There’s no denying it: A lot of us are lonely. According to a survey by the health organization Cigna, 46% of Americans report feeling “sometimes” or “always” alone. Now, more than ever, the necessity of human connection is clear. Here are three reasons why meaningful human connection is necessary in the modern world.
Social media is a huge part of modern life. The relationships we forge on social media can be incredibly important, but they’re not a replacement for in-person contact. In fact, some studies show that online communication can adversely affect your overall outlook. While the internet does help us to communicate, we aren’t necessarily communicating well. A large part of communication is nonverbal and that typically doesn’t come across online. When it comes to meaningful human interaction, social media just doesn’t cut it.
So, why should you interact with people in-person? Well, because it’s good for you! Connecting with those who relate to your experiences promotes feelings of wellness and can decrease feelings of isolation. One of the biggest hurdles, when you’re depressed or hurting, is finding the energy to go out and do things. It’s easy to let human connections fall by the wayside; indeed, they’re often the first things to go. Forming strong relationships with people who are willing to support you is an essential part of healing. It is absolutely worth your time to maintain those connections if you can.
Things are more efficient when people work together. That’s common wisdom, and it’s true for mental health too. Some of our burdens are too difficult to carry alone. Thankfully, we don’t have to. Amongst family, friends, and coworkers, there are doubtless dozens of people who are willing to help you along, if you only ask. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. If you feel like somebody is overburdened, ask somebody else. Either way, it’s important to keep up a network of supportive people in your life. That way you can get the help you need without becoming overly dependent on any one person.
Loneliness, paradoxically, is a common experience. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, and in our increasingly digital society, that “sometimes” is starting to look an awful lot like “always.” When we get lonely, it can be tempting to withdraw, but that’s not healthy, nor will it solve the problem. In the end, the only real cure for loneliness is meaningful human interaction.
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