Last week the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. Comparing its health impact to smoking a dozen cigarettes daily, he warns that loneliness increases the risk of premature death by nearly 30%, along with other risks including stroke, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and dementia.
On average, people now spend only 20 minutes a day with friends compared to 60 minutes two decades ago. Men are most greatly affected, but mothers often report feeling lonely. The exhaustion, schedule (and life) changes, and constant caretaking can be exhausting and isolating.
Murthy calls for changes in workplaces, schools, technology companies, and community organizations. There is no substitute for in-person interaction; although technology can increase connectivity, loneliness is about the quality of your connections. Murphy believes that technology should be designed to strengthen relationships instead of weakening them.
Read more (via CBS News)