Global Survey Reveals Loneliness Rates and Health Risks 

United States – A new poll revealed that loneliness affects over one-fifth of the global population. 

According to a poll by the Gallup organization and published on Wednesday, as many as 23% of people stated they felt lonely many times the previous day, as reported by HealthDay. 

In addition to being a social issue, loneliness is “a medical condition” that needs to be conducted “seriously,” CBS News cites psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma

Loneliness: More Than Just a Feeling 

“It’s the equivalent of having somebody smoke 15 cigarettes per day, and we know that it affects our mind and our body,” she said. “It predisposes us to anxiety and depression. It increases our risk by 30% for heart disease, for stroke, 50% for dementia, and 60% for premature mortality.” 

But there is a way to counter it, she further explained. 

Building Quality Relationships 

“Well, look at the quality of your relationships and say, ‘Do I feel seen and validated and appreciated?’ “said Varma. 

‘We want to keep the micro social interactions – talking to the barista, talking to your dog walker – as well as the close and meaningful relationships in your life, where you can let your guard down and be who you really are,’ she said. 

The survey also brought out the fact that loneliness was higher among young Americans than elderly Americans. 

The Importance of Socializing 

“It’s really unfortunate that as much as we want our children to succeed, the emphasis, I feel, is being put on academic achievement. And for kids, they’re looking at financial achievement, and a lot of these goals, these milestones that were possible for us years ago, aren’t possible for them, mixing in climate change and war,” Varma said, as reported by HealthDay. 

“They’re feeling alienated, they’re feeling disconnected, and the places that they would turn to — friends, parents, coaches — are no longer sources of safe havens. They’re sources of stress because of this competition to succeed,” she added. “When I speak to high school students, they say, ‘I can’t remember the last time I did something fun, just for the sake of it, not for my resume.'” 

What can eliminate this angst? 

“You should socialize as if it was a medical appointment,” said Varma. ”Your life depends on it because the quality of our life depends on the quality of our relationships. ” 

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