An Open Letter To Anyone Who Feels Lonely on Social Media

An Open Letter To Anyone Who Feels Lonely on Social Media

Isolation is an epidemic.
 

The other night, after a particularly long social media binge, I felt the sudden onset of a hangover. While it may not have started in wine or ended in a headache, the similar anxious, listless, comfortless quality was palpably present. It was a classic emotional hangover. The irony, of course, was that it came from an outlet designed to foster connection from the comfort of my couch.

The truth is that social media has grown far beyond friendships and is now a tool used to sell teeth-whiteners, compare ourselves to our exes, and fake a fantasy life.  As Facebook continues to exacerbate our need for authentic connection, our social skills continue to degenerate.

Sure, we can interact. But, can we connect?
 

If you’d rather text than talk, order food online over using a phone, or scroll through Instagram pics rather than seeing friends in person, then this post is for you.

Social connection impacts our emotional and physical health. According to former U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, isolation and loneliness can create chronic stress, similar to factors such as illness, poverty, discrimination, and violence. It’s a growing epidemic: In the 1980s, 20% of adult Americans said they were lonely. Today, the percentage has doubled to 40%.

The good news is that you don’t have to swear off social media to create more connection. Here are:

7 Steps To Build Better Relationships:
 

1) UPGRADE YOUR CONNECTION.
 

No, I’m not talking about your internet speed. Instead of texting, talk on the phone. Meet friends and colleagues in person. Even Facetime and Skype can build better bonds. Feeling short on time? Remember, just because something is efficient, doesn’t make it better. Communication on each medium varies. So, avoid the misunderstandings and deepen your relationships by upgrading how you communicate.

2) ACCEPT THE FRIEND REQUEST.
 

Often, we place people in categories without giving them a real chance. Deepen your current connections by:

  • Trying something new (e.g. going for a hike instead of a drink)
  • Sharing how you feel (e.g. being vulnerable and honest)
  • Working on it rather than dismissing it (e.g. being courageous enough to troubleshoot problems rather than ghosting) 
     

3) WHO DIS?
 

Define what you want in a friend down to every last detail. Want a bestie who does yoga, yoda impressions, and yodels with her yorkie? Weird, but cool. You have to know what you want to know if you have it and where to find it.

4) EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE WITH FRIENDS, NOT FOLLOWERS.
 

The best way to meet people with similar interests is by exploring your own. Upgrade your activities by rekindling an old hobby or starting a new one. If you want to meet the right people, you need to be your best self. That means less time doing what isn’t working and more time doing things that speak to your passions and values.

5) DISCONNECT.
 

I can’t tell you how many times I go to a restaurant and see people ignoring each other and staring at their phones (even when they're on a date!) Unless there’s a life-threatening emergency, let the other person know you actually want to be there by silencing your phone and putting it away.

6) CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
 

So often we listen to respond rather than to hear. Instead of secretly planning your response, let their words sink in. Your undivided attention is the greatest gift you can give someone and the key to understanding and empathy.

7) STILL LOADING.
 

Loneliness is normal. Even with strong relationships, this natural human emotion is bound to surface. Our feelings of isolation took time to develop, so don’t expect overnight results. Be patient with yourself and others, focusing on the steps you’re taking instead of how far you have to go.

The Takeaway:
 

Whether you’re surrounded by people or alone on your couch, isolation is a growing issue. Don’t let the number of Facebook friends or followers define you, your relationships, or your time. In any moment, you can take simple steps to feel less lonely and create more connection.

Amita Patel
Mindfulness
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Amita is the Owner and Founder of AlignedHolistics.com, a coaching services company empowering individuals to create a life they love from a place of self-love vs. self-discip ... Click for full bio

How We're Investing in the Search for a Cancer Cure

How We're Investing in the Search for a Cancer Cure

Written by: Frank Jennings, Ph.D., Portfolio Manager

I hate cancer.


I’ve lost one too many friends to this insidious disease and I’ve made it a priority to be part of the effort to find a cure for it. Every day, I draw motivation from the people I’ve lost in my work as Portfolio Manager of Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund.

I may not be a doctor or medical industry professional, but the work my team and I do has brought us to the front lines of the ongoing fight against cancer. The Fund’s guiding philosophy is to invest in emergent growth companies that we believe have the potential to grow into large, highly profitable businesses.

Our search for these types of companies has given me renewed hope that we are closer than ever to finding a cure for one of the deadliest scourges humanity has ever known.

OppenheimerFunds’ Role in the Fight


Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund invests in a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are developing breakthrough drugs that can potentially treat the disease more effectively without debilitating side effects, make it easier for patients to manage pain, and possibly even lower the cost of treatment.

The cutting-edge therapies that are in development may even pave the way to the ultimate goal – a cure for all forms of the disease. Of course, one glance at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website is all it takes to remind us we’re in a fight that often feels like an uphill race against time.

At some point in their lifetime, nearly 40% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the NCI. Last year in the United States alone, 1.7 million people received this dreaded news from their doctor, while nearly 600,000 people succumbed to the disease.1

These statistics certainly make it fair to ask why I’m so optimistic about the future of cancer treatment and the potential for a cure.

Well for starters, just consider that geneticists have finally mapped the entire human genome. Today, 100 million people have had their genomes mapped, which has enabled us to confirm, for example, that there is a particular gene mutation that places some women at a high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer at some point in their life.

This is important on several fronts. First, it allows doctors to know beforehand whether or not a cancer drug will work on a patient due to the genetic makeup of the cancer. This means fewer drugs will be prescribed inappropriately. It may even help bring promising new treatments to market faster.

By knowing a cancer’s genetic makeup, drug trials can be conducted only on people with a high probability of success. In turn, this will result in less money wasted, better outcomes for patients, and ultimately, faster approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other international regulatory bodies.

The Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Companies We Believe In


One of the largest holdings in the portfolio is in a company that develops and markets therapies that mimic a person’s own immune system to fight cancer. This particular company, which is headquartered in the U.S., recently developed a new antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology that allows its medications to attack cancer cells with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

This firm has a number of innovative cancer medications at its disposal – including therapies for treating various types of lymphoma. The company continues to sign partners onto its proprietary ADC technology, and we believe it is well-positioned to earn millions in royalties over the long term, making it an attractive acquisition target for larger drug makers. 

There are a number of European pharmaceutical and biotech firms in the portfolio as well, including another company that specializes in immunotherapy – which seeks to boost the body’s immune system to fight off cancer.

Analysts have predicted this company’s treatment for multiple myeloma has blockbuster potential. And although the drug is primarily used to fight blood cancer, there are signs that it could also work against solid tumors as well. Now beyond the “cash-burning stage” that afflicts most drug makers at some point, this company is on track to becoming a mature biotech firm that’s positioned for strong overall sales and steady royalty income in the near future.

Over the last five years, shares of this company have climbed more than 2,000% and we see potential for continued strong future growth.

How the Cancer Fight Aligns with My Investment Philosophy


I believe companies have a lifecycle – just like people do. There’s a beginning, adolescence, prime years, and an eventual decline phase. Companies usually begin as entrepreneurial ventures powered by the spirit of a startup. If they’re successful, they gradually mature into corporate entities and can enjoy an extended run of success. The decline phase typically takes root when companies get too big and bogged down by bureaucracy, regulation and saturated markets.

The Fund seeks to invest in businesses that still have exponential growth ahead of them. I’ve been excited to discover that there are quite a few companies like this at the forefront of the fight against cancer. Investing in these types of companies within the Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund can help clients achieve their desired investment outcomes, which is my top priority as a portfolio manager.

Combining this core mission with my personal desire to see cancer eradicated is one of the most gratifying parts of my job.

Learn more about how we think about investments differently, visit challengetheindex.com



Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes, regulatory and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. Eurozone investments may be subject to volatility and liquidity issues. Investments in securities of growth companies may be volatile. Mid-sized company stock is typically more volatile than that of larger company stock. It may take a substantial period of time to realize a gain on an investment in a mid-sized company, if any gain is realized at all. Fixed income investing entails credit and interest rate risks. When interest rates rise, bond prices generally fall, and the Fund’s share prices can fall. Below-investment-grade (“high yield” or “junk”) bonds are more at risk of default and are subject to liquidity risk. Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss.

Mutual funds and exchange traded funds are subject to market risk and volatility. Shares may gain or lose value.

These views represent the opinions of OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are as of the publication date, and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.

Carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Visit oppenheimerfunds.com or call your advisor for a prospectus with this and other fund information. Read it carefully before investing. 

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