You can feel lonely even if you are surrounded by people, even if they have a life that seems perfect, even if you have a stable partner and a large group of friends, and that can have negative consequences in many ways.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults feel lonely and experience loneliness and isolation, and this has been linked to all sorts of problems. Science says that it can increase the risk of premature death as much as smoking or obesity. In addition to increasing the risk of dementia by up to 50%, it can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack and of developing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
On the other hand, Harvard University conducted a study of more than 70 years where they found that having good friends and close relationships is essential for us to be happy and successful, so loneliness is not something to be ignored. should be considered “normal”.
And yes, it can feel lonely from time to time, but it’s important to have good strategies so that this doesn’t become a constant in your life, and Harvard Health Publishing has a solution.
Feeling Lonely and 3 Keys to Combating It, According to Harvard
1. Find People with Similar Interests
Harvard says that you can feel lonely even if you have friends, but there are cases where this is because you don’t, and if that’s the case, you have to do something to change it. The university recommends that you start by identifying your interests and what you are passionate about, so that you can then look for spaces where you can connect with people who share them, whether it is a jogging group, a gardening group, or a club. reading or cinema.
Being around people who share your interests gives you an advantage in making friends: you already have something in common,” says the Harvard article, called 3 ways to create community and counter loneliness.
2. Create Opportunities
The second point says that if you can’t find what you want in terms of groups or spaces, try to create your own. Organize your own club of bird watchers, knitters, or ice cream tasters, or set up a game night where you can get closer again to the friends you have.
The important thing is that this starts with your interests and that these help you find people with whom you can talk about them and explore them, while creating bonds, connections, and a community.
3. Improve Your Social Skills
If you have a hard time making new friends, Harvard says that it is recommended that you try to work on your social skills. He recommends four in particular that can help people want to get closer and like you more.
- Smile more, as this shows that you are an open person and that others can approach you.
- Learn to listen, pay attention to what others are saying, show interest, and don’t interrupt when they speak.
- Get involved; this is about asking questions, participating in the conversation, and being willing to discuss issues with someone.
- Follow-up questions: when someone is telling you a story, it is a good idea to ask some questions that show that you are interested, that you want to continue listening, and that others have a space to say what they want.