AmericaSpeaks TheVoiceOfJoyce What ails us? I’m proposing we’re seeing a manifestation of loneliness, exacerbated by the Pandemic, lasting years and exhibited by the polarization and isolation of individuals in our Society. The good news: loneliness is a problem we can fix, by building more connected relationships in our private lives, our schools , communities and the workplace. We are social creatures, we need connections and bonds to each other, like we need clean air and water. Without social connections we’re prone to heart disease, diabetes and worse. Let’s all agree , we must strengthen our social infrastructure through programs, that aid the development of healthy relationships. Road Map provided!

First, we must strengthen social infrastructure — the programs, policies, and structures that aid the development of healthy relationships. That means supporting school-based programs that teach children about building healthy relationships, workplace design that fosters social connection, and community programs that bring people together.

Second, we have to renegotiate our relationship with technology, creating space in our lives without our devices so we can be more present with one another. That also means choosing not to take part in online dialogues that amplify judgment and hate instead of understanding.

Finally, we have to take steps in our personal lives to rebuild our connection to one another — and small steps can make a big difference. This is medicine hiding in plain sight: Evidence shows that connection is linked to better heart health, brain health and immunity. It could be spending 15 minutes each day to reach out to people we care about, introducing ourselves to our neighbors, checking on co-workers who may be having a hard time, sitting down with people with different views to get to know and understand them, and seeking opportunities to serve others recognizing that helping people is one of the most powerful antidotes to loneliness.

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