Lifestyle making you lonely? Knowing this could save you
We are now more connected than ever, yet loneliness is on the rise.
We are social creatures, and we strive to make meaningful connections.Social pain is real and can affect you as much as physical pain.
Loneliness is at epidemic levels. Recent studies indicate that loneliness can increase your mortality risk by 26% (NHS, 2015).
Here are some reasons why your lifestyle is making you lonely and what you can do to change that!
Obsessing over social media
I know what you’re thinking…social media surely allows us to be more connected.
Research from the University of Pittsburgh actually suggests the opposite.
Spending over 2 hours a day on social media doubles your chances of feeling socially isolated.
Lonely people tend to withdraw from the real world and social media is an easy way out. Don’t get caught in that trap. We wrote about why you should speak to strangers last time. So, why don’t you put down your phone this weekend? Grab a coffee somewhere cool…go out and speak to new people.
Hanging with the wrong crowd
Loneliness is contagious.
Lonely people can’t pick up on positive social stimuli e.g someone giving you attention – so they withdraw prematurely.
People who aren’t usually lonely tend to become lonelier if they are around people who are.
One study found that people are 52% more likely to be lonely if someone they are directly connected to (family member, friends etc) is lonely.
The key is to be around positive people, you will catch their positive interactions – even better if you are bringing the positive vibes.
Always having your phone next to you
Let’s admit it, we all need our phones to survive.
Your parents ever tell you not have your phone out on the table – well they have a point.
The very presence of tech near you can hurt your chances of making genuine offline connections.
A study between pairs of strangers showed that simply having a phone nearby led conversation partners to be less empathetic and rate their conversation as less meaningful when compared to strangers with a notebook.
So there we have it. Put your phone away and whip out your quirky notebook when meeting new people.
Not talking to family (enough)
This is probably something we can all do a bit more of.
The festive season is upon us, so try and spend some quality time with your family.
Family can help reduce stress and social isolation by creating a safe space for talking about your feelings ideas.
In today’s world, it is tempting to just send a message and be on your way. If you can’t physically be there, instead of sending a text, give family members a phone call.
Not making time for relationships
This one relates to the previous point. It is especially true for those who are ‘too busy with work’.
Everyones busy, but relationships won’t build themselves. You need to get out there and make time.
Go out with your best friends this weekend. Make that date happen. I mean no one on their deathbed wishes they’d worked a few more hours.
Just dedicated some time to making meaningful relationships and you will feel great.