Loneliness is an encompassing, entrapping and all consuming feeling. It’s like a spiral of darkness you can’t pull yourself out of, someone else needs to be the one to do it. The feeling of connectivity is why we’re all here, to experience life together.
Research from Brigham Young University is showing that the feeling of loneliness and isolation are just as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes, and is a major threat to our longevity.
The lead author of the study remarks that “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”
Being lonely and isolating yourself socially are two very different things. You can be in a crowd of people and still feel alone, yet others will physically isolate themselves because they want to be alone. The health effects of both scenarios still produce the same thing.
The likelihood of feeling lonely is actually greater in young people than in the older generations. As our society is littered with distraction, social media and things that are suppose to connect us, we are more disconnected than ever.
Tim Smith, a co-author of the study notes that, “Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we’re at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet,”
The study took data from a range of different health studies. Altogether, the study took information from more than 3 million participants.
A previous study on the same topic from Holt-Lunstad and Smith said the intense feeling of loneliness could be put in the same category as smoking 15 cigarettes a day?!
New studies are saying thats not the only risk, but becoming obese from loneliness is a real risk as well.
This new study suggests that not only is the risk for mortality in the same category as these well-known risk factors, it also surpasses health risks associated with obesity.
One of the main factors of this is the evolution of the internet. We are bombarded with reasons to stay inside and surf the interesting vortex that is the interwebs.
When we consciously isolate ourselves, choose to stay inside and communicate over a computer, we are risking our health and a lot more drastically than we might realize. We are inherently social creatures. We thrive when we are in a connected, supportive environment.
Imagine living in a natural tribe like setting – there is no space for sitting on your laptop. There are things to get done and people to interact with.
The design of our society really does push us away from each other. As we stand on crowded buses, no one looks at each other or interacts – what have we become?