CheckYoMate: How Coworking Communities are Dismantling Loneliness and Destigmatizing Mental Illness
We are social animals and need to feel that we "belong" with others and feel connected to one another. Social pain is as real for us as physical pain; researchers have shown that loneliness and rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain, which can lead to mental illness over time.
One of the myths surrounding loneliness is that loneliness is typically associated with being alone, but it also affects people when they are surrounded by others and or well-connected socially. This is because loneliness has to do with the quality rather than the quantity of relationships that we have; so a person may have a lot of “friends” but still find that their needs for deeper social connections are not being met.
What can we do to reduce loneliness?
Researchers found that strategies to reduce loneliness that target negative thought processes were the most successful. People who have been lonely for a number of years will likely have anxiety about making new friends; they may be distrustful of others and feel low about their own social skills. They need support to change their view of themselves, and how they feel others will react to them.
Despite all of the tools designed to help reduce anxiety, overwhelm, and depression many people continue to quietly struggle with feelings of social isolation, which means that things like meditation and deep breathing may only reduce anxiety temporarily.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
CheckYoMate is a movement to encourage people of the global coworking industry is working on dismantling loneliness by encouraging members of coworking communities to check in on the people around them. Of course, the ultimate objective is to start having deeper conversations around mental well-being to help destigmatize mental illness.
Together, we can take a stand against loneliness and mental illness, starting with the simple act of asking those around us how theyr’e doing – by checking on our mates.
CheckYoMate was inspired by the unexpected death of Bennett, a beloved member of our global coworking community. His passing left his coworking community in Santa Cruz, California wondering if they could have done more to help Bennett.
Participation is easy. Simply check in with the people around you to find out how they’re feeling. Let them know that, if they are struggling, they’re not alone. We’re all in this together and we are a mighty, global community. When we take the time to build deeper, trusting relationships with the people around us and be in service of others with the simple act of listening we can help dismantle loneliness.
You can help us promote and grow the CheckYoMate movement by inviting your coworking members, friends and family to participate. Use and follow the #CheckYoMate hashtag to join the conversation on social media.