“In the digital world, there’re unlimited ways to connect with fellow humans like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, WhatsApp, iMessage, phone call and text messages”.
But then, why loneliness level across the world is rising? Can technology help to cope with the feeling?
Separation, isolation, solitude & loneliness
In his book ‘Walden’, modern-day Rousseau and American writer Henry David say; “I love to be alone. I never found the companion as companionable as solitude”. Henry spent two years, two months and two days detaching himself from the society and taking refuge in the woods around pond ‘Walden’ to closely reflect on life. In his sanctuary, Henry closely paid attention to his spiritual needs, growth and learned how to harmonize himself with nature.
Solitude also gives likewise meaning. Expanding the definition means the quality state of being alone or completely detached from society as cited by Jeffrey Lam on The Medium. But on the flip side, loneliness has a pessimistic implication which is complete isolation from one’s own self and others on a more higher level. This same condition of alienation can be experienced in the same manner when amidst a crowd or even at home.
That’s how an individualistic modern society thinks and feels in urban homes. Feeling the undeniable heavy burden of detachment from other even when surrounded by more people and communication transmitters than ever is the negative effect of isolation! But in true meaning, not every communication is a conversation and not all connections are an emotional attachment. All are derivatives of our fast and urbanized lives where only seconds complements to the total time for telling our stories as well as to get in touch with a fellow human.
Cost of loneliness
A surprising yet worrisome revelation was put forward in a current study by the Office for National Statistics in the UK according to which people in the age group between 16 and 24 feel more lonely than any other adult or age group. Another example to cite here is the appointment of “Minister of Loneliness” back in January 2018 to deal with 10% of all the Brits feeling isolated almost every day.
The New York Times in the U.S labeled the situation as an epidemic which predicts the growing number of lonely individuals in the state. Researchers also revealed that social isolation can heighten the count of early deaths more than obesity. Studies also concluded that there’re more than 50% chances of early deaths among the lonesome.
Recall solitude instead of loneliness
All these studies lead to the conclusion that the misery of loneliness damages the body, mind, and soul. It isn’t surprising that loneliness feels terrible where the affected person is unable to understand others and one’s own self. As a solution, people look to technology including digital healthcare solutions that can be an online doctor’s app.
Above all, our very perception of loneliness might also be changing. When questioning an older generation who weren’t swarmed by technology and hands-on communication gadgets, they’re likely to prefer talking in person and be more sociable than the digital world of social media. Then ask the same question to millennials and they’ll say not receiving any text message or WhatsApp for almost an hour turns their world upside down.
Still, quality time is precious for everyone in which a person can hone on his creativity and identify the meaning of life. Such critical life decisions can be taken only through self-examination which occurs in solitude, provoking us to understand the purpose in life. Reed Larson; a psychologist researched on young adults who spend time alone are less depressed, do better in academics and feel less self-conscious when by themselves.
Technology being helpful
Besides the usual travel time technologies like handheld video games, smartphones, music and more, there’re other technologies including some online doctor’s apps designed to offer healthcare tips and recommendations on the go also being your friend in isolation. A. I algorithms, robot companions, chatbots that supports personal wellbeing, pay attention to an individual’s specific needs and takes away the feel of lonesomeness. In your loneliness, such technology can become your friendly medical consultant or a tool to help you conduct doctor search.
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