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Is ‘Loneliness’ The Silent Pandemic?
Since we are always on the go, we are often unaware of the patterns we get caught in and burn ourselves out by looping ourselves in stress. it is only in the ‘being’ that we attend to our internal chaos
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Did you know that before Covid, more than 33 per cent of the world population suffered from loneliness? Imagine now with social distancing, fear of infections and scarcity of resources, how many more men, women, and children across the globe are getting lonelier still? Alarming, isn’t it?
Is protecting our physical health at the cost of our mental health a solution? Often people associate ‘being alone’ with ‘loneliness’. Let us explore the difference and the impact the two terms have on individuals and our society. In this fast-paced external validation driven lifestyle, almost everyone gets pulled down by numbers as a yardstick of success. It results in us racing on a treadmill of achievements – afraid to stop – as that might push us behind on the winning charts.
We all need ‘me time’ to cool down and recharge ourselves, just the way any machine or gadget does. When our computer hangs, we shut it down temporarily or reboot it. However, when our lives heat up and get discharged, we forget to pause and reset ourselves. We push ourselves till we crash and all our applications automatically collapse.
‘Being alone’ is a conscious choice made to recharge ourselves. It is a reflective, restorative, and rejuvenating process to connect with our feelings, stories and patterns. Since we are always on the go, we are often unaware of the patterns we get caught in and burn ourselves out by looping ourselves in stress. It is only in the ‘being’ that we attend to our internal chaos that creates constant mental chatter.
People choose to go on retreats; some undertake activities as their downtime like gardening, pottery, sports, meditation, or some form of creativity. Each person has their frequency of ‘me time’ that resonates with them. It helps recharge and return empowered and enlightened, ready to execute, resulting in higher engagement and better performance.
However, ‘being lonely’ is dis-empowering and deserting. One can be lonely despite being surrounded by people. It is a passive choice absorbed by the individual feeling isolated, misunderstood and rejected. Human beings are social animals living in a society. The word society originates from the Latin word ‘socius’ meaning companion. Living in a society means having companionship and enjoying affectionate, authentic association with others.
To lessen the loneliness pandemic, we need authentic communication. We need engagement, time, and patience for ourselves and one another. The most significant setback of modern-day progress has cost compassionate human interaction.
Why are we choosing Artificiality over Authenticity? We can only make our society sustainable with sensitivity towards one another. Otherwise, sadly we may be distancing our human race into robots. Humans thrive on connection, communication, and compassion. Let us look out for each other and keep the circuit of companionship flowing. You never know how many lives can be saved by a small, yet authentic smile. Let us not make this physical distancing a social distancing. Reach out to others as there could be someone not in a space to seek help. Your attention could give them a reason to be alive again.
This article was first published in the print issue of (25 June- 09 July) BW Businessworld. Click Here to Subscribe to BW Businessworld magazine.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.