When we hear news in the media and stories about #loneliness, the first type of people that tend to pop into our heads are the elderly. Yes that is certainly an epidemic in our society for sure but I would like to shine a spotlight on a very different type of loneliness that is ever so quietly seeping into existence for many people of a totally different generation.
Since the birth of #socialmedia we are apparently so much more connected and being online is now a 24/7 reality for most of us. We can even set up notifications for every tweet, follow, tag, like or mention just so we can stay safely in our very own social media loop.
Statistics suggest that the average person can have over 100 friends on facebook and some will have many additional followers too. If I asked you how often do you contact those "friends" and I mean physically speak to them, meet up, and get in touch what would you say?
Im going to be the first to put my hands up here and say i've been guilty of not doing this nearly often enough, after all its super easy to just leave a comment or emoji on a friends post or send a text rather than call. We are all so busy these days right?
As human beings one of our basic needs for our psychological well-being is social contact, interaction and a need to belong.
It would seem however that we are now firmly shifting into an age where human contact has moved to a digital format and where real connection with one another is being lost. Now the perception of belonging is measured by what you perceive as being reflected back to you on social media. Seriously what does that even mean?
The brutal truth however is you can have all the friends and followers in the world but does that mean a jot if you actually feel isolated and lonely most of the time?
What does that selfie really portray? Are you happy or are you seeking interaction to make you feel that way. It would seem that #bymyselfie has never been such an appropriate hashtag in our disconnected society.
More worryingly with recent studies highlighting the increased rise in #mentalhealth problems, loneliness and social isolation in adults and young people isn't it time we stopped to recognise why this is happening and more importantly what we can do to change things?
When we truly make time to connect with friends and the people in our lives we create a nurturing space for ourselves on a much deeper level of connection. This type of social contact builds our self-esteem, boosts our mood, reduces #stress, #anxiety, #depression and increases physical and emotional wellbeing.
There is a well known quote which says: Life is like a cup of tea to be filled to the brim and enjoyed with friends and it seems there's never been a better time to go and make that happen.