Sharon Salzberg

Help Coping with Loneliness: A Q&A with Sharon Salzberg

June 12, 2023

We live in an age where it's possible to travel great distances in a matter of hours, communicate with people around the globe from a device we carry in our pockets, and share whatever is on our minds with the push of a button. And yet, many of us feel more isolated and alone than ever before.

In fact, an advisory issued in May 2023 by the Surgeon General for the United States has sounded the alarm: We're going through an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. A full 58% of adults in the U.S. are considered lonely, according to a Cigna survey.

And the impact of loneliness can go far beyond mood. Research suggests that feelings of isolation and lack of connection can contribute to the development of depression, increase the risk of developing dementia in older people, and even lead to increased absenteeism from work.

But loneliness isn't something that has to be endured. There are steps anyone can take to overcome it. Here, Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned meditation teacher and author of Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom, answers questions about loneliness and discusses ways to build social networks and increase a sense of community and connection.