The Loneliness Pandemic

Last week the United States Surgeon General released a new Advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection that our country is currently facing.

Everyone experiences loneliness in their life, but why is it so prevalent now?

Harvard University reported that 43% of young adults said they were lonely since the lockdowns.

It was already trending up before 2020, the lockdowns were fuel on the fire.

Psychology Today broke loneliness into 3 types:

Existential – This is a part of the human experience and what inspires people to do soul searching to grow their personal self-image. 

Emotional – The lack of relationships with close attachments and meaningful connections.

Social – The absence of a wider social network of friends, neighbors or colleagues.

I’ve touched on existential dread and will do further research later but for now, let’s look a little further into the last two.

The Emotional and Social types of loneliness stem from personal and professional relationships

“Social” media, advertises connection, but it’s only made us more lonely than ever.

Studies keep showing us that social media usage is correlated to loneliness, anxiety, and depression

Loneliness isn’t the lack of people in your life – it’s the lack of connection. Ever heard someone say “alone in a crowded room”?

Fairytales haven’t exactly been working out either. 

Interest in divorces during the pandemic, increased by 34% in the U.S. and newly married couples were the most likely to file for divorce.

The Marriage Foundation found that 12% of couples who meet online get divorced within the first three years of marriage compared to 2% of couples who meet through friends or family.

So in the day and age of technology, how do we create lasting connections? 

One thing we can do is work on connection. This means taking initiative and caring about others.

Hobbies and interests are a great way to meet people that may share values with you. 

Don’t scoff at or underrate the health impact of community and connection.

Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26% and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Poor mental health can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and even dementia.

You know how on airplanes if the oxygen goes off, you’re supposed to put on your mask, before helping others?

If we take care of ourselves, we can better show up for others. It is important to make space in our lives for the burdens that will arise. 

Making sure you get proper sleep, exercise, diet, and proper water intake are crucial to brain function.

Researchers found that moderate and high physical activity was associated with 15-30% lower rates of severe loneliness and social isolation.

Weight lifting is an actual anti-depressant. 

Everything is connected and while I’m just a dude that makes videos, I get a lot of messages from people who are struggling.

While it is never as simple as, “hey, chin up.” There are fundamentals we can do that can help.