One definition of spirituality is the art of making connections. Separation is best avoided as a stumbling block to human flourishing. In an article in The New York Times, Barbara L. Frederickson points out the excessive use of digital screens as the post-modern habit of social connection. She reports on recent studies which have shown that the more attuned you are to others through face-to-face interpersonal conversation with them, the healthier you will be:

"When you share a smile or laugh with someone face to face, a discernible synchrony emerges between you, as your gestures and biochemistries, even your respective neural firings, come to mirror each other. It's micro-moments like these, in which a wave of good feeling rolls through two brains and bodies at once, that build your capacity to empathize as well as to improve your health."

The research also showed how meditation affects a key part of the cardiovascular system called vagal tone, how the heart's capacity for friendship is affected by the biological law of "use it or lose it," and how our personal histories of social connection or loneliness alter our immune system.

The spiritual recommendation: put down your devices and extend your hand to someone for the benefit of your health.

Next Post: Becoming More Empathetic