As technology becomes more integrated in our lives, it can be a struggle to adapt. We are inundated with messages and notifications constantly. It seems like we are more connected than ever. 

But, the simple fact is this:

Many of us are lonely. 

A new report released this week found that 61% of respondents said they were lonely–up 7% from last year. The same study found that lonely workers are significantly more likely to miss work due to illness or stress, and less likely to feel consistently productive or confident in the quality of their work.

Not only can loneliness affect our productivity, it’s also downright unhealthy. In fact, Science suggests relationships are more important for your health than diet and exercise. 

So, what can we do about it?

  • Prioritize face-to-face interactions
    • Instead of texting a friend to catch up, or connecting on social media, make small efforts to put down the device and prioritize in person social interactions. Whether that means getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people, or inviting a co-worker for lunch.
  • Make the most of the time you spend alone
    • The best medicine for loneliness is becoming your own best friend. Embrace that inner connection and engage in activities that help you get to know yourself better. Try some of the suggestions below. 
  • Create small habits to combat loneliness
    • Practice small talk. Chat with a cashier, offer a stranger a compliment, or just say hi to your neighbor.
    • Write things down. How are you feeling? What do you think is missing in your life? What are some steps you can take to change that?
    • Take a “mindful walk.” Notice what’s around you. Stop and admire a garden or say good morning to someone.

If you notice yourself feeling lonely, use that self awareness as a catalyst for change. Loneliness is something we all experience, but utilizing the tools above, as well as others, can really change your outlook.

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