We all love receiving cards. And we all love to know someone’s thinking of us. So, we’re really happy to be taking part in Thinking of You Week next week.
Thinking of You Week was founded by the Greetings Card Association. Yeah yeah, see we’ve woken up the cynics amongst you now! But get this: loneliness is one of the biggest dangers to our health. It is now recognised as a serious threat.
All on our ownsome
And it’s not just older people who feel lonely. The Office of National Statistics recently found that 60% of 18-34 year old Brits often feel lonely.
Mind says “Being alone is not the same as being lonely”. Loneliness is about social connections. How much we need those connections varies from person to person. But we all need them.
Here comes the science
Neuroscientist Professor Jonathan Haidt believes the brain only functions properly when it’s connecting with other brains. Woo, that’s a bit … Dr Who isn’t it? It makes sense when he explains it though. We’re evolved to be social creatures. That’s how we keep safe – kinda like a shoal of fish. If we’re on the edge, we’re more vulnerable. “Our brains go into self preservation mode” says the Professor. We become more aggressive and anxious.
But don’t rely on numbers. It’s all about closeness. “It’s whether you feel isolated. The brain’s not sitting there counting people.”
So don’t be thinking 500 friends on Facebook is going to stop anyone being lonely. Quality over quantity. Having someone to share your feelings with. Having people that “get” you.
Ironically, its just when you really need those connections that you find they’re not there. People seem to disappear when there’s a crisis. We get anxious around other people’s crises. We don’t know what to say. We worry we’ll have to get too involved. We have a feeling their sadness will rub off on us. But it doesn’t have to be like that. It can be just letting someone know you’re still there.
Thinking of You
So, Thinking of You Week not sounding so cynical now is it? Go on, send a card to a friend. Make sure they know they’re still in your gang.
We’re running a little competition over on our Facebook page. Tell us why your friend should get a card. We’ll chose the best one next week and send them a card on your behalf. And what’s more, it will be one of our delux limited edition gold foiled Thinking of You Cards. A little sparkle for someone who needs it.