LONELINESS – It’s not just for Shut-Ins Anymore

Government officials across
the UKUSA, and Canada all agree: Social, Emotional, and Existential Loneliness have reached such staggering proportions

Loneliness has become a Global Epidemic

Neuroscience Research from Brigham Young University suggests:

Lacking social connection has the same health consequences as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or drinking six alcoholic beverages a day.

We were all hopeful
loneliness statistics would improve post-pandemic isolation, but they just keep getting worse

The US Surgeon General warns: physical consequences of poor connection can be devastating – including a 29% increased risk of heart disease; a 32% increased risk of stroke; and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia as lonely minds grow older

Don’t get me wrong –
I am grateful that governments across the globe are actually paying attention to this this issue

But I am admittedly
(and – IMHO justifiably 🙂
super frustrated that the initiatives being implemented to address it seem to ignore the QUALITY of connection

Community Days & Maker Spaces are great

But, let’s be honest:
We’ve ALL felt lonely even when surrounded by people.
Even when it’s a sea of people we like!

Hell, the other day I had lunch with a family member & left feeling a bit lonely because, as I was talking about something I was struggling with, she quickly followed her “I’m sorry you are having to deal with this” with sharing about a similar experience she was having, and we spent the next 30 minutes talking about that.

I know this person cares deeply for me. And I believe the intention behind sharing her own struggle was probably to help me feel less alone in mine (ironic, right?) But the impact it had was to take the attention, energy, focus away from me…and place it on her. (Which, as I mentioned, left me feeling quite lonely 🙂

What I was really needing in that moment was for her to invite me to share more. To validate my feelings. Maybe to even share how she feels as she listens to me… or to imagine herself in my shoes and share how she would feel if this happened to her. And then check in and ask how it is for me to be talking about all of this with her.

These listening & communication tools/skills were NOT taught or modeled for me in my family… So it would be unusual for them to pop up in casual conversation

That doesn’t stop me from craving them though…
Or from feeling sad and/or lonely when it doesn’t happen

I imagine that’s why I am a part of The Circling Institute –
where we are passionate about helping people have
connected, compassionate, conversations
and authentic, extraordinary, relationships

(Essentially, the antidotes to the social, emotional & existential loneliness the Surgeon General is warning about 🙂

If you are also passionate about developing skills & tools to help you have more meaningful & nourishing relationships and would like to connect with others in pursuit of the same join us at one of our upcoming events