With so much talk about connection, why are we more disconnected than ever? Social media is not the blame, it is not the news, or the paparazzi either.
We have made a decision. We have been complicit in the decision to disengage. First we traded hugs for high-fives, hand-shakes for fist bumps, and conversations for text messages. We have also traded exercise for pills, nature for high-rises, and real-life experiences for virtual reality.
We have created profiles that simulate relationships. We project images of emotional highs, and then put our emotional lows on blast.
While technology continues to advance, in-person human interaction continues to decline. Body language is becoming indecipherable and emojis are quickly replacing real emotion.
When was the last time you really laughed out loud?
Our lifestyle is becoming more and more sedentary. The only muscles that get regular exercise are the ones in our hands. Our sense of touch is limited to keyboards and screens while our sense of physical contact is losing value. Cravings for such contact are being temporarily sated by instant message and chocolate bars.
How can we get back to reality and ourselves?
Here are five simple things you can do to return to your senses:
Smell the roses, for real.
Smell is the strongest sense linked to memory and emotion. All it takes is whiff to shift your reality. Slow down and pay attention. Sniff your way through your day. Create new memories. Smell the lavender bushes in your neighbors yard. Let the aroma of freshly brewed coffee take your breath away. Allow the comforting scent of clean laundry to cut-through the stress.
Show up at the table.
Have dinner with your family and friends, several times a week. Break bread and have conversations. Make mealtime an intimate experience, no cell phones allowed. And this might seem like a no brainer, but take the time to eat your food. Chew every morsel. Taste the flavors. Feel the textures in your mouth. Smell the aroma. And most of all be present for the entire meal.
Put your cell phone away while you are walking. This will not only keep you from running into someone or something, it will also give you a chance to take in your environment. Make eye contact, smile, and greet strangers. Take in the scene, birds and pups, patterns and textures, there is a whole world out there! You are alive, walk amongst the living in real time.
Hug it out.
You need to be touched as much as you need food, air, and water. Touch is not just about physical sensation; it creates connection and stirs emotion. There are a lot of health benefits to hugging, including stress reduction. And when you hug someone you are bonding, heart to heart, literally. Happy people hug, and that’s the truth. You can even hug yourself!
Use your listening ears.
Give others the experience of being heard. Wisdom, laughter, and tenderness are just a few of the presents that can be gifted by your presence. The most important person is aways the one right in front of you. Show up to every conversation with the intention of being in the moment. And please do not forget you. It is really important to listen to what you have to say, too.
The one thing you can do today to counteract the chill of technology is connect with another person. Check in, in real life, with real people, as often as possible. Create experiential moments. Choose intimacy. Feel your way around. Move through your life the way nature intended and discover the pleasure of using all your senses. Real life is more fulfilling than virtual reality.
Real life is more fulfilling than virtual reality (tweet this)