You may be surprised how threatening isolation and loneliness can be to your health. Several studies have shown it’s even more detrimental than obesity, smoking, and drinking.
There are, of course, lots of ways to combat loneliness. Whether or not we choose to pursue them is what matters though. Considering what we’ve uncovered though, being socially active seems more important than ever.
Here’s a little bit more about what we’ve learned regarding the health risks that are loneliness and isolation.
Loneliness on the Rise
Loneliness has become an increasing problem over the years.
In the 1920s, only five percent of people lived alone, by 2013, that figure had increased to 27 percent. Additionally, two separate surveys showed that the percentage of lonely adults doubled from the 1980s to 2010. The surveys showed that a staggering 40% of adults said they felt lonely.
Unfortunately, like other health risks, loneliness has its own stigmas as well.
Serious Health Risks
With loneliness comes an increased mortality risk – comparable to that of being a smoker. Plus, it’s also twice as dangerous as being obese.
Social isolation can actually lead to inflammation, too, as it can impair immune function. This can, in turn, lead to arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death.
Considering the potentially damaging health risks, perhaps we should be doing more to stay socially engaged.
Making meaningful connections is important for people of all ages. Humans are, after all, a communal species – we live in tribes, families, and communities. When we lack these connections, we wind up suffering for it.
To avoid loneliness and social isolation, it’s important to forge strong friendships or familial ties and create lasting bonds. Luckily, there are many free social activities in which we can participate to meet new people.
However, when we’re lonely, we can also inadvertently lose control over impulses and end up engaging in social evasion. That’s why it’s so important to be proactive in taking steps necessary to engage with people as often as possible. Your future may even depend on it.
Do you have any good suggestions for ways in which other folks can stay socially active? Perhaps you’ve made some amazing friends through a group or club. Feel free to tell us in the comments what you do to combat loneliness. It very well could help someone who’s feeling socially isolated.