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Look Up!

by Beth on February 25th, 2015

It’s hard to believe The Breakfast Club came out 30 years ago this month. What an awesome movie! And how sad to think that something like that would probably never happen today. Kids stuck in detention would be staring at their phones the whole time. I’m guessing not a word would be spoken all day. Even with their friends, teens are more likely to send a text than they are to talk.

And it isn’t just kids who don’t interact with people around them. We are all guilty of staring at our phones while standing in line or waiting for someone. People rarely look up these days.

This means we are missing opportunities to connect with others. Social connections are important for our well-being. Socializing is part of what makes us human. Barbara Fredrickson has found that even micro-moments of connection cause oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress and blood pressure and reduces inflammation, to be released in our bodies. Research shows that the heaviest users of social media are more likely to report feeling sad.

Technology is a great way to stay in touch, but we also need to look up from our phones and notice the world around us. Have you seen the videos of people walking into things while they are texting? It’s funny, but it can be as dangerous as distracted driving. And it prevents us from connecting.

The next time you are waiting somewhere, try to resist the urge to pull out your phone. See it as an opportunity to be mindful, to look up and note what is happening around you. Smile at the person standing beside you or ask your colleague about his family while you are waiting for the meeting to start. Find moments to disconnect so that you can connect!

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