Are We Facing a Loneliness Epidemic? (4 Terrible Myths Debunked)
Although the digital era allows us to stay connected easier than ever, more and more people are finding themselves feeling lonely – and that was before the pandemic.
The social distancing rules and lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak have forced all of us to self-isolate. For some, this has been a great time to reflect and enjoy little things more than ever.
For others, it has been devastating.
Still, the issue of loneliness is widely debated as experts are trying to define it and examine how exactly it affects our modern society.
If you’re in the same boat, today we bust 4 of the most common myths about loneliness you should stop believing.
Myth #1: Loneliness means isolation
Feeling lonely and being alone are not synonyms – in fact, they’re the exact opposite! Many people can live alone or lack social interaction without being affected by it.
However, loneliness is more similar to feeling disconnected from the world around you. Lonely people usually struggle with the misconception that nobody understands or cares for them; they may also suffer from lacking the kind of connection they think they need.
Of course, self-isolation can play a big part in accentuating these feelings, but it’s not necessarily a decisive factor. You can feel lonely even when you are surrounded by close friends and family and that means there’s a bigger imbalance inside of you.
Myth #2: Loneliness is bad
Loneliness is definitely not easy; however, longing for human connections can help you to learn new ways of cherishing the people you do have in your life right now. The same process can help you establish better connections with new people – whether virtually or in real life.
According to social neuroscientist John Cacioppo, we’ve come to a state where we use loneliness to create better connections with those around us. The expert compares this process with thirst, saying that most of us are looking for water only when we’re thirsty. Since humans are designed by nature to live in groups, we all have an inner desire of belonging to those around us.
This theory is only valid when we’re talking about temporary loneliness. Usually, people come out of this state soon enough and find social balance again. However, if you end up with chronic loneliness, you may end up suffering from other mental health problems too such as anxiety or depression.