SO why are we getting lonelier?
Changes in modern society are considered to be the cause. We live in nuclear family units, often living large distances away from our extended family and friends, and our growing reliance on social technology rather than face to face interaction is thought to be making us feel more isolated.
It means we feel less connected to others and our relationships are becoming more superficial and less rewarding.
We are social animals and need to feel that we ‘belong’ to others and feel connected to one another.
Social pain is as real a sensation for us as physical pain; researchers have shown that loneliness and rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.
Loneliness affects all of us at some point in our lives. Relocating to a new area, losing a loved one, all key times when people feel lonely.
Research suggests that this experience of loneliness is useful to us as it motivates us to reconnect with others and to seek out new friendships to reduce the ‘social pain’ that we feel.
But for some, when reconnection is not easy or not possible, if a person is socially isolated, people can remain in this uncomfortable loneliness state for a number of years.
There are a number of myths regarding who experiences loneliness. Certainly all of us feel it from time to time, but it is commonly known that loneliness particularly affects the elderly who may be socially isolated due to decreased mobility and loss of friends and partners.
But it is not often acknowledged that loneliness also affects people at all ages, and is particularly prevalent in the younger years. Studies have shown that between 20 and 80 per cent of young adults report feeling lonely often, which is compared to 40 to 50 per cent in an elderly population.
Another myth is that loneliness is typically associated with being alone, but it also affects people when they are surrounded by others and well-connected socially.
This is because loneliness is about the quality rather than the quantity of relationships that we have, so a person may have a lot of friends but still find that their needs for social contact are not met.
So do not feel alone, pick up the phone and act now, meet new friends by arranging a dinner or luncheon date, with no strings attached.
Who knows what’s around the corner?
At least you will meet people and make friends.
Telephone: 634 315 177 or email [email protected] or facebook.com/DinnerDatesSpain.