Yep: You can win $100,000. All you have to do is give up your smartphone for a year.

And pass a lie detector to prove that you did.

Here's how it works. Enter the Vitaminwater contest before January 8, 2019 by posting a photo to Twitter or Instagram, include the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest, and tell Vitaminwater what you would do with all the time you would free up by not having a smartphone. 

Keep in mind that if you are selected you can't use a smartphone for an entire year. You can't use your own. You can't use someone else's. You can't sneak a peek or crank out a quick text. (You can use the low-tech cell phone they give you, though.)

At the end of the year you'll be given a polygraph test and if you fail, all that self-denial will be for naught. 

Or maybe not.

Thinking about what you would tell Vitaminwater you would do with all that time should encourage you to actually do some of those things with your time. Countless studies people are at their happiest when they have great relationships with other people.

On the flip side, other research shows that the more you use Facebook to maintain personal relationships the worse you tend to feel.

That's because all interactions not created equal. 

"Exposure to the carefully curated images from others' lives," the researchers say, "leads to negative self-comparison, and the sheer quantity of social media interaction may detract from more meaningful real-life experiences."

Or in non researcher-speak, your life feels like it pales in comparison to other people's "Instagrammed" lives. Time spent only seeing things other people want you to see takes away from time you could spend having real -- not virtual -- interactions and relationships. Hanging out with your friends will make you a lot happier than sitting alone on your couch as you scroll through your Facebook feed to see what your "friends" are doing.

Of course the same is true for other social networks. Eeven those we use for "professional" purposes. 

It's easy to use LinkedIn to build a professional network of partners, customers, employees, connections, etc, because (hopefully) there will be a payoff. 

But how often do your LinkedIn connections come through? At least for me, it's the other way around: I probably get 100 requests for help for every offer of assistance I receive. (Which doesn't feel particularly good.)

But my real professional friends? They frequently offer suggestions. Or help. Or to connect me with someone who can help me. (Just like I do for them.) Real professional friends are not just more valuable than social network professional friends, they also make me feel better about myself. They make me feel valued. They make me feel appreciated. Yep: They make me happy.

Making 50 more Facebook friends? That's just more people to engage with... which means you'll spend more time on Facebook... which, according to science means you'll wind up feeling worse.

But making even just 1 or 2 more real friends? Science shows that will make a huge difference in how happy you feel.

Science says spend less time on your social network friends, and a lot more on your real friends.

You'll definitely be happier -- and your life will be richer and more active.

Maybe Vitaminwater is onto something after all.

Whether you win $100,000 or not.

Published on: Dec 14, 2018
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