This week’s episode of The Sitt Down presents Dr. Erika L. Rosenberg. Dr. Rosenberg is a health psychologist, emotions researcher, author, and renowned expert in meditation. Other notable accolades include her role as a consultant for the TV drama “Lie to Me.” In this interview, Dr. Sitt and Dr. Rosenberg discuss the implications of social interaction and emotional communication in the digital age.
With social media and electronic communication on the rise, people are experiencing much less face-to-face interaction. Dr. Rosenberg suggests that this is decreasing our focus and attention on our tasks as well as the time we spend physically interacting with the people around us. She describes that we have developed a “Facebook impulse” that makes us check our Facebook homepage regardless of whether we can afford to be distracted. With push-notifications that alert us of social media updates, it is becoming much easier to divert our attention and focus away from our that needs to be done. With text-messaging, Facebook messaging, and all the other social media networks that provide text communication, it is becoming easy and “normal” to text a breakup, comment “Happy Birthday” on somebody’s wall, and reply to someone with an “LOL.” As we are replacing face-to-face interaction with three letter abbreviations, we are also affecting our ability to recognize subtle, complex emotions. Dr. Rosenberg suggests that this is a skill like any other that follows the “Use it or Lose it” concept. If we practice this skill, it will be maintained and strengthened, but if we use this skill less and less we become deficient. Although we can to some extent express the basic emotions through digital communication, how do we truly express and decipher more complex emotions like sympathy, empathy, and love? More importantly how do we detach ourselves from social media so that we can address these emotions? Dr. Rosenberg offers her advice on the subject and reminds us that we are in control of our brains and how we choose to use it.
Tune in to this episode to catch the rest of Dr. Rosenberg’s interview as well as her insights on how we can tune out social media (or at least for a few hours at a time) so that we can enrich our lives with meaningful social interactions.