Reaching Out Can Make You Feel Better

Loneliness hurts. People often feel isolated or wish they had more friends. That feeling of being alone happens to people of all ages, even if they are busy and around people often.

Studies show relationships are key for mental and physical wellbeing. That’s because people thrive in safe social surroundings. But loneliness can hurt physical and mental health. It can raise your risk for mental health issues like depression. It’s also been linked to raised inflammation and higher blood pressure. That can lead to physical health problems like diabetes and heart disease.  

All ages     
Sometimes young adults may feel alone because of the time they spend on social media. They may think others have more friends or have happier lives because of what they see, says the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Loneliness is especially harmful for the health of older adults. More than one-third of adults age 45 and older are lonely. Many live alone. And they may not have the routine social interaction that comes with school or a job. It can raise the chance of many health problems such as problems sleeping, alcoholism and dementia.

But social media can also help people form ties. Connecting online through platforms such as Facebook or Instagram lets people share photos and virtually reach out to family. They may even build a new group of friends.

For some, new technology can help. One project uses a smart speaker to test whether banter between people and the machine makes people feel more connected. It also gives an easy way to listen to favorite music, learn about daily events and more, says AARP.

Exercising, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep can help. That can help build mental and physical health – and even longer lives, says the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

What else can you do?
Luckily, you can make changes to help fight that lonely feeling. Try these tips:

  • Spend some time outdoors. Sunlight and fresh air can help. Take a walk, soak up some rays.
  • You can join with people who also want to help others or who share your hobbies.
  • Strive for balance. If you’re spending too much time at work, try to boost your other activities.
  • Take care of your own needs. Don’t put yourself last.
  • Reach out to family or friends. If you can’t meet in person, give them a call or send an email or text.
  • Think about adopting a pet. They can be a big mood booster.
  • Take up meditation. It may teach you new ways to quiet your mind – and your fears.
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