And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced that America has a loneliness epidemic. Even before the pandemic, loneliness was an issue but has since been exacerbated. It is a health crisis with effects equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily, according to Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University.
“Loneliness is linked to an increased risk for anxiety and depression, heart disease, dementia and other health issues, as well as early death.”[i]
What is the root of this issue? Lack of connection. How is that possible with social media? Social media is an artificial connection. It is a great tool when we are far away from one another. However, social media has become so addictive that even when inhabiting the same space, we are distracted by our phones and other devices. It is like we live in the dystopian universe of Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, where everyone prefers to live in the virtual reality world of the Metaverse OASIS rather than face reality.
During the season of Lent, I fasted from social media. I often do this when I feel it is consuming too much of my attention. Without social media, I have greater clarity and am more focused. I can accomplish far more in less time because I am less distracted. Whenever I abstain from social media, I instantly find the time I thought I never had enough of. It is the same 24 hours in the day that has always been. Time had not changed, but my priorities had. I am also healthier because I have more time to exercise. I gain new revelations and life perspectives because I am open to hearing what God communicates directly versus reading someone else’s alleged “revelation.” My creativity increases. Most importantly, I am more at peace because my world is quieter away from social media.
Whenever I end my social media fast and log back in, I am immediately overwhelmed by how much information is coming at me. The cacophony of voices is like a loud trumpet blasting in my ears. You only realize how many opinions come at you once you withdraw from the noise.
What is the lesson here?
Perhaps the cure to this loneliness epidemic is more real interactions and relationships. When you are around others, put down the phones. Cut out the distractions and give the other person your undivided attention. We’ve lost the ability to communicate because our heads are void of deep thoughts and filled with junk. Build genuine connections with the people you are closest to. Earth is beautiful! Enjoy and explore it! Not just for Instagram likes. Volunteer and be a blessing to someone else. It is hard to pity yourself when you are helping others.
Bottom line, log off and live life.