We now know enough about loneliness for medical science to place it on the same level of physical harm to us as smoking and alcoholism. Yet hardly anyone really talks about it because we think that being lonely is something that's just happened to us Because loneliness is personal it feels a little different to everyone. Yet, collectively it undermines our mental health, erodes our sense of self-worth and directly attacks our lifespan and healthspan by reducing the years we have and the number of healthy years we can experience.
I've discussed a little about loneliness before. This is a post being put in place as we head towards the festive season which only seems to intensify the sense of loneliness people feel. The traditional family atmosphere and family festivities we are exposed to from a traditional culture perspective can leave us feeling isolated, disenfranchised and isolated if we, for whatever reason, fail to experience them for our self or be part of such a group. The experience of being somehow different or less worthy is itself damaging and can lead us to withdraw even further.
Research, over the last few years, has shown that loneliness that leads to feeling socially isolated is a bigger killer than obesity. We spend a lot of time in this community finding ways to help the health of our body and mind and ignoring loneliness would be remiss.
So, what can we do? While we may be physically removed from each other we are all, here, digitally connected. Those connections activate the same part of the brain that are activated by real-life connections and interactions. The little things we do here, the responses and comments, suggestions and occasional tags as we call someone we know into a conversation we have with someone else, play a vital role in making us all feel listened to and respected, valued and wanted. They reduce the darkness we all carry within us and allow us to feel that the world is a hopeful place which we can fit in.
If you want to create a more enriching experience for everyone here, including yourself, consider how you could do some of the following:
- Remember to tag people in conversations using the "@" and their avatar name if you come across something you think would interest them or would add an additional dimension to something they're already doing or talking about.
- Call in others you think may know some of the answer someone seeks.
- Check in on people you've interacted with but may not have heard from for some time, just to see if they're doing OK.
- Comment on threads and answer questions when someone asks in the Hive.