Throughout history, when people have faced difficult challenges, we’ve found strength in togetherness, in gathering together. Wars, natural disasters, and health crises have traditionally inspired us to reach out and comfort one another.
Over the past year and more, we’ve faced a unique challenge: at a time when we need to feel connected with others, personal contact is limited for the sake of physical health. By its nature, this pandemic restricts the very thing we need the most. It’s a contradiction, a bitter paradox: we need love, but too many feel loneliness instead.
And yet good, loving people seem to find a way to reach out safely and responsibly. And as they do, they’re finding the cure for loneliness—for themselves and for others.
Research done during the pandemic found that people can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness during tough times “just by doing things that are easy, free and require no training”—things like checking in on a neighbor, dropping off groceries, or sharing some uplifting words. In fact, just getting to know a neighbor was often enough. Participants in the study who knew at least six neighbors reported less loneliness, depression, and anxiety about COVID-19.
Interestingly, as the lead researcher observed, the connection doesn’t always have to be with close friends or family. “Something as simple as saying hello to your neighbor,” she said, “could make the difference.”
Small interactions can help us feel that we share a community, that we belong, that we are connected to others and are looking out for each other. The result is that we will feel less lonely and isolated, less disheartened and disconnected.
And that brings us to another paradox—this time a happier one. When we feel as if no one cares, the best thing to do is to show someone that we care. When we’re feeling down, the best way to feel uplifted is to reach out and lift someone else. The Savior of the world—who knew about both love and loneliness—taught it this way: as we lose ourselves in service to others, even during tough times, we will find our best and truest selves.
 See Christie Allen, “Love Thy Neighbor, Improve Your Mental Health, Says BYU Study,” BYU News, Dec. 23, 2020, news.byu.edu.
 In Allen, “Love Thy Neighbor,” news.byu.edu.
 See Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24.
March 14, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,774
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Look to the Day
Rise! Up! Arise! (Excerpt), from Saint Paul
For the Beauty of the Earth
Conrad Kocher; arr. Mack Wilberg
Prelude on “Middlebury”
He Shall Feed His Flock
John Ness Beck
One Person, from Dear World
Jerry Herman; arr. Ryan Murphy
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
Albert L. Peace; arr. Ryan Murphy