3 tech-free ways to boost happiness and get connected

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CBS News

Barbara Fredrickson, author of Love 2.0, joined "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday to discuss the "opportunity costs" of connecting with loved ones solely through technology like smart phones, texting, and tablets. "We need to be socially active, connected face-to-face," to stay healthy emotionally and physically as well, Fredrickson said on the broadcast.

Sherri Turkle, a professor of psychology at MIT and the author of "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less from Each Other," joined Fredrickson on "CBS This Morning" and said that communication methods like texting can give "us the feeling that we can hide from each other. We can construct our texts to be who we want to be...we can sort of hide in plain sight." 

Turkle added that this can lead to "the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship." 

In an effort to get back to friendship, Fredrickson shared her three simple tips for feeling more grounded and in-touch with others, in a tech-connected but emotionally disconnected world. According to Fredrickson, the benefits of making these small changes go beyond building rapport and relationships, to include elevating your health and happiness.

Fredrickson's get-connected tips:

  • Take one minute at the end of the day to think about the three longest social interactions you had that day. Rate how close and in tune with these people you felt. Research shows that people who reflect on their social connections every day for a month enjoy better moods and improve their cardiovascular health. 
  • As you walk to or from work each day, or whenever you find yourself waiting, instead of checking your phone for updates, look around you, select one or more people and silently wish for their happiness. If these individuals look happy already, silently wish for their good fortune to continue. If they look troubled, wish them peace. Offering these wishes silently does more good than you might think. It conditions your own heart and mind to be more open and attuned to others, which makes it easier to genuinely connect with others when you have the chance 
  • Try a short, guided meditation. Research shows that practicing these particular ancient forms of meditation creates more micro-moments of connection in daily life, which not only feels good, but can also improve your health. There are many guided meditations available for free, online.