We are more connected than ever before. So in theory, it would mean that we should be more social and feel more loved than any other generation. Yet, the harsh reality is that people are lonelier than ever, and in our modern society, loneliness is a killer – literally.
There is little doubt that there is a significant correlation between loneliness and health hazards. A study has revealed that loneliness and social isolation increases the chances of premature death by up to 50 per cent, which means that loneliness is a killer that is even more deadly than obesity.
Considering the multitude of options that make family and friends easier to access, what has caused this rampant epidemic of isolation?
Current lifestyle trends have meshed into a medley of work, not living in close proximity to loved ones, and a reliance on social media interactions as opposed to face-to-face interaction. As a result, relationships have become superfluous and self-imposed isolation has peaked at its highest since the dawn of mankind.
Cigna (NYSE: CI), a global health service, conducted a research that delved into the ramifications of loneliness in the US.
The survey of more than 20,000 adults ages 18 years and older revealed:
Douglas Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioural Health at Cigna told NBC news:
“Research has found that loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.
“What this comes down is that we, as a society, are experiencing a lack of connection”
Cigna’s findings also discovered that Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is, alarmingly, the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than older generations.
“While we know that this is a group that’s coming of age and making life transitions, these findings give us a clear and surprising picture of how this generation perceives themselves,” explained Nemecek. “It’s important that the communities these young people are a part of take note and explore solutions. It’s critical that they’re have spaces where young people can connect face-to-face to form meaningful relationships.”
Humans are renown for being social creatures who harbour the psychological need for human interaction. Yet, in this unprecedented social acclimatisation, loneliness is a killer – a fierce one – amongst a species, which, for thousands of years, thrived on social interaction.
Be sure to read my article on Facebook and the adverse effects it has on people's lives.