People seem lonely and depressed even more so than in past times. Can science help us understand why?

Depression has always been a melancholy friend, but it didn’t seem to take as much precedent then as it does today. Loneliness and depression seem to be in every household now, leading to feelings of hopelessness and even attempts of suicide. So, why is it so much worse than before?

Science explains why we’re lonelier than before

Science has answers for many things, even why we’re more depressed and lonely now than we’ve ever been before, and we are. There are more mental health clinics and hospitals opening than before and more people constantly seeking happiness outside themselves.

Yes, science has reasons for this modern increase in loneliness and feelings of depression, and it’s interesting, to say the least.

Here are a few reasons for this increase:

1. It’s a psychological/forced diagnosis

This might sound a bit strange, but it’s true. Many individuals suffer from depression or loneliness so much more now than before just because they’re diagnosed that way. Yes, diagnosing depression is important, but misdiagnosis of this disorder can actually cause the disorder to worsen, and grow in huge proportions.

In modern times, it seems everyone thinks they’re depressed, and so clinics are prone to call problems depression before anything else, handing out medications and convincing people they are suffering from a problem before a diagnosis. Just pay attention to how many of your friends say they’re depressed on a regular basis.

2. Avoiding nature

Nature has this ability to lift the spirits in the most amazing ways. The breeze, the chirps of insects, and the earth itself all improve mental health. Many believe that just placing your bare feet upon the earth at least once a day improves your health and mood – it’s called grounding. Greenery in itself has amazing impacts on mental health, and without it, the decline is pretty obvious.

But it’s different now. People seem more lonely and in the throws of depression because they don’t go outside as much as they used to. Most of the time, electronics and technology take first place over going outside to enjoy the weather. I fear it will only get worse if we don’t wake up and notice the direction our lives are going.

3. Lack of physical activity

Just like most people avoid going outside, they seem to also be avoiding any sort of physical activity too. It’s so much easier to do things without moving around. There is a decrease in hiking, camping, and fishing now, replaced by indoor activities like watching movies and playing video games.

Our brains are actually changing so that we prefer these indoor activities and feel more comfortable doing these things. And this is making us more lonely and more depressed as time goes by considering our physical and mental states are connected.

4. Materialism

In my early adulthood, materialism seemed normal. As long as I stayed on top of the latest trends and managed to look attractive, I felt okay. But as soon as finances or other circumstances hindered my ability to buy things, I started feeling restless and unhappy. If it lasted long enough, I would fall into a slump.

This sort of pattern has gotten worse. Materialism has become an addiction for almost everyone, and if you can’t afford to keep up, you may find yourself stricken with loneliness and depression.

The reason why we’re depressed is that we’ve grown used to acquiring more and more with no end in sight. If we really took the time to realize that these things are only temporal, useless after death, then maybe we would slow down and enjoy something else for a change. Happiness, trust me, is not found in material possessions.

5. Stuck in misery

Many people in our society today are stuck in their own misery. This is usually depression that comes from past trauma. Yes, mental illness is a real disease and must be treated as so, but we cannot keep choosing to remain in depression and loneliness out of familiarity.

It seems as though depression is easier than feeling happy to those who may have lived in a dysfunctional family in the past. It even seems normal to be unhappy and in constant turmoil.

Depression and loneliness, in a way, seem warm and inviting. They’re like old grumpy grandparents who come to sit with us and complain about all their aches and pains. Think about it for a moment. If it’s so easy to be depressed and you’re handling it okay, then why even try to be happy. Unfortunately, so many people today fall into this category.

6. Bad food

As you already know, fresh and organic foods are good for you, both physically and mentally. This means processed foods and fast foods have the opposite effect.  It has been proven that fast foods, especially commercially baked foods, hamburgers, and hotdogs can cause an increase in depression.

Feeling lonely and a bit depressed? Well, it could be the food you’re eating. Now, as far as humans being more depressed than in decades before, well, that’s because fast foods, processed foods, and food additives have increased greatly, running a race with those who are trying to bring healthier products to the market. Health foods are still behind in that race, unfortunately.

Are you lonely and depressed?

I know I feel lonely and horribly depressed much of the time. And yes, it is because of these reasons above and other things too. My parents, although they fought and argued quite a bit, didn’t seem to be as lonely and depressed as us children are. And our grandparents, as far as I can remember, were even happier.

So, in my opinion, yes, we are more lonely than generations before, and we’re definitely filling the clinics with cases of mental illness.

Something must be done about this tragedy. What do you think about these changes?

References:

  1. https://newsroom.ucla.edu
  2. https://www.cambridge.org


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