Feeling lonely and isolated is an increasingly common situation for a great many people. While we were assured technology and social media would bring us closer together, it seems to have done the opposite. Why are so many people feeling lonely these days?
Medical and psychology professionals have declared that loneliness is at almost epidemic proportions and warn that the physical and mental health risks this poses, are not to be ignored.
Loneliness is not just a feeling; it is also a public health problem that has been linked to increased risk of mental health issues, heart disease and even death. With rates of loneliness on the rise in the U. S. and around the world, people are addressing this crisis using everything from companion robots to social networking sites and apps. A new study in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that a better solution may lie in a much older, more ubiquitous form of technology: phone calls. – Scientific American
We can’t chalk up the increase of loneliness to the pandemic either — the trend started years before the global health crisis and as expected, it just made it worse for those who already felt cut-off and alone.
Loneliness has been a growing problem for decades—with some estimating that 61 percent of adults in the United States feel it—and it’s only been made worse by the COVID-19 lockdown. Over the last four months, the requirement that we sequester ourselves whenever possible, venturing outside our homes only for essentials and maintaining a six-foot minimum distance from fellow shoppers or exercisers, has been frustrating—even painful. While keeping to ourselves helps prevent coronavirus’ spread, humans are social creatures and prolonged isolation takes a toll on our mental health. – Scientific American
So we know feelings of isolation, sadness and loneliness have been getting steadily more wide-spread for decades, so the question is…why? The answer as to that question is best left to qualified medical and mental health experts, but we all probably know someone who is lonely and we probably have a good inclination as to why — perhaps they’re elderly and living on their own, or they’re quiet and shy and have trouble making friends, or maybe they’re unable to get out of their home and this makes them feel cut-off from the world? The reasons run the gamut.
A friend confided in me not too long ago that he has felt lonely for many years. Even if he’s in a room full of people, he found that he just felt alone and remote. After getting some help from a qualified mental health expert, things did turn around for him, but the things he did before that help came, also started to turn things around for him. My friend shared that one day, he realized that while he may feel alone, he had this wonderful epiphany that showed him that in reality, he was never alone. Ever.
That epiphany was miraculous, because he had this overwhelming feeling of peace and harmony that while he may be physically alone, spiritually, he was not — God was always with him…always. God knew him, cared about him, loved him. God was always with my friend, just as He is with all of us and the truth is, we are never alone. Ever. Powerful stuff!
And the truth is, this epiphany made all the difference in his life, because he felt better and that motivated him to go out, get some help and I’m happy to say that today, he is a new person!
These beautiful and reassuring Bible passages are a reminder of just how much we are loved and cared for and that we are really never alone.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge . . .” – Ephesians 3:17–19
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” – Romans 8:14
There are many, many more passages and reminders from the Bible, so these are just a few. We know we are never alone, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t feel lonely sometimes. Anyone who does, should always also seek the help of a qualified medical or mental health expert.