The late mother Teresa once said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” If you’ve ever felt lonely, if you feel lonely right now, please know that you’re not alone. A study done in the UK by the British Red Cross shows that over nine million adults, feel the same way. Loneliness is consistently being compared to obesity and smoking as a hazard to human health. In 2018, the UK appointed a Loneliness Minister specifically to act against the loneliness problem in their country. Loneliness in the US is considered a problem enough to have public health intervene, but unfortunately no action has been taken to target this problem as of yet. As chief of Consciousness & Nature, I want to start by combatting the problem first and foremost right here in our region. By integrating mass mediation and a conversation starter campaign, individuals will increase their ability to be mindful of their thoughts and feelings. Not only will we become more mindful as a community but, we will start a regional conversation that will relieve the feelings of loneliness within our community.
Loneliness is a silent killer in our communities but, why? In a study made by Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, it is shown that loneliness, poor interpersonal relationships are connected to a decrease and shorter and diminished quality of life. Smoking about 15 cigarettes a day and obesity can have the same effect on health as loneliness. Loneliness itself is not directly linked to specific diseases but, it is an imperative risk for a wide range of diseases and illnesses that can eventually lead to death. Loneliness alongside smoking is linked to a number of heart complications and illnesses such as, coronary heart disease and stroke. A lack of interpersonal relationships was also found to increase this risk by thirty percent.
Individuals can become psychologically stressed when they are isolated from other people. Being surrounded by friends and family and just other humans in general gives individuals a sense of security that combats this stressful state and decreases the feelings of loneliness. When individuals are in situations where they feel alone, they subconsciously become more aware of threats that may be present around them. of threats in the environment. In turn, the body so the body prepares to handle this threat by creating a stress response. This stress response triggers a great amount of hormones to be released and cause changes in the body. Individuals will then experience a increase in their heart rate, tension in their muscles, and an increase in respirations that will prepare the body to fight off the stressors or threats. This can become a concern because the body itself cannot always tell the difference between a dangerous threat and a basic stress factor such as a school assignment due or an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. The more the body consistently repeats this cycle and triggers this defense mechanism to stress, it takes a physical toll on the body.
As chief of Consciousness and Nature I believe that building community as well as an interpersonal connection with self and others can be the key to combat loneliness in the area. I want to promote techniques that will focus on awareness and being open to talking it out. A study done by Matthew Pittman and Brandon Reich at the University of Oregon, states that relations created through social media show that loneliness increases significantly with the use of social media. In a society now where most individuals spend a lot of their time on the internet and creating cyber relationships, loneliness is thriving. This is why I strongly believe that a conversation starter campaign will eliminate or at least balance out the struggles we have created as a society to reach out to each other. This campaign will urge individuals to spend less time on the media and more time starting conversations with a friend, neighbor, colleague, coworker or stranger. By checking up on each other, it will spark a regional conversation that will relieve the feelings of loneliness within the community. At least once a day, individuals can reach out to a loved one or a stranger and ask them simple questions such as, “how are you?”, “is there anything I can help you with today?” “Have you drank enough water today?”, “It is so nice to see you.”