Loneliness

Dear World

What is Loneliness and more to the point WHY do we have Loneliness if there are over 7.7(1) billion of us?

How do we end up with feeling alone and lonely?

What is the dictionary telling us about Loneliness?

Dictionary Definitions

English Oxford Living Dictionaries

Sadness because one has no friends or company

The fact of being without companions; solitariness (2)

Collins English Dictionary

Loneliness is the unhappiness that is felt by someone because they do not have any friends or do not have anyone to talk to. (3)

So what is this spelling out to us if we join the dots?

We are without friendships or the company of other people and that causes sadness.

The meaning of  Solitary is saying we are existing alone (4)

We feel unhappy because we do not have anyone to talk to

The above is what we are told Loneliness is

Is there more here to consider about Loneliness?

Should we be asking a very pertinent question –

Do we feel lonely because something is missing in our life?

 Could it be that simple?

Global 

Loneliness is a Serious Public Health Problem

“Young people are increasingly feeling disconnected…”
Alex Smith – founder, the Cares Family
Charity dedicated to curbing loneliness (5)

Doctors and policymakers in the rich world are increasingly worried about Loneliness

Campaigns to reduce Loneliness have been launched in
Britain | Denmark | Australia

Loneliness – an Epidemic in our Interconnected Age

Social isolation is similar to physical indicators like Obesity in being a risk factor for disease and early deaths.

By some accounts it plagues young people even more than the elderly (6)

Japan
Government surveyed hikikomori “people who shut themselves in their homes”

USA
2017 – Vivek Murthy former Surgeon General called Loneliness an epidemic, likening its impact on health to Obesity or Smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

UK
2018 – Theresa May, Prime Minister appointed a minister for Loneliness

Researchers define Loneliness as perceived social isolation – a feeling of not having the social contacts one would like. (4)

USA | UK | Japan

Young adults and over 85s have highest shares of lonely people of all adult ages

Among elderly, Loneliness tends to have a specific cause, such as widowhood

Young people – gap in expectations between relationships they have and those they want.

Groups most likely to be lonely – people with disabilities | migrants

Europe | USA

2017 – study of Polish immigrants in Netherlands found higher rates of Loneliness

Lyon, France | Deventer, Netherlands | Cleveland, Ohio
Nursing homes and local authorities offering students cheap or free rent in exchange for helping out with housework. (5)

China

2010 – Trade union survey concluded “the defining aspect of the migrant experience” is Loneliness.

Regions left behind by migrants often have higher rates of Loneliness

2011 – 78% reported “moderate to severe levels of Loneliness”
often as a result of younger relatives having moved
Study of older people in eastern China

Similar trends found in eastern Europe where younger people have left to find work elsewhere.

Smartphones and Social Media blamed for rise in Loneliness in young people. (5)

What is it about us that always wants to blame something?

It would be a wise to read our blog on Blame and what it is presenting.

Could it be possible that young people use social media because there is a void in their life?

In other words there is an empty space they feel and they find something to fill it, in this case it is social media?

What if the distraction of social media keeps our youth entertained with the outer world at the expense of their inner most?

In other words, the connection they truly long for is not happening because they are choosing a false connection which is social media.

USA

2017 study | age group 19 – 32 | quartile that used Social Media most often | twice as likely to report Loneliness.

It is not clear whether it is heavy social media use leading to Loneliness or vice versa.

Others are sure that technology can reduce Loneliness

Policymakers are experimenting with incentives to encourage old and young to mix

$7 billion – government spends on extra health care costs associated with social isolation for age 65 and older.

22% – 50% population estimated to be socially disconnected

According to new research, limit Social Media use to 30 minutes a day to combat feelings of Depression and Loneliness. (6)

Positive interactions on social media are not making young adults feel more connected, whereas negative experiences increase the likelihood of them reporting loneliness.
Scientists from University of Pittsburgh Center of Research on Media Technology and Health
22 January 2019 – The American Journal of Health Promotion (7)

1,178 Students | 18 – 30 Age Group | Survey about social media use

The findings build on award-winning research conducted in 2017 indicating
more use of social media was associated with increased feelings of loneliness.

“Social media is seemingly about connecting people. So it is surprising and interesting that our investigations reveal social media being linked to Loneliness.
Perceived social isolation, which is synonym for loneliness, is associated with poor health outcomes such as High Blood Pressure | Heart Disease | Depression
Social media is so pervasive, it is critically important that we better understand why this is happening and how we can help people navigate social media without as many negative consequences.”
Brian Primack – M.D., Ph.D., Director of Pitt’s MTH | Dean Pitt’s Honors College (8)

Japan

500,000 people stay at home at least 6 months at a time, making no contact with the outside world.
2016 – Government report (5)

Younger people were in fact lonelier than older people

As technology becomes more human, it may be able to do more and more to substitute for human relationships.

In the meantime, services that offer human contact to the lonely will thrive

Currently there are agencies and apps that allow one to
rent a family | rent a friend | a girlfriend for a singleton | a funeral mourner | companion to watch TV

Social robots have been used for some time – they are becoming more sophisticated.

Pepper, a human-ish robot can follow a person’s gaze and adapt its behaviour in response to humans. (5)

UK

2017
Seaside town began deploying Pepper the humanoid robot in care homes (5)

75% doctors say 1 in 5 people a day – main ailment is Loneliness

55,000 people | BBC poll | 33% “often” or “very often” feel lonely | 40% among those aged 16 – 24

2018
£20 million government committed to anti-loneliness efforts

38% increase in single-table bookings on online reservation service since 2014 (6)

25% increase risk of premature death

People with a high degree of Loneliness – twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s

Deficiencies in social relationships are associated with an increased risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke. (9)

Older people – age 65 and over

200,000 not had a conversation with friends or family for a month

360,000 not had a conversation with friends or family for over a week

975,000 often or always feel lonely

1.2 million are persistently or chronically lonely (10)

“I did the dreaded ‘lingering in the car park on a Friday after work’ knowing I would not speak to anyone again until Monday.
39 year old woman shares her experience of Loneliness

“I remember one man, in his 90’s and his voice was really, really croaky because he hadn’t spoken to anyone for more than three months.
He became incredibly tearful talking about how excited he was that he was going to have company…”
Amy Perrin, founder of Marmalade Trust

“Lonely people do not choose to be lonely; they are often lonely as a defensive measure against a world that they perceive to be threatening and hostile…”
Steve Cole – Professor of Medicine, UCLA (11)

Analysis by the Office of National Statistics

1 in 10 children age 10 – 15 often lonely

Free school meals | live in cities | report low satisfaction health | low satisfaction in relationships – friends | family

‘When young people are feeling isolated it could be hurting their mental health or they can even be vulnerable to grooming.
Richard Crelin – Policy Manager, Children’s Society (12)

27% children who received free school meals said they were often lonely

Is this a combination of deprivation and social stigma as this report suggests?

Issues identified as contributing to Loneliness include –

Punishment practices involving isolation and exclusion | approaches to supporting children with disabilities | bullying

“Cyber bullying is a big problem in my school at the moment.
There has been a boy who has just had it all thrown at him.
And he just is alone all the time. Boy aged 12 (12)

Children who were interviewed volunteered their own ideas for tackling the problem, which included making it more acceptable to discuss Loneliness.

Is this wisdom from our children worth taking note of?

Could Talking about this topic of Loneliness be the start?

What if we could start with Honesty in our discussions?

Could it be that Simple?

Depressed | Inactive | Out of Work

Study reveals lives of Lonely Young Adults

2018 | New Research | Kings College London | 2000 Surveyed | Age 18

25% study participants reported feeling lonely some of the time

Lonely young adults are more likely to experience Mental Health problems and more likely to be out of work than their peers.

The study published in Psychological Medicine gives a detailed snapshot of the lives of lonely 18 year olds and shows how Loneliness goes hand-in-hand with a wide range of problems in health and well-being.

Loneliness is strongly linked with premature death in old age – to a similar degree as Smoking or Obesity.

With increasing attention on Loneliness as a major public health issue, the study highlights the importance of early intervention to prevent young adults being trapped in Loneliness as they age.

‘It’s often assumed that Loneliness is an affliction of old age, but it is also very common among younger people.
Unlike many other risk factors, Loneliness does not discriminate: it affects people from all walks of life; men and women, rich and poor.
Dr. Timothy Matthews | Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience | Kings College London (13)

Lonely Young Adults

More than twice as likely to have Mental Health problems
Anxiety | Depression | Self Harmed | attempted Suicide

more likely to be out of work | education | training
less confident about career prospects
less likely to be physically active
more likely to smoke
more likely use technology compulsively

‘It is important that we become comfortable talking about Loneliness as a society.
People are often reluctant to admit that they feel lonely because there is still a stigma attached to it. That in itself can be profoundly isolating.’
Professor Louise Arseneault | Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience | Kings College London (13)

Health Secretary – Matt Hancock has ordered a review of our reliance on prescription drugs. He said he wanted GPs to advise more patients to join walking groups, take part in coffee mornings or do some gardening or volunteering.
Such ‘social prescribing’ has been shown to be effective against
Dementia| Heart disease | Type 2 Diabetes | Depression | Loneliness
Daily Mail page 6 – 8 December 2018 (14)

16 – 24 year old young adults reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups
Office of National Statistics, England – 10 April 2018 (15)

37% adults feel lonely as a result of feeling Stressed (16)

WHY does anyone feel lonely as a result of feeling stressed?

It would be worth reading our detailed blog on Stress, which brings awareness and understanding about this modern-day illness.

Friendship Apps – Cure to Modern Day Loneliness

According to research from University of Oxford and Aalto University, Finland – our social circle shrinks soon after our mid-20s.

3 million mobile phone users were analysed in this study, looking at who they contacted and when.

Results stated we make more and more friends until age 25, after which we lose them rapidly. Women losing them at a faster rate than men.

This may explain why most friendship apps target women only

In Britain, Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions, with researchers estimating it affects up to 1 in 4 people.

Feeling lonely is a predictor of both health and Happiness

33% women are more afraid of Loneliness than Cancer

There is a significant irony in the fact that the very technology helping people to meet others via friendship apps might be part of the reason people are feeling isolated in the first place.

“We are feeling lonelier than ever partly because of the shallowness of online ‘friendships’, which can occupy much of our time.
In our newfound tendency to turn everything over to the online world, we forget that people who might become our friends are everywhere.
Nancy Colier – Psychotherapist | Author of The Power of Off (17)

Can friendship apps really help us to not feel alone?

Social Relationships and Health
The Toxic Effects of Perceived Social Isolation

Substantial evidence has accumulated to suggest that social relationships are important for mental and physical well-being across the lifespan.

Researchers traditionally tended to focus on the physical environment when investigating factors influencing health. This focus has broadened in the last few decades to include the possibility that features of one’s social relationships not only impact health behaviours but might also have direct effects on the brain, biology and health.

Humans are born to one of the longest periods of dependency of any species and are dependent on conspecifics (members of the same species) across the lifespan to survive and prosper.

No surprise – humans do not fare well – whether they are confined to solitary living or they simply perceive that they live in relative isolation.

Feelings of Loneliness were found to be associated with increased mortality risk over a 6 year period.

Higher rates of morbidity and mortality in lonely older adults have been reported.

Loneliness has also been found to be a risk factor for
increased vascular resistance | increase in blood pressure | metabolic syndrome | fragmented sleep | increased hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical activity | increased glucocorticoid insensitivity | diminished immunity | diminished impulse control

Included in the documentation of these associations are longitudinal as well as cross-sectional studies and evidence that the association with Loneliness holds even when controlling for other risk factors such as marital status, frequency of contact with friends and family, Depression and social support.

Like physical pain serves as a signal to draw attention and respond to threats or damage to one’s physical body, the feelings of Loneliness serve as a figural signal to draw attention to and motivate responses to threats or damage to one’s social body.
Cacioppo et al., 2013; Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2009 (18)

Early in our history as a species, we survived and prospered by banding together – in couples, in families, in tribes – to provide mutual protection and assistance.

The aversive feeling of Loneliness serves to prompt us to renew the connections we need to ensure survival and to promote social trust, cohesiveness and collective action.

Hunger, thirst and physical pain, if ignored, ultimately reduce a person’s ability in the wild to find and capture food.

Loneliness, if ignored can have damaging effects that contribute to deleterious mental and physical health.

So what happened?

What is this research conveying to us?

History tells us when we were together and lived in a way where we connected with each other, Loneliness did not exist.

What is missing and is it obvious to us?

Could it be as simple as good old fashion talking and connection with an open-ness and no hidden agenda?

Could that be it?

Studies indicate that there are environmental influences on Loneliness.
Those who leave family and friends behind often feel increased social isolation when they arrive at college even though they are surrounded by large numbers of other young adults.

The researchers investigated whether lonely days invade the night and found that lonely, compared to non-lonely, college students showed more micro-awakenings and less restful sleep.
These results could not be explained in terms of differences in sleep duration, depressive symptomatology or other risk factors but instead reflected the lonely brain remaining relatively vigilant during sleep.
Cacioppo, Hawkley, Berntson et al., 2002 (18)

Why is this?

A lonely college student not able to let go and get a deep sleep

Our forensic blog on Sleep would bring a deeper understanding here for the reader

The effect of Loneliness on daytime dysfunction was independent of sleep duration, indicating that the same amount of sleep was less salubrious (health-giving) when individuals felt relatively socially isolated.
Hawkley, Preacher, et al., 2010 (18)

Social network characteristics are related to Loneliness but people can feel lonely in a marriage, while leading a company or sitting in a central position in a social network.

Research has shown that relational variables such as marital status, group memberships and frequency of contact with friends and family are significant predictors of Loneliness but the association between these objective relational variables and Loneliness have generally been found to be mediated by an individual’s perceptions of relationship quality.
Hawkley et al., 2008; Wheeler, Reis & Nezlek, 1983 (18)

People may have access to considerable support from others but the support may have nothing to do with sharing good times together – it may come at a cost, as in an exchange relationship or it may come from someone other than the person with whom an individual aspires connection.

A bereaved spouse can feel lonely even though family and friends provide emotional, tangible, informational and belonging support.

Accordingly, even after statistically controlling for social support, Loneliness has been found to be a risk factor for a host of mental and physical health problems including –
Depressive symptomatology | impaired cognitive performance | cognitive decline | progression of Alzheimer’s disease | fragmented sleep | morning rise in cortisol | elevated blood pressure | morbidity | mortality

Conclusion

The aversion of loneliness increases people’s awareness of the deficits in their social relationships and motivates the person to attend to and connect with others. The emphasis on self-preservation may be largely non-conscious, however increasing the likelihood that a person who feels lonely will act in a more defensive and self-protective fashion (Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2005, 2009). This in turn can undermine the achievement of the goal to form better connections with others.

Feeling socially isolated activates neurobiological mechanisms that may promote self-preservation in the short-term but take a toll on health and well-being in the long-term.

Among these effects are higher vascular resistance in young adults, larger morning rises in cortisol, a powerful Stress hormone, the consequence of the brain’s preparation for another dangerous day (Adam et al., 2006) increased prepotent responding, which means that behaviours high in the response hierarchy are more likely even though this includes impulsive (including poor health) behaviours (Cacioppo, Ernst et al., 2000; Hawkley, Thisted, & Cacioppo, 2009); altered gene expression, for instance, increasing inflammatory biology to deal with assaults (Cole et al., 2007, 2011) and the decreased salubriousness of sleep, the consequence of the brain’s high alert state (Cacioppo, Hawkley, Berntson et al., 2002; Hawkley, Preacher et al., 2010). Together, these processes can contribute to early morbidity and mortality. (18)

Dear World

We have Loneliness on the rise and yet we have more people on the planet than ever before and supposedly more things to keep us wired up and connected.

Something is not making sense

What if the answer is really Simple

What if we just need to Plug in and Connect – read the blog, apply what is being presented and bingo see what happens

What if when we Plug in and Connect to who we truly are nothing on the outside gives us the same quality, so we get to feel a difference – a vibration that confirms to us what is Truth and what is not

What if we learn to breathe our own breath from that simple connection to our inner most essence and feel what it means to live and not just exist

What if that Commitment alone can end our Loneliness because in Truth we have just connected to something far greater and grander than our tiny minds can tell us

What if that connection can deepen if we make it part of our practical daily life so it becomes a part of our Foundation

What if what we miss more than anything is actually that connection to our deeper self that needs or wants nothing because it has everything when it is plugged in

What if we can end the Loneliness for others by simply making sure we stay committed to plugging in and connecting as often as we can in our day until there comes a time where we know instantly if we are plugged in or out

What if we as individuals created Loneliness in the first place and now we can make a choice to end that simply by making that connection and holding steady with our commitment and consistency

Could it be that Simple?

References

(1) (2019). World Population Projections. Worldometers. Retrieved January 30, 2019 from http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-projections/

(2) (n.d). English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved January 26, 2019 from
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/loneliness

(3) (n.d). Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved January 26, 2019 from
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/loneliness

(4) (n.d). English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved January 26, 2019 from
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/solitary

(5) (2018, September 1). Loneliness is a Serious Public-Health Problem. The Economist.  Retrieved January 21, 2019 from
https://www.economist.com/international/2018/09/01/loneliness-is-a-serious-public-health-problem

(6) (2018, November 30). Loneliness. Quartz. Retrieved January 28, 2019 from
https://qz.com/emails/quartz-obsession/1479827/?utm_source=email#038;utm_medium=quartz-obsession

(7) (2019, January 22). Negative Experiences on Social Media Tied to Higher Odds of Feeling Lonely. SCIENMAG. Retrieved January 30, 2019 from
https://scienmag.com/negative-experiences-on-social-media-tied-to-higher-odds-of-feeling-lonely/

(8) (2019, January 22). Negative Experiences on Social Media Tied to Higher Odds of Feeling Lonely. EurekAlert! Retrieved January 23, 2019 from
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/uop-neo012219.php

(9) (2018, March). Later Life in the United Kingdom April 2018. Age UK. p.10. Retrieved January 26, 2019 from
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/later_life_uk_factsheet.pdf?dtrk=true

(10) (2016, November 5). Loneliness and Isolation. Cheshire Age UK. Retrieved January 26, 2019 from
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/cheshire/about-us/news/articles/2016/loneliness-and-isolation/

(11) Sarner, M. (2018, January 18). Feeling Lonely? Meet the People who Suffered Extreme Isolation – then Found Happiness. The Guardian. Retrieved January 26, 2019 from
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/18/feeling-lonely-meet-people-extreme-isolation-found-happiness

(12) Siddique. H. (2018, December 5). One in 10 Children ‘Often Lonely’, According to ONS Figures. The Guardian. Retrieved February 9, 2019 from
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/05/one-in-10-children-often-lonely-according-to-new-ons-figures

(13) (2018, April 24). Depressed, Inactive and Out of Work – Study Reveals Lives of Lonely Young Adults. SCIENMAG. Retrieved January 21, 2019 from
https://scienmag.com/depressed-inactive-and-out-of-work-study-reveals-lives-of-lonely-young-adults/

(14) Borland, S. (2018, December 8). Minister: My Prescription to Kick UK’s Pill Addiction. Daily Mail. p.6

(15) (2018, April 10). Loneliness – What Characteristics and Circumstances are Associated with Feeling Lonely? Office for National Statistics. Retrieved January 27, 2019 from
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/lonelinesswhatcharacteristicsandcircumstancesareassociatedwithfeelinglonely/2018-04-10

(16) (2018). Mental Health Statistics: Stress. Mental Health Foundation. Retrieved January 27, 2019 from
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-stress

(17) Ledger, E. (2018, July). Are Friendship Apps Really the Cure to Modern-Day Loneliness? Stylist. Retrieved January 21, 2019 from
https://www.stylist.co.uk/life/friendship-apps-london-loneliness-technology-women-bumble-bff-this-weeks-issue-428/221154

(18) Cacioppo, J.T., Cacioppo, S. (2014). Social Relationships and Health: The Toxic Effects of Perceived Social Isolation. NCBI. Retrieved January 28, 2019 from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4021390/

 

 

 

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Comments 26

  1. BBC News – 18 January 2019

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-46885707/rent-a-sister-coaxing-japan-s-hikikomori-out-of-their-rooms

    Japan – half a million young men have withdrawn from society and refuse to leave their bedrooms. They are known as hikikomori. The age group of these men is 18 – 35 years old.

    Some have not been out in the world for decades and have completely withdrawn from society.

    As there is a lot of shame within families, many struggle to get help if they have a hikikomori.

    This news audio tells us that it is a condition without a proper medical diagnosis or a standard course of treatment

    To coax Japan’s hikikomori out of their rooms and back into regular life, they can Rent a Sister.

    A specialised group of women who are getting paid to help Japan’s most reclusive young men.

    They are not medically trained and one woman who has been doing the job for over a decade said she simply tried to connect with the young man at their level.

    The audio is worth watching on this news story as one example is given about a young man bullied in his younger years and saying he stayed up all night playing video games and then slept during the day.

    He feels his rental sister supports him as they go out together and eat and it makes so much difference to how he feels compared with just being alone. He goes on to say that our society is very tough on the weak.

    Another story highlighted a young man who has been isolated for over 20 years and barely leaves his room. He has become violent where the police were called as he caused injury to his mother.

    Professor and Psychologist Tamaki Saito who has written a book on Hikikomori and says this type of condition is very common and whilst there are only 10,000 homeless people, he thinks there are about one million hikikomori, which is a Japanese style of social exclusion.

    He feels government figures may not be reflecting the real number of cases and it is also becoming an issue in USA, UK, Italy and South Korea where young men might feel an overwhelming pressure to succeed financially.

    What is clear is there is no definitive answer as to WHY anyone ends up as a hikikomori.

    Whilst this is a name given, many of us can relate to this going on in our communities and countries.

    What if we asked this simple question –

    WHY is anyone in this world lonely if there are over 7 billion of us residing on this planet?

    Is it down to each and every one of us to ensure that we do our bit, so not a single person feels lonely to the point where they become isolated?

    Do we need to simply be ourselves and interact with others without trying to be something we are not?

    Is it our general lack of expression where we hold back or think something in our heads but never get round to saying it, that leaves us dis-connected and this dis-connection then plays out in life where we somehow become unaware of those around us who are withdrawing?

    Could this be a reason why we have a condition known as hikikomori?

  2. Thank you Simple Living Global for bringing awareness to another taboo subject. As you mentioned that there are young men in Japan who shut themselves in their homes, it has prompted me to read this BBC News article and watch the video.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-46885707/rent-a-sister-coaxing-japan-s-hikikomori-out-of-their-rooms

    ‘At least half a million young men in Japan are thought to have withdrawn from society, and refuse to leave their bedrooms. They’re known as hikikomori.
    Their families often don’t know what to do, but one organisation is offering “sisters for hire” to help coax these young men out of their isolation.’

    Some of these young men will not leave their homes for decades.

    The video is an eye-opener as it gives us insight from some of the young men’s perspective.

    We learn that at times the young men can become violent and the video gives some reasons behind their withdrawal from life –

    Bullying

    Experiencing a traumatic event

    Depression

    Too much pressure from parents

    Not being able to hold down a job or degree

    Professor and psychologist Tamaiki Saito who has written about hikikomori has said that it is very common and that in Japan there are less than 10,000 homeless but 1 million young men who shut themselves in their home. He says this is a Japanese style of social exclusion.

    It is very interesting to note that loneliness is a global issue and whilst it might present differently in differing countries and cultures, underneath is it possible that the underlying issue is the same?

    Is it possible that what we are missing the most is that connection to our deeper self, as Simple Living Global is questioning here and this is the root cause of Loneliness?

    What if it is truly possible to live in a way that keeps us connected and plugged in to our inner-most self every day?

    What if the power to change all of this is simply in our hands?

  3. Having a conversation with a friend today who admitted that in the past although most would think their life was going well, they actually felt lonely.

    I have heard so many stories and it would be true to say that people in long term relationships also feel lonely and not just those who live alone.

    I reckon I used to feel lonely inside like something was missing and it led me to lead a life full of distractions, which was really about not going there to that place inside me that felt dis-connected.

    The other thing about loneliness is we feel sorry for people and reach out with our sympathy, but what if we need to inspire others by being real role models?
    In other words, plug in and connect and keep deepening that connection with our inner most self and that way we do not feel alone or lonely but rather the opposite.

    I am living proof of how we can end this loneliness when we realise there is a responsibility in every choice we make, in every single day and with that comes a living way that knocks out the victim or needy feelings because we are simply plugged in to the field and who needs anything when they have the universe?

    In other words there is a grander connection we can all have if we choose to, but it does require us to live that R word that most of us don’t really like – RESPONSIBILITY

  4. Thank you for this superb and vitally important blog.

    I used to feel lonely more or less all the time – right from my teenage years all the way through to my late forties.

    And I wouldn’t just feel lonely when I was on my own. I would often feel like an alien from another planet in the company of others – I couldn’t relate to the people around me.

    But this has all changed and, in the last couple of years, there has not been a single moment when I have felt lonely.

    What has caused this huge change in my life? I simply learnt from the author of this blog to do the things that are described in the blog as the ways to eradicate loneliness: plugging in to connect and breathing my own breath.

    What’s more, as I have developed my connection with my Self over time through plugging in and breathing my own breath, I feel that my relationships (and connection with) others has deepened and become more real.

    It’s amazing – once I had finally met myself though plugging into connect, I could begin to really meet others.

  5. What a subject. One that touches so many of us.
    Thank you for shining such bright light on this.

    A taxi driver recently told me he changes his behaviour with his family to avoid loneliness.

    He shared there are all sorts of things he feels are not acceptable, going on in his family. When he says anything about them, his family turn on him.

    He said his greatest fear is to be alone. He loves people and to be around people and he would rather be with them in suffering than to be without anyone.

    So he keeps quiet. Accepts the behaviour he can’t abide. Swallows his feelings. Bites his tongue. Says the right things so as not to rock the boat. All to avoid getting ostracised.

    We talked about this and how doing all that actually makes him feel.

    He said if he is honest, he hates it. He feels a turmoil.

    And we talked about the bigger impact of not speaking up. Not calling out bad behaviour and abuse. Letting people off the hook. Accepting a low standard in family or community or society. If not us who see and feel it, then who?

    And we talked about what loneliness really is and whether being with people physically is the antidote or if the answer is instead simply a connection inside.

    And if it is a connection inside – as I have found to be the case – then that is something you have, no matter what and loneliness just becomes a word or a figment, that holds no sway.

  6. Thank you for this fantastic blog.

    As I mentioned in my earlier comment on this blog, I used to feel lonely all the time but loneliness has been eradicated from my life since Iearning and applying the methods of Connection to the Real Me mentioned in the blog: breathing my own breath and plugging in to connect.

    Looking back, I can see that there had been a correlation in my life between emptiness and loneliness.

    Before learning to plug in and connect, I always felt empty. When feeling empty, loneliness was inevitable because the emptiness I felt was inescapable whether I was on my own or with people. In fact, I could never really connect to people because there is nothing to connect to in an empty vessel.

    However, as I have said, when I learnt from the author of this blog how to breathe my own breath and plug in to connect, following some consistent application of these techniques, emptiness and loneliness left my life completely.

  7. I was talking to a man in his 50s today who lost his wife 10 years ago and most of us know how those who have lost a life partner feel regarding loneliness.

    He said he can cook but the thought of putting an oven on just for him after work does not seem worth it, so he usually has beans on toast or a take away.

    What I could see was how lonely he was feeling and the effort to take care of himself was no longer a priority.

    What is it that happens when we are totally ok if it is for someone else but doing it for ourselves holds little purpose or meaning for so many?

    I suggested he cooks more and leaves the extra dinner in the fridge for another day and he liked that as he lit up and I could see he was inspired.

    Loneliness is not just around when we lose someone and a real life example was a story shared with me yesterday in the community. Husband with lots of businesses to run and the wife is very lonely as she does not feel he connects or even is interested in her.

    Next – kids are lonely, not just adults so what is that telling us today and what on earth is missing in their lives, is the question we should all be discussing at every dinner table.

    This blog is well worth reading and the questions it presents are worthy of consideration so that we can nail this growing serious public health problem.

  8. Globe and Mail – 14 May 2019

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-look-at-all-the-lonely-people-a-lack-of-connection-is-a-public-health/

    While the health care needs of ageing adults have rightly been the focus of preparations for our ageing society, politicians have largely ignored a need of equal importance – social connection.

    One of the key factors associated with longevity is being socially connected, involved and engaged.

    Older adults social networks may change as they age because of mobility issues, declines in health and the death of friends and family – all of which put them at higher risk of loneliness and social isolation.

    According to the US Health and Retirement study more than 40% of older adults are lonely.

    Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging revealed 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men report feeling lonely at least some of the time.

    Evidence shows that chronic loneliness is linked to a multitude of ailments such as depression, suicidal behaviour and memory impairment. Because of this loneliness has been described as a public health crisis that costs us all.

    Redesigning our environments and making them more socially friendly by creating parks and gathering places has been seen as a way governments can take responsibility for this epidemic.

    Is redesigning our environments the answer?

    Are only our governments responsible?

    Is the remedy to get involved in lots of activities or is there another way that we can deal with loneliness that costs nothing at all and empowers each of us to become responsible with the way that we choose to live?

    What if connection to our inner-most – a place deep within, is what is required first and foremost?

    Could this eradicate loneliness?

    Is it possible that we have a well of resources deep within us to deal with this public health crisis?

    What if we read this blog by Simple Living Global on Plug in and Connect?
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/plug-in-and-connect/

    Are the questions that it raises and the wisdom that is posed in this article on Loneliness worth considering?

    Are the answers to Loneliness running through this website if we choose to be honest and take heed of what the author is presenting?

    Is loneliness a man-made epidemic which stems from a dis-connection to who we truly are first?

  9. It is one thing reading about this topic on loneliness and it is another when we talk about it but how do we feel when someone is sitting in front of us and we can see it.

    A young nurse from overseas asks if she can sit opposite me as the chair was empty and she was on her lunch break. We were in a coffee shop that sells much more than coffee.

    My take is if you want to sit on my table then I am not going to ignore you or pretend you don’t exist. I did not discuss the weather as my introductory line.

    I started with my usual style so no change there – ‘you look tired’.
    From those three words we ended up talking about so much that she is going through and something lifted in her face. She looked and felt like she had some joy inside her and she wanted to hug me.

    Here was a young woman who actually had a very lonely existence and whilst she works in a busy department in a crazy busy hospital, she nevertheless had the signs and symptoms of someone who clearly is lonely. Came to study and now works here and cannot see how going back home is the answer. Has countless worries about this and that and I gave her my take with my common sense hat on and she kept nodding in agreement.

    I know of other women from her homeland who are in similar situations and live in her neighbourhood, so I have asked her to contact me if she wants to meet them.
    Her response was she thought people like me did not exist in this world.

    Her smile and the joy in her face left me in no doubt that simply talking can make a difference, if we are prepared to go for it with no holding back.

    I don’t think of what to say or calculate anything – it just comes out and for anyone listening it could be interpreted as nosey or imposing or other nonsense.

    As a world we need to ask ourselves – how has it got to this point where we sit opposite another in a coffee shop and they are really suffering with loneliness?

    What does it take for all of us who are not in this position to actually make the movement to say something instead of allowing it to continue?

    We have 7 billion residing on this earth plane and for that reason alone there should be not one person ever having to endure the symptoms of loneliness.

  10. The Conversation – 5th March 2020

    Social Isolation Linked to Higher Levels of Inflammation
    https://theconversation.com/social-isolation-linked-to-higher-levels-of-inflammation-new-study-132564

    A new study says that being lonely or socially isolated can negatively affect our wellbeing. There is even research showing it increases the risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression.

    Some researchers suggest that loneliness and social isolation lead to poorer health because they increase inflammation.

    Inflammation is when our body tells our immune system to produce chemicals to fight off infection or injury. It can also occur when we experience psychological or social stress.

    Short-term, local inflammation – such as when we accidentally cut our finger – can be helpful, but having slightly elevated long-term inflammation is associated with poor health. Researchers propose that loneliness and social isolation are linked to this elevated long-term inflammation.

    The researchers, in their latest study, wanted to see if loneliness (the subjective state of feeling alone) and social isolation (the objective state of being alone) are linked to long-term inflammation.

    Their analysis revealed that people who are more socially isolated have higher levels of two inflammatory chemicals: C-reactive protein and fibrinogen. C-reactive protein is commonly used as an indicator of inflammation and high levels are associated with poor health. Fibrinogen increases blood clotting and is higher when people have an injury or trauma. When people have long-term increased levels of these inflammatory markers, it can lead to an increased risk of poorer health over time.

    Social isolation could be linked to higher levels of inflammation for several reasons.

    We have evolved to be a social species, so being socially isolated could be a source of stress. And stress has a direct effect on the immune system.

    It is also possible that we evolved to turn on our immune system when we are isolated. This is because when alone, we could be at greater risk of being injured.

    It is also possible that inflammation leads to social isolation. People who are ill and have higher levels of inflammation can feel like they don’t want to be around other people. This could be because we have evolved to want to isolate ourselves so we don’t infect other people.

    The evidence linking loneliness with inflammation was less convincing. Some evidence was found linking loneliness to an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-6, but this was not a consistent finding. This suggests that there may not be a direct effect of loneliness on inflammation. Instead, loneliness may change how our body responds to stress. There is research showing that lonely people are more likely to have an enhanced inflammatory response to stress.

    To best understand how loneliness and social isolation influence health, we need to examine a range of biological, psychological and social risk factors, such as blood pressure, mental health, income and social support, as they are all associated with increased inflammation

    Because we feel loneliness at different levels, in different circumstances and because some people choose to socially isolate themselves, is it possible that this whole research could be seen as subjective?

    If it were the case that loneliness and social isolation did cause inflammation, is it possible that there could be a much simpler and much deeper reason for this?

    Is it possible that we, as human beings are divinely designed to be connected with each other?

    Is it possible that we, as human beings, are all connected in a way that transcends nationality, culture, religion, backgrounds, tastes, likes and dislikes and that we are simply the ‘one’ person in different shapes, colours and genders?

    If the above is true, which I feel it is, is it possible that if we did have inflammation due to loneliness or social isolation, it is because we, due to our own fears, insecurities, judgments, prejudices, biases, intolerances, have chosen to feel loneliness in our lives or to socially isolate ourselves from others?

    Simply put, if we know who we are, if we know why we are here on this earth, if we know what our purpose is on this earth, is it possible we would be full of life?

    And if so, is it possible that we would have no time or no inclination to be lonely and we certainly wouldn’t want to isolate ourselves?

    This article talks about us evolving to be a social species – Is it possible that we did not evolve to be a social species simply because we have always been a social species?

  11. USA Today – 8 April 2020

    https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/04/08/mental-health-our-epidemic-within-coronavirus-pandemic-column/2939511001/

    Our world was already in a crisis before the current pandemic.

    People were dying from alcohol, drugs and suicide and many were lonely and isolated and this was before our governments asked us to isolate even more.

    Social isolation and loneliness are linked to a variety of mental and physical health problems.
    From depression to heart disease, these health conditions often get worse when we are alone.

    Some have even claimed the impact of loneliness on our health is the same as smoking or obesity and in some cases worse, when we consider all the social and economic factors.

    In the United States, deaths to drug, alcohol and suicide continue to skyrocket, reaching levels that we have never seen. These issues impact all generations and all ethnic and minority groups in the face of a global crisis and the U.S. as a nation are at a critical pivot point for mental health in their country.

    In a recent survey, 55% of adults interviewed said that the current situation in the world has affected their mental health. 71% are worried that this isolation will have a negative impact on the country’s mental health.

    Enough said, if we re-read this blog it is presenting that loneliness is not high on the agenda for our governments, policy makers or in the awareness of the majority of the general populace.

    There are many who feel isolated and alone even when they are living in a family unit or residential home with other people around.

    Do we need to stop and question HOW and WHY are we at this point in society?

    What happened in the olden days where loneliness was not a mental health issue that was known, as it was rare?

    Do we need to review how those guys were living and what they were doing and not doing?

    With a rise in virtual reality with the screentime being our first and foremost relationship, is this modern day way of life coming with issues like loneliness?

    Has man created this as a way to stop the inter-connectedness that we each as individuals have with every one else on this planet?

    This news story was talking about one country, but if we simply use it as a microcosm, it would be true to say that this is going on in other parts of the world.

    We are in the midst of a global pandemic – something most of us have never experienced in our lifetime. ADD to this the strict rules that apply to what we can and cannot do and many isolating at home against their wishes.

    Post pandemic how will it all look, with a world shut down for business and shut down towards communicating and connecting with others?

    Will we see an upsurge in loneliness related conditions in addition to new types of mental health issues because of how we have been living during the lockdown period?

    Next – what about those who are already feeling lonely and isolated away from friends and family because their circumstances mean they are in hospital or care homes?

    How will they be feeling and how will their quality of life be with even more isolation and no visitors and if we do let that happen, there are guidelines like wearing gloves and masks and no hugging?

    As a world, are we prepared and that means are we on the front foot with what is coming?

  12. With our global pandemic now in full force and lockdown and self isolation being the new buzz words – what are we doing to those who already suffer with loneliness?

    What are we doing to others who are now afraid to go out and becoming even more lonely?

    What about those who have limited access to wi-fi and all the modern tech needed to stay in touch online?

    We have billions of people occupying this planet and yet there is a modern day problem called Loneliness.

    Something is not making sense if we stop for a moment to consider what has been said here.

    How scary can things get when we hear people in a marriage saying they feel ‘lonely’.

    Why do some of us accept the ‘arrangement’ in our relationships because leaving would mean we could be ‘lonely’?

    How do those who live the so-called American dream – in other words they have All the things most of us want and yearn for but yet they feel lonely?

    Why are our kids feeling lonely in an environment which we call family?

    Why do we have so many wired up to digital devices and yet they say they are feeling lonely?

    WHY is none of this making any sense?

    Is it time to wake up and ask these questions instead of bopping along in our life, accepting all these real life situations, saying nothing and doing nothing?

  13. Forbes – 29 April 2020

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2020/04/29/why-the-former-surgeon-general-worries-about-loneliness-and-older-adults/#3d1791ee4d91

    Former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy discovered many people were experiencing loneliness.

    Murthy became concerned that loneliness and social isolation run deep in the US, especially among older adults.

    This is confirmed by a study from the University of California/San Francisco, which reveals that 43% of adults over 65 feel lonely, which can put them at a greater risk for poor health.

    During his tenure, he visited small towns and big cities across America and noted threads of loneliness in the stories people would tell him about depression, suicide, substance abuse disorders, violence in communities, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. He said behind these stories were themes of loneliness.

    What is worth noting in this news story is Dr. Murthy recalls sitting with members of Congress individually behind closed doors who would tell him in hushed tones that loneliness was a problem for them.

    He mentions 3 factors starting with the limit of mobility as people get older and get ill, so it’s harder to go out and engage more broadly in society.

    Next – as we get older our hearing or vision may be impaired and this could limit the extent to proactively socialise with others.

    The third factor is our modern society really values the youth and Dr. Murthy feels that the older generations are not sufficiently valued for their wisdom and experience that comes with age. So as people get older, they often feel like they are less useful in society and this contributes to a sense of isolation.

    Society needs the older generation to help nurture children and provide wisdom when society makes big decisions around threats like health. Often the perspective and support of somebody who has been there before can be incredibly valuable.

    When you reach out and serve others, it can be a very powerful antidote to loneliness. We shift our focus from our self to someone else.

    Dr. Murthy does not think it is the sole responsibility of doctors to address loneliness in patients.
    “The truth is many doctors themselves struggle with loneliness at some point in their lives.”

    He adds that one of the most important medicines we have is the ability to listen with an open heart, simply acknowledging the challenge of loneliness and giving someone the opportunity to talk about it without judgment.

    So here we have our former head of the United States Public Health Service telling us we need to address loneliness as it is linked to poor health outcomes. As the leading spokesperson on mattes of health in federal government, his words do echo what we all need to be aware of.

    As this blog presents – it makes no sense to have any one experiencing loneliness if we have over 7 billion of us on the same planet.

  14. Just reading online about ways to fight Loneliness during this lockdown period, which seems to be going on longer than most of us imagined.

    As a writer and a woman who meets a lot of the general public and can relate to people from all backgrounds, I know that social isolation is going to affect us deeply as humans are really not designed to be alone.

    We have a virus that we are being told is killing thousands and for that reason we must adhere to whatever the government tells us to do.

    Having written extensively on mental health and coming from my own lived experience, I know beyond doubt that we are going to have another crisis, which most of us may not have considered yet – mental health issues.

    A question to all of you Dear World

    What would the answer be if we asked an old age person right now – do they want social isolation away from those they know and love and feel familiar with?

    Having written much about human life, I would say that we need relationships to connect and express and even more so now in this current climate. Above all, the elderly cannot be dismissed because we have a global pandemic and things have changed. For the majority, someone meeting them and engaging in a conversation is super important.

    I asked my elderly father having lost my mother after 64 years together, what matters to him as he is in the last stage of his life. His response was very simple – that someone would sit with him and just listen. So forget the material possessions, his house, car and other stuff – nothing is important for him, just the human connection with those who he knows and are familiar.

    Next – when my dad was was left alone with no visitors in hospital recently for a month, it literally took the life out of him. Seeing me for 10 minutes even with a mask, gloves, apron and glasses on was well worth it for him. He told me his suffering had halved just by me showing up to visit. I felt this to be true as I had never seen him so withdrawn and lifeless. The nurse told me it was like he had given up the will to live but that changed after my visit and he even got up and used the bathroom on his own, which is a miracle really having been bed bound and almost motionless for weeks.

    Loneliness is not for humans and if we do not address this we will have more suffering and dying from something that is completely avoidable.

    Are we going to question those who make decisions on our behalf or are we simply going to just accept everything that we are told?

  15. Office for National Statistics – 8 June 2020
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandlonelinessgreatbritain/3aprilto3may2020

    Coronavirus and Loneliness, Great Britain: 3 April to 3 May 2020

    2.6 million adults in Great Britain reported they felt lonely “often” or “always” between 3 April and 3 May 2020 about the same proportion as pre-lockdown.

    Of those asked (30.9%) 7.4 million adults reported their well-being had been affected through their feeling lonely in the past seven days.

    Working-age adults living alone were likely to report Loneliness both “often or always” and over the past seven days than the average adult; this was also the case for those in “bad” or “very bad” health, in rented accommodation or who were either single or divorced, separated or a former or separated civil partner.

    The Office for National Statistics has been researching people’s well-being for nearly a decade.

    For those who would like more heady complicated information, please go to the link and read on.

    For those who just want to keep it simple, we ought to be aware that this type of information is collated from surveys and differences in wording between surveys need to be noted.

    Have we thought about WHY those who are chronically lonely are likely to have an underlying health condition or disability?

    Does our common sense tell us that ill health, separation, divorce, widowed single adults living alone and living in rented accommodation could all play a part in being lonely?

    Reading this article by Simple Living Global and what it presents, we could work out that Loneliness has something to do with our connection, first with ourself and then relating to others.

    Is connection the key word that we need to focus on when it comes to Loneliness?

    Statistics are great to bring awareness to those who have access to read them but then what?
    What about the old man who has lost his wife of 5 decades or the woman who is divorced and now lost her job and so on and so on…?

    How can we get them to not feel lonely and what is our job – in other words what part do we play in all of this?

    Would a reminder that we are in essence all inter-connected in some way make any difference?

    In other words, what about the lonely person ‘out there’ and not in our radar or anything to do with us, thank you very much as we have a busy life full of social and family fun?

    What would happen if we all started taking note of those on our streets and in our neighbourhood and seeing them as part of our wider bigger world family and not just the man down the street who lives on his own?

    We can keep on bringing out more and more statistics, but is it time to really question and ponder on what it is that we need to address about Loneliness which is destroying lives that need not be that way?

    As a reminder once again, how on earth does our modern world have a plague called Loneliness when we have over 7 BILLION of us living here?

  16. Yahoo.com – 14 June 2020

    https://uk.style.yahoo.com/women-uk-lockdown-loneliness-102751478.html

    A new study suggests one third of women in the UK are suffering from loneliness during lockdown. This is as a result of restrictions put in place to contain the pandemic.
    Women under the age of 30 were among those whose mental health was most impacted.

    Scientists discovered that social isolation is the reason females in Britain are currently experiencing greater problems. As well as economic factors and the extra burden of childcare and domestic chores, the way the lockdown has impacted female social relationships is likely to have been an important factor.

    As people were prevented from meeting members of a different household, it was likely to have led to a “decline in mental wellbeing” says Ben Etheridge, an economist at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

    Could we say that this is the start of many more research studies, which will highlight the effects of social isolation when governments set down rules that have a huge knock on effect?

    In other words, people will feel even more dis-connected as a result of telling them to stay in and not engage or meet others in real life. However, virtual reality is acceptable but for some, like those mentioned in the above study, it is not cutting it – not doing the job – as these women obviously want the meeting and engaging that comes with socialising.

    This blog states that Loneliness is a Serious Public Health Problem.
    What could we say it is now and what will it be if and when we come out the other side?

    Will our campaigns to reduce loneliness fall short or come a bit too late for many, as their behaviours have been solidified with this ‘staying in on your own or not seeing your friends’ rule?

    How serious is it when the research study exposes that the burden of childcare and domestic chores has had an impact?

    Can we assume that all the females in the study are single parents or do they have partners who are not contributing or doing their bit in the Responsibility department when it comes to kids and those boring jobs we call everyday chores?

    What is it going to be like down the road, so to speak? In other words what are the future lives of these women going to be?

    Is it going to be therapy or forms of self medication to get them through their days of existing, rather than days living with full vitality levels?

    Back to this informative blog on the subject of Loneliness.
    Researchers have defined loneliness as perceived social isolation – a feeling of not having the social contacts one would like.

    So does that mean some of these mentioned in this study want and need the social friends/contacts in their lives as this is how they communicate and interact in life?

    Taking note this is women under the age of 30 – could it be possible that social relationships are important as they are not deeply connected to who they truly are and therefore seeking something in the void they have come to know as loneliness?

    In other words, they do not like being by themselves as this would mean looking deeply into who they are, what they feel and how they behave and that means how they move in every moment.

    Could it be possible that our young women of today seek comfort in what is outside of themselves and so being in their own company is not comfortable in any way?

    Do we all know that the elderly and young adults have the highest share of lonely people of all adults?

    How has it got to this and if we have a whole generation of youth who are lonely, what is their future elderly life going to be like?

    Do we need to re-write education programs and start early on in the school agenda on how to bring in basic and fundamental foundations that are practical when it comes to a human being connecting with their innermost self so that they never feel isolated?

    Would this mean bringing in teachers who live a deeply self-connecting life, so that when they go into the classrooms and present how to breathe correctly they plug in and connect.
    For more on this – please go to our blog Plug in and Connect.
    https://simplelivingglobal.com/plug-in-and-connect/

    What if this was the schooling of the future before we introduce any other temporal intelligence based measure?
    In other words, we lock in the basic skills that equip us to deal with daily life as we grow up, and then it can be applied throughout our lifetime.

  17. This comment could go on Citizen Journalism but the point being made is about loneliness so it will do well to post on this blog.

    There is no doubt that our elderly feel lonely and noise coming out of a screen with pictures is some form of connection and companionship.

    As a regular visitor to a care home and making daily calls every evening, I observed that the TV plays a huge part when it comes to loneliness.

    What if our society integrated and saw everyone as the same, in the knowing that one day they will be an elderly citizen in their community?

    We pay a very large sum of money to live in these care homes, which are there to see us through to the end of our life but we seem to have one missing ingredient – human social interaction with those we have connections with and that means friends and family.

    What I noticed is we have a restriction that has now lifted, but visitors are very few and when I asked they say their children and grandchildren are busy living their own lives and have no time.

    Imagine when it’s our turn – we are in our 80s and our body has broken down to the point where our mobility is limited, our children do not want the responsibility of taking care of us and we are put into a place of care which is our new home having lived for decades in our own home somewhere else. We may be widowed or suffering with illness or mental health problems.

    So what can we as individuals do to change this acceptable ‘norm’ in society where we literally leave old people to die?
    Studies have shown that loneliness is a bigger killer than obesity.
    There is robust evidence. 300,000 adults across 148 studies and another study with 3.4 million adults – see this link – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318723

    Researchers say that loneliness and social isolation are major risk factors for premature death.

    This news article says that while loneliness and social isolation are often used interchangeably, there are notable differences between the two. Social isolation is defined as a lack of contact with other individuals, while loneliness is the feeling that one is emotionally dis-connected from others.

    What is worth noting is that the research team found the risk of early death associated with loneliness, social isolation and living alone were EQUAL to or greater than the premature death risk associated with obesity and other major health conditions.

    We all know that we can be in the presence of others and still feel lonely and we could say that is because the person feels dis-connected from humanity.

    Back to the care homes I have visited where it is quite normal to leave residents to watch TV in the day room or the television in their room.

    What if we carried out studies to see what it does to the brain of someone elderly in a care home?

    Then with observational studies monitor their breathing when they constantly watch the news on repeat and then have no one around to talk to or discuss any feelings they may have?

    Add to that, observe their appetite and sleep patterns and sleep quality and then see how often any human actually engages with them?

    Imagine what we could learn here or are we not wanting to focus on this type of Independent study as it may expose what we are doing for our elderly citizens who are no longer able to take care of themselves.

    This comment is presenting that there is a link with TV watching and loneliness.
    The TV is a solution and it helps to pass the time as there really is not much else available in these modern residential homes for the elderly.

    Of course there may be deluxe care homes where there are activities or engagement with the residents but from my experience the price is way to high for the majority to afford.

    So we have a global loneliness epidemic and those of us who are currently fit, able and moving around are perhaps going to join the statistics and be a part of this epidemic.

    There was a time – call it long ago in the past where loneliness did not exist. People lived in a way that was Brotherhood and that meant it was one human family and there was no separation or divide when it came to other fellow humans.

    What could we learn from how we lived in the past and could that hold the key to our worldwide issue on Loneliness?

  18. Metro News – 11 January 2021

    A study has found that those who live alone are more likely to die from breaking their hip than those living with a partner, as social support is linked to “better immune functioning”.

    The Norwegian study warns the risk is 37% higher for single men and 23% for single women.

    What we can establish from this study is the bit about immune functioning.

    Most of us know that the immune system is weaker when we smoke, drink alcohol and have poor quality nutrition. But we might not have linked that our immune system changes when we have connection with other human beings.
    The thing is we were never designed to operate in isolation or live alone. If we were then God, the Universe or whoever we think got us here on this plane of life, that we call planet earth, would have made things different.

    We are human beings and we are social beings. Living alone affects us more that we would like to admit, accept or even consider. We need to engage with others, remain open and allow the love we have innately inside of us to be expressed towards ourselves and others equally.

    Hanging out with ourselves and having no other humans around is not the way to go and there are now many calling out the real harm and dangers of loneliness now. It is time to wake up and pay attention. With around 7.8 billion of us, how can we even have an illness called Loneliness?

  19. Science Magazine – 13 March 2021

    https://scienmag.com/exhaustion-linked-with-increased-risk-of-heart-attack-in-men/

    This news story tells us about a study where exhaustion is linked with increased risk of heart attack in men.

    The bit relevant for this topic on Loneliness is what Dr. Dmitriy Panov, the study author says – “Living alone indicates less social support, which we know from our prior studies is an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke.” He noted that the findings indicate a pattern whereby social disadvantage relates to vital exhaustion, which is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.

    In his conclusion, he states that “efforts to improve well-being and reduce stress at home and at work can help to reduce vital exhaustion”.

    Back to loneliness – we only have to read what this blog presents and the comments thereafter to work out simply that the lack of social connection affects our lives greatly. We could say that common sense would tell us that those that engage in life, meet and connect with others on a daily basis are not alone, but we do know that we can be so-called sociable but feel lonely nevertheless and this could possibly be because we are not really open and engaging with others when we meet them.

    However, this study is giving us something more to consider and not dismiss. How many of us would have known there is a correlation between living alone and exhaustion? And how many of us are aware that there are studies indicating that living alone is a risk factor for having a heart attack and stroke?

    Something is not right in our world where we have people isolated and alone.
    It tends to be more prevalent and noticeable in the western so-called more advanced societies in our world. That in itself indicates something about how we are choosing to live and what is the norm and acceptable in these parts of the world.

  20. Office of National Statistics – 7 April 2021

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/mappinglonelinessduringthecoronaviruspandemic/2021-04-07

    The latest news from the Office of National Statistics tells us about mapping Loneliness during the pandemic. After a year of lockdown and restrictions on travel and gatherings, some groups of people have reported HIGH RATES OF LONELINESS and poorer well-being in recent months.

    2.6 million adults said they felt lonely “often” or “always” in Spring 2020
    3.7 million said this during October 2020 to February 2021

    This confirms that levels of Loneliness in Great Britain have increased since lockdown started.

    Mapping trends across the country gives more insight and shows the types of places where a higher proportion of people felt lonely often or always and differences in personal well-being.

    Areas with a higher concentration of younger people aged 16 – 24 and areas with higher rates of unemployment tended to have higher rates of Loneliness, according to the study during the period October 2020 to February 2021.

    Are we surprised to learn that the young age group that were single and renting were more likely to say they often felt lonely?

    Is this understandable as we know how many of our younger generations operate and it may just have something to do with their lifestyle choices or how they have been raised without the good old fashion love and discipline, which we call Responsibility?

    There is only so much a young person can engage in with a screen and social interaction for them is very important. Many would not be interested or want to have a sense of purpose AND RESPONSIBILITY because they feel trapped in their situation. With little or no real role models other than those they see influencing them on social media, are we getting WHY we have loneliness rising among this youth generation?

    Without any judgement or critique here, could it be possible that our younger people are simply not equipped to deal with the isolation that this pandemic has brought and whilst they seemed ok and happy with virtual interaction, they miss the real life, in your face relationships and this has contributed to experiences of Loneliness?

    We need to look at the whole thing, the bigger picture and also ask a very important question that may have an affect on society in the future.

    What will be the mental health of these younger people that are currently suffering with some form of long-term Loneliness?

    This report also tells us that previous research during the pandemic found 66% of students have reported a worsening in their mental health and well-being. 25% report feeling lonely often or always.
    How serious is that Dear World and what are we going to do or not do about this?

    10.5 million people said they were affected by the pandemic in the last week because they were lonely. They call this 7 day measure “lockdown Loneliness”.

    Next – is it pretty obvious that Loneliness levels are tied closely with unemployment?
    A job – going to work gives a sense of routine and purpose to most of us but we forget we can still behave and that means move in a way that continues despite the official ‘no job’ status.

    The author of this comment and blog and website knows of individuals that have had no paid work for a year that are offering to volunteer or simply get up like they were going to work. That means the full works as if you are leaving the front door for the day but instead you get on with it. Many have found jobs they could not imagine doing but it got them out and others are working online with no deviation into social media or engaging in late night TV watching. Whilst the situation we are all currently in feels like an imposition of our basic human living, we are still bound by the rules and regulations that dictate what is and what is not possible for us during these times.

    What is worth noting here is that if before the lockdown we had lifestyle choices that were not really supporting our true health and well-being, then chances are we are not going to get through this lockdown without it deeply affecting us in some way. The good news is we have all this time to make changes.

    Even reading this blog and others on this website could bring about some much needed inspiration or we can choose another movie to flick on the net or go down the social media rabbit hole – it all comes down to choice.

    Simple Living Global continue to write knowing that there are and will continue to be people that are genuinely ready for real change because there is another way to live human life.

  21. American Journal of Preventive Medicine – 10 April 2021

    https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(21)00164-1/fulltext

    Impact of Social Isolation on Physical Functioning among Older Adults.
    A 9 year Longitudinal Study of a U.S. Representative Sample

    Social isolation among older adults is associated with poor health and premature mortality but its impact on physical functioning is not fully understood. This study was to generate more evidence between social isolation and physical functioning in a large panel of older adults.

    The study adds to a growing evidence base demonstrating the negative consequences of social isolation, specifically the acceleration of ageing decline trajectories in physical functioning.

    https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/social-isolation-has-a-profound-and-increasingly-negative-impact-on-physical-functioning-in-older-adults

    Physical functioning is understood to influence the health of individuals and social isolation is prevalent among older adults.

    As individuals age, physical functioning declines, which can result in a loss of functional independence, onset of disability and increased mortality, with significant personal, community and economic costs. Older adults who are socially integrated may be more likely to engage in physical activity, which would in turn elicit improvements in their physical functioning.

    Social isolation is a significant problem facing the health and wellbeing of individuals across the life course. Individuals who are socially isolated are more likely to experience mental health problems, develop dementia and have increased risk of premature mortality.

    1 in 4 older adults is isolated or severely isolated, according to data from United States.
    Given the worldwide trends in population ageing, social isolation among older adults is likely to become an increasing burden in years to come.

    Observational studies in the UK, Japan and China have identified negative associations between social isolation and physical functioning in samples of older adults.

    “Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges that societies face in the 21st century. We have to start thinking about this issue now to avoid more serious consequences down the track” Dr. Borja del Pozo Cruz PhD.

    Add to that the lockdown and restrictions and we can say that what has been said is the tip of the iceberg.

    If social isolation creates mental health problems and dementia – can we all agree it is because we are naturally social creatures and a species that is inter-connected and that means we are not to be living alone, hiding or with no communication with other human beings.

    We know there are those that feel lonely even in a relationship or family environment and this study is not about that population group.

    Dear World

    What if we are one human family and when we all get what that truly means and open up to others that we call ‘not blood, not our own kind or strangers’ we may just put an end to social isolation as we know it today?

    What if we meet and engage with others consistently instead of our ingrained habits like looking away, ignoring or dismissing another or hiding in our book or screen on public transport in the diner or café?

    A reminder already said on this blog and other comments –
    How on earth can any one of us be feeling isolated in any way when we have 7.8 billion of us here?

    Is this a confirmation that we are not applying how human life could be lived, so we can put an end to social isolation and instead we are creating more division and more individualism which creates the void where those that are lost get to go down the road of social isolation. Possible?

  22. Patient Care – 10 August 2021

    https://www.patientcareonline.com/view/loneliness-in-aging-adults-associated-with-high-risk-medication-use

    Loneliness in Aging Adults is associated with High-Risk Medication Use.

    According to new research published by investigators at UC San Francisco – see link
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2782349

    Older adults who report being “highly lonely” are up to 2.5 times more likely to use opioid analgesics, sedatives and anziolytics.

    Older adults who experience loneliness are twice as likely to use opioid analgesics for pain.

    The study tells us that “Loneliness is the emotional distress resulting from a discrepancy between one’s actual and desired level of social connection, is associated with physical and psychological symptoms in older adults, including pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety”.

    The proportion of participants in each group who had prescriptions for opioids and antianxiety medications and sedatives, for example – diazepam, alprazolam, buspirone, zolpidem correlated with their degree of reported loneliness, according to the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine on 26 July 2021.

    First author, Ashwin Kotwal, MD of UCSF Division of Geriatrics and of the San Francisco VA Medical Center says “There is a mis-conception that as we age, we become more withdrawn and less sociable. In fact, older people are more socially active than other age groups and frequently play major roles in their communities. When older people are not socially active, we need to recognize that there is a problem.”

    In the analysis, loneliness was significantly associated with self-reported pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, multimorbidity and with medications of interest. The investigators found the following were used:

    Prescription opioids
    Anti-anxiety and sedative medications
    Anti-depressant medications
    NSAIDs

    Polypharmacy also was associated with degree of loneliness, with individuals in the high lonely group more likely to be on 5 medications.

    Given the dangers for older adults associated with all of these medication classes, the authors note that where loneliness is a risk factor for development of physical or psychological symptoms, pharmacologic intervention may not be the most appropriate choice; in fact, medication may not treat the underlying social experience of loneliness at all.

    Kotwal advocates more “social prescribing” for older adults, including referring them to local community resources for engagement.

    “We do not want to pathologize loneliness. Most people experience loneliness at some point in their lives, but when experiences of loneliness persist for many months or years, it can cause physiologic changes, such as a ramped-up stress response, sleep problems and even heart disease. And a lack of social contact can erode our social skills, making it more difficult over time to connect with others and creating a vicious cycle.”

    How serious is this and what can we learn here?

    We are not designed to be alone and not have human interaction. That is a well known immutable fact and this study confirms this. What we are learning more from research studies of this kind is how the loneliness creates the sleep issues or anxiety or depression.

    WHY do the elderly give up and check out of life?

    Is it because they have not got the movements to make the changes needed to go out and engage and meet with others or is there something else going on behind the scenes?

    Have they seen enough or had enough of how they lived and no longer want to be a part of this – what they created in this world?

    What we can all agree with is prescribing more medications for older adults may not be the answer and another way of socialising may have more lasting results, such as community activities in their neighbourhood or towns.

    Have we also considered that the elder generations come with a vast amount of wisdom because they have lived life? In other words, they are not a new kid on the block, so to speak. They have been around the block thousands of times and they have the living imprint of those footsteps in their body. This means they are a living science, just like all of us but they have the lived experience.

    An example would be we are impulsive, make silly choices and are not using our common sense and these elders would tell us direct and straight that good old fashion common sense works and to listen up when they dish out their wisdom. They lived life a lot more simple than we do today and with a lot less digital devices, food, other products and services. We could just learn from them and at the same time, put these elders into purpose and good use where our communities and the younger generations would expand and benefit from what they pass down to us, so to speak.

    Discarding the elderly and giving up on them is a crime against humanity. They are equal parts of what make up our world and to know we have such a high degree of loneliness not only in the older generations but across all ages, is a very serious 911 issue for our world today.

    It is time to take note of Kotwal when he tells us Loneliness can even bring on heart disease which most of us know remains the number 1 cause of death worldwide.
    https://www.who.int/health-topics/cardiovascular-diseases#tab=tab_1

    Dear World

    We are busy and at the same time living in fear of the growing statistics about illness and disease.

    How many of us have ever considered putting Loneliness on the same page as Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer and yet it is now on the map, so to speak?

    We have a modern day plague and it is spreading fast – it is called LONELINESS.

  23. I have left this comment as I thought what I was hearing was not worth reporting. When I hear the same thing over and over again, I realise that something has to be voiced. If no one ever reads this comment, it matters not. For me the purpose is it has been said and so it is no longer sitting in my body, waiting to be expressed.

    Loneliness is a killer and we can pretend it’s ok and not happening to anyone we know, or we can take a good look around and open our eyes to see how many people are suffering with isolation and spending days and days and countless weeks alone. In our neighbourhood, communities, towns and cities, we have so many people living alone as that is just how we are with modern 21st century society.

    I had a relative share a story about her mother in law and how she died. Most people would be horrified of how they managed to live in such isolation and fear during their last months on earth. The pandemic has changed the world and we have forgotten our common sense and the moral compass inside, that knows what is true and what is not.

    It is unthinkable and un-imaginable that a woman in her 80s with a son and his wife living locally (and the grandson) being told that they must follow the rules, when she is literally screaming and saying she needs help. Being fobbed off for another night alone must be devastating for anyone when they are ill, but at that age and having spent the whole of lockdown on her own must have be crushing. She was known as a very engaging elder in the community, who took on a life of being out and about and staying active after her husband of 60 years died. I knew her personally and really liked the way she loved people and we could say was a ‘people’s person’ and her front door was literally never locked as it was an open door for those that needed company or her help in any way. A generous woman in many ways and those that knew her were touched by her open heart. Fact.

    It must be difficult to digest, when a son travels for hours and hours and then gets told he cannot go in and visit as 2 visitors have already been in that day. The family are certain that their mother had given up as she knew they would not allow visitors and those that could have informed her (the 2 relatives) did not bother to speak up. A real tragedy that may have been different if a human response was there instead of “must follow the rules”. Yes we have to follow rules but we can make new rules that over-ride and in this case a woman in her last moment in life, not allowed to see both her sons, who had rushed up the motorway at midnight to see her one last time alive.

    What was confirmed, is when she was told that she could not have any visitors as the 2 for that day had visited, she removed her oxygen mask and turned her head to one side.

    One son was outside the doors but she was not made aware of this and the other was at the entrance of the hospital. Imagine how they feel knowing what they know – that it could have been different had those that could, made the effort to communicate that her beloved sons, that she adored were there.

    Talking about this and the other similar real life stories, I am certain that the harm that comes from isolation, being alone and with no human to engage, meet or interact with is a crime.

    How on earth do we follow such rules that negate human beings that need nothing at their last stage in life, other than seeing or sensing that their close family, those they love are with them?

    As a race of beings, we call ourselves the most intelligent species on earth and yet we have a growing epidemic of Loneliness in our modern world, but we all know there are almost 8 billion of us living on this earth. So dear intelligent people of this world – how can this possibly happen? Where is our Responsibility?

    How can we call ourselves intelligent with this is happening on our watch?

  24. Kings College London News Centre – 8 February 2022

    https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/lonely-teenagers-at-greater-risk-of-poor-educational-outcomes

    Lonely teenagers are at greater risk of poor educational outcomes.

    New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London has found that young people who experience loneliness at age 12 are at greater risk of leaving school with lower grades than their non-lonely counterparts, even if they stop being lonely later on.

    The study was published in Development and Psychopathology and found whether temporary or ongoing, loneliness during teenage years increases the risk of a negative outcomes, which include:

    Poor mental health
    Self harm
    Compulsive mobile phone use
    Unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking

    The study established that by age 18, those that had undergone periods of loneliness in the last 6 years were most likely to experience problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as lower levels of life satisfaction and quality of sleep.

    Dr. Timothy Matthews, the study’s first lead author from Kings College says:
    “Our study demonstrates that loneliness during someone’s teenage years can have serious impact on their later life.
    In 2018, nearly half of 10 – 12 year olds reported feeling lonely at least some of the time, with as many as 15% saying that they often felt that way. Loneliness, however temporary, can be an extremely distressing experience and we should make every effort to support those that need it so that they can overcome it.”

    Dear World

    How serious to know this is going on in our world today?

    How does a child aged 12 get to feel lonely with a world that has over 8 billion of us?

    Did we as adults not set the model of how to live a life with a deep and meaning-full connection to ourselves first and foremost, so we could reflect that to our children?

    Are our children missing the correct and proper communication that is needed to engage with them without imposition or judgement of any kind?

    Are we up for it as real role models so that we can have a shift in the way we are currently raising our children?

    Does the screen time in earlier years have something to do with the void the kids of today are sensing? In other words, do we leave them on their escape from life with virtual reality, which may include Social Media, Video Gaming or Television?

    Everything needs to be questioned until we get to the root cause and let us not stop at our efforts and drive to find solutions. We created this in our families everywhere and so we have the answers to bring correction where needed.

    To know our children are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, self harm, smoking and the rest mentioned above, needs to be enough to wake us all us. WE HAVE A 911.

    Let us not avoid what is really going on and take an honest and open approach with our line of questioning and not wait around for yet another research study to tell us more of the same that we already know. We call that delay and delay means we do not evolve.

  25. University of Exeter – 28 April 2022

    https://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_908801_en.html

    Loneliness leads to higher risk of future unemployment, according to a new research study from the University of Exeter.

    Previous research has established that being unemployed can cause loneliness. However, this new study is the first to directly explore whether the opposite also applies across the working age population.

    The study was published in BMC Public Health and found that people who reported “feeling lonely often” were significantly more likely to encounter unemployment later. Their analysis also confirmed previous findings that the reverse is true – people who were unemployed were more likely to experience loneliness later.

    Lead author Nia Morrish said “Given the persistent and potentially scarring effects of both loneliness and unemployment on health and the economy, prevention of both experiences is key.

    Decreased loneliness could mitigate unemployment and employment abate loneliness, which may in turn relate positively to other factors including health and quality of life.

    Particular attention should be paid to loneliness with additional support from employers and government to improve health and well-being.

    Our research was largely conducted pre-pandemic, however we suspect this issue may be even more pressing, with more people working from home and potentially experiencing isolation because of anxieties around Covid.”

    Senior author professor Antonieta Medina-Lara said “Loneliness is an incredibly important societal problem, which is often thought about in terms of the impact on mental health and well-being only. Our findings indicate that there may also be wider implications, which could have negative impacts for individuals and the economy. We need to explore this further, and it could lay the foundations for employers or policymakers to tackle loneliness with a view to keep more people in work.”

    “This is the first study to identify the lonely people of any working age are at greater risk of becoming unemployed. Our findings show that these two issues can interact and create a self-fulfilling, negative cycle. There is a need for greater recognition of the wider societal impacts of loneliness in the working age population.”
    Paper co-author Dr Ruben Mujica-Mota, Associate Professor of Health Economics in the University of Leeds’ School of Medicine

  26. University of Cambridge – 8 June 2022

    https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/social-isolation-may-impact-brain-volume-in-regions-linked-to-higher-risk-of-dementia

    Social isolation is linked to lower brain volume in areas related to cognition and a higher risk of dementia, according to new research.

    The study has found that social isolation was linked to a 26% increased risk of dementia, separately from risk factors like depression and loneliness.

    The study author – Professor Jianfeng Feng of Fudan University in Shanghai, China says “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation, or the state of being cut off from social networks has intensified. It is more important than ever to identify people who are socially isolated and provide resources to help them make connections in their community.”

    460,000 people, with average age of 57 at the beginning of the study were followed over 12 years.

    42,000 reported being socially isolated
    29,000 felt lonely
    5,000 developed dementia during the study

    Professor Barbara Sahakian from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, a study co-author, said “People who reported high levels of social isolation were more likely to show significant differences in brain volume, in regions that we know as also associated with cognition problems and risk of dementia. This is very concerning and suggests to us that social isolation may be an early indicator of an increased risk of dementia.”

    People who reported higher levels of social isolation were more likely to have lower gray matter volume in areas of the brain associated with learning and thinking.

    Dear World

    Are we going to look back one day in history and view this global lockdown decision to be of great detrimental effect on the human race of that time?

    In other words, have those in authority today that have the so-called power to shut us down and make decisions on behalf of our health and wellbeing done us more harm as the long term consequences were not considered?

    Did those that ensured we never left our homes for long periods convinced they did the right thing or will they get to see more of these type of research studies unfold showing us the knock on effect of such decisions?

    Were our short term measures to stop a virus worldwide implemented without stopping long enough to consider the wider problems that have since occurred and will continue to unfold that may not be of greater benefit to society as a whole? Worth considering …

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