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How Hustle Culture May Lead to Loneliness? Expert Recommend 4 Tips to Manage it

Surrounding ourselves with people, in real life or on social media, can still make us feel alone. But social networks are not just that and experts explain how to mitigate these times.

This is a digitally driven world and hustle culture is the live theme. Each day begins with multiple tasks that require one to juggle and ends only to start again the next day. Amidst all this chaos and mayhem of the new age world, we often tend to forget about ourselves. Caught in the web, we don’t prioritize our mental health and emotional well-being as much as we should. Smartphones have become a habit and a necessity. So much so that we sit in a room with friends and our eyes are glued to the screen. A small gap in a conversation makes you want to scroll through Instagram. Yes, we are all guilty of it. Doomscrolling has greatly upset our minds and we are not able to realize and anticipate the consequences it entails.

Certain studies have time and again attributed social media as a catalyst for feelings of loneliness, especially in adolescents. The pressure to succeed in urban life is almost overwhelming, and this rat race mentality once again contributes to feelings of anxiety and loneliness.

Navigating ‘loneliness’ in hustle culture

Speaking exclusively to India.com, Reet Patel, psychologist at Mpower Helpline, Mumbai, explained that people move away from their loved ones to live in urban environments in order to achieve financial success. This causes untold pressure on individuals, as failure is unforgivable after all the sacrifices they have made; especially in Indian societies. Even people who live in cities in their family homes are subject to this pressure, having been raised with a toxic mindset of financial success as the primary goal of life.

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Additionally, work-life balance for working adults is almost non-existent and no importance is given to relationships or activities outside of their career. According to India’s National Council of Applied Economic Research, the average adult spends 47 to 48 hours at work in five days. This highly skewed perspective again contributes to people reporting feeling lonely in an urban environment.

Dr Mona Gujral, Delhi-based counseling psychologist and expert on coto, a women-only social community app, explained how such apps have become an easy channel to connect with mental health therapists. People can get professional help to help them combat their loneliness and anxiety, regardless of their location, and learn effective tools to help them manage this situation, empower themselves, and take a step towards better emotional well-being.

Understanding the connection of social media to loneliness

“Social media can create a false sense of connection and belonging. Online interactions lack non-verbal cues, physical presence, and emotional intimacy that are essential to building and maintaining meaningful relationships. That said, it is important to recognize the inevitability of social media’s presence in our personal and professional lives,” says Prakriti Poddar, Global Head of Mental Health at Roundglass Living app. She listed some ways to mitigate it:

  • Reduce social media use: By setting boundaries, you can prioritize face-to-face interactions and cultivate real connections. When you’re not on a break, set up blocks of time to scroll and use social media.
  • Be a conscious user: Use social media with the intention of obtaining a positive experience. Try scrolling without judgment and sharing posts without expecting results. Clean up your feed by unfollowing accounts that generate anxiety or negative emotions.
  • Encourage offline connections: Make plans to meet up with friends and family over the weekend to watch a movie, visit a gallery, play sports together, or go shopping. It’s the best way to cultivate authentic and meaningful social connections.
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On the other hand, Saurabh Pandey, founder and CEO of Eloelo, a local live social media platform, emphasizes that the digital paradox of social media lies in its dual nature. Traditional social media was designed to connect us, but endless, meaningless scrolling often makes many young people feel more alone.

Loneliness can be difficult to identify, but in 2023, 1.25 billion people reported feeling “lonely” or “very lonely,” according to the Global State of Connections Report. However, new-age social media platforms are emerging as a ray of hope, bridging the gap and helping people feel connected regardless of their location. According to Pandey, here are some ways these new-age social media platforms help:

  • Encourage self-expression: Social media platforms allow users to express their thoughts, feelings, and creativity through live streams, stories, and various forms of media, helping them feel heard and validated.
  • Building communities: These platforms allow users to join groups and communities with similar interests, hobbies, or life experiences. This sense of belonging can greatly reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Creating new connections: Social networks help users make new friends and expand their social circle. Local apps make it easy to live stream and interact with people near and far, fostering meaningful relationships.

5 tips to manage loneliness

To defeat this invisible illness, we need to foster authentic social connections that anchor us emotionally, resulting in lower levels of stress and anxiety and greater empathy. Additionally, adopting certain wellness practices and habits can also help us cope with loneliness and the health challenges associated with it:

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  • Practice meditation and mindfulness: Meditation is a transformative practice that involves training the mind to experience a heightened state of consciousness, deep relaxation and tranquility. It encourages you to be aware and attentive to what you are experiencing physically and mentally.
  • Focus on your breathing: Deep breathing can immediately calm a restless mind.
  • Be physically active: When you’re feeling lonely, exercising may seem like the last thing you want to do, but gently convince yourself to get up and get going. Physical exercise improves mood and increases confidence and sense of self-esteem. Exercising in a public place could also provide you with ample opportunities and social interactions.
  • Eat healthy: A healthy diet goes a long way towards a positive mood. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of consuming foods rich in brain-boosting fats and essential nutrients like iron and calcium. These will restore your mental well-being and at the same time contribute to your physical health.

You have to understand that even small experiences are worth sharing. Therefore, never hesitate to seek professional support. Mental health requires more honest conversations and starts with yourself.

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