Is Social Media the Cause of the Loneliness Epidemic Among Millennials?

We feel loneliness when we feel disconnected from others; when we feel that we do not matter, and are not seen/recognized/valued by others. Since we are neurologically wired to connect, loneliness triggers our most intense sensations as we need to be in the heart, and in the mind of others. Loneliness can lead to negative feelings towards oneself and negative self-talk. These negative sensations can bring past experiences when we felt rejected or abandoned making our worst fears (not meaning anything to others) a truth about ourselves. This perception of ourselves can spiral into depression which could lead to suicidal thoughts and even attempts.

Millennials grew up in a technological era which has both positive and negative consequences. Communication changed from physical, eye to eye contact, to texting. There is a level of anonymity where we can hide behind technology, not really showing our true emotions. At the same time, there is the immediate gratification (or sometimes not, as it may be impulsive) to send a message instantly. Social media has also opened up the possibility of communicating throughout the day.

As much as texting and social media can trick us into feeling seen and connected, this feeling is short lived. Loneliness can be triggered and/or exacerbated when we look at all the “perfect” and connected lives everyone else has… At that moment, our vulnerabilities and sense of not being a part of something intensify; making us feel more lonely. It is important to remember that people post on social media what they want others to see… It is like marketing, in that one shows the pretty package; this, however, can be empty.

Dr. Carolina Castaños, Ph.D. is an award-winning Relationship and
Marriage and Family Therapist who is shifting the way we think about love and relationships by bringing our focus back to the self. With 20 years of experience and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Dr. Castaños is helping couples, families, and individuals heal from past wounds, and guide them to establish safe, deeply connected relationships. Dr. Castaños didn’t always know she’d be a therapist, but she did see early on how trauma and pain could shape a person’s life. This led her to become active in making a change for people in communities all over the world.