Reconnecting with society and facing loneliness
Society Beginning to Connect and We Who Are Alone
It has been almost two years since we closed our doors to open interaction with others. We are lonelier than ever. found that 36% of Americans (including 61% of 18-25 year olds) feel alone frequently or nearly always. Loneliness has a negative impact on our physical and mental health. have found links to a great many diseases, from depression and schizophrenia to stroke and diabetes.
Other studies have shown that loneliness is more pronounced among people who are already in groups at high risk of loneliness, such as low-income people and people with mental illness, as well as among younger people than middle-aged and older people. As the pandemic begins to open up, there is a nagging concern about how they will be able to reconnect with society next. Young people may feel pressure to expand their social circle,” says Julian Holt-Ranstad, who studies loneliness at Brigham Young University in the United States.
However, is loneliness necessarily a negative thing? How can we interpret our current sense of social distance and loneliness and live a comfortable social life? We of Generation Z, who were directly hit by the pandemic during our college years, will examine this question.
To transcend the loneliness that cannot be shared
What is the difference between “isolation” and “loneliness?” Sociologist Peter Tausend defines isolation as . On the other hand, loneliness is defined as . In other words, even when surrounded by many people, one can still feel “lonely,” but this state is not called “isolation.
In contrast to isolation, which is clearly defined as how to provide access to a community, loneliness, which is undeniably dependent on how each person feels, is difficult to deal with uniformly.
The NHS’s offers a variety of resources to help people cope with loneliness, including a simple mindfulness program based on five questions. (I was recommended to meditate before going to bed.) The site also offers a guide to cognitive behavioral therapy and a variety of other content. What differentiates the Loneliness and Isolation Office from the Japanese counterparts is that it offers not only a consultation service but also access to self-care tips.
Personally, I feel that the feeling of loneliness is too personal and difficult to share with others. That is why it is important to support people in their self-care to find their own way to cope with loneliness.
Loneliness in general is a growing international concern as a negative impact on physical and mental health and on the community around us. There are three types of such loneliness: social loneliness due to the quality and quantity of relationships, emotional loneliness due to the human need for approval and belonging, and existential loneliness in which people feel disconnected from society due to traumatic experiences.
The self-imposed isolation of the Corona disaster was enough of an environment for us to feel social isolation, as we rarely went out, let alone meet people. In addition, the constant connection of social media, where we always know who is doing what and with whom, cleverly contributes to the emotional loneliness that we feel. But solitude is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, studies seem to prove that spending time alone can increase empathy, productivity, and stimulate creativity. Indeed, being alone allows us to make time to face ourselves intently. In the end, loneliness is not a good or bad thing, but rather a matter of how one perceives and deals with it.
I am a stay-at-home person and prefer to spend time at home, but if I spend too much time alone, it makes me want to go out with my friends. I know I’m a pain in the neck, but that’s when I feel lonely. And that’s when I pick up my cell phone and ask my friends about their plans for the evening, and ask them to join me for dinner or a walk. For example, I would try to stop my hand from reaching for my cell phone and set aside five minutes to think about how I would spend this time alone. Just by doing that, the time of loneliness can be transformed into a meaningful time alone. By confronting the timing of when you feel lonely, and the actions and feelings you take at that time, your time of solitude may look surprisingly different.
The Choice to "Be Alone"
Virginia Thomas, assistant professor of psychology at Middlebury College, says that intentionally choosing solitude can improve self-esteem and lead to a higher sense of well-being. The key is to see solitude as a choice, not a punishment.
Workplace and Social Capital
According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 84% of respondents said “interaction with coworkers” was a factor in people coming back to work from remote work. As the pandemic increases people’s sense of loneliness, there is a need to support the building of social capital in the workplace.
Social Media and Loneliness
In 2018, a study conducted by Meta of Facebook users found that negative posts and seeing posts that friends are enjoying increase feelings of loneliness. On the other hand, interesting content was also found to reduce loneliness. Since these lines vary from person to person, it seems difficult to provide a single solution.