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Friendship Is a Lifesaver

Making new friends

It is possible to make new friends at every stage of life.

Volunteering is one way of improving the lives of other people, and the joint interest can assist in getting to know each other. Hopefully, friendships can grow out of that.

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Friendship Is a Lifesaver

Friendship Is a Lifesaver

http://nautil.us/issue/84/outbreak/friendship-is-a-lifesaver

nautil.us

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Key Ideas

The antidote to loneliness

When people were forced into social isolation, a light was also shining on another crisis - loneliness.

The antidote to loneliness is accessible to all of us: friendship. The shared global crisis has showed how significant friends are to our day-to-day happiness.

Friendship

Science shows friendship is critical for our happiness, health, and longevity.

* In the 1970s and 1980s, some epidemiologists and sociologists showed that socially isolated individuals over age 66 had a 30 percent increased risk of early mortality.

* Studies reveal that social connection improves cardiovascular functioning, reduces susceptibility to inflammation and viral disease, sharpens cognition, reduces depression, lowers stress, and even slows biological aging.

Definition of friendship

Friendship requires at least three things: It should be long-lasting, positive, and cooperative. Friendship nearly always includes a willingness to help, especially in times of crisis.

In short, friendship is creating bonded groups that act as a buffer against life's stresses.

Relationships all through life

At all stages of life, how we do friendship has to do with our natural desire for sociability and varies from person to person.

Friendship is a lifelong endeavor, although not everyone realizes it. If you only invest in friendships when your family and professional obligations slow, you will be at a disadvantage.

Making new friends

It is possible to make new friends at every stage of life.

Volunteering is one way of improving the lives of other people, and the joint interest can assist in getting to know each other. Hopefully, friendships can grow out of that.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The importance of friends

Having a weak circle of friends carries the same risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Researchers suggest that the core factors in a happy life are the number of friends, the closeness of f...

Reconnect with old friends

You have probably met a large number of friends through just a handful of people. Those are your superconnectors. Rekindle those friendships and ask them if there is anyone you should meet.

Connecting to people

Don’t be interesting. Be interested.

  • Listen to people and ask them to tell you more. 
  • When they mention something you have in common, point it out.
  • Be enthusiastic and encouraging.

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Becoming less lonely

Ventilen, or “friend to one” in Danish, is an organization that helps 15-to-25-year-olds get together twice a week with two or three volunteers. Together, the people in the group play games, make ...

The prevalence of loneliness

Loneliness is becoming an "epidemic" and is associated with illnesses like heart disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, and longevity.

  • One study revealed that 22% of Americans, 23% of Brits, and 9% of Japanese adults said they felt lonely all the time.
  • 40% of people aged 16 - 24 said they were often lonely, according to the BBC.
Coming together

Back in 1999, a support group called Bright Point was formed to fill the need of friends. But when people came together, no one talked. It was only after games were introduced as a catalyst that friendships started forming. Later, making meals and exercising was added successfully.

The program is not without challenges. Many lonely people may feel intimidated and won't attend. But designating a space for gathering and activities is a good step toward tackling loneliness. 

Vulnerable Time for Kids

A child's pre-teen and teen years are a high-emotion transitory period. This is due to shifting classmates, social pressure, multiple classrooms and a period of many 'firsts'.

Deep Friendships

A study on sixth-graders revealed that friendship is crucial and real for kids, and can be as deep as a parental relationship.

Most parents and teachers do not understand the importance of deep bonding among friends at school and tend to regard friendships as a distraction or a nuisance.

Social Isolation and Bullying

Social isolation is the dark side of the school, in which many kids with no friends are at risk of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There is a perceived sense of threat with being friendless, and the young, immature mind can deeply internalize the resulting difficulties, leading to depression.

Bullying at this age is also a major problem, with those who are socially isolated becoming the most vulnerable to being bullied.

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Post-Breakup Loneliness

The process of breaking up can sometimes be compared to the death of a loved one.

Transitional Loneliness

Major changes can create a sense of loneliness, even if they're positive. You might be leaving a job or starting a new job, ending a relationship or embarking on a new relationship, getting married, getting divorced, [or] starting a family.

When struggling with the adjustment period, it can help to acknowledge the feeling and also acknowledge that it's likely temporary.

Caregiver Loneliness

There's very specific loneliness that can creep in when you're responsible for the care of another person — be it an elderly parent, a sick sibling, a disabled partner, etc.

So even though it's a big job, it's important to not forget about yourself. Find a supportive friend to talk to without judgment, or attend a support group.

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Loneliness Is A Kind Of Pain
  • Loneliness affects 19 to 43 per cent of adults who are now past 60 years of age.
  • Just as physical pain is a warning from the body telling us to take appropriate ac...
Loneliness And Mental Health

Studies show that older adults who are lonely see a decline in their thinking abilities, which is rapid if paired with other factors like physical inactivity, anxiety, poor sleep and high blood pressure.

Prolonged social isolation is a kind of mental stress leading to various mental and physical health issues like faster ageing, dementia and cognitive decline. It has also been linked to the factors that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, like a build-up of certain toxic proteins in the brain.

Social Activities As A Form Of Self-Care
  • The negative impact of prolonged loneliness can be curbed with maintaining high-quality relationships and social activity.
  • How we manage our feelings and relationships is important for our brain’s health.
  • Self-care is an essential component of our mental and physical health, and we have to focus our attention towards better sleep and exercise routines, healthy eating and engaging in enjoyable activities.
Loneliness Is a State of Mind

Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, if you feel alone and isolated, then that is how loneliness plays into your state of mind....

Causes
  • Loneliness is strongly connected to genetics. 
  • Situational variables, such as physical isolation, moving to a new location, divorce and the death of someone significant in a person's life can also lead to feelings of loneliness. 
  • Loneliness can be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression.
  • Loneliness can also be attributed to internal factors such as low self-esteem.
Health Risks Associated With Loneliness

Loneliness has a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health, including:

  • Depression and suicide
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Poor decision-making
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • The progression of Alzheimer's disease
  • Altered brain function

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The need for close friendships

We are social beings and we need to create intimacy with other people, for the well-being of our body, mind, and heart.

Close friendships regulate ...

Defining closeness
Close friendships need intimacy and reciprocation to exist.
  • Intimacy means being able to be fully yourself and be seen and understood by others.
  • Reciprocation means that both people feel they are seen and understood by the other person. 

“We think about relationships as things that happen to us, but the truth is that we make them happen.”

“We think about relationships as things that happen to us, but the truth is that we make them happen.”

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A public health problem

Most people consider loneliness a personal problem to be figured out by individuals. 

However, a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health identi...

Don’t blame social media

Among the theories on why there is more loneliness today is more time online and less time in front of people. 

However, levels of in-person interactions, physical and mental wellness and life balance are more likely to predict loneliness than social media usage.

Young and lonely

Generation Z (ages 18-22) had the highest loneliness scores, followed by the millennials (ages 23-37). The Greatest Generation (adults ages 72 and older) were the least lonely. 

Lonely people are less able to pick up on positive social stimuli, like others’ attention and commitment signals, so they withdraw prematurely – in many cases before they’re actually socially isolated.

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Be opportunistic

Learn to notice opportunities for potential friends. 
We let many friendship opportunities pass us by because we feel awkward or too shy. Instead of small talk, invite them for coffe...

Make yourself vulnerable

We have to put our fears aside that someone might not like us or may have too many friends already.

If you like someone you meet, ask to swap numbers and follow through with an invitation to socialize.

Start by doing an activity together

Suggest an activity that you can do together. It will anchor your time together and give you something to focus on or talk about.

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Detecting Loneliness
Detecting Loneliness
  • Scientific literature has linked loneliness to depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
  • Loneliness makes you more likely to fall ill by suppressing healthy immune function....
Loneliness is subjective

It's possible to be completely isolated and feel invigorated.

It is also possible to be surrounded by a crowd or be accompanied by close friends and feel lonely.

Research on loneliness findings
  • Research showed that after social isolation, subjects' brain scans showed more activity in the midbrain when shown pictures of social cues.
  • When subjects were hungry but had not been socially isolated, they showed a similar reaction to food cues, but not social ones. This shows that the drive for social contact and for things like food seems to be represented in a similar way.

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