Coping with Loneliness

The Importance of Community Connection

Social connection is the feeling of being close and connected to others. It is a fundamental human need that contributes to our well-being and happiness. 

Research has shown that social connection can have various benefits for our physical and mental health, such as improving our ability to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, getting better sleep, and helping prevent serious heart disease, stroke, and dementia. According to the CDC, people with strong social connections have a 50% increased likelihood of survival compared to those with weaker connections. 

Strong social connections also benefit communities by helping build trust and resilience and fostering a sense of community belonging. Having supportive and inclusive connections in our workplaces, schools and neighborhoods, and other settings are associated with numerous positive outcomes. In fact, Social Connection is one of the 7 public health priority areas of the U.S. Surgeon General due to the epidemic of loneliness and isolation throughout the country. 

Therefore, it is important to cultivate and maintain positive relationships with family, friends, and community members, as well as to seek out new opportunities for social interaction and building support systems, such as volunteering for a local non-profit or joining a club for your favorite pastime. “Our individual relationships are an untapped resource—a source of healing hiding in plain sight. They can help us live healthier, more productive, and more fulfilled lives, “wrote the Surgeon General in his opening letter for the 2023 report on Social Connection. “The keys to human connection are simple, but extraordinarily powerful”.

Navigating Loneliness in the Digital Age: Social Media's Impact

Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to loneliness. On one hand, it can help us stay in touch with distant friends and family, share our thoughts and feelings, and find communities of interest. 

On the other hand, it can also make us feel isolated, inadequate, and envious, as we compare ourselves to the curated and filtered lives of others. 

To use technology mindfully for social connection, we need to be aware of how it affects our mood and well-being, and set healthy boundaries and habits. According to the National Institutes of Health, below are some tips to keep in mind to help combat the negative effects of social media:

Limit the Time and Frequency of Social Media Use

Ask yourself: How much time am I spending online? Is it taking away from healthy offline activities, like exercising, seeing friends, reading, or sleeping? What content do I see, and how does it make me feel?

Invest in Healthy Relationships

Emphasize quality interactions over quantity. Engage in meaningful conversations. Socializing is a powerful buffer to stress and a source of well-being. Spend time with others regularly, in-person and virtually.

Avoid Passive Scrolling

Be intentional about your use of social media, video games, and other technologies. Passively watching what others are doing online can make you feel more isolated. You might feel you’re missing out or being left out. Or it can make you think that other people have better lives than you.

Turning isolation into opportunity

Loneliness is a common and universal human experience that can be challenging and painful. However, it can also be an opportunity for personal development and self-improvement, if we approach it with the right mindset and attitude. 

Instead of seeing loneliness as a sign of failure or weakness, we can see it as a chance to learn more about ourselves, our needs, and our goals. We can use loneliness as motivation to explore new hobbies, interests, and skills, or to reconnect with our values and passions. 

We can also use loneliness as a catalyst to seek out and cultivate meaningful relationships with others who share our vision and purpose. By doing so, we can create steps for growth that will enrich our lives and reduce our loneliness in the long run.

If you or a loved one is finding loneliness difficult to manage, it may help to seek the advice of a professional. Healing Minds is the largest team of licensed therapists in Northern Nevada. Their dedicated staff share a deep commitment for helping individuals and families identify the root causes of what they’re going through and improve their mental, emotional, relational, and behavioral health. 

When you’re ready we’re here. Contact us today if you’re ready to take the first step with us. 

Schedule an Appointment

At Healing Minds, we have therapists that can help you deal with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Our Suicidal Prevention services can make the difference you need to step towards a full, whole life once again. Your life is special, it is worth living, and we are here to help you remember this; to listen and give you the tools to rewrite your story. Suicide is preventable. Please reach out to schedule a therapy appointment with a trained practitioner.  We offer in person or Telehealth therapy from the comfort of your own home.