Loneliness May Be Killing You Faster Than You Realize

Friends Loneliness
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Money might buy you some form of happiness, but it won't be for long, according to recent research by the American Psychological Association (APA). 

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It's friends, family, and other valuable social connections that'll give you a fulfilling and lengthy life. Loneliness and social isolation, on the other hand, are being credited for leading you to an early death. 

Female friendships loneliness
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To come to this conclusion, the APA did two meta-analyses. One included 14 studies with over 300,000 participants. The researchers found that having greater social connections cut down one's risk of an early death by half. The second meta-analysis involved 70 studies and looked at 3.4 million participants from all around the world. Social isolation, loneliness, and living alone all had a significant effect that was greater than obesity on premature death. 

"Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental need -- crucial to both well-being and survival," Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, said in an APA press release. 

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It makes sense. Infants in custodial care who don't receive enough human contact aren't able to thrive and often end up dying, and ostracism and solitary confinement have been used as a form of punishment throughout history. (Ancient Greece, anyone?)

 

A study done by UCLA and the University of Chicago found that loneliness can actually suppress your immune system, and increase stress hormones like cortisol, leading to a greater risk in heart attacks, Metro reported. 

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Plus, with social media and omnipotent cell phones, Americans who interact via a screen are becoming more and more lonely. 

So, who else thinks this is the perfect time to call up that old friend whom you haven't kept in touch with?

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