Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Health Resources and Services Administration
Two in five Americans report that they sometimes or always feel their social relationships are not meaningful, and one in five say they feel lonely or socially isolated. Twenty-eight percent of older adults now live by themselves. “The lack of connection can have life threatening consequences,” reports Brigham Young University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
Studies have shown that poor social relationships were associated with a 29 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and a 32 percent rise in the risk of stroke among other serious diseases.
The good news is that friendships reduce the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases and can speed recovery in those who fall ill. Simply reaching out to lonely people can jump-start the process of getting them to engage with neighbors and peers.
Affirmation: I am a friend.
Coaching questions: Are you lonely? What step can you take to counteract your isolation? Do you know someone who is isolated or lonely? What difference might it make if you visited or called a lonely person today?