Loneliness is a killer.
It is disturbing to note that in spite of the instantaneous availability of entertainment and human connection brought by social media, an increasing number of people is suffering from loneliness and social isolation.
In a review of the study on the harmful effects of loneliness conducted in the US, it shows that loneliness kills people at the same rate as obesity and as fatal as heavy smoking. In the study, among the 3.4 million respondents, the review indicates that the likelihood of death was “26% for reported loneliness, 29% for social isolation, and 32% for living alone”.
The review concluded that the study found out that isolation, living alone and loneliness are connected to a 30% risk of early death.
So why, in this modern age, do we get lonelier? This could be due to a different number of reasons. Of course, we couldn’t deny that in spite of the widely used of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, etc., we feel more and more disconnected, our relationships becoming more superficial and fleeting, while we, to ourselves, are becoming more shallow and empty.
In no particular order, here are some of the few things that you could do that could help you get out from this modern day epidemic.
Learn a new hobby or skill.
Think of an activity that interests you. It could either be a hobby or a skill which you would like to try or develop. Learning a new hobby or skill would make your mind preoccupied with entirely new and different and interesting things. To learn new things is fun. Go, sign up for a class or ask someone to be your coach. The goal here is to get out of the house more often and have fun.
Get involve in sports.
Getting yourself involved in sport and other physical activities can greatly improve your social life and your inclusion to the community you belong. It does not only improve physical and mental well-being, but it is also proven to be an effective way to combat anti-social behavior, boost your self-confidence, and a great way to meet new acquaintances.
Render your services to a humanitarian cause.
The world is always in need of an extra hand. Look around you or check it with your community bulletin board what help can you offer to various social causes. You can volunteer for various community activities or social advocacies that are meaningful to you. When you render your services to these humanitarian causes which you truly believe in and passionate about, you would feel more value to yourself, and you would get connected to a lot of people who share the same passion, values, and belief as you do.
Most likely, in the course of your service to the less fortunate, you would discover that you are still more fortunate and blessed than to some of them. And you would find a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
Involve in your Church’s ministries and activities.
Your local Church has always that kind of support group which you can definitely fit in. If you have a gift for singing or playing musical instruments, you can also volunteer to be a part of the Church’s choir or music ministry.
In any Church, there are always support group which you could be a part of which offer some spiritual or emotional support. And the good thing about them is that there’s always an abundance of good people in the Church who are very much willing to guide or accompany you through your best and difficult times. Plus, these groups often have a lot of activities which could encourage you to connect more and have fun.
Find a support group.
Whether you are suffering from loneliness or not, each one of us should have that one person or a group of people who you don’t mind calling even in the middle of the night when you need someone to talk to. People you could hang up with and whom you can share stories, jokes, and personal information without the fear of being judged or ridiculed.
If you could find people whom you can regularly interact and spend quality time with, you are on your way to building a deeper relationship and human connection.
If reading is not your thing, perhaps you should consider giving it a try.
Reading books is proven to be beneficial for your mental health and your relationships with others. It is one of the most effective ways to escape from a stressful situation and to spend quality time with yourself.
According to studies, getting yourself lost and immersed in the pages of a fiction is a valuable socializing influence and it can improve social functioning and empathy. Plus, readers are less vulnerable from depression than non-readers.
Disconnect more often to connect.
Make plans, show up with your friends, and hang out with them more often. While social media is great in its own term, there’s nothing much better than a personal meet up. Also at home, disconnect more yourself from your gadgets and spend more quality time together as a family.
Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of loneliness. When you lack sleep, your physical, psychological, and emotional moods are greatly affected. It can dull your spirit, more easy to get tired, and decreases your body’s level of tolerance against sickness.
Loneliness is a real threat to life. If you’re suffering from it, the first step is to fully acknowledge it. Only in that way you can begin to address the problem.
Note: Photos are not mine. Credit to the real owners.