Loneliness has become an epidemic in many parts of the world. Thanks to technology and the progress in the digital world, more and more people are restricting themselves in their homes, and refraining from going out and meeting others. “Netflix and chill” has overshadowed our intrinsic human need for social engagement. As an outcome, many people are feeling isolated, and thus anxious, frustrated and depressed.
Loneliness can have a detrimental impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. We are social animals, after all, and we need companionship and camaraderie to survive and thrive. Isolation also significantly affects our physical health. One research study revealed that loneliness can shorten a person’s life by 15 years. It also reported that loneliness had the same negative impact on one’s life span as obesity and smoking. Isn’t that crazy?
As much as we’re tempted to stay alone and focus on work and play indoors, one of the best ways to protect our mental health and be sane in this crazy, chaotic world is to prioritize our relationships. And having conversations on Facebook and other social media doesn’t make the cut. We must show up in the real world, and interact with our family and friends in person.
If you have been staying aloof, now is a good time to get social and get involved with other people. There are several benefits that come with having strong interpersonal connections: they make us feel accepted, they provide us opportunities to give and make an impact on others’ lives, they bring meaning and joy to our life, they help us feel that we’re part of a tight-knit community and that we have people that we can rely on and seek support from during difficult times.
No matter how self-reliant and successful we think we are, we always need other people. And there’s no shame in asking for help from our family members and friends when we go through adversities and tough times. It’s not a sign of weakness; in fact, when you ask for help, you express vulnerability and thus courage and strength. Let go of embarrassment and be open and honest with your loved ones.
It’s time to tear down the walls around your heart, and work towards maintaining happy, healthy and thriving relationships. This will not only help you overcome your past hurts and help you heal, but will also keep you away from any negative (and even fatal) effects of loneliness and isolation.