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Human Connections: How Important are they?

Human connections were once a simple matter in the not-too-distant past. Isn’t it true that people gathered around campfires, traded stories, and laughed under the stars? These connections were more than just for survival; they were the fundamental essence of what it meant to be human. In today’s digital world, our connections have taken on a new shape. But, in this hyperconnected world, are we losing touch with the beauty of true human connections? To fully understand this, we must return to the basics of human connections.

The Biology and Psychology of Human Connections:

Before we get too technical, did you know that being in love is a lot like a drug addiction? According to a CNN Health report, it’s true. That itself says a lot about how social beings humans are. Now let’s take a look at the fundamentals. It all starts with the heart, a significant powerhouse buried in our chest. When we connect with someone, our heart rate often matches theirs. This is known as “empathetic resonance,” and it is nature’s way of alerting us that we are social beings.

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Furthermore, our brains are important to human connections. The production of hormones such as oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” during bonding moments strengthens our emotional bonds. These chemical reactions occur whether you’re hugging a friend or sending a sincere message on your phone.

The Importance of Human Connection:

Why do these connections matter so much? Recall the last time you laughed with a friend or got a reassuring hug. Don’t those moments make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Human connections make us happy, relieve stress, and even strengthen our immune systems. According to a Chinese study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, people with strong social connections tend to live longer and healthier lives.

But it isn’t only about our physical wellness. Human connections give us a sense of purpose and belonging. They provide emotional support during difficult times and increase our joy at happy times. Think of them as the glue that keeps our life’s collage together.

Furthermore, according to a motivational theory called Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs, humans need love and belonging just as much as they need food and water. And licensed psychotherapist, Jeanne Malnati, also confirms this in her Ted Talk that was posted a few years ago. In the Ted Talk, she says, “I believe the human spirit thrives for human connection that is real. And I think that something inside of us dies without it.”

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The Digital Age Dilemma: Now that we live in the digital age, our connections have taken on a fresh look. Within seconds, we can send a text, make a video call, or share a photo. It all contributes to connecting large distances and time zones. This digital age has surely increased our social circles by linking us with people from all around the world. It does, however, come with its own set of difficulties. The digital space can sometimes give the illusion of connection while missing the depth of genuine human interaction. We frequently go through well-maintained social media feeds, comparing our lives to others and feeling isolated even though we are surrounded by virtual friends. It’s as if our need for genuine, meaningful interactions has been washed out by a sea of data.

Overcoming the Digital Struggles: So, how can we manage the digital age while protecting the essence of human connection?

Set Boundaries: Build tech-free zones and times throughout your day. Put your phone down during dinner, have conversations face-to-face, and actually listen to the person in front of you.

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Quality Over Quantity: Focus on building stronger connections with a select few people rather than hoping for a large number of online followers or friends. Spend time engaging in meaningful conversations and sharing experiences.

Practice Digital Detox: Disconnect from your digital devices on a regular basis and engage in activities that promote real-world interactions, such as going for a walk, joining a hobby club, or volunteering.

Embrace Vulnerability: Share your true nature both online and off. Discuss your opinions, feelings, and experiences. Strong connections are built on vulnerability.

Give priority to Face-to-Face: Choose face-to-face interactions over digital ones wherever possible. There is no alternative to the comfort of a genuine smile or a hug.

Sources: CNN Health, simplypsychology.org, scitechdaily.com, TedxTalks By: Ashbiha Fathima

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