According to USA Today, loneliness is more than just an empty feeling. It’s killing us. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says that being alone can result in an increased risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke and premature death. Murthy’s standard for measuring loneliness is when our need for connections surpasses the actual connections we have.
Harvard professor Dr. Jeremy Nobel is the foundry of Project Unlonely. Dr. Nobel claims there are three types of loneliness:
- Psychological – Having no one to confide in.
- Societal – feeling excluded owing to a characteristic like race, gender or disability.
- Spiritual – feeling disconnected from yourself.
Technology is exacerbating the problem. Having friend groups on social media is not the same as the connections made in person.
What are the solutions? Take the initiative!
- If there’s lots of lonely folks out there, that means the odds are good that they’d love to hear from you. Take a chance initiating contact.
- Being lonely doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. But it may mean that your routine doesn’t bring you in contact with others as much as you need. Knowing this is the beginning of the solution.
- Be more outgoing. It may seem awkward at first, but you may be surprised by the positive response you get from others.
- Forget what your mother told you about talking to strangers. That was for when you were five. Now, it could lead to a life long friendship or at least bring a smile to someone’s life – and your’s too.
- Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
Finally, my favorite it to hang out at the clubhouse at the Oaks at 8100. Or stop by for a Packer game or invite friends for movie night. Get something started!
Image by pexels.com