Loneliness is the absence of human connection and is twice as prevalent as diabetes in the United States according to an article in the August 2020 Rotarian magazine.
“A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 22 percent of American adults say they often or always feel lonely – that’s 55 million people, twice the number that are diagnosed with diabetes. Australia pegs its problems with loneliness at around 25 percent of its adult population. The United Kingdom has a similar figure.”
The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said, “Loneliness is a subjective state. It’s not determined by the number of people around you, but by how you feel about the connections in your life.” You can be lonely if the people around you are not ones you feel you can fully be yourself.
Organizations that are rooted in service (Rotary, Lions Club, etc.) “shifts our attention from ourselves, where it increasingly is focused when we feel lonely, to other people and in the context of positive interaction. Service affirms that we have value to add to the world. One of the consequences of loneliness when it’s long – lasting is that it can chip away at our self – esteem and lead us to start believing that the reason we’re lonely is that we’re not likable. Service can short circuit that.”
Shared experience, shared mission, and the opportunity to understand each other more deeply create deeper connections. Murthy suggested in the work – place at each weekly staff meeting, one person can show pictures to share something about their lives. It takes about five minutes during the meeting, but can create an atmosphere where it was OK to share and it was OK to bring some part of yourself that was not work – related to the table.” He said this can go much further than happy hours and group picnics.
It is not just your co – workers, family, and friends that make a difference as to how connected you feel. It is also the interactions you have with neighbors and community members and strangers. There is something powerful in receiving a smile from someone.
Our social connections are as vital as food and water.
“There is already a fair amount of stigma about loneliness that makes people feel that if they’re lonely, they’re socially deficient in some way. Not everyone who is lonely is broken. Nor do we need a new medication or medical device to solve the problem of loneliness. I think what we need is to re – center ourselves and refocus our lives on relationships.”
Main Street Guymon has a motto, “Building relationships, one handshake at a time.”
If you want some ideas on where you can be of service or where there are people with the same hobbies as yourself, come by the Main Street Guymon office and we can visit about it. I would love to. I enjoy visiting with people in a positive manner and finding ways they can fit into the community. It is a goal that takes action, but it is one that we should be able to achieve with some try and a smile.
We have a program called Lunch Mob where the Main Street volunteer mobsters go to lunch together at one of our local member restaurants. We order our own meal, pay for our own meal, but we meet new people and have an hour of visiting with some of the greatest folks you’ve ever met. It is an awesome way to be social … most of us have to eat anyway! We would love for you to join us.
And remember, if you had a hen who could count her own eggs, she would be a mathemachicken.