October 2, 2017

Social media is touted as a way to keep us all connected- even when our family and friends are far away. But how effective is that goal? Ask yourself, how many times do you check your phone a day? Do you check it when out with friends, at a restaurant, at home eating dinner or watching tv? However many times you think you look at your phone, at least double it. Research indicates the average adult checks their phone 30 times a day, and the average millennial checks their phone more than 150 times daily. 
I remember a group of 4 ninth grade girls, almost ten years ago, hanging out together in my basement. They were each on their cell phones, texting others rather than interacting; I was disturbed by the sight.  Fast forward: a teenage boy was outside enjoying a beautiful day, sitting on the grass in front of his house; instead of experiencing it, he was immersed in his phone, looking down at the screen while listening to his headphones. We have come to accept AND expect this behavior.  
Why Be Concerned?
People need social connection with other humans to thrive- it is part of what makes us uniquely human. Social connections, such as friendships, relationships with family members and closeness to community, are closely related to well-being and personal happiness. In fact, studies show that social connections are one of the two critical factors in aging successfully.  Yet people have less interest in interacting with other people when they are on their phones. We are becoming complacent sitting behind our computer screens.

Research demonstrates that:
  • a lack of social connection is a greater overall health risk than smoking
  • loneliness negatively impacts the immune system and one's susceptibility to anxiety, depression and anti-social behaviors
  • reliance on technology increases distractibility and difficulty focusing
  • use of cell phones increases accidents when driving, cycling, and walking
  • emotional nuances are not picked up in text, leading to misunderstandings and bullying
  • people report increased unhappiness when comparing their Facebook and Instagram lives to the posted lives of others
  • time spent on social media takes away from exercising and downtime
Reconnecting by Disconnecting 

Focus on your well-being, and put down the phone, the computer, or the notebook! Truly engage with the people around you and about whom you care. Experiment for an hour at a time, at least once a day. Create phone free dinners, zones, and days! Model your behavior for others.  As a parent, encourage your children to join you in disconnecting. Set boundaries. Tell them what you think; they do listen.

N otice if you experience a positive effect.  Evidence says you will. Let me know your findings!

Think Positively and Take Actions to Achieve Your Goals
At Core Counseling, you can pursue Mind-Body Wellness through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and other therapeutic techniques. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call me at Core Counseling, LLC: 201.875.5699. Experience a comfortable, private and confidential environment with an atmosphere of encouragement, optimism, and compassion.
Together we can find solutions to your core issues. " The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

In Health and Wellness,

Lisa Fedder, MSW, LCSW, LCADC
560 Sylvan Avenue                     108 Baker Street
Englewood Cliffs, NJ  07632       Maplewood, NJ  07040
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