The holidays are upon us. This means that your inbox is probably flooded with Evites to various holiday parties and get-togethers. So while your first instinct may be to click that big red “no” button and move on, it might be a good idea to think twice. So why’s that? Because you may be more disconnected than you realize or more out of touch than your willing to admit.
Experts and statisticians are coming together to report some very sad facts about our ability and willingness to truly engage with others. In short, many of us are more stressed and less socially engaged than any other time in American history. Experts also report that the millennial generation is leading the pack in loneliness, despite the fact they are more connected via various social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter and YouTube. And those social media engagement numbers continue to climb.
“Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, while 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction… and the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime.” – SocialMediaToday
The problem, as it turns out, is that while more and more of us are connecting online, we are disconnecting IRL (in real life). Experts are reporting that people are trying to substitute real relationships with online relationships. And although the online connection creates a temporary social high, these types of social connections are often superficial and ultimately lacking. Humans are inherently social and we require connections with other humans in order to thrive. There is plenty of data, which reports that the more human beings connect with one another the healthier they are both mentally and physically. According to Scientific American, “we suffer greatly when our social bonds are threatened or severed.”
So the next time you receive an invitation to a holiday party or an event that you’d be inclined to skip, think about nurturing your IRL connections. You’ll find yourself both happier and healthier!