Experts have warned that loneliness is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a public health risk.
Based on a review of studies on loneliness suggests, those with bad social connections have a 50 percent increased risk of early death compared to those with good social connections.
Researchers in the US looked at 218 studies into the health effects of loneliness and social isolation and discovered that social isolation raised a person’s risk of death by half compared to obesity, which raised the risk of death by just 30 percent.
According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, lead author and professor of psychology at Brigham Young University:
“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need, crucial to both well-being and survival.
“Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment.
“Yet an increasing portion of the US population now experiences isolation regularly.”
The feeling of loneliness is thought to make people feel worse mentally and physically and those who are lonely tend to suffer worse symptoms when they are unwell than those who aren’t.
Another recent survey by Granset found that almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely and most have never spoken to someone about how they feel. It also discovered that about 70 percent said their close friends and family would be surprised if they said they were lonely.
The Office of the National Statistic stats discovered that Britain is the loneliest country in Europe and according to the Campaign to End Loneliness, the UK’s loneliness epidemic costs business $26 million per year for the costs associated with health outcomes and sick days.
Dr. Holt-Lunstad affirmed that there is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase the risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators.
“With an increasingly aging population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.
“The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”
Things you can do when the feeling of loneliness comes
While we leave it to the experts to figure out ways to solve it, let’s look at many ways some people deal with loneliness.
1. First, identify the cause of your loneliness.
2. Start getting to know the people around you, that is being social.
3. Go on a date with yourself, you don’t have to wait for anybody or for anybody to ask you out. But if you must, invite someone to a hangout.
4. Attend a meetup or even a Bazaar, places where you can explore to meet people with open-mindedness.
5. Watching an interesting movie might get you out of the gloomy thoughts. Cartoons or any comedy of your choice, possibly invite friends or a friend over.
6. Volunteer for a selfless service either to charity, feeding the homeless, reading to kids at an orphanage or visiting the elderly homes.
7. Play with pets, depending on your favourite animal – dogs, cats, birds (parrots) etc.
8. Taking a nice, long, and relaxing bath is a great way to bask in your alone time. Maybe with a glass of wine or sweet chocolate to cheer you up.
9. Take a random bus ride, train or drive yourself around to route and places you haven’t been to.
10. Just dance to a music you like, no one is watching in case you’re too shy to do it around people.
11. Go for a 30 minutes run or walk, it is scientifically proven to make you happier.
12. Do some chores like making the bed, laundry or do something creative.
13. Grab a camera and take outdoor pictures of beautiful or fascinating things around you.
14. Whatever it is you have to do, just do something nice that is totally out of your comfort zone.