Age Wise

Lonely? So Many Are. Here’s What to Do.

Loneliness has spiked among younger adults especially, and no one is immune

Robert Roy Britt
Elemental
Published in
6 min readJan 11, 2022

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Image: Pixabay / Sasin Tipchai

Modern society has torn us apart in many ways. Grown kids scatter across the country and around the globe. More people live alone than ever before. Polarized ideology divides family and friends. And perhaps most insidious, social media spotlights supposedly idyllic lives that can make our own existence seem isolated and pathetic.

The result: We’re growing more and more lonely. And it’s killing us, figuratively and literally.

“Our social lives, maintaining quality meaningful relationships, significantly influences not only our emotional well-being and mental health, but is just as important for our physical health,” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University who studies the long-term health effects of social connection. “A lack of social connection can put us at significantly increased risk for poorer health and premature mortality from all causes.”

Indeed, multiple studies find loneliness raises the risk of anxiety and depression, a weak immune system, heart disease, dementia and death, according to the National Institute on Aging.

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Robert Roy Britt
Elemental

Editor of Aha! and Wise & Well on Medium + the Writer's Guide at writersguide.substack.com. Author of Make Sleep Your Superpower: amazon.com/dp/B0BJBYFQCB