Even though many of us are more connected technologically than ever, it seems like we’re also more disconnected from each other as human beings. That isolation isn’t good for us psychologically or physically, and to help combat it, a new campaign by O, The Oprah Magazine, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Skype wants each of us, every day, to “Just Say Hello” to one person we don’t know.

Sound goofy? Maybe at first. “The average person’s social media followers can total hundreds, if not thousands, yet many of us still feel disconnected,” writes Jihan Thompson, health editor of O, The Oprah Magazine, on Skype’s Big Blog. “At any given time, one in five people – or roughly 60 million Americans – are lonely,” she says, citing estimates from University of Chicago psychology professor John T. Cacioppo.

In “Just Say Hello,” an article in the March 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Dr. Gupta says that the positive effects of social connection are much more beneficial than we might think. “Studies have shown that people with stronger social relationships sleep better, have sharper memories, and are less stressed,” Thompson writes. “But perhaps the most profound finding was that people who have strong ties to family, friends, and coworkers have a 50 percent greater chance of outliving those with fewer social connections. In short, human interaction is just as important as diet and exercise to our overall well-being.”

For inspiration (or courage) to take part in “Just Say Hello,” watch the video above. And to read Thompson’s entire post, head over to Skype’s Big Blog.

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Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff