Reality check: Are there enough live humans in your life?
When was the last time you grabbed a coffee with your BFF or shared a bottle of wine and some belly laughs with your favorite gal pals?
Too long to recall? That’s sadly becoming the norm AND a problem.
Scientists have discovered those that rely heavily on social media as their way of interacting with others double their risk of developing a mental health disorder, such as depression.
But ... I’m so busy and can’t get away to meet face-to-face.
I get it. Between work, managing the house, and shuttling the kiddos to soccer practice, you barely have a moment to stay in the loop via newsfeeds let alone allot hours of precious time meeting another human being.
BUT the truth can’t be denied. Face-to-face human contact is irreplaceable and necessary for optimal health. The benefits from in-person socialization far outweigh any of the perceived conveniences from digital interaction.
3 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting the Same Mental Boost From Your Tech Talks:
- You’re isolated, looking into a screen and not making eye contact with another person.
- You’re not moving your body. Sitting in front of your computer means that you miss the endorphin rush that you get when you go and do something with your friends.
- You don’t participate in activities that bring you pleasure and joy.
So what can you do when you’re scrimping for time as it is?
- Get up during your breaks at work and go for a brisk walk rather than clicking over to your preferred social media applications. Better yet, grab a coworker and chat while you stroll. Or after dinner grab, your family and go for a walk, and ask each other about the day. If your tween responds with a “Good,” follow up with, “What made it good”?
- Look up from your phone when you’re waiting in the grocery line and strike up a conversation with a fellow shopper. Make eye contact with another human being.
If you really don’t have the time to connect face-to-face, then you have some serious soul searching to do.
You can start by bringing to mind your top five values. For example: children, good marriage, time with friends, health, and new experiences. Now look at your life, is your lifestyle in line with the things you value most? If the answer is no, then you should make some changes.
So, what’s the difference between connection and intimacy?
Connection is socializing with limitations. When you connect with an old classmate via Facebook, you’re not truly letting them into your world, you’re simply checking in and saying a quick hello.
Intimacy on the other hand has more depth. It’s the moment when your friend shares the news that her breast cancer has returned and you can see the fear wash over her face, or when you see the pride radiating from your mom’s eyes as she watches you play Ring-Around-the-Rosie with your kids, or when you experience a visceral reaction when you wipe the tears from your daughter’s innocent face as you console her through her first break up.
That’s the power of intimacy and that can’t be coded in an application.
Get out there and socialize like it’s 1990. Your mental health may depend on it.
Jessica is the author of Back 2 Love and How to Start a Mental Health Private Practice. She blogs regularly on her website: jmillercoaching.com. Follow her on Twitter and catch tweets about Top Relationship Tips.