I remember a time when I was in middle school where I lost a close friendship. During that time, my other friends rallied around me. Their loving support and kindness buoyed me up. Although years have passed since that day, that support has never been forgotten. Think of some of the important positive relationships in your life. Whether they are with siblings, parents, a spouse, children, or friends, positive relationships have a dramatic and far reaching effect on mental, physical, and emotional health.
Studies have shown that positive sociality can delay disease, promote health, and even lengthen longevity. Social isolation does quite the opposite. Sometimes social isolation was even used as a torture method that caused mental damage and in some cases death. (1) The positive relationships in your life do much to give life meaning, promote happiness, and build you up to who you want to become.
Positive relationships have incredible value.
They are also under attack.
Not long ago I was with the very same group of friends from middle school. We had all grown up, but we were fundamentally the same people. However, conversation eventually diminished until everyone was staring at their phones, not exchanging any support or love at all. Instead, everyone was enjoying a funny video, or forwarding a joke to someone else currently not present. It was sad.
In a recent article written by Larry Dossey, MD, this problem was categorized as what is now commonly known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This condition is categorized as individuals who are addicted to media and spend much of their time pulling up social media and news to check if any updates have occurred. They are described as “modern Goldilockses, people who take comfort in being in touch with a lot of people whom they also keep at bay.” Larry Dossey also quoted an article that stated the sad truth that relationships are being replaced by media: “The extension of information obsession to the field of intimacy—which is the slow revelation of one person to another–ruins the mystery, poetry and suspense. Instead of caressing, there’s posting; instead of kissing, there’s forwarding, sharing, and sending.” Although in this instance the article only references romantic relationships, the same can be said for family relations, friendships, and work connections. Social media has changed from connecting with long-lost friends and people who live too far away to visit, to anti-social media, a replacement for real human interaction. (2)
The answer comes in taking time to put devices away. Answer the following questions honestly:
1) How much time do you spend on a device including television, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Facebook?
2) How often do you check your phone for notifications from a variety of apps including Instagram and Snapchat?
3) What do you do in your spare time and how often do you end up on the internet or other device?
Instead of choosing to use electronics, turn off all of your devices. You may be bored at first, but that’s alright! Choose to be bored. Spend your time reading, relaxing, talking to someone you love, and cultivating relationships with other people. When you are around other people, choose to be present rather than seeking stimulation from media.
Those you love deserve your time. And you deserve to enjoy your time in activities that will help rather than hurt you. Choose to cultivate positive relationships and learn more about what Sixth Dimension could look like for you by clicking here!
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(1) Umberson, Debra. “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy.” NBCI, 2011, doi: 10.1177/0022146510383501.