Former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy went on a “listening tour” of America. His study of major illnesses such as heart and kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and addiction led to a great surprise. He discovered that the most common public health issue was loneliness—lack of human connection. Murthy found that 22% of adults feel unloved. He found a direct correlation between chronic health issues and loneliness. Chronic loneliness triggers a stress response of fear. Lack of meaning and low self-worth often deepen loneliness. They inhibit our ability to engage in dialogue and create the social connections we need. During this time of COVID-19, we are distant, but we can connect with one another. Calling someone we know who is alone, using social media in a personal way, writing notes and praying for ourselves and others are all ways to discover this truth: we are not alone.
By Christian Morris, OSB