We are facing some difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic and many people have been forced to stay at home due to the implications that this disease has on global health. Due to the infectiousness level of the virus, scientists recommend that we reduce our social interactions as much as possible to be able to save people’s lives.
This can be overwhelming for some people and a large part of the population views this social isolation as a tragedy. You can imagine that if you want to show people your new and really elegant moto boots , you will not be able to do that. Or will you?
For people who love to be among others and who feed their inner life with the interactions they have with their friends, family, and coworkers, this period can be a little bit unpleasant, but the thing is that how we perceive things is not always the way they really are.
What is isolation and how can it affect the brain?
Isolation is defined by zero interaction with other people. It is usually used as a punishment for prisoners but in the real sense of isolation. When they are punished, prisoners are not allowed to talk to anybody and the use of books, newspapers, games or other forms of entertaining their mind is completely restricted.
If we look at this definition and at the way that isolation is used as a punishment, we can arrive at some conclusions. Scientists have been studying the effects of real isolation on the brain and have concluded that social interaction is a very important thing when it comes to the healthy mind of an individual.
The feeling of belonging to a group and the sense of pleasure we get from interacting with people is something that has evolved over time. This is because our ancestors had to survive in the wild and they couldn’t do it effectively by themselves, so they started forming groups.
They felt safer among individuals and being a part of a group and communicating with other people was a means of survival. Our brains still have this need that has evolved over time and this is why being deprived of interacting with other people makes us unhappy.
Is what we are going through now real isolation?
Over time, technology has evolved so much that the means of communicating with other people are now present almost everywhere and people can communicate even if they are 1000 miles apart. If you think about the way you could communicate with other people 30 years ago, you will realize that only the letters and the phone were available.
But now we can communicate via instant messaging and even through video calls and see each other even if we are miles apart. Furthermore, even if we do not communicate with the actors in a movie, we can see them on TV or on the internet, we can even see people on social media live streaming.
Social media even gives us a sense of connection with other people and we can always be up to date with what other people are doing or feeling. So, you see, the term social isolation nowadays is not the same as isolation in its true meaning.
If we rethink the way we view things and acknowledge that we are not as doomed by the fact that we have to spend time at home as we would have been 200 years ago, our feelings during this period will also change for the better, as we will come to the conclusion that we are the most fortunate among the people who had to go through the isolation during other pandemics in history.