What do alcohol abuse, smoking, and a lack of social relationships all have in common?
What do alcohol abuse, smoking, and a lack of social relationships all have in common? They have close to the same amount of risk directly linked to mortality and premature death.
That's right—all those nights you pretend to not see that text inviting you out are actually causing you more harm than you'd ever imagine. Studies have shown that social isolation is just as harmful to your health as the highest indicators for morbidity and mortality—namely chronic obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse and high blood pressure.
And, in a recent story for The Boston Globe Magazine, author Billy Baker spoke with an expert psychiatrist on the subject, who explained that when we fail to prioritize our friendships, it potentially comes at a great cost.
Turns out loneliness is one of the biggest health problems facing us right now. Lonely people die sooner and have more health problems. According to an article published in the The Washington Post in 2016, there has been research supporting this dating back to 1980s.
So why does this seem like such big news? It’s taboo—no one wants to admit they’re lonely. A lot of times, being alone doesn’t really feel like that bad of a thing. After all, isn’t there comfort to be found in avoiding social situations? Sure, but there’s also comfort to be found in a plate of bacon or skipping the gym for three weeks straight.
So what can be done? It's not easy to admit that you're lonely, but taking steps to change your social interactions could be life-saving. Reach out to your buddy for an after-work drink. That beer won't kill you, but ignoring him might.