The Epidemic of Loneliness: A Modern Crisis
With so many ways to connect, it might seem hard to believe that we’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness.
Yet according to scientific research referenced in a 2023 Surgeon General’s report, 1 out of 2 adults in America reported feeling lonely. And that was before the pandemic!
While digital technology has brought us closer in some ways, it has also helped exacerbate the epidemic of loneliness.
Online interactions often lack the depth and authenticity of face-to-face interactions, failing to fulfill our innate need for genuine human connection. Are you spending less time in face-to-face communication than you were in the past?
Social media can invite comparison ... who has more friends, more fun, more likes ... deepening feelings of isolation and a sense of missing out.
In the safety of my office, expressed in various ways, clients report missing close friendships. People long for their phone to ring, long for meaningful connections.
This feeling of disconnection is not limited to the elderly. I hear it from young, old, and in-between, and from various socio-economic groups. It is with passion that I say ... we need to help each other fill the void!
Research has shown that chronic loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, weakened immune function, and cognitive decline. The impact of loneliness extends beyond the individual, affecting societal well-being.
For my part, I’m seeking to establish a caring community organized around mindfulness and compassion. It’s my intention that as we engage in these powerful practices, we will get to know each other, that our bonds will increase, and relationships will form. How will you help to combat this epidemic of loneliness?