In a world that is more connected than ever, it is ironic that loneliness has become an epidemic.
Cigna, a major player in the insurance world, conducted a groundbreaking survey on loneliness in 2018. They reached out to 20,000 adults aged 18 and older, hoping to shed light on this pervasive issue. The results were both surprising and alarming, revealing a profound sense of isolation among a significant portion of the population.
Using a loneliness scale that ranged from 20 (less lonely) to 80 (very lonely), the average response was 44. This indicates that, on average, people feel moderately lonely. But what is even more concerning is the fact that 54% of those surveyed reported feeling as though no one truly knew them well. This suggests that a large portion of individuals are walking through life feeling like they are misunderstood or overlooked.
Furthermore, 46% of respondents confessed to feeling lonely, while 47% admitted to feeling left out. It is disheartening to think that almost half of the people surveyed experience these emotions regularly. Loneliness should not be taken lightly, as it can have severe consequences on one's mental and physical well-being.
The survey also revealed that 43% of participants felt a lack of companionship, indicating that they yearn for deeper connections in their lives. Additionally, the same percentage felt that their relationships lacked meaning, highlighting a sense of emptiness in their social interactions. These findings point to a need for fostering more meaningful connections and nurturing relationships that go beyond surface-level interactions.
Interestingly, 43% of those surveyed also reported feeling isolated from others. This suggests that they may struggle to find a sense of belonging or community. Feeling alone in a crowded world can be a daunting experience, leading to further detachment from society.
Moreover, it is concerning that 39% of respondents admitted to no longer feeling close to anyone. This highlights a growing problem where individuals feel disconnected from their loved ones and lack the support system necessary to navigate life's challenges. This lack of closeness can leave people vulnerable and without a safety net when they most need it.
Perhaps one of the most disheartening findings is that 59% of participants felt like their interests and ideas were not shared by others. This further exacerbates the feeling of isolation and alienation. When one's passions and thoughts go unnoticed or unappreciated, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a sense of belonging and purpose.
The survey revealed that 36% of respondents did not feel like they had anyone to turn to in times of need. This highlights a critical gap in support systems for a significant portion of the population. Feeling like there is no one to rely on can lead to a deep sense of despair and hopelessness.
Finally it’s worth noting that the human brain is not just a complex organ responsible for processing information and controlling our bodily functions; it is also inherently relational. Our brains are wired to seek connection and interact with others. Social interactions and relationships play a vital role in shaping our brain's development and functioning. The brain's relational nature is evident in the way it responds to social cues, processes emotions, and forms attachments. It craves connection and thrives when engaged in meaningful social interactions. This highlights the importance of nurturing relationships and fostering social connections for our overall well-being and cognitive health.
The loneliness epidemic uncovered by Cigna's survey is a wake-up call for society. It is crucial that we recognize the importance of human connection and take active steps to combat loneliness. Simple acts of kindness, fostering genuine relationships, and providing support systems can go a long way in alleviating this pervasive issue.