In a world that runs off of internet socialising and relationships, it’s becoming more and more apparent how less connected people actually are. Although the statistics show that the average person looks at their phone 80-150 times a day and are on social media for 1.5-2 hours, why is it that people are feeling more and more lonely?
One concern is that every time you check your phone or social media platform and see that someone has commented or liked your post, a portion of the hormone Dopamine is released into your brain. This in turn makes you feel happy and euphoric, but the issue is that the more you check your social media, the more dopamine is released and your body begins to build a tolerance for it. Each following time a little more dopamine needs to be released in order to get you the same feeling. So often people stay on their social media platforms for longer and longer wanting to feel good. It literally becomes an addiction and follows the same chemical pattern in our brains as a drug user.
How do we solve this issue of connection since it’s been shown over and over again just how unsocial these social media platforms really are?
In order to feel connection, people need three things: to be seen, heard and valued. This is relatively simple but becomes a little more difficult when you can only control yourself, and your behaviours and actions.
In order to be seen, heard and valued there needs to be a relative amount of respect from both parties and unfortunately you can’t just demand that someone respects you. What you can do, is work on feeling connected with others through you. So we can take the concepts of the three things that everyone needs in order to feel connected and instead ensure we give those things to others.
The need to:
Be seen. It’s easy to get into our daily routines and only say hi to who we usually talk to or our friends at work but what if we stepped a little bit out of our daily routine and said “hello” to everyone, no matter who they were or the previous outlook that we had of them. We all just want to be seen and all it takes is a quick “hi, hello, or good morning.” Those easy words, that don’t necessarily need to turn into a conversation, can be the first steps to creating all kinds of great connections. The awesome part is, that if you start to make people feel seen, they will do the same to you.
Be heard. Depending on your personality this one may be a little trickier. Naturally, we listen to others in anticipation of what we want to say next, not intentionally listening to them. It’s a terrible habit but now that I pointed it out, if you hadn’t been told previously, you’ll start to notice it. Try for the next week to actually intentionally listen to others when they talk to you and only once they are finished add in what you would like to say. You’ll find that you won’t get to say everything you wanted to because by the time they finish, the conversation has changed and your points are no longer fluid with the topic; that’s okay. When you respond in a way that shows the other person you heard them, their respect for you will begin to increase because you will be showing them that you care about what they have to say. You’ll also learn a lot about someone when you aren’t just listening to respond but rather listening to learn and then reply.
Be valued. There are many ways to show others that you value them and this will completely depend on your personality, but the point is to show others that you value them. Whatever that means to you. A few ways that I like to show others that I value them is to do something nice and unexpected, say thank-you or write them a nice note, genuinely care about them and get to know them by asking them questions and listening. Showing and saying appreciation for others is also important.
If you want to feel more connected and less lonely, you need to see, hear and value other people. It’s not too complicated but it will definitely take some effort. By you practicing to value other people, you are also exemplifying how you want people to treat you.
By: Cortnie Dawn