I live between two extremes, at the moment. By day, I am a teacher and I have up to 20 sets of eyes on me and we are constantly interacting with each other as we work and learn.
The other part of my life is spent on my own. As soon as the bell rings, it’s just me on my own. My personal life is one of isolation and I am quite indifferent with how I feel about that.
Living between these two extremes is teaching me a lot about how isolation and social interaction effects the mind and the body. I observe the mind and body as I move through different periods of my day and I am becoming more and more aware of what goes on when we interact with people.
Psychologically and physiologically, I can feel the release of the chemicals in the brain and the body each time I interact with someone. That rush of dopamine when you share a joke with someone, it’s so evident and I can literally feel it’s effects throughout my whole body. It puts me in a state of energy, as opposed to those periods spent in isolation where my state feels completely different.
I was having an interesting discussion about technology yesterday with one of my classes. This class consists of teenagers who are in their late high school years. We were talking about how the mechanics of digital social networks such as Facebook try to emulate real life scenarios. Each time You get a like on your post, you feel good about yourself. That’s the hit of dopamine, the chemical that is being released in your brain, resulting in a temporary state of bliss at the idea that someone is approving of your photo or your words.
So then, what is healthy and what is not? What is the core issue here, anyway?
Yes, we are now connected more than ever before, but I feel as though this extra level of connectivity and the impact it has on us as individuals and society as a whole must be observed very closely if we are to use it in a healthy manner.
By no means am I against social networks. They do some good and some bad, just like everything else in this existence. Remaining indifferent is my way of being objective and looking at the facts rather than making assumptions based on my misinformed opinions.
What I will say though is, there is nothing unhealthy about social interaction. There is nothing unhealthy about isolation, either. If we go about these endeavors of ours in a conscious manner, then we can really begin to use social interaction and isolation to our advantage.