Written By Sally Phillips
When Mother Teresa came to the USA for the first time, having spent so many years working with the “poorest of the poor” in India, she was shocked at the amount of unhappy people she saw here, the wealthiest nation on the planet. This trend has continued, if not become worse. Ironically, despite all the ways we can now use to connect with loved ones and the world around us, people seem to experience more loneliness, depression and anxiety. There seems to be a feeling of powerlessness and isolation, which many appear to be unable to tackle, so what can be done?
Do your friends seem less available, yet share cryptic posts on social media, bemoaning some topic, or life in general.
It is certainly noticeable that a lot of people share posts that state: ‘my door is always open to you’, but then never pick up the phone if you call them to arrange a get-together.
They expect you to share those posts, but don’t send you a message to find out how you’re doing.
Some people feel increasingly isolated socially, despite being connected at all times, and long commutes as well as conflicting demands from work and family can take it out of even the most zen person.
Add a week of office stress and a cold virus, and you have the perfect recipe for people wanting to hibernate on the weekend rather than replenishing their soul by connecting with friends and family. Technological devices can be used more mindfully though.
Johann Hari’s new book, “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions” examines how the lack of real human interactions make us more likely to feel depressed and anxious. It is certainly important to look at aspects of life which are causing you stress, and dedicating a bit of time to find solutions that work for you.
The book touches upon several ways to relieve stress, explaining that everyone deserves to live a happy and contented life, and connecting – properly – with friends may be an important first step in the right direction. However, physical activity has also been shown to improve well-being, so finding time to exercise is as important as finding time to eat. Meals should be nutritious and balanced, and alcohol consumption kept to a healthy level.
In terms of achievements, it’s as important to reach your personal goals as it is to meet healthy boundaries. But ultimately, one of the keys to maintaining a positive mental balance is accepting aspects of life we don’t have control over, as it is mentally exhausting to battle against things that are out of our control. Your attitude is what counts.