Communication,  Mental health,  Personal growth

How wired are you ?

“When I grow up, I’m gonna look up from my phone and see my life.” ~Phoebe Bridgers

Have you been feeling lonely lately? Ironically, a growing body of research shows that being more connected online is making us lonelier — and eroding our mental health.

The American Medical Association, for instance, examined several new studies on “the internet and psychological well-being.” Overall, increased internet use was associated with “a decline in users’ communication with family members, a decrease in their social circle, and an increase in depression and loneliness.” 

Socializing online also makes us lazier. We delude ourselves into believing that we’ve spent time with others — when we’ve only typed a few short messages or “liked” a few images. Texts, emails, and Instagram posts can’t replace face-to-face communication. Worse yet, additional studies show that people who spend hours viewing social media posts often feel less satisfied with their own lives afterward.

To keep things in balance, take a moment to consider how much time you spend with electronic devices. Are you constantly scrolling lists, social media, photos, articles, and messages on your couch at home? When you take walks, are you enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, or are you checking (or chattering on) your phone instead? Has your phone or laptop become a stand-in for 3D relationships? ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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