Technology is everywhere—our pockets, desks, nightstands, kitchens, and even on our wrists. Yet, most of us have never given its role in our lives a second thought.
An increased variety of devices has increased our ability to stay connected to one another, or so we think. Social media is touted as a way to keep in touch with friends and stay up to date. Many people assume it’s strengthening their ties to others, though it may, in fact, be doing the opposite: Real relationships take time and face-to-face interactions to maintain, so having more online friends doesn’t necessarily translate to strong relationships in real-life.
I’m always promoting the power of community; cultivating healthy, real relationships with people we can trust is so important for our happiness and mental and physical health throughout life. We’re doing ourselves a disservice by spending more time on our online social presence than our real social lives.
The more time we spend socializing on screens the less we spend doing it in person. High social media use is linked to less overall happiness and a greater feeling of social isolation—a risk factor as significant as smoking.
And to make matters worse, social media is actually designed to be addictive, to prey on our vulnerable human tendencies and keep us looking for that next reassuring “like.”
My guest on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, Cal Newport, talks about the addictive tendencies of social media and its far-reaching impacts on our lives, from our health to our ability to work. Cal also provides us with insights on how to intentionally use technology in a way that truly supports our values and passions, instead of letting it run our lives. His approach, called digital minimalism, can help you get out of the habitual checking and back into a happy, deeply productive life.
There is a way to find a balance between our social media accounts, health, and happiness. Tune in to find out how.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD