Loneliness Is Like Physical Pain and How Social Media Is Making Us Lonely

Welcome to edition #24 of our news series, where we share with you the latest resources we’ve found on social skills, making friends, and more. In this edition, we’ll find out if heartbreak and hurt feelings are as impactful as physical pain and talk about how smartphones and social media may be negatively affecting our children. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss any future editions!

How Much Do We Really Feel Social Pain?

social pain

Rejection, hurt feelings, and heartbreak… these can be painful experiences. But what kind of impact does social pain have on the body? Do negative feelings have the same effect as physical pain? Scientist now have answers, based on new technology.

This article in Psychology Today discusses how neural circuitry for physical and social pain overlap, proving that negative emotions can induce their own physical pain. In other words, depression – and other unpleasant feelings – physically hurt. This shared brain circuitry for social and physical pain can affect our social lives, work, and relationships, which often induces self-medicating behaviors.

Paul’s commentary

Loneliness is literal pain. Sure it’s an emotional one, but it’s really close to physical pain. Loneliness does hurt.

It’s also a signal. It tells your body and mind that you literally need social connection. It tells you that is time to take care of yourself and spend time with people, especially those who “get you.”

But… it also tricks you into thinking that…

  • You’re alone because there’s something wrong with you.
  • And that you’re in danger of getting hurt and rejected again if you attempt to make new friends.

When you’re lonely, thoughts like these get so exaggerated in your mind that they block you from taking any sort of action.

No action means no new friends, which in turn means even more loneliness. It’s a vicious circle I call “the loneliness trap.”

What you should do is ignore those discouraging thoughts and take action now. Start a new social life. Get a head-start here.

Are Children Consuming Too Much Social Media?

children social media

According to The Guardian, the children’s commissioner believes that the overconsumption of social media by today’s children is as harmful as eating too much junk food. Although mainstream media is slower to catch up to this theory, research shows that as screen time increases for children and teens, so does loneliness and depression. Part of it is due to the decline in seeing friends in person.

The post-millennial generation is proving correlations between screen activities, mental health and wellbeing, as it is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with a smartphone. As a result, there is a marked decrease in spending time with friends in person, playing sports, doing homework, and other things teens did before the Internet was commercialized.

Paul’s commentary

Unfortunately this is not only an issue for teenagers, but for many of us adults too.

Adults and young adults are discovering this fairly new world of social media and smartphones. Social media gives us a false sense of connection that leaves us lonely even if we think we’re “connected.”

What you should do here is…

  • Realize that you’re not the only one out there who would love to have new friends. Many people are lonely and would love to have a friend like you.
  • Use social media to keep up with real life friends. Use it to follow up with people you just met, existing friends or long distance friends and family.
  • Do not use it to keep fake, online-only relationships.

And do yourself a favor, don’t compare your life to the “perfect” lives of some people on Facebook and Instagram. A lot of that is heavily staged, filtered, and has nothing to with reality.

The reality is that once you have your social skills up and running, ready for any social situation, social media becomes just another tool you use to manage your busy social life.

To improve your social skills and know how to use social media to enhance your social life instead of having make you feel lonely, go here and get your social skills to the next level.

– Paul Sanders

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