Recently I found with all the social media outlets people get caught up spending a good amount of their time on the internet rather than spending time with those they love, let alone spending time on themselves and their well-being. When I ask clients and patients what gets in the way of reaching their health goals, the typical answer is they don’t have the time. But really, if we consider the amount of time that we spend sending emails or checking Instagram or Facebook, all those minutes add up to a lot of extra time on our hands we could spend in a more meaningful way.
Not only does technology make us lose touch with ourselves but it makes us lose touch with other people. A majority of people today spend more time talking to people via the internet or on their phones than talking to someone face to face! I have found this to be an upsetting fact in my own personal life. Many of the messages I sent family, friends, bosses, or coworkers become lost in translation.
Two months ago I attended a conference entitled Habits of Happy People, and it was here I learned the number one way to gain instant happiness is to cultivate social relationships. To me that means taking the time to look someone in their eyes to say hello or goodbye, taking the time to shake someone’s hand, taking the time to give someone a hug; all these are ways in which we can grant ourselves instant happiness. It is for this reason that I am so happy to work at The Body Image Therapy Center.
Every Monday evening I run the intensive outpatient therapy group which is three hours of cultivating social relationships and helping others on their journey to recovery. We take the time to check in with each other and see how each person is feeling, and then we cook a meal together as we joke, laugh and share stories from our previous week. We then share a meal together taking the time to enjoy the food and enjoy the company, which is truly not the norm in these days and times considering many families do not share dinner together anymore. The last objective of the group is to process the meal and it is here in which patients can let their tears flow or voice their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. It is truly one of the best ways I can think of to start out the week as I am blessed to watch the patients of different ages and walks of life find similarities to each other, support each other, and come together in such a difficult time of their life.
My challenge to you reading this blog is to take one day each week for the next month to find an experience in which you are afforded the opportunity to cultivate social relationships. Whether you decide to share one meal with a family member or friend, or to look the grocery store clerk in the eye and say hello and ask how they are doing today, or maybe it is calling up that friend you haven’t talked to for awhile, take the time. I truly believe taking the time to cultivate social relationships will not only make someone’s day but it will make yours too!
So put down that cell phone, stop checking that email, get out of the social world of Facebook, and into the real world!