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CAUTION ADVISED: this podcast contains swearing and themes of an adult nature.
Having written a book about the importance of connections, Johann Hari was the obvious choice to help me shed light on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting this key human need. In this podcast, his work on how loneliness affects depression and anxiety provides insight, understanding and practical solutions to help us through.
We start by talking about what Johann says is the biggest cause of emotional difficulties – financial insecurity. Of course, things are moving fast and since this podcast was recorded, the UK government has announced support for the self-employed, too. But people are understandably worried how they’ll cope until help filters through. A YouGov survey suggests many are already borrowing money only one week into the current UK lockdown. Johann believes that asking our political representatives to address this is a vital way to feel connected, value our key workers and safeguard our mental health.
We also discuss how shared experience and meaning can be a way out of loneliness. Johann gives some extraordinary examples of people who’ve managed to find meaning and affect positive change in the face of huge adversity. We’re all familiar with post-traumatic stress, but there’s emerging evidence that more people actually experience growth as a result of trauma. They re-evaluate, reset their values, life in many ways gets better for them. Could this be the way we all move through – and beyond – this global crisis? It’s a lot to get your head around, but it’s a powerful message to hear. Take care, stay safe and be kind.
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