Being single can be awfully lonely and sad, but, it’s not something that will kill you (or, so we thought). When people complain about being single, we usually brush them off and tell them that there are worse things that can happen to them–like illness or death. Well, apparently, we’ve been wrong all along.
Experts are now saying that loneliness is a greater risk than even obesity–and, people should take it seriously as a public health risk. According to researchers, people who have bad social connections have a 50% greater risk of early death compared to those who have more friends and loved ones. Essentially, if you’re single and lonely, you could die sooner than those who are taken and happy.
Researchers looked into over 200 studies on the health effects of loneliness and social isolation, finding that loneliness raised the risk of death more so than obesity. So, maybe before you sign up for the gym, you should sign up for Tinder instead.
According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, lead author and professor of psychology at Brigham Young University:
“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need, crucial to both well-being and survival.
“Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment.
Yet an increasing portion of the US population now experiences isolation regularly.”
And, it’s not only in the United States. Recent Office of National Statistic stats indicates that Britain is the loneliest country in Europe, with an established Campaign to End Loneliness.
Additionally, those who are lonely and single also feel worse when they become sick. A study by Rice University in Texas stated that when people catch a common cold, those who are lonely feel worse than those who are not.
“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators.
With an increasing aging population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’
The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”
So, if you’re single and lonely, you might want to consider putting yourself out there sooner rather than later. And, if you have friends who are lonely, maybe instead of a new bag for their birthday, you can get them a membership to eHarmony. Just a thought.