Feeling lonely is a shared human experience. Loneliness is not about social circles we land in, the amount of people we are surrounded with, or even the amount of time we spend alone or with people.
Loneliness is the misalignment between the social connections we have and those that we need or want.
In other words: loneliness is defined by your level of satisfaction with the amount of meaningful connections you have. Loneliness is a biological drive that motivates us to connect or reconnect on a meaningful level.
Loneliness is recognized as a key risk factor in all stages of alcoholism and substance abuse.
Loneliness has a significant impact on mental health. It often is a key factor in response to a mental health condition or a trigger that initiates a mental health condition or cycle.
Lack of human connection has an impact similar to the effects of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and even suicide attempts. Lonely people are more likely to have lower-quality sleep, more immune system dysfunction, more impulsive behavior and impaired judgement.
Loneliness is estimated to shorten a person’s life by 15 years.
Loneliness affects physical & mental health.
Three in 5 (61%) of surveyed American adults are lonely
Nearly 8 in 10 (79%), Gen Zers are lonely, making Generation Z, the loneliest generation
sources: the cdc, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, Brigham young university, mental health america, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Boston University School of Medicine
loneliness Is a part of being human.
sources: Cigna, Loneliness In the workplace, murthy, vivek, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, making caring common project, Harvard
Loneliness impacts patient's responsiveness to cancer treatments.
Loneliness accelerates cognitive and functional decline and can serve as a preclinical sign for Alzheimer's disease.
51% of mothers with young children feel serious loneliness
More than 40% of seniors regularly experience loneliness
"While loneliness has the potential to kill, connection has even more potential to heal"
feeling left out and stuck on the outside
feeling like you have don't have people to turn too
rarely feeling close to the people in your life
regularly feeling alone or isolated
struggle to feel like you belong in a group or community
feel like you don't have a lot in common or haven't found "your people" yet
For many of us, it may be hard to admit that we are feeling lonely. We allow distractions to avoid thinking about how connected or disconnected we feel to the people in our lives. Loneliness looks different for everybody, but here are some common answers.
— I am worried that others will judge me if I admit I feel lonely
— I am worried others will think there is something wrong with me if I say I am lonely
— I feel ashamed to admit I feel lonely
and struggle to talk to others about it
— I am worried about hurting the relationships I already have in my life by admitting that I still feel lonely
source: telstra, AU
— A lack of frequent meaningful social interactions and relationships.
— Negative feelings about the relationships in your life.
— A lack of belonging and having people to turn to.
— Poor physical or mental health.
— A lack of “balance” in your daily activities – doing too much or too little of any given thing (e.g. sleep, work).
Be a safe space. Listen and validate how they are feeling.
Frequently checking in on how others are doing. Let them know you care!
Invite friends to do something with you! It can be simple, The small things matter.
need a starting point? try one of these questions:
How are you really doing?
What is something you need in life right now?
What is something meaningful that has happened to you lately?
What can I take off of your plate?
Do you want to talk about It?
Professionals and organizations we recommend who provide information about the effects and solutions to loneliness.
from the Social Health Labs and Foundation for Social Connection
from the New York Times
from Harvard Health