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Why An ‘Epidemic’ Of Loneliness Affects Health

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Loneliness is something we all battle with at some point in our lives – and it’s that much worse when you find yourself in another country with no connections. So what do you do?

What makes us happiest in life? Some people may point to fabulous fame and fortune. Yet hands down, surveys show that friends and family are the real prize. Even though our need to connect is innate, some of us always go home alone. You could have people around you throughout the day or even be in a lifelong marriage, and still experience a deep, pervasive loneliness. Unsurprisingly, isolation can have a serious detrimental effect on one’s mental and physical health.

It might sound ridiculous when you first hear about it, but did you know that the UK has appointed a minister of loneliness?

According to HuffPost, Tracey Crough was first appointed back in January and has been quite busy fielding requests and pleas for help on dealing with loneliness ever since.

In an interview with HuffPost UK, she says that she’s been floored by the number of people who have been calling to offer solutions for “communities to stay connected” and believes that those who have been responding believe that this has become a wonderful opportunity to highlight how very real of an issue loneliness is.

Because the truth is that loneliness is something we seldom talk about.

It’s like the guilty family secret everyone knows about but no one wants to talk about because it brings shame upon the family – it’s considered a weakness, a sign that you’re not able to make friends, even. Except that sometimes loneliness isn’t a feeling that’s always rooted in physically being alone. Many people enjoy bouts of solitude and never truly feel like they don’t have to constantly be surrounded by people.

I know this because the worst kind of loneliness is the kind I’ve felt when I’m actually in a crowd.

If I examine that feeling on a closer level (but by no means from an expert point of view), I could easily say that things like social awkwardness and struggling to make a connection with people are just two of the big reasons that loneliness have crept up on me.

Loneliness can stem from feelings of inadequacy, from the idea of never being good enough and even from feeling like you’re living on the fringe of society, not quite fitting in.



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