Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Is Loneliness Becoming a Public Health Issue?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is Loneliness Becoming a Public Health Issue?

    It would seem that we live in times when people speak less to each other and where a reduced sense of community exists. So much so that the old are forgotten, where neighbours do not speak and where children and young people are hypnotized by their smartphones and their tablets.

    In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister recently embarked on a loneliness strategy by appointing a Minister for Loneliness.

    Share your observations on how loneliness, in general, is affecting people in the broader community and not just in distance learning.



    The above provides a very interesting insight into the "loneliness pandemic".

  • #2
    I think it's mostly due to social media being designed to be addictive, engaging, and all that, for extended data gathering on users that the platforms sell to businesses and advertisers etc for money. It was intentionally made to pre-occupy and hook in one's attention. Additionally, social media culture, also anchored on its design, emphasizes face-value, quantitative, stylized personas online -- nothing so real, genuine but mostly filtered, masked and sugarcoated.

    What happens then is that there's so much emphasis on instant, low quality "approval" tokens like "likes" and how easy or how fast these are being done. While social media helped in widening and speeding up the social aspect, it also amplifies the usually damaging impacts related to it. This means:

    1. People get lonelier because no one really invested genuinely with them -- most people are focused on quantitative constructs like "followers" or "likes".
    2. The perception of loneliness is also hyper-exaggerated, because you'd see very high friend counts, likes, shares, and other "social" parameters, as a reference to your own.
    3. Happiness and life expectancy has a positive correlation to the amount of QUALITY relationships, and social media focuses on quantity.
    4. Considering that the sample is the UK, individualistic cultured countries tend to have less interactions that collectivistic cultured ones. Loneliness is further exacerbated by the core culture.

    Comment


    • #3
      Collectivistic cultured sounds like it came from a communistic commune Conceding the idea that environment is influencing the 'collective' state of mind, i'm still of the opinion that adults ought to be adults and thinking 'lonely' just flies into the face of that 'normal'..or doesn't it? These extraordinary times stressed on isolating and distancing --concepts that only lead to being 'alone'-- exacerbating the already growing loneliness? Still, investing on a Minister of Loneliness sounds off a strong message:

      "You are not alone."

      Comment


      • Alex_Ivanovski
        Alex_Ivanovski commented
        Editing a comment
        Minister for Loneliness does send a strong message that the gov recognizes there is a problem and that this is a part of the solution

      • Indelible_Mark
        Indelible_Mark commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes Alex_Ivanovski the Minister and her commission published their plans too https://assets.publishing.service.go...web_Update.pdf

        Unfortunately initiatives have been delayed by the pandemic..on second thought, gambling has since been reduced due to social distancing rules. Would have likely pulled families together..at least that is the hope.

    • #4
      Technology has brought people closer. Face time over the phone has brought people who are separated by distance closer. Social media allows us to follow what's going on with our friends we don't get to see often. I think we have seen this as an opportunity to keep in touch with friends more often without the need to really be present. In truth, technology allowed us to speak more to each other

      However, I think we are social beings who are drawn towards relationships, interaction and intimacy. I get to talk with friends and family over the phone or over face time, but it is different. It is different to be in the same room with them and see things that they see, maintain eye contact while talking, or touch every now and then.



      Comment


      • mjmnl
        mjmnl commented
        Editing a comment
        Totally agree with you. Imagine if social media isn't part of everybody's lives, then this pandemic happened. It will be so hard to know how your relatives and friends are doing. It will definitely take time to get an update about their lives and health. I guess that will make loneliness more of a problem and might cause a jump not only in the Covid-19 cases but also with the mental health problems or worse suicide rates.

        But because of technology, we're able to get real-time updates. Thank goodness! It might take time before we get to hug or even be close to our loved ones. However, being careful is definitely better than being reckless and never have the chance to hug them again.

    • #5
      Maybe it is just me or possibly something might be wrong with me LOL but I somehow see myself as an introvert and don't really find time to feel lonely or alone. Social media and Netflix (Thank God for that) keeps me company as well as well connected to people. Although I felt really lonely and alone when the internet was down for more than a day this one time where any means of connection to other people seemed like completely cut-off feeling like the last man on earth!

      Comment


      • Kamille
        Kamille commented
        Editing a comment
        Internet is now a necessity, so I always prepare a back up connection. When that doesn't work, I just re-watch movies on cable.
        If internet is lost more than a day, I go to my stash of books. Getting lost in a fictional world and connecting with the characters keep my introvert self from feeling alone in this world.
        Last edited by Kamille; 05-20-2020, 01:07 PM.

      • mjmnl
        mjmnl commented
        Editing a comment
        We depend so much on the internet nowadays. I was able to live for 2 days without internet during an island camping but I was surrounded by plenty of people and stayed in a place with beautiful scenery. That setting is totally impossible right now during this pandemic. So, I would also go nuts if I lose my internet connection for a day. I search for everything on the web from entertainment to assistance in my daily life. I also keep myself occupied after work by watching Netflix and youtube. The perfect way to not feel lonely during this quarantine. By the way, I am running out of series to watch in Netflix, any recommendations?

      • Skye
        Skye commented
        Editing a comment
        To each his own.

        I feel that being on social media A LOT makes me more lonely. It also magnifies the feeling of missing something you used to have, and now you don't. And it also creates feelings of wanting what you do not have or cannot have. Thus, creating a feeling of inadequacy.

        It's not social media's fault. But it has that effect.

        But Netflix is great for me. This is my go-to activity for alone time, replaced reading (yeah, yeah, I hear the judgment). But it is my ME time when all I want is entertainment, no deep thoughts, no work to check on, no kids to listen to. Just me and whatever series or move takes my fancy.

        Netflix helps me create my bubble so I can be unreachable, and recharge my internal batteries.

        I'll try a new "escape reality activity" next time - Amazon Prime. Might keep the loneliness at bay too.

    • #6
      "love and social connections are what really matters in life" -realizations of the late Dr. John Cacioppo, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago days before he died (see https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...c-loneliness)- my realization too with the on-going pandemic. This was early last year while battling another more overt pandemic that (fortunately) is making us live up to the above realization. How much have you loved today to keep the loneliness away?

      Comment


      • Skye
        Skye commented
        Editing a comment
        I have loved a lot today. Still the loneliness is there. It's the social connection that is missing. The physical connection is also missing - the hugs, the high fives, the handshakes, that tap on on the back, the kisses. Even the smiles are missing because they are all covered with masks these days. I miss the loud laughter, the friendly banter, even the very lively greeting of our next door neighbor when I pass by.

        So even though I have loved a lot today, I have received a lot of love today too, I still feel lonely at times.

    • #7
      When we embarked in this technologically modern time, our interpersonal communication has lessened and still continues to lessen. Physical communication is getting less and less. We have been inclined with social media and video conferencing apps that we are more comfortable talking to people over our smartphones rather than talking to them in person.

      The feeling of loneliness is a valid feeling. However, I believe it is being highlighted more these days because we are starting to forget that there is life outside technology. The sense of being close to someone, not necessarily romantic, gives you the sense of "being there" and having someone there with you.

      However, I must agree with you all that technology is a great help nowadays especially because we are under lockdown. Really, thank goodness for Netflix and social media. But, I must say, social media can be as distracting as it is entertaining.

      Maybe, when this whole pandemic is over, we can step back a little, go back to nature and take time to appreciate its beauty, go out with family, friends, or acquaintances. Hopefully, doing so will make us realize that there is more to life than being lonely. That there are people out there that you can reach out to for help.

      Comment


      • Kamille
        Kamille commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree. Also, I like your idea of stepping back and going back to nature once the lockdown is over.
        Social media is helpful in connecting with our loved ones, but it also has negative effects on our mental health. Hyper technological connectivity can trigger impulse control problem and create psychological cravings, much like the addiction in alcohol, drugs and gambling.

        Take the time to assess how social media is affecting your life. Is it damaging your relationship with the people you are living with? Does it make you feel more isolated? It helps to turn your phone off for a few hours each day to spend quality time with the people around you. Maybe check how your neighbors are doing. You can also find other outlets for your creativity and self-expression without using gadgets. You can start gardening, or painting, or update your journal for all your thoughts and dreams. This is the perfect time to learn a new hobby, or go back to your old one. As for me, I can't wait to hit the beach when all this is over.
        Last edited by Kamille; 06-01-2020, 12:00 PM.

      • mjmnl
        mjmnl commented
        Editing a comment
        Social media really has both negative and positive effects. It depends on you whether you'll let it affect you or not. There are numbers of positive effects of social media in our mental health and it includes the fact that we can maintain our relationship with our loved ones even during this pandemic. Everything can be good as long as it is in moderation.

        Don't get too caught up with its negative effect because it may result in anxiety and lower self-esteem. There is also a lot of toxic information on social media that you should just shrug off instead of making it a big issue. If browsing through social media is already making you uneasy, it is good to have a detox and actually live the old good life and be active in the real world.

    • #8
      This came to mind when the topic of loneliness came up. It's not only about being lonely because you're single, it's also feeling lonely even when you're surrounded by others. It's true that there are less face-to-face interactions these days. Could this also be why a lot of people are feeling depressed? Maybe they are just lonely? It's good that this is looked into.

      Comment


      • #9

        My son has ADHD, and with the lockdown, I was not able to regulate his usage of gadgets. It is hard especially for children during this lockdown. Their only way to keep in touch with friends is to stay online. I can see how this lockdown is impacting his behavior. A few weeks after the lockdown started, he began displaying restles sness, and an overwhelming urge to hit (playfully). He started exagerated babbling and has been really loud when he talks . It isn't alarming, but to me, it is an indication that the lack of activity is affecting him. Good thing, his Taekwondo coach was able to find a way to still conitnue training online. Although there is no physical contact in an online training, I am sure that the drills and exercises are helping him release pent up energy. Also, he gets to do things with his friends other than play online games.
        Last edited by kdy; 06-08-2020, 08:12 PM.

        Comment


        • Kamille
          Kamille commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm glad you were able to find activities for your son to stay active during this pandemic.
          Adults worry about everything too much that sometimes, we forget that the kids are affected too. Their lives have turned upside down. The things they used to love like sports, school, hanging out with friends and families, or just playing outside and simply being kids have been taken away from them. I have toddlers and we've been staying at home way before the lockdown. They do not show any alarming signs but I know they miss going out on weekends to visit families. I worry that the stress and isolation will affect their brain development. Thankfully, I found some really helpful tips for parents and I'd like to share it here in case anyone needs it too. https://www.parents.com/health/coron...mental-health/

      • #10
        Seems like the government has really acknowledged loneliness as a concern. The Washington Post has shared this article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...ring-pandemic/) which urges the single people to find someone amidst the pandemic. Doesn't have to be someone to be with in the long run, but at least someone to help ease the loneliness you feel right now. As mentioned, it will be a great help for the person's mental and emotional well being.

        We all know that it is not only the coronavirus that we have to be aware of. We may acquire a lot of different viruses and be severely sick if we are not responsible. The tips mentioned in the article may work for you or for anyone you know but remember to always be safe and careful out there.

        Comment


        • Indelible_Mark
          Indelible_Mark commented
          Editing a comment
          Read that article and thought 'whoa! what a bold message!'.. To encourage even dictate how relationships ought to be in the midst of an invisible enemy..really apocalyptic! It also seemed to suggest that people are more afraid of dying and guilt than finding ways to bridge the gaps. Flooding and famine will have pulled people together but this pandemic seems to have tested those instinctive bonding tendencies to the limit.

        • Bart94
          Bart94 commented
          Editing a comment
          I think this lockdown raised up the awareness of this society problem that is loneliness. It is not really something new, it feels like more and more people claim to be introverts and to be lonely. Is it real, is it a trend? Social medias tend are called "social" because they connect us and are supposed to increase the interactions, but the truth is they also increase reduce the real-life interactions. You might "connect" with more people, but the question is also how deep is this connection? I guess it tends to be shallower. It feels like nobody really cares about you. It participates to create a loneliness feeling. Even if you have people around, you feel like you are lonely. I know some people who chose to live in a flatshare because it helps them to feel less lonely. The longest people are lonely, the harder it might get to build new relationships. This pandemic and lockdown it provoked probably increased this phenomenon. But I am not sure it will change, on the contrary, people learnt new ways of working from home, and studying. For a lot of people those were the main interactions the got with other people, and now the gap just got bigger.

        • Kamille
          Kamille commented
          Editing a comment
          The article discussed some really bold concerns. However, one thing stuck to me the most: the elderly citizens being paired with their neighbors who are free of illnesses. Elderly citizens are immuno-compromised which means they are more susceptible to Corona virus. Having a "support bubble" to help them with their everyday lives, like supply runs and medical needs, will truly help them cope with this new normal. Also, because family visits are limited, having someone to spend some time with can ease their loneliness. Most of them are not active on social media and prefers in-person interactions. I doubt that its the same with them compared to us who have internet and Netflix. After all, its social distancing we should practice, not social isolation.

          As for the "support bubble" for single people, I agree with Bart94 that this will only promote shallow connections and shallow relationships. Finding someone who connects with you in a more profound level other than just skin-deep is the one who can truly help you wipe your loneliness away.
          Last edited by Kamille; 06-25-2020, 01:07 PM.

      • #11
        Loneliness has always been an issue. But now, people are talking more about it. People are more open in acknowledging loneliness - be it theirs or someone else's.

        There is now a focus on mental and emotional health.

        But is it really a public health issue? Or is it a manufactured reality being pushed to us by those who have something to gain with this booming mental health industry? Who is lobbying for this? Who stands to gain? Is it really for the public's health? Or is it for business?

        Comment


        • #12
          We can look at a few advantages of being alone while studying online. You can focus more on studying online since no one or nothing can distract you while doing it. It is a good thing to focus more on one thing at a time rather than being distracted by other things. During a time like this (Corona Virus Pandemic), it is also a better choice to isolate yourself than being in a group of people since you will never know if they're a carrier or not. However, loneliness is not something to joke and ignore. If you ever feel that loneliness is affecting you negatively, it is always a good thing to talk about it with the people around you. There is nothing wrong in saying what you're feeling and express them while you can.
          Last edited by mjmnl; 06-22-2020, 08:27 AM.

          Comment

          Working...
          X