On a scale of 1-10, how lonely are you?
A recent survey of American adults found that nearly half say we feel alone “sometimes” or “always”, and almost the same number report feeling left out. A little more than 4 in 10 feel their relationships aren’t meaningful and feel isolated from others. Only half say they have meaningful in-person interactions like long conversations or quality time with family on a daily basis.
Psychologists have begun to refer to America’s loneliness epidemic. And it’s a big deal: people who are lonely don’t sleep as well. We suffer dips in our ability to reason and be creative – which means loneliness impacts both sides of our brain. We’re less satisfied at work, and there’s a strong correlation between loneliness and mental health issues like anxiety, depression and suicide. Loneliness has even been linked to poor cardiovascular health.
In other words, it’s pretty safe to say we weren’t created to be alone.
Our bodies, minds and spirit suffer when we’re alone. This loneliness epidemic isn’t just in our heads. Regardless of race, gender or class, we’re all lonelier today than we were a generation ago. And surprisingly, becoming a more connected world has hurt rather than helped. Studies have shown that loneliness increases the more often people on mobile devices and social media.
The reality for most of us today is that we’re surrounded by people, more connected than ever in human history, and yet we feel isolated, alone and unloved.
We weren’t created to be alone. In fact, just after God created the first human, God said, “It’s not good for a person to be alone.”
Let’s explore the roots of loneliness, and ask what help our faith can be in curing loneliness not only for ourselves, but for our community.