Loneliness is quickly becoming a massive problem in amongst the millennial generation. In fact former guest of the Powerful Nonsense podcast, Guy Winch talks extensively about loneliness as an emotional injury that should be treated due to it’s general negative health connotations. Whilst loneliness has always existed, particularly amongst the elderly, it is becoming more and more prevalent among members of Generation Y.
To make matters worse, loneliness is in fact contagious. Those suffering from loneliness are less and less able to pick up on positive social interactions which creates a downward spiral, with many withdrawing from social circles prematurely, thus causing themselves even more social isolation.
As humans we are social creatures, with much of our self-worth coming from those around us. In turn therefore, it is highly likely that those who are friends with the above mentioned sufferer of loneliness, may begin to question their own self-worth and withdraw also.
The epidemic of loneliness is surprising given that we are the most connected generation in human history. However social media actually exacerbates the issue by creating an illusion of human interaction without any of the physical advantages. Whilst these interactions are great in their own right and can provide a much desired rush of dopamine, they are mostly a short-term solution with some obvious hurdles that get in the way of creating those deep and meaningful relationships that we all desire.
“Social media is the masturbation of human interaction, rather than the actual sex” – Cem Yildiz
I myself have experienced the down-ward spiral that is loneliness when I first moved to London. Relocating to a city in which you practically know nobody is a very scary situation to put oneself into. I found myself therefore choosing to remain in my safe bubble of social media, attempting to mine my pre-existing relationships for as much emotional nutrition as I could. Ultimately I would spend hours and hours engaging, tweeting and liking posts from friends and family, when my time could have been better spent being more social in one of the most incredible cities in the world, thus building the new and exciting relationships I craved.
Thankfully, once I interrupted this repeating pattern and went out to forge some new relationships, I happened upon some of the best friendships I have had in years. So, my advice (cliché though it will be) is that if you are feeling lonely, use social media to organise as many in person social get-togethers as you can (meeting for coffee will do). Dedicate your free time over the next month to seeing people in person and the loneliness could quickly become a distant memory.
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