Two is better than one. Being socially connected makes a big difference to your health and it is the quality of those connections that make a difference. We are created to be social beings and live in a community!
Did you know?
Both social isolation and loneliness increase mortality, regardless of whether the person has any health problems or doesn’t feel lonely (Demakakos et al. 2012).
The World Happiness Index considers factors such as life expectancy, generosity, freedom, corruption, and social support when determining global and individual country happiness.2
Loneliness is a growing issue that is continually increasing across the globe (Schulze 2018). But is significantly greater in societies and age groups where social media usage is the highest.3,4
Since 2009, adolescents’ communication via social media has increased, while face-to-face interaction has decreased.2 The more time they spent on social media, the more likely they are to be unhappy or depressed.
What can we do about it
Build community with people that are positive and uplifting.
Volunteer to create more opportunities to be social (Musick & Wilson)
Perform 5 acts of kindness to others per week (Lyubominsky et al. 2005; Nelson et al. 2016).
Smile and talk positively – these are infectious and draw others to you.
Be exposed to nature – it may boost kindness to others (Piff et al. 2015).
Learn to communicated effectively by being an active listener, expressing you thoughts, feelings and wants, using non-confrontational body language.
Learn skills to manage situations where conflict arises when your interests, needs, goals or values interfere with those of someone else.
Learn to appreciate your own culture as well as other cultures.
Make spending time with family or friends a priority.
1 Demakakos, P, Shankar A, Steptoe A, Wardle J. Social isolation, loneliness, and all-cause mortality in older men and women. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2012; 110(15): 5797-801.
2 Helliwell J, Layard R, Sachs J. (2019). World Happiness Report 2019, New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Accessed 25/03/2019 http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2019/#read
3 Schulze H. Harvard Health. Loneliness: an epidemic? April 16 2018. Harvard Health. Accessed 26/03/2019 http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/loneliness-an-epidemic/
4 No Isolation. 2017. The prevalence of social isolation in Europe. 27/04/2017 Access ed 26/03/2019. www.noisolation.com/global/research/the-prevalence-of-social-isolation-in-europe/
6 Musick MA, Wilson J. Volunteering and depression: The role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Social Science and Medicine. 2003; 56(2): 259-269.
7 Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon KM, Schkade D. Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology. 2005; 9(2): 111-131.
7 Nelson SK, Layous K, Cole SW, Lyubomirsky S. Do unto others or treat yourself? The effects of prosocial and self-focused behavior on psychological flourishing. Emotion. 2016; 16(6): 850-861.
8 Piff PK, Dietze P, Feinberg M, Stancato DM, Keltner D. Awe, the small self, and prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2015; 108(6): 883-899.