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Feeling Lonely? You are not alone.

Blog post written by,

Dr. Bhritanie Jardine, Psy.D.

You may have seen the recent advisory published by the United States Surgeon General reporting that social isolation has reached epidemic levels, and that lacking social connection is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. While this may have been shocking to much of the public, it is perfectly in line with what mental health professionals have been seeing over the past few decades, and hopefully validating to the millions of Americans struggling with loneliness and isolation. The bottom line is that social connection is essential to our overall mental and physical health. So, while the Surgeon General’s advisory laid a foundation for infrastructure and policy reform regarding this issue, I wanted to add some common areas of focus an individual can take to improve their overall social life, and therefore health.

Opportunities to build connections:

v Volunteer

v Join or start your own group related to an activity you enjoy

v Join a religious or spiritual community

v Take a class about something that interests you

v Go to events or new places and focus on creating opportunities for small talk

v Tell existing friends you are looking for more connections, and ask them for help

It’s likely many of you who read that list noticed feeling some hesitation or self-

doubt. Maybe you thought to yourself “That would be uncomfortable” or “I could never do that by myself not knowing anyone”. It’s normal to feel this way before trying something new and leaving our comfort zone, but how can we ever reach important goals if we aren’t willing to endure a bit of discomfort in the process? I want to encourage you to see that simply stepping outside of your comfort zone and attempting something on the above list is a win in and of itself! All of those baby steps add up over time and are much more likely to lead you to developing deep and meaningful social connections than staying within your isolated comfort bubble will! Plus, as you put yourself out there and make new connections, you may be surprised to see how many people were looking for the same thing!



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