In today’s digital world, we can send messages to people all over the world in an instant – friends, family, clients, vendors and more. In some ways, this is ideal; we can get more done. Through Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime, we can video chat with anyone, anywhere, any time. Technology has made communicating with others easier and much more convenient. But are we really connecting? Face-to-face meet-ups offer personal connections in so many ways. They give us the attention we need, capture emotions, and enhance relationships.
According to a study by Oregon Health & Science University, people who rely on social media for interaction are twice more likely to suffer depression or anxiety than people who connect face-to-face. In communicating via text or photographs, we miss out on the personal effects of being around people we care about, the social connection, the feeling of smiling together or touch. We are far more likely to relive and rehash bad experiences than good ones. It’s easy to forget a slip of the tongue, but a slip of the keyboard stays in a chat history long after the words were typed and can make you focus on the harder parts of relationships, rather than the good times.
Socialisation is a vital part of everyday life. Being sociable helps keep our mental and physical health in check and has its own health benefits, such as reducing the risk of depression and loneliness. Making time to connect with people in our network creates a sense of belonging which helps us to navigate through life without feeling alone.