In a world where we are more connected than ever, loneliness is on the rise.
“All the lonely people in the world , where do they come from?”
The Beatles may have asked this question in their songs, but the truth is, it could be anyone, anywhere. Because amidst all the chaos in our cities, that unlikely catastrophe is brewing. And it has become quite a beast, one that could kill us. It is none other than loneliness, and no, its not evely slighly exaggerated. We will discuss, why ! but first, let’s understand what loneliness is.
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is the gap between the level of connectedness that you want and what you have. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is.
it’s as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,according to U.S Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
He has called loneliness the latest public health epidemic. This made headlines, but this information is not really new. Study after study has said loneliness is hazardous. It’s villainous, protected by a cloak of invisibility, and it looms large.
The Scope of the Epidemic:
Loneliness has always existed, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it to the forefront of public attention. With a third of the world’s population suffering from loneliness, it has become global epidemic. 45% of people in the UK are lonely. In India, 65% of the elderly are victims of loneliness, and in the U.S., nearly 50% of the population is lonely. These numbers tell you that the world is uniting in its profound sense of isolation, and loneliness is not discriminatory; it treats everyone equally, rich and poor, young and old, introverts, and extroverts.
The Deadly Consequences of Loneliness
Do you know what loneliness does to your body? It increases the risk of premature death by 30%. It leads to health conditions like diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, dementia, depression, and anxiety. It is also linked to poor performance both at work and in school. Loneliness is clearly dangerous, and what’s worse is that it is hard to know how it arises.
The Causes of Loneliness
For some, it’s because of too much work. No work-life balance leaves you lonely. For others, it comes with big life changes like a new job or moving to a new city. Then there’s technology; it was supposed to bind us; instead, it has socially distanced us. The pandemic comes to mind; it was the last straw for a lot of people. The Wuhan virus made us cull our social circles, and it isolated us, especially the young. They reported a 70% drop in time spent with friends since the pandemic began.
The Stigma Around Loneliness
And this may sound ironic, but this knowledge is not necessarily bad. If loneliness is a shared experience, why not acknowledge it and reduce the stigma around it? As personal as the problem sounds, it is a public health emergency, so it needs to be treated that way. It demands action and policy changes. Countries like Japan and the UK would agree; they appointed a loneliness minister whose role is to exclusively look at this epidemic and curb it.
Government intervention can help build a stronger social infrastructure. It can encourage simple steps like increased social connection, teaching healthy relationships in schools, subsidizing hearing aids for the elderly, and more. Experts say the results are worth it. We need to mend our social fabric because human connection is as essential for our survival as food and water.
Loneliness is an epidemic that needs to be taken seriously. It can affect anyone, anywhere, and it can be deadly. However, acknowledging and reducing the stigma around loneliness can help reduce its impact. Governments can play a vital role in building stronger social infrastructures and encouraging increased social connection. Let’s take action and build a society that values human connection and prioritizes mental health.
As individuals, we can also take steps to combat loneliness by reaching out to others, volunteering in our communities, and nurturing our own relationships. By working together, we can create a world where loneliness is no longer a silent killer, but a problem that we actively address and solve. Let’s start by recognizing the importance of human connection and taking action to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to feel connected and supported. Together, we can build a more connected and compassionate society for all.
Read our previous Article : 10 Micro-Habits to Help You live Your Best Life
Next suggested read – LOST IN CHAOS article series :
( Note : There is a difference between Loneliness and being Alone , one is daunting where as other is powerful ! Now if you don’t know the difference you can either search it and figure it out! And If you do figure it our or if you already know it, please go ahead and comment it ! or you can wait for our next articles. )
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