Levels of Loneliness Are Rising Globally – Here’s How Counselling Can Help

Posted November 20, 2020 by Cristina Vrech

Cristina Vrech - Individual and couples therapist

Cristina Vrech

Founder and Director - Individual & Couple Therapist, Corporate Services

Co-founder and director of Leone Centre, Cristina Vrech, has 20+ years of experience in working and supporting people, 14+ years of extensive experience as a therapist and offers valuable knowledge to individuals and couples. Prior to being a therapist, she worked in the financial sector.

Cristina takes a down-to-earth and direct approach across the landscapes of relationships, communication, stress, infidelity, confidence, loneliness, addiction, separation and divorce, IVF, and anxiety.

Offering Online Counselling and in person counselling.

Cristina Vrech can help with...

If levels of loneliness rise does it mean that the quality of our relationships fall?

How Relationship Counselling Can Help

As human beings, we’re not built to live alone.

Levels of loneliness are rising around the world and the increasing trend towards individualistic societies in which people live alone, is playing a major part. 

Sure, sometimes it’s fun to live alone; maybe you’re fed-up of living with your parents, sick of saying ‘hello’ to a new housemate every three months or maybe you’re focused on your career and want your own space. 

There are certainly many perks to living alone. You can do the dishes tomorrow, you have full control over the TV, you can walk around in your birthday suit…the possibilities are endless! But living by yourself can come at a price. 

Single-person households have become increasingly common in many countries across the world 

Within the UK, almost 30% of people live alone. In the case of men aged between 45 and 64 years old, this figure rises to 72.1%; that’s almost three out of every four men! 

Incidentally, depression rates have increased globally and the World Health Organization points to social isolation as a likely cause. 

It has signalled that smaller countries with stronger family ties and economies that rely more on farming than industry have lower depression rates.

Generally, cultures that emphasize collectivism as opposed to individualism have lower rates of depression

Living in communities not only benefits our mental health, but our overall wellbeing and quality of life too. In his quest to discover the key to longevity, National Geographic fellow and multiple New York Times bestseller, Dan Buettner discovered five places in the world where people live the longest, and healthiest lives.

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The 5 places of longest and heaviest life

These are:

  • Okinawa, Japan;
  • Sardinia, Italy;
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica;
  • Ikaria, Greece, and
  • Loma Linda, California.

He termed these areas ‘blue zones’.

Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all lifestyle or diet that guarantees a healthier, longer life, Dan did find nine specific lifestyle factors that permeated the lifestyles of individuals living in these ‘blue zones’, which, combined, provide the key to longevity.

Amongst these factors are ‘Tribe’, ‘Belonging’, and ‘Putting Loved ones first’; living in close communities appears to be a key contributor to enhancing both the quality and the duration of the lives of the elderly people living in blue zones. 

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Building strong and meaningful relationships is vital for our happiness, our well-being, and our general health. Here is an impressive example from a community of Japanese women whose mental and physical health deserves recognition. 

The Amas of Japan 

In certain coastal towns of Japan, becoming an Ama is what all the young girls in the town aspire to become. It’s an admirable tradition that has been passed down from one generation to another. From the age of eighteen and into their eighties, these women free-dive in the Pacific Ocean, wearing nothing but a wet suit, goggles, and passion. 

They dive twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. During a four-hour session, they dive around two-hundred times in search of abalone and turban snails to sell in the market. 

Their endurance, their resilience and their attitudes are unparalleled by most people in the Western world. They’re breathtakingly impressive! 

On a documentary with Sue Perkins on Channel 4, the Amas explained their secret for a happy life: community. The sense of companionship and support, they said, was what kept them going; it’s the thing that makes them happy, keeps them healthy and strong. They value the little things in life; gossiping with their friends, sharing a meal together, and simply being accompanied. 

Build and Cherish Your Relationships

For thousands of years, humans have travelled in tribes and built communities that could only thrive with the support of the entire group. The human species has come to dominate above all others thanks to our ability to coordinate large groups and form governments, nations, and hierarchies that enabled us to coexist in huge ‘tribes’.

People helped raise each other and provided protection, companionship, emotional support, and entertainment; because we realized — we were stronger together.

However, in more recent years, we’ve begun to prioritise individual success in favour of collective survival. It is sometimes easy to perceive individuals who are ‘successful’ as those who live in an amazing apartment, work in a shiny corner office with views over the city, and glow an aura so beautiful that one can look but not touch. 

Nurturing your relationships

We might feel a sense of pressure to prove ourselves – to be successful, to be different, and to make our own mark on the world. But we’re all inherently unique – by definition, it’s in our DNA. We don’t need to distance ourselves from others to prove we’re individuals or to prove that we’re successful.

Leone Centre Counselling – Relationship is Everything

Whilst the benefits of companionship might seem obvious, taking the time to actively and consciously nourish our relationships is something that many of us fail to make a priority.  

At Leone Centre, we provide a range of counselling services, including high-quality couples counselling, marriage counselling, and online relationship counselling.

But perhaps most importantly, we know that in order to bring the best version of yourself into any relationship, you also need to nurture the relationship that you have with yourself.

That’s why we also offer a range of services to help you do just that. Leone Centre therapists can work with you through different challenges from stress management to addiction therapy, managing your anxiety, and bereavement, supporting you in your relationships and self-esteem and becoming the best version of ‘you’. 

Sources

  • Office of National Statistics (UK)
  • Our World in Data
  • World Health Organization
  • Bluezones Website
  • The 9 Lifestyle factors (Bluezones Website)
  • Sue Perkins: Travels in Japan