I want to challenge you this week to focus on one simple thing that can really help to boost happiness levels. Read on....

The picture above....it's a common scene, yes?
Our devices keep us connected in a lot of wonderful ways, AND it can be way too much, way to addictive, and also leave us unconnected to the people around us. 

I've really been paying attention lately when I am out & about how often people are on their phones. Every spare minute...while at the bus stop, in line at the grocery store, walking down the street, or waiting to order coffee. It seems like every spare minute between things, it's become habit to have phone in hand, scrolling, texting, perusing. 

We all know this is an addiction. We literally get a hit of dopamine (one of those happy chemicals our brain releases for us) when we pick up our phone and discover a new text, a new comment, a new message. Facebook, twitter, instagram all provide these hits of dopamine as we scroll that we have come to rely on. 

Another side to this that I've REALLY been pondering lately....especially when we are out & about in our communities, is that most people are rarely interacting with the people around them. I'm not just talking about the friends that you see having dinner together while both on their phones, but the cashier at the grocery store, the person next to you in line, the person waiting with you at the bus stop, the people walking by you on the street.  When I pay attention & watch, I see people so distracted with phones & in their own little world while often not even acknowledging the people around them. I see people go through the line at the grocery store all of the time, barely acknowledging the person helping them. 

Sound familiar? I'm guilty of it too. And it's something I'm working on. We need connection as humans. It brings us joy. Being acknowledged & interacting in person is important. Lack of connection can lead to depression, feelings of isolation, and addictions. 

Here's my challenge to you for this week....put your phone away. Make a point to pay attention to those around you and interact! Not only will this bring you joy, but it will be bringing others joy as well. For the next week, make a solid intention to keep your phone tucked away more often, and take opportunities to connect with others, even in the smallest of ways. Perhaps this will feel so good that you want to make it a full time habit!

Having dinner with friends? Leave your phone tucked away. Be fully present in the conversation. 

Out grocery shopping, or grabbing a coffee? Put your phone away. Make small talk with strangers. Hand out random compliments to people. Engage with your cashier or barista. Ask them how their day is going. Acknowledge them & wish them a fun day! 

When you see someone less fortunate outside of the grocery store with a sign, buy some extra food to share with them along with a smile. 

When you are walking down the street, make it a point to smile & say hello to people. 

Make a conscious effort to spread joy, smiles, and love wherever you go. And you know what? Doing these things gives you a hit of dopamine too. You'll feel more connected, happier, and enjoy the everyday errands & activities so much more. 

There's a lot of hard stuff going on in the world and our country right now. People are struggling and divided in so many ways. One of the little things we can do is be conscious about spreading smiles wherever we go. Connect in positive ways. The little ways such as smiling at people on the street, handing out sincere compliments to strangers, and truly listening to your friends & family over dinner can make an enormous difference for all of us. 

It really is about the little things throughout our day. Making some adjustments in how we carry ourself through the mundane tasks of life like grocery shopping can make such a big difference in how we feel, and in how the people around us feels.....with very little effort, simply by connecting. 

Wishing you a beautiful week full of smiles & genuine connections,