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The Simple Cure for Loneliness | Baya Voce | TEDxSaltLakeCity


Reviewer: Queenie Lee Loneliness is an emotional state that we have when
we’re feeling disconnected. But our need for connection
is ingrained in our DNA. Loneliness is a signal,
just like fight-or-flight, that something isn’t right. Loneliness is a public health crisis. But one in five Americans
suffer from loneliness, which means if you haven’t
personally suffered from loneliness, it’s almost guaranteed
that somebody you know closely has. It can cause depression, and it can even lead to premature death. But now more than ever,
we’re living alone, we’re spending more time online and less time making
meaningful in-person connections. So when emotional storms hit, things like losing a job,
or going through a divorce, or a death, instead of leaning
in towards our communities, we’ve learned to suffer alone. So today I’m going to offer one solution that will bring us more connection
and can help cure the epidemic. When I was a kid,
I had a really hard time fitting in. I wanted to do whatever I could
to belong and to not feel lonely; all I wanted was to find connection. So my oh-so-wise adolescent self
came up with a solution: I was going to be popular. I carried this thought process
throughout my teens. But the problem was the more I wanted to be popular, the more it fueled my need
for attention and approval. And when I was 20 years old, as fate would have it, auditions for MTV’s reality show
the Real World came into town. Now, for a girl still starving
for approval and attention, this was my ticket. Now, for some of us
when we think about reality TV, we don’t really have
that strong of a reaction: never really watched it, don’t quite get
what all the fuss is about. But for others of us we do have a strong reaction
when we think about reality TV, and we generally fall
into one of two camps. The first camp is, like, you literally could not pay me enough
to go on a reality TV show. In fact, reality TV is everything
that is wrong with our society today. And then the second camp
is, like, “Go on a reality TV show? “Honey, I should have
my own reality TV show. (Laughter) I would be the next Snooki, for sure.” But with a history like mine, I’ll give you one guess
which camp I fell into. And at 21 years old, I moved to Brooklyn as part of “seven strangers
picked to live in a house.” I love this quote by Jim Carrey; he says, “I think everybody
should get rich and famous and do everything
they ever dreamed of, so they can see
that it’s not the answer.” But how many of you
have gone after a goal based off of the feelings
you thought you would feel once you accomplish that goal? The Real World didn’t bring me
connection like I thought it would. In fact, if anything,
I was lonelier than I had ever been during those “15 minutes of fame.” But this lesson propelled me
into the work I do now: studying connection. And whether it’s the events I produce
or the show that I host, or the coaching sessions I have, everything exists to create connection, because here I am now,
my oh-so-wise adult self, searching for what actually
creates connection. And here’s what I found. In order to feel connected we need to feel seen, heard, and valued. You may have heard of Blue Zones. Blue Zones are areas all over the world where researchers have found that people lived
the longest and happiest lives. So everybody does this differently. Communities in, like,
Loma Linda, California; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; some pray together, while others, they walk together, and others simply spend more time nurturing relationships
with their families. But the one thing
that they all do in common is they prioritize connection. They focus on their relationships. What I found is that these societies
have created something that I call an “anchor of connection.” An anchor is created simply
by spending quality time with people who see, hear and value you. But Baya, how do we create
our own anchors of connection? I’m so glad you asked. (Laughter) The most powerful way
to create an anchor is through ritual. Now, I know when we think about ritual, we generally think about
religion or sacred ceremony. But today I want to redefine ritual as something that’s not
necessarily religious or sacred but instead something
that we’re already doing on a day-to-day basis. The key to making ritual
such a powerful tool for connection is that ritual is repeated action plus intention. When you combine
repeated action and intention, ritual becomes ingrained in you
just like habits do. The best places to find ritual
are with your friends and families, in your intimate relationships,
and within your communities. Now, we’ve been gathering
around fires forever to storytell and connect. For me and my girlfriends, our couches act as the metaphorical fire
that we gather around. Every Monday night we throw on our leggings, we head to one of our houses, we pour ourselves some rosé, we pile onto the couch,
and we just talk. We’ve ritualized Monday nights
as a time where we come to connect and fill our tanks
for the rest of the week. And while plenty of Mondays, we’re coming and we’re talking
about the things that are exciting and going well in our lives; but on lots of Mondays
we come with our tanks empty, whether that’s the small storms
that have built up, just daily wear and tear, or the bigger storms, like going through a divorce
or a miscarriage. But whether we’re grieving
or celebrating, we’ve ritualized Monday nights
as our anchor of connection. After Monday nights
I head over to my partner’s house, and we have a ritual that we’ve been doing
for the past year or so, where before bed, we each say:
the thing I love about you most today is. And then we both say something
really kind about one another. Now, easy enough to do
when we’re feeling in love, not that easy to do when we’re in a fight. In fact, when we first started this,
and we were in a fight, and I would be angry,
it would generally look like this. “Hey babe, do you want to do the thing
I love about you most?” “No.” (Laughter) “Okay. Do you want to just, like, try it?” “Pssss, not right now.
I’m not in the mood.” “Okay. Maybe just, maybe just once.” “OK. The thing
I love about you most today is how your eyes sparkle
when you’re wrong and I’m right.” (Laughter) But what I could have never guessed
this ritual would do is expand my capacity
for kindness and compassion. And now, when we’re in a fight, sometimes I even say the thing
I love about him most, first. It’s this ritual that has carried us
through our storms. So when our fights
could just as easily disconnect us and leave us both feeling lonely, instead, we’ve ritualized
our anchor of connection. You know, it’s interesting,
now that I know what Blue Zones are, whenever I’m traveling, I’m always looking
for Blue Zone qualities. And recently, I took a trip to France
with some of the same girlfriends who I spent Monday nights with. Landing in Paris was amazing and exactly like you think
it was if you’ve never been – the cobblestone streets, the shutters,
the windowsills with the flowers, the bakeries whispering: “Screw you, gluten-free diet;
you’re not welcome here.” (Laughter) In France, meals are rituals. So, dinners for instance,
they start later and last longer, and whether it’s two people or ten people, you sit down and you enjoy the meal
for at least two hours, and usually three. The food takes a long time,
no phones are out. And when the meal is over,
you sit and you talk some more. Day in and day out, the French go back to the table
for their ritualized anchor of connection. Our last stop in France was Nice. We arrived 12 hours
after the Bastille Day attack, where the truck driver
drove through the fireworks celebration, tragically killing 84 people. It would have been so easy
for everybody to retreat, to disconnect, to suffer alone. But instead, what we saw were storefronts and restaurants
opening their doors. And even just 12 hours
after a complete tragedy, people went back to the table. They went back to their ritual. We weren’t in the mood
to go out that night. So we went back to the apartment. We put on our leggings,
we poured ourselves some rosé, we piled onto the couch, and we just talked. We went back to our ritual. Because in the face of a storm, in the face of disaster, in the face of complete tragedy, ritual acts as your anchor of connection. Now, my core desire
to be liked and approved of, it might never go away, just like your core desires
might not either. But what I know now that I didn’t know
when I was 20 years old, praying that the real world
was my answer to loneliness and my ticket to connection, is that connection isn’t created
by the things we go get. Connection is created
by the things we go back to. So my invitation to you today is simple: Don’t do something new. Find something you’re already doing
with your friends and families, or in your intimate relationships,
or within your communities. And do that thing
over and over and over again. Do it with intention. Do it during the good times
and do it during the mundane. So when the inevitable
emotional storms hit, you have your ritual to go back to; you have your very own
anchor of connection. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers)

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. while i agree with some of the insights she shined a light on about lonliness as a condition
    she talks about it in the frame work of having a partner and a close group of friends.. this is obviously not a privilege, people who are 'lonely' enjoy
    so it is rather redundant to tell people who are lonely to basically 'get people in your life and do things with them regularly'

    not very helpful. rather disappointing talk.

  2. if anyone truly wants a friend (like all jokes aside) and live in Houston, TX you can reach me as I truly want a friend too 🙁

  3. I came here looking for advice or smth bc I'm homeschooled, the year just started, and all my friends went to different school and I feel lonely. Judging by the comments..I'm gonna go..

  4. This has to b the worst Ted talk ever. Key word is loneliness if someone has friends families and relationships to go back to then there not lonely. They have multiple support systems this will just make a lonely person feel even more alone.

  5. Lol I’m extremely depressed and suicidal. Glad I read the comments before watching this, apparently it won’t help lol.

  6. I like the way she expresses herself openly, showing her vulnerable side yet bringing others to see their own anchors of connection may be hidden in plain sight. Amazing that she and her friends were in Nice 12 hours after the Bastille Day attack…sad to say I had almost forgotten about that (84 people killed?!) I still don't know HOW the French people recovered from that. I know they have a strong culture (centered around food lol) but I don't know WHY much of Europe have all but ignored the importance of Religion as the Source / Sustenance of Culture. Also, I didn't like how she talked about her "partner"…Why not just get married if you are willing to sleep with somebody?!

  7. I feel even more lonely after watching this video. I live in France and I have no one to share food with (dinner).

  8. Everyone is connecting in the comments through our hatred of this video lol… goal achieved ?

  9. Does a TedTalk about lonliness

    Talks about pre sleep time with her boyfriend and trips to France with her girlfriends

  10. I doubt she has ever been truly lonely and certainly has no idea what it really is.

  11. If you define loneliness as not having any friends to begin with, curing it by fostering connections with your 'existing' friends is not a very sound idea…

  12. There is no such thing as loneliness. It is only an illusion that people are too stubborn to let go. I spent that last couple of years living by myself and apart from people and I am at peace and finally happy without all the stupidity and chaos of human beings.

  13. All the haters in the comments are missing the point. You can still feel lonely when you're surrounded by people who like you. The point of the talk is what's needed not to feel lonely beyond having people around. You can have a partner and lots of friends and still feel lonely.

    Yeah, having people around is needed to pass the first threshold. But you need to pass more than that to cure loneliness. Don't hate on the speaker because she's crossed the first threshold and you're at a different point in your journey than her.

  14. In which way is she an expert? Is she a scientist, a BRAIN scientist? Doesn't sound like it. These self-generated assumptions don't help

  15. i agree with what she said about we need to have rituals we can go back to, but she really didnt address what to do if you dont have anything or anyone to go back to in the first place, and i think thats probably why everyone clicked on this video in the first place….

  16. this is not realistic advice for someone who is lonely. SHE HAS FRIENDS SHE DOES STUFF WITH. how bout some actual advice for people who don't have anyone there for them.

  17. I feel like she's got alot of problems and is astonished that the universe doesn't revolve around here.

  18. This is connection advice for 'the girl that has everything.' Half of these Ted talks are nothing more than 'look at me!'

  19. My best advice for those who are lonely is to not exhaust yourself, to take it easy on yourself. The next thing would be to just lay on your couch for an hour on certain days every week and use this time to complain 'out loud' about anything that is bothering you. Finally you need to make sure and 'nurture' yourself. This could mean anything from massages all the way to a simple hot drink at a certain time each day. For those who have been abandoned it's very difficult to reassociate ourselves back into society if we don't take care of our own well being first and foremost. We have to work on our own energy first. Also cut out the devices. The stress from over stimulation only aggravates our internal monologue.

  20. Talks to family members every day talks to classmates every day at the end of the day still feel lonely, talks to a friend every single day still feels lonely
    Kurzgesagt explains this way better

  21. I read an article recently where it broke down 'loneliness' really well but the solution was to do 'volunteer' work. There couldn't be a worse answer on planet earth. Volunteering is not only like having a second job, the people interviewing potential volunteers also judge you like they're judging a job applicant not to mention you are being 'thrown to the wolves' socially. Especially if you're going to be working with people who may not be entirely 'mentally' sound. I've been down this road and I can tell you that you begin to feel like 'free labor' and naturally you will feel critiqued in that kind of work environment because that's human nature. It doesn't solve anything for those who have become 'less trusting' of other people.

  22. I suppose she could be lonely with all those friends around her, supporting her, celebrating her successes and supporting her in her failures. Maybe she pays them to be friends with her?

    Baya, what if you don't have ANY friends? What if you are terrified of meeting people because you were mercilessly bullied all your life?

    Can I hire your friends to go to Europe with me so that I can feel this "connection" you keep talking about? How much do they charge for their "Friend" services?

  23. Oh young one. You still have more to learn. You don't need to be seen, heard, and valued to be unlonely. Look deeper. You need to not have to be seen, heard, and valued to feel unlonely. You will always be looking to the outside of yourself for a cure. That is called low self esteem. Look within to fill your loneliness.

  24. She made some good points. But she failed to adress that not everyone has a boyfriend and friends to turn to when they do get lonely..

  25. Thanks for the comments! You avoid me having a bad time watching this. I’d love to meet y’all. Have a nice day

  26. I don't have friends to hang out with or to spend some of my quality time….
    Now I just learned how to deal with all loneliness……

  27. Lonely is when you dont have people that are true friends that make you a value in their life. If you sat by yourself, if you have people that would turn out of their way every time to be there for you, then you are not lonely. But if you are a person who has tried to reach out to people and never got anything back, and you arent really valued by anyone in life then you are lonely.

  28. There’s an epidemic to a degree in which people feel isolated and lonely, with almost half of Americans indicating that they sometimes or always feel alone. I am one of the social entrepreneurs that has been working tirelessly to solve this painful problem by focusing on meaningful solutions for those in underserved areas such as the Midwest and the South.

    Please leave a comment below stating:
    -your age
    -what state you currently reside in
    -how you would like to see this problem solved

    Thank you.

  29. Loneliness is something I feel all the time and it's ingrained in me. I've always craved connection. I was at a disadvantage at everyone else in my life leaving me to be a loner every single year of my life. I have aspergers which prevent me from socializing and sympathizing cognitively. Try having this all the time and you'll be the most lonely and misunderstood person in the world. Even my family don't get me. People to me are a bunch of aliens that I want to connect with funnily enough. Iw ish I was connected more and had more friends. I crave it. I crave love and acceptance but I can't get it. I don't have the skills but when I do we fall away or someone leaves. Absolute shite and pointless life. Nobody wants it.

  30. I would like to thank the comments here. Her tone annoyed me to where I started reading them, and reading them for 2 minutes just saved me 11 minutes of my life and allowed me to move on to a real talk.

  31. A lonely person is a badass… Workout in the gym, Conscious about diet, Shopping, Long drive with badass music, Netflix… Many more stuff… That's me… Yeah! I'm lonely… I have 0 friends… The girl is like… She didn't like me… Dunno why… She's so sweet… I guess life isn't easy for her… And she likes someone else… The boy who don't give a damn about her… Everyday i missed her so much but just gonna sit on the couch and cry like a baby won't do the job… Work on yourself… Go to the gym… Clean your diet… Go for a long walk… Go for shopping… Love yourself… Be happy… Yeah! I know… Try to be happy… I do all of this and still sometimes i cry like a baby at nights.. Life isn't easy for anyone… Get up… If you want a friend… I'm here… Talk to me.. Try! Come on! I swear I'll reply…

  32. Lmao, she's like, make a ritual with your closest friends. Bold for you to assume I have friends lmao

  33. It's unfortunate that some "Ted Talks are waste of time BS. Sure glad I didn't pay to see it.

  34. you can have people around you (friends, partner, family, etc.) and STILL feel lonely. its a different kind of loneliness but still lonely. loneliness is a feeling and not a physical state affected by who youre surrounded by. dont invalidate the speaker’s feelings bc she’s a different kind of lonely. she’s trying to help

  35. This girl is ridiculous and narcissistic. The way she's boasting about her accomplishmets is laughable. She talks alot without saying anything useful. She is not as wise as she thinks she is. This is an insult to genuinely depressed people. Go watch Jordan Peterson's videos, he is a real Psychologist with clinical experience and vast knowledge of literature.

  36. People who are truly lonely donot do ted talks…they are the one's who will run for the hill by seeing an opportunity of exPosure..

  37. I wish I still had friends and a partner to have rituals with. but sadly my closest friends have died and so has my spouse…so what do you do about loneliness when you have no one to connect with.

  38. When I go into nature even alone ..I don't feel so lonely for some reason .
    There is a terrifying loneliness out there . I've met so many people on line that are deeply lonely. It's really sad.

  39. I'm not religious but when I go to a church group I don't feel lonely . There's a good connection there and support. Just saying ..

  40. I watched this video and felt way lonelier than before. How am I supposed to go back to my anchor of connection when I don’t have one? Then I read the comments. Hey at least I’m not suffering alone

  41. Dont let loneliness beaten I have this in 40s local lady she is talented in brighten your day she can organize the day for u try contact her 87119013

  42. My imaginary friends have set my standards way too high for me to like any real world friends.

  43. Guys if your suffering from depression or just lonely, try ibogain therapy it acctully works

  44. if you were a coder your code would have been the slowest one that never worked

  45. She has friends and a partner. She should have titled the talk 'how rituals deepen your relationships. '

  46. I wish i could preform a ritual where i can slaughter her,
    But thanks i would rather wish her real version of loneliness at her 60s.

  47. None of my friends are willing to make time for me, I have no family that I can trust or are willing to support me, my boyfriend is too wrapped up in his work to see me most of the time, I try to make new friends and they're just as complacent and disinterested as my existing ones. I have no one to do any of this with, I don't have routines with other people, I only have myself and it's unhealthy. I'm really sick of it and life just feels like it's not worth it if i'll always feel this lonely no matter what I try to make it better.

  48. Why do these talks always seem so……………………. theatre school?

    Anyway, yeah, the cure for loneliness is mein kampf.

  49. I enjoy loneliness. The only time my blood pressure is high is when I'm around other people. I think some people like me choose to be alone, for a more calm and relaxing time. In my opinion not all loneliness is unhealthy.

  50. I tried to watch the whole tying to see if there was one thing, but, nothing. An anchor to connection? Dont try something new? Oh man 🤦🏽‍♀️ if all lonely ppl already had a "ritual" to go to, there would be no lonely ppl. They be in france under the covers sipping wine, or what was it?. 🤦🏽‍♀️

  51. Dang that was not helpful. TED usually provides insightful thoughts but this talk was so vague and cheerleader sounding that it wouldn’t help someone who’s actually lonely.

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