We are living in a technological world where social media is the norm. Even my 80 year old parents are texting. Direct conversations, snail mail and even good old fashioned get togethers without the distraction of phones are becoming a rarity. You go to dinner these days and you see people typing away on their smartphones rather than enjoying talking with one another. This is a sign of "real world" disconnection. Technology, as wonderful as it is, is in many ways handicapping us in our social efforts.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, a hug feels six times more supportive than an emoji. But instead we exchange emojis all day long. Think about it. When was the last time you hugged your friends?
I would like like to challenge you. Go to coffee, or lunch, or dinner and put your phone and computer away. It may feel strange at first. You might miss a few calls or texts. If you need to, let people know in advance that you will be unavailable for one hour. And then give the person or people you are with your full attention. The world needs us to plug back into kindness and compassion and we cannot do that when we are constantly distracted by Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Please, don't get me wrong, they have their place and are great in moderation. But, make time for real life connections. Give more hugs than emojis each day!
In addition, close social connections have been linked to living longer, happier lives. Have you heard of Blue Zones? There are specific places throughout the world where people are known to reach incredible longevity (over 100 years of age) based on the ideal living conditions. They have great air and water quality, they eat plant based diets high in sweet potatoes, soy, and tumeric, they get lots of exercise, they feel that they have purpose and they have a strong sense of community and connection to friends. So one of the parts of your wellness plan if you would like to live a long happy life needs to include a close knit group of positive and supportive friends.