It's amazing how much more you'll pick up when you put down the smartphone.
Real connection. That true intimacy of human interaction is what we humans so deeply crave, but unfortunately, connection of a genuine kind is often sorely lacking. The past few decades brought about cultural changes that (depsite their promise to bring us closer together) have increased isolation, loneliness and disconnection. Gone are the days when families lived in one building and were part of close-knit communities. Now, families are more spread out and strongly-bonded communities are harder to come by. Even as digital communication is booming via social media and real-time messaging, we still desperately need real connection. Virtual communication is a great supplement to existing, face-to-face relationships, but is no substitute for relating in person.
We can cultivate more happiness by simply fostering the type of real connection we desire deep down. Live free of digitial distractions and return to the delight of socializing without electronic interruption. Turn off your cell phones and any other communication devices while on a coffee date with a friend, during a company lunch hour or social events. Digital-free meals and downtime with loved ones should be a given, providing time for us to routinely and authentically connect.
Due to deeper economic burdens, there are higher expectations for success, and unsurprisingly, anxiety and feelings of loneliness are on the rise. Most people thrive with connection and support from others, and the best way to ensure effective emotional support is to really be there for one another. Countless research, including from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard, equates strong social support with decreased stress, overall well-being, and even increased longevity.
So schedule regular times to sit back, relax and give your in-person attention to the people you care about. From there, warm relationships can flourish and happiness will ensue.