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Theresa May formed the Ministry of Loneliness in the UK in 2007 and appointed a minister, a female attorney who had a 6 month old baby; a great support network but yet felt lonely. Loneliness is an epidemic in the western world. Part of it lies in the culture of individualism, the nuclear family whereas in the eastern world the collective culture, the extended family come first. To buffer loneliness in Japan recently, they’ve placed nurseries and older citizens together. Youngsters are encouraged to teach seniors how to use their computers and other devices. Since March 11, 2020 with the lock down, social distancing and the closure of movie theatres, restaurants, and so on we might be feeling disconnected. What do we do with it? I think it's important to recognize that you are feeling lonely you might even want to label it what are some of the other feelings that are coming up to the surface for you then make an action plan in which you decide to give back to others. In making the effort to connect with others you feel less lonely . If that's too difficult to do because you're feeling a bit down why not just go for a walk and experience a connection with nature for starters? Why not start a conversation with a stranger? Why not smile at someone else even though you wear a mask? Did you know that when you smile you trick your brain to release you are chemicals that tell you that you are feeling happy? So why not start with your posture why not start with your facial expression change that and then make an action plan it could be a simple thing like helping a neighbor with his groceries or making a phone call to someone who is shut in or starting a conversation with the words what's new in your world? If that's too difficult how about just connecting to someone through zoom through the Internet through FaceTime? When you start doing these things you feel connection. So start with connecting to yourself as I suggested by being aware of what you're feeling recognize it and then create an action plan take a few deep belly breaths first and then make that phone call reach out to someone who might be feeling even worse than you. We have lost our village from the past our extended family our neighbors but we can recreate mass mutual reliance now by making the effort to connect with someone else. And if that is still too difficult how about walking your neighbor’s pet, or getting a houseplant, something that you can nurture and then pass on or gift to someone else i.e.the plant? Isolation can lead to a significant reduction in your happiness index; in fact happy people nurture social relationships. We all have a need to connect. So make the first small step and notice how your actions lead to changes in your mood, in your overall well being.

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