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The Power of Christmas: How Christmas Turned Enemies into Friends

The Power of Christmas: How Christmas Turned Enemies into Friends

British Christmas ads are a highly anticipated event throughout the country. Last year, no one thought anyone could trump John Lewis’s darling penguin. In a surprising turn, Sainsbury’s took the lead with a story from a cold Christmas Day in 1914.

In the 2014 Sainsbury’s holiday advertising campaign, the brave men of the Great War made a comeback on television screens across Britain. The advertisement shows men on opposing sides coming together over the Christmas holiday. On Christmas Day, they laid down their weapons, exchanged gifts and even played football.

Few people are used to seeing truth in advertising. But this story is so good that no one could make it up. The nation was shocked to discover that the ad was based on a true story. The retailer loved the story so much that it worked together with a war historian to recreate the scene as accurately as possible. The Royal British Legion also got involved to add authenticity to the video.

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The British and the German soldiers had fired shots at each other only the day before. As the story goes, on Christmas Day, a British soldier looks up as the Germans begin a rendition of “Silent Night”. The British soldier then carefully climbs out of his trench and into “no man’s land”. He is then joined by other soldiers from both sides.

The soldiers play a game of football. A British soldier secretly gave a gift to a German soldier, slipping it into his pocket. When the German soldier returns to his trench, he finds a chocolate bar.

Sainsbury’s worked with relatives of soldiers who were there that day to add a fuller narrative to the story. Andrew Hamilton, grandson of Captain Robert Hamilton, allowed Sainsbury’s to access his grandfather’s diaries. The diaries revealed that Captain Hamilton made contact with two German soldiers just before dawn. This was the beginning of the Christmas gift heard around the world.

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The advertisement was not unprecedented. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the war. Earlier in 2014, the moat of the Tower of London hosted thousands of bright red ceramic poppies. This event also commemorated the anniversary of the war. During the few months that it was on display, millions of people flocked to the Tower of London to see it.

Sainsbury’s has also enjoyed a 20-year long partnership with the Royal British Legion and offers a variety of discounts for veterans. This campaign was important to everyone involved. The advertisement was made to honor the men who lost their lives during World War I. But it does so much more than that. It also serves as a reminder of what the holiday season is all about.

So many people think only of the gifts they will give and receive. They think of the food they will eat. They think of the shopping they will do and the bargains they will find, whether it’s buying a cell phone booster on Cyber Monday or the latest Apple gadget. Some think of the family members they miss and those they would rather not be seeing again.

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But the story of a war time Christmas, so beautifully illustrated by Sainsbury’s, suggests that people are capable of so much more.

It drew people’s hearts away from John Lewis’s penguin because it was a perfect illustration of how good people can be. Even in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in history, groups of men could come together to celebrate life.

Christmas is one of the most powerful times of the year. It can make mortal enemies, who do not even speak the same language, forget their politics and their countries and come together, even if only for a day.

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Featured photo credit: Christmas Day Truce 1914/Smabs Sputzer via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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