There is only one true luxury, that of human relationships
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Is There A Meaning In Life?
Let’s start mulling over the meaning of life. It has always been breeding great controversy among philosophers and non-experts.
We tend to think that the supreme forces, God, the Universe, or whatever name you have for it, created us as a species and devised a special reason our lives have to be filled with. Surely, the Universe has its purpose and benefit from Homo Sapiens inhabiting the planet. But it is not bent upon the individual meaning and happiness in the life of its species.
There are a number of hypothetical reasons in life. Some profess that individual life is robbed of any meaning. But we feel somewhat more optimistic saying that the true purpose of human life lies in the relationships and connections we establish with other people.
Gregarious To The Core
There is no doubt that we are highly gregarious, we show our worth in the group, we set and achieve goals because there are other people around us. We speak, shoot movies, write books, travel, dress out, do sports because we live in a network of connections, and all our activities gain significance only within a group of others.
Despite this fact, today we get more and more exposed to utter loneliness resulting in overwhelming desolation, depression and a range of psychological disorders.
Loneliness is not necessarily the lack of people around you. It is rather the lack of meaning and satisfaction in relationships that proves detrimental to a state of wellbeing.
There is a multitude of shocking statistics that testifies to the fact that loneliness is reaching epidemic levels across the globe. Above all, today the never known solitude hits hard the residents of metropolises. The more developed the society, the more loneliness-struck it is, being in pursuit of their goals, growing personally and financially, sacrificing their private lives.
The extremely fast pace of life, commitment to success, challenging competence, exacting performance, former failures in relationships – rank among the foremost triggers of rampant loneliness.
In line with Stephanie Coontz, a historian at Evergreen State College: “As we gain the freedom to become whatever we want to be, we’ve lost the sense of belonging.”
Grave Impacts Of Solitude
1. Psychological issues: permanent stress, ensuing depression, substance-abuse, binge-eating;
2. Physical health deterioration: increased chances of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, immune weakness in the wake of psychological disorders;
3. More rapid cognitive decline (especially with the increase of years);
4. Decrease in lifespan;
5. Higher suicide rate;
6. Total loss of communication skills and the ability to commit;
Other destructive practices.
Loneliness Antidote Or 7 Steps What To Do
1. Stop blaming yourself for loneliness: instead of it, engage in some activities to raise your spirits and become more pleasant to communicate.
2. Interact as much as you can, even with strangers. Call your friends or acquaintances, invite them for a cup of tea, have trivial talks with cashiers or people waiting in the same line. This all will contribute to your feeling of belonging and relieve the solitude burden.
3. Stay active online: by some means or other you surf the net and social media, then why not use it to your benefit? Go online to chat with someone, make an acquaintance or even a date. The more time you interact while staying online – the more connected you feel.
4. Seek and join groups of like-minded people: even with no need to go out, you may easily find people with similar interests online and make numerous connections with some of them transforming them into real-life friendships or even romantic relationships.
5. Change patterns of spending your spare time: instead of watching another series on Netflix or passively scrolling Instagram – go out somewhere, hang out with friends, join a party, visit a community gathering, make the first step at least online. The list of activities is inexhaustible – just go for something unstereotypical for you.
6. Shift focus from your thoughts about being doomed to loneliness: instead of inventing stories about what a loser you are, how wrong your behavior is or that people dislike you – socialize as much as you can and soon you’ll see that all these stories are mostly a trick of your imagination.
7. Stop thinking that your solitude is fatal: you have all the chances to improve the situation any time you don’t even expect.
Solitude To Animals And Role Of Oxytocin
From the ethological perspective, that is the study of animal behavior, mammals group together to live in families. It is essential for their life safety: a mammal won’t survive in the wild alone being in danger to fall prey to predators or die from hunger.
To exemplify, apes may die being isolated from their group. Being on their own, they go into panic, become way too anxious, their oxytocin levels drop – all that leads them to erratic actions. Consequently, they get inhibited and die as a rule. The same is demonstrated by the wolves. In captivity they die shortly after the death of their mates.
Oxytocin is the so-called “cuddle chemical” that is vital for feeling safe, comfortable, cared for and loved by close people. With the evolution, oxytocin made mammals develop an ability to stay calm in perilous situations when the representatives of their species were around.
As a result, belonging to a group produces more oxytocin and contributes to our welfare.
All by myself? – Don’t wanna be all by myself anymore! (Mariah Carey)
And you won’t be. Just choose one small step to keep the loneliness at bay!