The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness
“The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness”
Vivek Murthy declared in a cover story for the Harvard Business Review last year.
Human connection is an innate need to create a rapport with another person or people. How is it even possible to feel a lack of connection today in a world of constant and instant communication?
Some blame technology–such as the quantity versus quality of online relationships. Additionally, some daily routines like “working remote” can increase isolation.
But is there a difference between being lonely and being alone?
Being lonely is the longing for company. Being alone is a state of being. You could be watching Netflix on a Saturday night by yourself. You are alone. Are you lonely? Maybe. If you wish you had someone next to you, the answer is “yes,” at that moment you might be lonely, and that’s ok - however, loneliness can be bad for your emotional well-being.
Feelings of loneliness are normal and you should acknowledge them. What you do with your feelings of loneliness may help you cope with them. Some people choose to: read, paint, draw, take care of a pet…and the list goes on.
There are plenty of small and easy things you can do in your everyday life - check out a compilation of advice from therapists nationwide on concrete steps you can take when you are feeling lonely.
Things you can do
Start small – make small talk with your barista, co-worker, or neighbor.
Get active – join a team, start an activity or hobby, volunteer for an organization.
Identify why you feel lonely - writing is a great way to battle loneliness, as it helps you to clarify your thoughts, process your emotions, and get to know yourself better.
Talk to someone, like a therapist, to help understand your feelings and find strategies to manage them.
Everyone has times where they feel a sense of loneliness, so you’ll never be alone in feeling lonely. Taking any of the steps above can help reduce your isolation and can help you feel better.