Saturday, April 28, 2012

BlogHer Asks: Internet = Happiness?

Well, I'm back, but only because I'm using a laptop computer that my husband borrowed from work so that I could get a few things done this weekend. Because I'm a member of BlogHer's Life Well Lived panel of bloggers, one of those things is to write a post answering this week's question: How does blogging, journaling, writing and connecting online help to increase your happiness?

Such a good question.

I've written this blog for nearly six years now, and in that time I've experienced so many life changes I've lost track of them all. Having a second child, closing my private psychotherapy practice, starting and building a career as a writer, serving as the president of the Board of Directors for my daughters' co-op preschool, volunteering regularly at their elementary school, joining our CSA farm, making new friends and carefully backing away from others, writing a book and getting it published, planning a wellness coaching practice, raising my girls from babies to kids--these are just a few of the numerous challenging transitions that have come my way in recent years. And through it all, writing here has played a huge role in my life, serving as a constant through the changes.

Some of the friendships I have formed via Internet communication alone have been vital to my sanity and happiness in recent years, as strange as that would have sounded eight or 10 years ago. And many of my online connections have influenced my attitude, world view, or approach to daily life as a busy stay-at-home mom in very important ways. Reading other blogs, and getting to know their authors, has been enormously entertaining, helpful, and stress-relieving--and also just a whole lot of fun. In addition to all that, connecting with other, unknown and often anonymous moms via my blog has given me so much joy and satisfaction. (Not counting the mean anonymous commenters who sometimes crop up as part and parcel of the experience.)

Why is this type of communication so important to happiness? Because women especially, I think, crave friendship and social connection, and because "real-life" friends are often far away and not available for an in-person chat at the many odd hours you may need the comfort and support one could give. Because none of us wants to feel alone. Because the life of a modern stay-at-home mom is isolating and stressful, and often doesn't include much adult contact during the day.

I've considered giving up my blog many times, and have more seriously considered cutting down on the time I spend online. I still think the latter is probably a good idea; like anything else, it can eat up time I could and should be using for other endeavors. Then again, the essays and articles I have had published online have fueled my career as a writer and even padded my bank account at times--not to mention, my blog ultimately inspired and developed into my book.

What about you? Do you value your friendships and casual connections you form online? Is blog-reading or -writing a hobby that's fun and stress-relieving for you? Head on over to BlogHer's main Life Well Lived post to read how other bloggers answer this question, and be sure to enter the sweepstakes!


Jordy Liz said...

I come back and write each week for those friends I've made through blogging for almost five years. It's an amazing community!

jordy | jordy liz blogs

Tracy said...

I would be so lonely without my internet to connect with my friends from all over the world. I am relatively new to staying at home mommy-dom and moved from New England to California. So, I started blogging to connect with others and hopefully make people laugh with our anecdotes. So far the community has been terrific! Tracy