Rittenhouse PT rehab is the focus or our physical therapy practice. But two deeply personal articles reminded us about the impact of loneliness on our health.

Jane Brody of Well in The New York Times wrote about her struggles with loneliness in “A Road Map Out of Loneliness.”

And YouTube sensation Bo Burnham’s profile in The New Yorker chronicles his turning away from social media. Why? Because he’s convinced that it’s promoting anxiety, isolation, loneliness and socialization problems. Particularly with the tweens who adore him.

This quote stunned our Rittenhouse PT Rehab team: “Social connections, in a very real way are keys to happiness and health.” – Dr. Jeremy Nobel Harvard Medical School & The Unlonely Project

So who’s lonely?

Well, our Rittenhouse PT Rehab team notes that:

  • Loneliness is very prevalent among teens and young adults.
  • At the opposite end of the spectrum older adults are also more affected.
  • Unfortunately, veterans also suffer more from chronic loneliness.

And, how lonely are we?

  • About 30% of Americans are chronically lonely.
  • And 65% of Americans are lonely some of the time.

Why does it matter?

Here’s what our Rittenhouse PT Rehab team found:

Research shows that being chronically lonely has the same negative impact on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That can take years off your life – as much as 30%.

Dr. Nobel notes, “Loneliness saps vitality, impairs productivity and diminishes enjoyment of life.” And, it impacts our mental and physical health.

In extreme cases, loneliness leads to death. Suicide rates soar among those with chronic loneliness and anxiety.

And What can we do?

Our Rittenhouse PT Team loves Bo Burnham’s first suggestion: put down the screen and connect with the real world. Interacting’s easier when you’re free to focus on the world.

Remember, when you’re looking at that screen: Facebook & Instagram lie. People don’t post about being miserable and lonely. If you’re lonely you’re not alone. No matter what your feeds might suggest.

Make conscious plans to interact. Creative pursuits are good. So are group activities research shows. But, even if you’re not a “group person,” go out and make an effort to connect. Talk to a supermarket checker or a server. Ask questions, even if you know the answer. Make specific plans to connect.

Check out the Unlonely Project. Their mission inspires us: get us aware of this public health challenge. And get us engaged with each other.

A little leery of getting started? Why not stop by and visit us at elevate Health & Performance™? We may look busy, but the green juice is cold. The coffee’s hot and we all love to connect and chat.