We all think we’re more connected to people than ever before. After all, thanks to technology we are constantly updated with photos, status updates and instant messages in the deluge of social media noise we’re drowning under.
Yet surveys show that more and more of us, over 50% and rising, are wrestling with feelings of loneliness and isolation.
In the midst of this excess of communication,, sociologists claim we’re experiencing a Global Loneliness Epidemic.
Because although we are constantly sharing on social media and messaging on our phones, that really doesn’t count as connecting.
No, it really doesn’t.
In fact the act of scrolling through your social media drug of choice, for me its Facebook but it could just as well be Instagram, Twitter or whatever, feeds and indeed can even trigger deep feelings of disconnection and that awful fear that you’re missing out on something, everything, life.
And here’s the thing, authentic human contact is scientifically proven to massively raise our wellbeing. Real human connection improves our immune systems, lengthens our potential lifespans, decreases our stress levels, increases our happiness and contentedness scores and improves our brain chemistry.
That means simply spending time with people in real life. How novel is that, eh?
Try it; talk to people who are around you right now, no matter where you are. I talk to everyone everywhere, in bank queues, supermarket checkout lines, people I meet when I’m out walking my dogs, especially other people walking dogs because we bond over how lovely our dogs all are.
And if you’re alone, go out and find people to talk to. I know that’s hard, because I live alone too and I had to force myself to go out and meet people when I finally realised that the source of much of my stress was loneliness.
I know its a cliche, but join a club, a social group about something you have an interest in. That way, you already have something you can talk about to the other people there.
If its your thing, join a church or a choir. Or a support group. Or a members club. Look for something and you’ll find it and then go join. Face to face connection is so important for health and well being and just to simply make you feel happier.
Find your people and go geek out with them. I love time with all my colleagues where we talk about brain science and universal laws and mind bending stuff other people would find crazy. And I love spending time with my friends who read the same kind of books and watch the same tv as me and we can all ohhh and ahhh over the latest plot twists.
I know I’ve been spending too much time on my own when I don’t want to go out and be with other people. And that’s the very time when I absolutely must go out and be with others, the time when I need it most.
Don’t get so isolated and alone that being with others scares you or feels like hard work. And when it does, go gently, for just an hour and build up your social muscles again. People want to see you, people want to talk to you, you have an unique view of the world and the things you are interested in. Share it with us. xx