. Many took already mildly bad habits, and ramped them UP when login would say less is more to save your life. Marketing is Powerful. Addictions to sugars, nicotine and alcohol and other drugs that drive "dopamine" pleasures are powerful.
Bottom line, it's very simple, to repeat... "You be the Best You". That is all you need yo do! If we teach young people "how to be happy" and create a counter marketing message for all that promotes "Less is More", encouraging a better balance, we will be a lot better prepared for the next pandemic. It's simply a little brain training - using Positive Product Free Marketing. Imagine an Ad encouraging people daily to: Watch Less TV, More Family, Less Screen, More Nature.
The next is pandemic coming, be pre-prepared with a strong body and mind to glide right thru happy and healthy. Be the one who is the inspiration. To repeat... "You be the Best You". Simple!
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