When you hear about the epidemic, you might think about the coronavirus one. But before it, there was another subtle and silent epidemic that slowly left its mark on people. The epidemic of loneliness is real and many studies say it. Of course, it became even more severe during the global pandemic, when the most important things were taken away by restrictions. Not being able to meet your friends and family means that you are getting less social support. And this was even more difficult for those who were living alone and not having anyone to talk to.
Even though many developers and businesses choose to emphasize the positive effects technology and the internet came with, there are also downsides. And it is not rare when these downsides neutralize the positive benefits. Social media is indeed the place where you can meet with your friends, get to know new people, get updated with news, or find groups of interest. But at the same time, social media is also the place where cyberbullying thrives, the place where the attitude of people can make you feel inferior and lower your self-esteem. Social media is the place that pinpoints your loneliness and only makes it more intense.
Wisdom is a concept that was and is studied by scientists and therapists. We talk about wisdom in many contexts, but do we really know what wisdom is? Wisdom has many definitions. To measure it, you need to decide upon your definition of wisdom, but the literature review relieves some factors that contribute to it. Wisdom is defined by many things, among which is the ability to make decisions, emotion regulation, accepting that others could have different perspectives on the same thing, showing compassion and empathy, and many more. Wisdom can help people cope with the epidemic of loneliness and here are 6 steps that will help you do so.
1. Getting Comfortable with Spending Time with Yourself
Loneliness is a silent killer as it is at the core of many destructive behaviours people adopt. The number of deaths caused by overdoses is rising, and at the core of this behaviour can be loneliness. The first step towards coping with this epidemic of loneliness is to get comfortable spending time with yourself. Many people avoid spending time alone and instead rely upon the presence of others to feel good.
While others can fill our hearts with joy, constantly seeking someone to spend time with just to avoid spending time with yourself is not healthy at all. Even though it may sound like it is a paradox, doing this will end up in even more loneliness. Find some activities to fill your time with and help you feel comfortable while you are alone. Watch some TED talks or movies, read a book, start a new hobby, cook for yourself, eat out.
2. Bond With Your Friends
One of the things that many people neglect is building their relationships with friends. Many of these people end up in an epidemic of loneliness, not having any friends to speak to. This is because relationships with friends are built over time, not created in an instant. Even though there are people that are very open and friendly from the first time, it really takes up time for anyone to open up in front of someone else.
There needs to be trust between friends for the relationship to be fruitful. If you have lost the connection with your friends, maybe it would be a good moment to get in contact with them. Wisdom can help you do this as it helps you be aware of the fact that people have different opinions and ideas. And some of these might be in a total contradiction.
But there are also moments spent with those people that could make you consider them your friends. Wisdom helps you understand that it takes time to build relationships, you only need to begin.
3. Build a Bridge Between the Outside and the Inside
I will begin this part with a personal experience that I found inspiring and will help me exemplify my ideas better. There was a time in my college years when I felt betrayed by my friends. My ex-boyfriend seemed to take them all from me, in an attempt to win me back. It did not work and on top of this, it made me feel very lonely.
My instinct was to withdraw from all the social life I had and not talk with anyone for a few months. I was lonelier than ever, but then I realized that my friends do not have any fault. It was me who withdrew! So, I thought that building a bridge between the outside world and my inner one was the best solution. Even though I was comfortable enough to spend time with myself, loneliness was there because I stopped talking with anyone. It is wise to keep these two worlds connected to cope efficiently with loneliness.
4. Sources of Loneliness
A key factor in finding ways to cope with loneliness is identifying the reasons why you are lonely. There can be many reasons that could be at the core of this feeling. It is important to note that you do not need to spend time alone to feel lonely. Some people seem to have the best life and a lot of friends, but they feel lonely. So, to cure loneliness, it is wise to first ask yourself where it comes from. Then, you could act on that.
5. Embrace Who You Are
Wisdom teaches us that people are different and this defines their perspectives on the world. Wisdom can also help us embrace who we really are and stop self-shaming. Lonely people often think that if they are more introverted than others, this is negative. But this is not true and accepting who you are, your thoughts and ideas, your values, are wise and it helps you cope with loneliness.
6. Seek Professional Help
Even though there are many pieces of advice you can apply to cope with loneliness, sometimes a greater effort is required. Seeking professional help is a wise step you need to make if you feel that everything you do does not have any effect on your mood and loneliness level. There might be certain central beliefs that need to be modified to allow yourself to live purposefully and keep the loneliness away. You need to make peace with your past and with who you are, and a mental health professional can surely help you.
The epidemic of loneliness is real and studies and statistics show it. There are more and more suicides or deaths caused by opioid overdose, something that has at its core loneliness. Society and technology are evolving in ways that make our lives easier, but they also come with more loneliness. Wisdom can help you cope with the epidemic of loneliness by helping you identify the reasons for it.
At the same time, wisdom helps you identify when it is the moment to seek professional help and get to find out more about your inner world. It helps you build bridges between the outside world and your inner one while also building friendships. Step by step, you can start coping with loneliness. You only need to trust yourself that you can do it.