Loneliness: The Epidemic

Loneliness: The Epidemic

Did you know that loneliness shortens your lifespan more than obesity?

Whether an introvert or extrovert, you as a human were designed as a social creature. Just as our human ancestors needed their tribe for survival, we need to have relationships in order to survive and thrive today. In this digital age, however, people are becoming increasingly more isolated and loneliness is on the rise. What may surprise you is that loneliness is becoming recognized as a threat to public health.

Dr. Julianna Holt-Lunstad presented that loneliness is connected to premature death at the 2017 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. This shortening in lifespan is greater than that caused by obesity and is similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! In addition to negatively impacting mental health, Holt-Lunstad also found that loneliness can negatively impact physical health by making you more likely to experience worse symptoms when sick. According to former U.S. Surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy, loneliness is connected to depression, anxiety, heart disease and dementia. Murthy said he thinks

Of loneliness as an epidemic because it affects a great number of people in our country but also because one person’s loneliness can have an impact on another person.

With over 9 million people reporting feeling lonely, Britain has decided to take action by appointing Tracey Crouch as the Minister for Loneliness on January 17. The goal is to establish policies and to develop opportunities to help prevent loneliness. Progress!

While the U.S. may still be behind the trend, we as individuals can start to work to make a difference. Consider reaching out to those in your community who may be at risk for loneliness. Elderly individuals are especially at risk. According to the British government, 200,000 elderly individuals in Britain were found to not have had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.

So give your grandparents a call! Consider visiting a nursing or assisted care facility to spend time with elderly individuals who might not get many visitors. Consider joining the student sitting alone for lunch or to study. You never know, you might make some great new friends!

If you’re feeling lonely, I hope this article will inspire you to go out and seek others. Know that you’re not alone in this feeling. So as Rita Ora sings, “Let’s be lonely together.”

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Having a Plan

It's OK if things don't work out as planned.


Growing up is a lot of work. As we age, there comes a certain pressure to know exactly what you intend to do with your life. This is something that society and often times the people we love most demand of us. Our culture is so busy there is no time to waste. "You need to be driven, have a goal," is the scream of the world. This ideology has shaped every ounce of who we are. We panic when we don't know. We're supposed to have an answer.

We plan and we plan and we plan, and we make ourselves miserable in the process. We become so caught up in the logistics that we look all around us: left, right, forwards, and backward. We search all over to no prevail, and we forget to look up.

Proverbs 16:9 (HCSB):

A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

This is something I've been learning in my time at college. And I'm a planner. I like a good plan. When things don't go according to plan, I tend to resort to panic.

All this to say, plans aren't a bad thing, but it's important to recognize it's OK if our plan doesn't work out exactly.

It's also OK not to know it all right now. There are things in life that will come to pass before we know it. So don't rush.

God's timing is more than perfect. Even when we don't understand.

God's plan is never messed up, so we should take comfort in that.

Rest in this truth today. Surrender your plans to the Lord, and take a breath.

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