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Are You There?

In today’s busy world, we are inundated with so much data and constant distraction. Between, texts, emails, social media, and television, it’s no wonder people are reporting more anxiety, depression, and loneliness than in any other era. As a mental health counselor, I am faced with the daily story of the wife who feels unseen by her husband as she describes him as “here but not here.” Or the child who says he can never get his mom to play with him because she’s “always on her phone.” As I sit at a restaurant table on a date with my husband, I’m saddened at how disconnected humans have become from one another. From the couple on a date with their phones in hand, eyes avoidant of true intimate connection, to the three-year-old boarding a plane whose mother guides her as her eyes are glued to the video that captivates her attention, people are just not present. We are mammals and are hard wired for connection. We need eye contact, facial expression, and tone to feel in relationship to another. We have become so disconnected from self and other, we are numb to our internal emotional experience. We aren’t meant to live like this. We aren’t meant to be constantly and chronically numb, intolerant of boredom, and constantly looking for the next distraction to pull us from our present reality. If we want to improve our happiness, connection, and understanding as a society, we have to begin to reconnect. As Brené Brown says, “it’s hard to hate up close, move in.” I encourage you to challenge yourselves to reengage with your life in a meaningful way. Put your phones down. Play with your kids, hold your partners hand. Start to regain connections and really see each other.

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