Dr. Tara's "Fave Five": All About Connections

Happy December!  In the spirit of the holidays, today’s Fave Five email is all about connections.  And by this, I mean real life connections.

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time on social media.  In fact, at times, I have been guilty of allowing it to have a negative impact on both my sense of self-worth and my family life.  In this, I know I’m not alone. Periodically, it’s important that we take a step back and take stock of where we’re at — to make sure we’re engaging in social media with what Dr. Sherry Turkle calls “a spirit of self-reflection”.  Because we all want digital technology to enhance our lives, not limit them.

1. TED Talk: “Connected, but alone?” by Dr. Sherry Turkle

Sherry Turkle is a professor at MIT who has spent over three decades studying the relationship between people and technology.  In her TED talk, Dr. Turkle posits that as we are becoming more fixated on our devices, we are losing the ability to truly connect with one another.  Our online interactions create the illusion of companionship but are, in fact, leading us to loneliness. Dr. Turkle suggests that we develop a more self-aware relationship with digital technology so that it guides us back to our real lives.

2. Interesting Read: “Social media users more likely to feel isolated, study finds

Recently published in Medical News Today, this article discusses a study from the University of Pittsburgh that investigated the connection between social media use and feelings of social isolation.

3. Collaborative Recipe: Gingerbread Cookie Balls

Being aware of Turkle’s research and studies like the one above, I endeavor to make @drtarasunshine an Instagram page that elicits honest, meaningful connections.  Sure, I put some effort into plating pretty food, but my integrity lies in keeping things real. The content is mine. The food is what we eat. And I try to make it pretty darn clear that I’m a perfectly imperfect work in progress.

I currently follow about 670 accounts.  Not because there aren’t millions of beautiful and inspiring pages out there, but because I work hard to actively engage with the people I follow (Oprah doesn’t respond, but I think you get what I mean).  And what has resulted from this has been a true gift. It’s my experience that when we share our true selves, we can build friendships that withstand the transition into real life.

Enter my gal pal, Teri.  @terianncarty and I connected on Instagram in the fall of 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history.  Almost exactly one year to the day of my first “like” on her page, Teri was at my house and we were gleefully rolling out our gingerbread bliss balls.  You can read more about our IG-turned-real-life friendship on Teri’s amazing blog.  And this easy, nutritious and delicious holiday recipe is definitely one you don’t want to miss!

4. Quote: Power in numbers

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

5. Holiday Tradition: “The Stories We Tell

Every year, I look forward to putting up our Christmas tree.  Let’s be honest — I’m not much of a holiday decorator and it’s far from a Martha Stewart masterpiece.  But I love our tree.  It proudly displays an eclectic assortment of ornaments that have been collected from our travels and significant events over the years.  Each ornament tells a story. These stories move me. They lead my children to ask me about the places I have visited, and the family and friends I miss.  We smile. We laugh. We sing. We reminisce and reflect about the people and experiences that bring us vitality, connection, and joy.

I hope you’ll read more of my blog “The Stories We Tell” and share some of your stories with me.  

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season!

Dr. Tara