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One of our biggest health risks, and we rarely talk about it

The Red Cross’s 2017 national survey showed that one in four of us regularly feels lonely. Loneliness apparently increases our odds of dying early by a whopping 45%. Putting it in perspective, it’s a bigger health risk than a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle or smoking.

To back up the Red Cross findings, a survey by Relationships Australia shows that one in four women and one in three men say they don’t have someone to help them out in need.

Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. We no longer join groups and clubs the way we did in pre-internet days. Now we can connect every minute of the day and night. Online.

Which is miraculous, except that screen-time is no substitute for really being with people and a lot of us are clearly feeling that.

While longevity research highlights good relationships and strong communities as keys to a healthy old age, it can be easy to find ourselves feeling cut off — through retirement, relocation, divorce, the death of someone close, illness or injury, or even financial problems.

These statistics are a reminder about the importance of cultivating relationships and community. And that while we’re busy with our day-to-day (and online) lives, it makes a difference to lift our noses above the parapet and check on how the flesh-and-blood people around us are going.  

Photo Source: Bigstock

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018 | Rhonda Anderson