Loneliness and isolation are two words that get thrown around a lot, but what is the difference?
It’s easy to think of loneliness and isolation as synonymous, especially in this era of internet connection. Many of us have become all too familiar with both over the last year or so. But it’s conceivable to be lonely but not isolated, or lonely but not isolated. Both have a significant impact on our physical and emotional health.
Isolation is the absence of social connections. This might be caused by quarantine, living in a remote location, single living, or any number of other circumstances that prevent someone from having a network of friends to count on and trust.
Loneliness, on the other hand, is the sensation of being socially lonely. Although a person can have a lot of social connections while still feeling lonely, a socially isolated individual might only have a few close social relationships but not feel so.
Even before the epidemic, loneliness and social isolation were major problems.
Our loneliness-mitigation plans must adapt.
When it comes to addressing social isolation and loneliness, we’re in uncharted territory. What we do know is that being socially isolated or lonely has a negative influence on our health.
Social isolation is linked to an increased risk of early death as well as a higher chance of dementia. Both social abandonment and loneliness raise the danger of heart disease and stroke, while loneliness frequently leads to additional anxiety and sadness.
As the epidemic continues, our capacity to combat social isolation is limited by COVID-19 precautions. We’re also dealing with Zoom tiredness, and digital media in general just can’t keep up.
In terms of how effectively digital contact can aid in curbing loneliness, studies have shown conflicting results; one found an increase in loneliness despite a rise in digital communication, while another discovered that though persons over the age of 50 had increased social isolation, their rates of loneliness did not change.
Consider how you can get less lonely.
However, when it comes to social isolation and loneliness, we can consider what we need in order to feel less alone. This will vary from person to person; therefore, what works for one individual may not work for another. We may think about the types of connections that we require and how we might acquire them.
Whatever may assist you to feel a little less lonely, it’s critical to pursue that and give the attention you need. You’ll be rewarded with your health and well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to Handle Isolation?
A: Try to be proactive about creating opportunities for social connection. If you’re isolated, then consider how you might build connections with others in your community or neighborhood.
Q: How do I feel less lonely?
A: Pinpoint what specific types of relationships are important to you—friends, family members, neighbors. Then think about who is already on your social network and who you might like to be closer with. If it’s feasible, initiate a conversation or plan an outing with someone on your list of people that make the cut for more meaningful connections.
Q: What Can We Do to Get Less Lonely?
A: It’s not a simple answer. We can be more proactive about creating opportunities for social connection, and we should be able to recognize our own needs in that regard. As far as digital media goes, it is helpful but only up to a point; we need real human contact too.
Q: How Much Digital Communication Helps with Reducing Loneliness?
A: Studies have shown conflicting results. If anything, people over the age of 50 had increased social isolation but didn’t feel any more lonely. Digital communication may help some individuals, yet it’s not enough to combat loneliness on its own for most adults.
Q: Is Digital Connection Effective for Curbing Loneliness?
A: Digital technology may not be enough to address loneliness. It might help in some cases, but feeling less isolated needs more than just digital contact.