Humans are social beings. Feeling valued and giving value to others through meaningful connections is as vital to our health, happiness and longevity as the air we breathe.
When we are lonely, we are prone to eat and drink more and exercise less. Loneliness can be a precursor to chronic disease and as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.2
That's why its vital to remove the stigma and understand what triggers loneliness in ourselves, and others.
Triggers for loneliness
Sometimes things happen in life that can make us feel alone. Do any of these triggers seem familiar to you?
1 A change in social circumstances Have you changed job or moved to a new area? Had close friends move away? Had a baby? Lost a partner or spouse? Recently separated? Changes like these can leave even the most connected person feeling alone.
2 Don’t have time to make connections? Perhaps you care for someone else, have a demanding job or are studying for a qualification. These can make it hard to keep up friendships and leave you feeling isolated.
3 Feel like you don’t belong? Our population is rich in diversity, but sometimes you may feel different from everyone else and find it hard to find your tribe or make friends. This can lead to feelings of being isolated or left out.
4 Need help with social skills? Perhaps, like many people, you find socialising or reaching out challenging or uncomfortable. When you find it hard to make friends or connect with others, loneliness can creep in.
5 Physical or environmental challenges? For some of us, it can be physically difficult to make and maintain social connections. A lack of mobility, transport or living in a remote location can make it hard for us to keep in touch.
is our emotional response to this.
According to research, it can be deadly.
1 in 4 Australians
1 in 2 Australians
1 day a week1
Lonely Australians are:
15.2% more likely
13.1% more likely
to be anxious
death by 26%2
Can be as bad
for your health
as smoking 15 cigarettes a day2
- Psychology Week (2018) Australian Loneliness Report
- Holt-Lunstad, (2015). Valtorta et al, (2016). Hawkley et al, (2010). Lund et al, (2010).cited Campaign to End Loneliness, (2018). Threat to Health.