While it may be a beneficial tool, social media also has its limitations. The majority of information shared online is public, so it's important that you carefully consider how much personal information you want to share online and that you be thoughtful and realistic about the risks involved with oversharing on social media. Privacy is a genuine concern when using social media. It's important to make sure appropriate privacy settings are in place. Finally, while we are in control of what we post online, we cannot control how others may respond to it. Have a plan in place to cope with the possibility of negative reactions from others online. Let's now examine the steps Jackie put in place to boost her sense of belonging. Find Your E-Tribe Swiping your credit card to purchase a wearable or phone app should not give companies free rein to collect, distribute, and profit from your health data. And yet for the time being, this is the only assent you're giving them to do just that. I Want It All, and I Want It Now All but three states in the US have laws on their articles concerning citizens' access to their medical information that either meet or exceed the HIPAA nationwide standard for electronic medical record (EMR) access, which stipulates that you have the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of your medical records and billing records that are held by health plans and health care providers covered by the Privacy Rule, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Several states stipulate a fifteen-day limit for doing so, others thirty days, and some a reasonable time frame. While this isn't the kind of instant access we might want, at least the information is available and there are regulatory consequences should a health-care practitioner fail to provide it. This isn't the case for fitness tracking. The poet Ted Hughes said, I hope each of us owns the facts of his or her life. But when it comes to the information collected by wearables and apps, it's unclear who owns the facts, or even has access to them. These organizations might claim that they already share your data with you, but showing you daily, weekly, and monthly snapshots in charts and graphs is hardly full disclosure; If that's true, the unexpected reality is that the only way to reduce your cravings is to dump the restrictive regime you've set in place and start responding to your bodily cues. Then you will be less vulnerable to your environment.

Diet culture teaches us to restrict our calories and to view certain foods or styles of eating as bad and to be avoided. The result is that most of us know guilt and restriction. Is that true for you? If so, dietitian and author Christy Harrison describes how to turn around that way of thinking: The I want ice cream thought isn't the problem, and the act of bingeing on ice cream is a completely understandable way that your body is trying to get its needs met. In the absence of guilt, restriction, and deprivation, those urges and behaviors tend to dissipate on their own, without us having to mentally think ourselves out of them. The real solution isn't to use mindfulness to overcome your food cravings, it's to honor them and give yourself full permission to eat enough food, and a wide enough variety of foods, so that the cravings don't have such a hold on you anymore. Food isn't an addictive substance. The most obvious answer for getting started on the path to finding your e-tribe is to create an online profile or identity. But for those struggling with social anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or fear of rejection, putting yourself out there in the virtual world is just as difficult as it is in real life. This was certainly the case for Jackie. As her therapist, what I believed would help her most was the experience of a tribe--that is, having people in her life who would fully embrace and accept her. New experiences and relationships of this type would contradict what Jackie had experienced from her rejecting father and family of origin. Through social media, Jackie could experience new opportunities for relationships that offer her emotional understanding, empathy, and caring. Relationships and experiences that offer us healthy contradictory experiences, including therapeutic ones, are what psychologists refer to as corrective emotional experiences. In fact, corrective emotional experiences are thought to be the primary mechanisms for producing transformative and positive changes. Corrective emotional experiences are what happen when you experience something firsthand that challenges a previously held false or distorted belief. A corrective relationship for Jackie would be with others who are reliable in their ability to offer emotional support, encouragement, and understanding in place of teasing and humiliation. There needs to be some government oversight here. It seems reasonable to give fitness tracking companies a thirty-day limit to send you all your data in a standardized format once you've requested it.

After all, you never gave them permission to gather it in the first place, and while they're storing the information, it is your data, not theirs. Under Lock and Key Another disturbing element of data collection is the security of that information, or lack thereof. We'd like to assume that fitness technology companies are using the latest encryption, bulletproof firewalls, and airtight, backed-up servers, but this could very well be wishful thinking. The reality is that we have no idea how safe or unsafe our health information is once it's sent off into the digital ether. When a hospital has a data breach or someone hacks into your credit card provider's database, it's a big deal that often comes with hefty fines. Have wearables and app manufacturers been the victims of similar cyberattacks, and if so, what are they now doing differently to prevent further breaches? We just don't know because the media isn't reporting this kind of news. It's food deprivation that makes food feel addictive. Therapist, author, and speaker Judith Matz explains that when you give yourself permission to eat all types of foods, formerly forbidden foods stop glittering. Now, you're in a much stronger position to consider emotional overeating. Keep in mind that everyone eats for emotional reasons at times, but if it's the primary way that you soothe yourself when you feel distress, it's worth taking a deeper look. Matz suggests that you start with self-compassion: Yelling at yourself for overeating only fuels the binge! Instead, gently tell yourself that you are experiencing distress and food is a way, for now, to take care of yourself. Remind yourself the day will come when you no longer rely on food in this way. You've spent years engaged in dieting and overeating. Of course it will take time to undo these behaviors. More advice on eating can be found in articles by Harrison, Matz, coauthors Tribole and Resch--oh, and me, both alone and with coauthor Lucy Aphramor. One of my goals for Jackie was to have social media be a place where she would be able to find acceptance, encouragement, and support. For example, I imagined Jackie receiving supportive responses and comments on a post about having a rough day at work--something like, Hope you have a relaxing night after such a tough day or Bad days are rough for me too.

I have my go-to sweets for my TLC. For Jackie, these comments could be transformative because they would show her that she's not alone with her feelings and that other people do care about her--and that they're able to express their concern for her well-being in supportive and kind ways. With my guidance, Jackie took that first step, establishing her online presence by creating a social-media profile. For Jackie to benefit from future social-media exchanges in the way I hoped, she needed for her profile to be authentic and truly representative of who she is. I encouraged her to engage in self-reflection in order to identify what aspects of herself--for example, her hobbies, tastes, education, and personal background--she would feel comfortable sharing on various social- Specifically, Jackie and I discussed naming in her profile the university she'd attended, because, as she told me, Out of all the schools I attended, I felt the most accepted while at college. Including Jackie's college in her profile would give her the chance to reconnect with old classmates and boost her feelings of belonging by deepening her connection to her alma mater and community. In addition, Jackie loved reading, music, and cooking. There should be federal and state standards for this kind of health data, as there are for medical and financial information, and in addition, the press needs to do a better job of investigating such issues. This isn't a call for muckraking journalism or whistle-blowers to share secrets, but rather for our Fourth Estate to do a better job of keeping its readers informed. Demanding Disclosure While the policy wonks in our nation's capital can probably come up with enough regulations to fill a phone article, I think every manufacturer of fitness technology owes it to their customers to make a simple pledge: We promise to make all the data we collect public. You're doing them the favor of paying a couple of hundred bucks for a device that probably costs twenty dollars to make, and throwing your very heart (rate) into the bargain. In return, they offer some very generic guidance while collecting and putting to use very detailed data. It's time to make this a better deal for us, the consumers. Opening up the data vaults would not only fulfill what I believe is an ethical obligation to openness and transparency but also enable people to study the information and use it to improve health care, public wellness, and sports performance. Researchers would no longer have to make the effort to put together small test and control groups who participate in limited, short-term studies, because they'd be able to run the numbers on millions of people's biometrics over many years. This would lead to many breakthroughs that might otherwise have taken years to achieve. THE MINDFULNESS MOVEMENT The mindfulness movement tells us to work on ourselves by being more mindful, nonjudgmental, and accepting of circumstances.

That said, the emphasis on nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance can disable critical thought, which can be a trap. By deflecting attention from unjust social structures and material conditions, mindfulness is easily coopted as a tool supporting the status quo. It's also much more popular among more privileged people, who benefit from the status quo and may be less invested in changing it. For those reasons, I recommend supplementing what is typically understood as mindfulness with this next step: reflection and theorizing. Lean into what's going on and consider what's fueling your feelings. You may not fully understand, but use this as opportunity to explore ideas as they come up. As Brene Brown advises, rumble with the stories you're telling--that is, embrace the vulnerability and stay curious. Consider what happens when you try to separate events from your interpretations of events. With this in mind, she began to explore the idea of following profiles, sites, or Facearticle groups like The Cook's Cook Community Forum, NYT Cooking Community Public Group, Goodreads, and Instagram accounts that shared her interests in cooking and reading and consider how sharing her personal information with these accounts and commenting and liking posts boosted her feelings of connectedness and belonging. Finally, creating her profile and listing her accomplishments was in itself therapeutic. Through this exercise, Jackie was able to get to know herself, and in doing so her self-esteem and self-worth improved. She no longer had that constant feeling of being on the outside or fear of being rejected. Over time, as Jackie interacted with other people online who shared her interest in cooking and reading, she felt less and less alone with her feelings, which made her feel more connected to humanity as a whole. The friends I've made online share about their difficulties too, she told me. They don't just post about the amazing things they're doing or how great their family is. This is a big deal for me, because even though to an outsider it was so obvious my dad had issues, he never acknowledged them. So I never felt able to discuss my problems either. The message was, you didn't talk about your problems or issues. If these companies are really trying to help us, let them prove it. Wearables at Work