In Work and the Loneliness Epidemic, former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, addresses the increasing epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.
Unknown to many people, loneliness is a growing health epidemic in this age of technology and social media. In our current era, we are the most technology-connected age in the history of human civilization, and it only continues to grow every year. Since the 1980s, loneliness has doubled in reported cases. Over 40% of adults in America have reported feeling lonely, while other research suggests that this percentage is actually higher.
Loneliness and Our Health
Dr. Murthy reports from his medical experience that social isolation is often the background of clinical illnesses. Being alone makes it harder to cope and heal when you have no one to confide in.
Experiencing loneliness and a weak social connection has led to a reduction in lifespan, equivalent to the reduction caused by 15 cigarettes per day which is a greater reduction in lifespan than obesity. Loneliness leads to an increase in cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety. It also reduces task performance, limits creativity, and impairs functions like reasoning and decision making.
Parentcirkle Strives to End Loneliness
Dr. Murthy observes in his study that we spend more waking hours with coworkers than our families. He believes in companies’ power to drive change at a societal level by strengthening the social connections within the workplace. He discusses five steps of helping create that connection.
At Parentcirkle, our steps strongly reflect those of Dr. Murthy’s. Instead of creating these social connections within the workplace, Parentcirkle strives to create social connections in the comfort of your home through our parental community.
Five Steps to Help Create Social Connections Through ParentCirkle
1. Evaluate the current state of connections in your life.
No matter the hundreds or thousands of friends you may have on Facebook, how many of them would you trust to reflect on the same struggles that you may be facing as a parent? Loneliness does not decrease by the number of friends we obtain, but rather the quality of our friendships. In our technological world, we cannot share our successes or our failures with over half of those we name our “friends”. This is where our loneliness begins.
2. Build understanding of high-quality relationships.
A high-quality relationship does not mean the people who like your pictures or comment the most on different items you share via social media. A high-quality relationship forms from meaningful, shared experiences and mutually beneficial two-way relationships – one where parents are able to receive as much as they give. Without those meaningful and deep relationships, who do we confide in?
3. Make strengthening social connections a strategic priority.
Parentcirkle designs and models a culture that supports social connections that are more important than one single program. Each of our sessions focus on the important aspects of your life through three categories: mind, body, and soul. In our sessions, we connect a community of individuals seeking the same needs or suffering through the same struggles. We allow them to connect through these struggles and share their meaningful experiences, demonstrating one of the main ideals needed for a high-quality relationship.
4. Encourage others to reach out and help others – and accept help when offered.
Parentcirkle’s sessions create the perfect atmospheres for parents to reach out and help each other, while accepting help themselves. The feelings and advice shared through our sessions by the help of our Parent Coaches allows parents to bounce ideas and thoughts off one another. It helps parents form strong, quality relationships with other parents across the country going through the same things. They can vent, but also share their experiences and advice. Parentcirkle not only creates the opportunity for parents to socially connect through meaningful and shared experiences, but creates the mutually beneficial two-way relationship needed for quality relationships.
5. Create opportunities to learn about others personal lives.
The relationships formed through Parentcirkle are authentic, social connections that have developed because parents feel understood and appreciated as individuals with full lives. Learning about another parent’s successes and struggles, listening to them, and being listened to in return validates our needs as humans to be loved and heard. Parentcirkle helps parents understand they are not alone. There are other parents going through the same ordeal, or have experienced that struggle and are willing to help others.
Dr. Murthy says in his article, “We must take action now to build the connections that are the foundation of… strong communities – and that ensure greater health and well-being for all of us.” Parentcirkle seeks to end the isolation epidemic, starting with parents who feel alone.
We are Parentcirkle: a place where you can be yourself and learn from others, take the best and drop what’s not working. At Parentcirkle, parents create healthier versions of themselves and bring this well-being to their families. Join our village today and share your story to a community that wants to listen.