Image by Duy Pham

August 2022

In honor of National Friendship Day (August 1) and continuing our self-care series, we turn our focus to Friendship and Connection. How important is friendship and connection to our health and well being? Turns out, it is more important than we realize. Current research on loneliness has identified 7 keys ways that Loneliness affects our health.

1) May lead to poor health habits. People that report being lonely often choose unhealthy coping habits including smoking, binge eating and excessive alcohol consumption.

2) May interfere with sleep. 

3) May increase risk of depression.

4) May trigger chronic inflammation.

5) Increases risk for Dementia by 40% (yikes)

6) May be bad for your heart.

7) May shorten your life.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to help people manage feelings of loneliness, but it’s worth experimenting to see what makes you feel better connected to the people around you.

Ways to overcome loneliness or lessen its possible health risks:

1) Acknowledge your feelings as a sign that you need more connection in your life.

2) Practice Gratitude.

3) Make time for friends and family by fostering and being proactive about your existing relationships.

4) Get creative. Embrace hobbies you enjoy or find some new ways to enrich your creative life.

5) Get Outdoors

6) Try volunteering in your local community. Volunteering can bring a sense of purpose than feels prevalent with loneliness.

7) Seek help. Be it individual or group therapy, counseling there are many resources available.

Here are a few links with more information on the above recommendations.

Santa Cruz Volunteer Center