"Loneliness can damage health -but there's an incredibly easy fix."
I read this in an article on Harvard's website. The article talks about a ground-breaking study done on loneliness. Their study revealed that there are very harmful effects of loneliness, both physical and mental. The Harvard article also talked about their conclusion for treatment: Talking to people.
It sounds funny out of context, however loneliness is quite serious. Our current culture doesn't lend much help either. We can guess all the changing cultural aspects that contribute to this. Of course the past two years didn’t help, but even before that, we have seen loneliness on the rise. Even research is showing that the right ‘treatment’ for loneliness is what we already know. Much easier said than done.
One way to combat loneliness is to get involved in your church community. The church is a place where people can come together to worship, fellowship, and serve others. It provides a sense of belonging and purpose. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” However, it’s more than just showing up on Sundays.
We can be in group of people and still feel alone. What is required is to be self aware of your changing needs and life situation, prioritizing meeting people and investing in the lives of others, and being vulnerable enough to make genuine connections with others. When you are self aware enough to consider what you need, it makes the next steps easier to take. Showing up is the first step, but it doesn’t stop there. Just sitting in a gym doesn’t make you any healthier; you have to take part. Just sitting in a pew or attending a group, won’t help you feel less lonely either. You participating in a community is what matters. God has hard wired us to need relationships, and the church is one the ways he uses in our lives to fulfill that need.
Most importantly, prayer is a powerful tool in combating loneliness. God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). When we feel lonely, we turn to him for comfort and peace. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Prayer is not a small thing, and it’s not the only thing God wants for us – but it is vital.
We are watching loneliness as a growing problem. As Christians, we must continue to find ways to help those who are struggling with loneliness. We can lead by example to help others, and take next steps in our own situations. We must rely on the power and wisdom of God. Let’s reach out to those who are lonely and offer them the love and support they need.