Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal says, “We have a massive, deadly epidemic hidden in plain sight: loneliness. It is as harmful to health as smoking and far more common.” United States surgeon general Vivek Murthy, author of the book Together, explains that loneliness kills, but kind human connections nurture your health.
The isolation of COVID-19 has revealed important findings about social relationships and loneliness. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned physical human contact into a potentially mortal threat. The public health imperative was clear: to save lives, we needed to increase the space between us, our friends, and family members. No hugs, no touching, no parties, no social gatherings, and no close interaction.
The result? Depression, loneliness, addiction, anxiety, and violence. Murphy’s research shows that currently 55 million American adults are still feeling lonely, isolated and filled with anxiety. Those same adults are listening to daily COVID messages on TV and various media sources. If you, or someone that you know, is suffering from the symptoms above, perhaps the first step is to stop watching the media, which is filled with fear and caution. It’s time to take charge and nurture your mental health.
A great way to help yourself and others is through acts of kindness and service. Service is a form of human connection that reminds us of our value and purpose in life. Giving and receiving each strengthen our social bonds. Checking on a neighbor, offering a smile to a stranger, and neighborhood parties and family gatherings can make us stronger. The reward? Healthy relationships prompt the body to produce the dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and neurochemicals that reduce stress, anxiety, and pain. It’s nature’s way of keeping your body strong, happy and healthy.
Something to Think About
Murthy writes from a place of extraordinary compassion for a high government official, let alone a doctor. He has exposed an obvious need in health care. The focus of health care worldwide is on cures verses prevention. If we focused more on prevention, we would not need as many cures.
Look for ways to serve and to show kindness this week. Seek out support if needed and nurture your mental health.
Words of Wisdom
The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system. – Robert C. Peale
The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. – Albert Einstein
I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better. – Georg C. Lichtenberg
Every negative belief weakens the partnership between mind and body. – Deepak Chopra
Health is a state of complete mental, social and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. – World Health Organization, 1948
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