The Loneliness Epidemic / Epidemie der Einsamkeit / A epidemia da Solidão / La epidemia de Soledad

You live in an era in which communication seems simpler than times of the past. In essence, a co-worker is one email away, a friend is one text away, and a loved one is one video chat away. Although communication is easier and faster, connection still is complicated.

Despite the practical societal advancements, our technologically advanced time is being linked to a loneliness epidemic. More time online and less time in front of people. People are investing more of their time in virtual realities rather than relationships with their neighbors or classmates.

All the hours on their phones or in front of their computer take away from the bonds they could be forming with real people. The Internet temporarily enhances the social satisfaction and behavior of lonely people, who are more likely to go online when they feel isolated, depressed, or anxious

Loneliness is on the rise. The negative influence of loneliness on well-being are difficult to deny, actually Lonely individuals are up to 32% more likely to die early.

Loneliness is associated with cardiovascular problems and premature death. Lonely individuals are less likely to achieve quality sleep. Lonely individuals experience reduction in reasoning and creativity.

Loneliness affects workplace productivity, lonely individuals report less job satisfaction and are more likely to face unemployment. Loneliness is very correlated with mental health concerns such as depression, schizophrenia,  anxiety, hallucinatory delirium and suicidality.

Loneliness is not a problem for the elderly or homebound. Generation Z (age 18 – 22) are the loneliest generation of all, followed by the millennials (ages 23 – 37). 42% of Millennial women are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis. The Greatest Generation (age 72 and older) were the least lonely.

Regular sleep is critical for good health, in general, but it also protects you from loneliness. People who get the right amount of sleep had lower loneliness scores than those who sleep too little or too much.

Spending time with your family is key, emphasis on the right amount of time. Spending too much time can take away from friendships and feeling part of a group outside your immediate clan, and believing you can find companionship when you need it.

The same goes with exercise. Those who work out too much had an uptick of 3.5 points in their loneliness score and those who did not work out enough had an increase of 3.7 points as compared to those who exercise the right amount.

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