How Do We Combat Loneliness?

Isolation of one individual.

I just finished reading an article entitled Loneliness Rivals Obesity, Smoking as a Health Risk by Nick Tate. It talks of a survey conducted by Cigna and Tate who report that,

“Douglas Nemecek, MD, Cigna’s chief medical officer for behavioral health, said the findings of the study suggest that the problem has reached “epidemic” proportions, rivaling the risks posed by tobacco and the nation’s ever-expanding waistline.

‘Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity,’ he said in releasing the report.

The article goes on to say that nearly half of Americans report that,

“…they feel alone, isolated, or left out at least some of the time. The nation’s 75 million millennials (ages 23-27) and Generation Z (ages 18-22) are lonelier than any other U.S. demographic and report being in worse health than older generations.”

This is a problem that warrants attention. But how do we combat loneliness? We can’t do it by cruising social media unless it is for the purpose of connecting offline with our ‘friends and followers’.  Connecting by text isn’t the answer either. In my experience, there is a huge risk of miscommunication associated with text messaging that does not occur in the presence of body language and personal discourse.”

Connect, communicate and collaborate. That’s how we combat loneliness. It’s why we created  BounceBack.  The concept is to bring people together to share in managing challenges through practice applying the Skills & Attitudes of resilience. I would say that it’s designed to combat loneliness caused by a plethora of challenges including but not limited to: adolescence, addiction, being different, chronic pain, disability, divorce, emigration, health/mental health, occupation, socio-economic status, geographic location, past trauma, and many other challenges that may lead us toward isolation.

The Skills & Attitudes of resilience combat loneliness by encouraging people to connect/communicate w/others, problem solve both alone and w/others and by taking the time to care for others.

Photo of Charlene Fernald Moynihan
Charlene Fernald Moynihan