There is an increasing trend around the world. Often technology is good and makes our lives easier and better. But sometimes change has “unintended consequences”, or effects that may be harmful.
Recent studies indicate that people are becoming increasingly isolated. Screen time has replaced people time. Connections are often made on line rather than in person. In the most recent census, numbers of people living alone, and families having fewer children are on the rise.
So, what are the “unintended consequences”?
What, if anything, does this change in social patterns mean for our health and wellbeing. Years ago, research into communities where people live long and healthy lives revealed several factors that may contribute to health and wellbeing. These included sleep, nutrition, physical activity, purpose, spirituality and social connectedness.
There is evidence that lacking social connections, increasing isolation, and loneliness shortens lifespans. People who are more isolated are at greater risk for premature death. If you are depressed or isolated because of pain issues or other reasons for avoiding human contact, you are putting your health in jeopardy. What can you do about this?
Different solutions may be appropriate for different people. For people going to work or school, there are daily opportunities to be around and reach out to others. But people can feel lonely and isolated in crowds too. Often people need to be able to reach out to someone they know can understand and offer them support. For people in school, teachers and counselors can often be supportive sources. Religious leaders may be another source to diminish feelings of isolation and loneliness. Join a club or a support group. If you go to the gym, or do any kind of regular exercise (mall walking, swimming) you will likely see the same people. We are all creatures of habit. Remember, being isolated and lonely is a temporary state, not a permanent condition. Many others feel isolated and alone as well.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Not every group or activity will work well for you. If you try one route to connecting and it is not right for you, try another.
If you want to make a friend, be a friend. Turn your focus away from yourself. Volunteer. Reach out to someone who is isolated too. But when all is said and done, you need to reach out. If someone you know is isolating and alone, reach out to them.
Join a support group. Here at Ketamine Wellness Centers we offer assistance in finding many groups and other strategies to help counteract your difficulties in life. Start reaching out today, and call us!
Dr. Ellen Diamond is the Clinical Psychologist for Ketamine Wellness Centers.