“We are facing a loneliness epidemic.”
According to experts, the lack of social connections could be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
With social media and all of the connection it offers, you would think we would we all be reveling in relationships but instead, studies have shown that the more frequently we engage and use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, the more we tend to feel socially isolated.
This issue is especially prevalent among young adults. Their primary connections are made through technology instead of face to face. This results in a lack of meaningful and fulfilling relationships and creates social isolation rather than a sense of belonging.
In a Ted Talk that discusses the top predictors of a long life, the top two were having close relationships – people you can rely upon when things get tough – and social integration –how many people you speak to and interact with throughout your day.
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These two things far outweighed exercise, healthy eating, clean air, and a variety of other things one would think would play a major role in longevity.
To enhance not only our personal happiness as well as possibly extend our lives, it is important to cultivate meaningful relationships. This means in person. Face to face. Find people that you connect with on a deep level, that you enjoy being around and can share your innermost secrets with.
And, it is equally vital that as we move through the world, we interact with people. Smile at everyone, engage in small talk with someone in line behind you, chat with the grocery clerk, make eye contact and say hello to people you pass as you walk down the street or in the halls at work. Both of these types of interpersonal connections will do more for our personal wellbeing than any amount of social media.
There is a place for social media but we’ve replaced authentic personal bonds and social integration with interacting superficially through our smartphones. This has resulted in many of us feeling more isolated and lonely than ever.
Forget Facebook. Don’t spend another instant on Instagram. It’s time to turn off Twitter and interact with people in person.
May your day be filled with gratitude, close relationships, and good things.