We live in an ever-increasing connected world where people from all corners of the earth can communicate, come together, enjoy diversity and love difference.
Yet among this connectivity, our children and our elderly are experiencing loneliness like no other generation before us.
The YouGov report found that one in five people admit that they have no ‘close’ friend and the time spent on social media had a direct correlation to feelings of isolation and depression. The glossy lives avidly followed by the younger generation leave millennials feeling inadequate as they compare their own lives, their own goals and their own achievements to others.
This can have a negative impact on personal relationships.
We all have two sides to our existence; one being the ardent champion of ourselves and the other being the voice of dissent. In a healthy physical and mental existence, the detractor is heard far less than the avid champion. These inner voices are part of a normal persona or consciousness and it is very natural to wrestle with both regularly.
Unfortunately, when we are stressed or distressed the self-doubter will be heard even more. These compounds our feelings of inadequacy. Spending time scrolling through social media during these periods can lower self-esteem, isolate and contribute to loneliness.
Loneliness is very different to being alone and the Phil Collins lyric will resonate with many; ‘Oh sure my friends all come round, but I’m in a crowd on my own’.
The truth is that even when people appear to ‘have everything’ or a ‘perfect life’ with a beautiful family, husband and lots of friends, they can still have feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Connections can feel meaningless, conversations can be empty, life can be unsatisfying; it’s just that it appears to be the otherwise. Outward appearances are just that, everything looks just fine but in reality, it isn’t.
Engaging physically and mentally
One of the best ways to fight feelings of loneliness is to engage physically or engage mentally. Starve the inner critic by doing something that totally immerses you and makes time fly by. The positive energy that you will get from this will make you want to repeat the same opportunity again and again.
Spending less time on social media will clear your head. Spend more time in company you really enjoy, and don’t waste it on relationships that don’t add value.
Why not start a conversation with a stranger in a coffee shop or on the bus? You’ll be amazed how interesting someone else’s story can be and it may even change your perception of life.
I have worked in London for nearly 30 years and most people who engaged in conversations with me were from a different part of the UK or abroad. But this experience can add a rich tapestry to the dullest of days.
Perhaps my nursing career has made me a good communicator but my advocacy of life and life experiences are borne of an innate curiosity. I used to love listening to stories of patients and you would be amazed at a patient’s resilience and ability to laugh even through the most distressing of illnesses.
Communication and physical touch can repair everyone, even through the toughest of times.