If you're feeling isolated, know that there are many ways to reclaim connection.
You could say this world is more connected than it's ever been. Friends, family and strangers who live miles apart can communicate instantly thanks to social media and email. Anyone can hop on a plane from New York City and reach Los Angeles in just hours. In large metropolitan melting pots across the globe, thousands of people from different countries and cultures mingle and break bread. It's as if time and space are collapsing, bringing all sorts of people closer to one another — yet so many of us feel lonely and can't seem to shake it.
Researchers claim that the U.S. is experiencing a "loneliness epidemic." In a 2018 survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), experts discovered that about 22% of Americans say they constantly feel alone. Such prolonged feelings of isolation can come with serious health problems, both mental and physical. Feelings of isolation are often associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Doctors have also found that people who are lonely tend to have increased blood pressure, weaker immune systems, and more inflammation throughout the body.
Turns out, connectedness not only makes our lives more interesting, it's vital for our own survival. So what should you do when you're feeling blue without anyone to lean on?
Here's what therapists, doctors and researches say are some of the best strategies to cope with loneliness: