Well Being

Study Says Lonliness Causes Death More Than Obesity, So Put Down That Selfie Stick And Talk To Someone

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Lonely Woman Stock Photo

There may be a reason why we’re all so desperate for people to like our Instagram photos, after all. According to new research, loneliness and social isolation are as dangerous to your health as obesity. In fact, researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU), where the study was conducted, found that being lonely, feeling isolated and being obese could all threaten your health — and even kill you.

While earlier research found that loneliness was a substantial risk of death — similar to smoking 15 cigarettes per day or being an alcoholic — this new research, reported in the Perspectives on Psychological Science, found that the chances of dying from loneliness surpass those of obesity.

Tim Smith, professor of counseling psychology and one of the study’s authors, explains:

“Everyone understands that diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol use and obesity pose risks. Well, it turns out social isolation is just as predictive of death.”

U.S. Census figures show that more people live alone today than at any time in human history. Smith believes America may even be heading toward a loneliness epidemic in 30 years.

On the contrary, having strong relationships has the opposite effect, improving your health. So perhaps it's time we all put down our selfie sticks and actually use human interaction to ask someone to take our picture! Or, maybe instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed relentlessly, you could pick your head up and, I don't know, be social — minus the media.

I'm all for connectivity, but if it's going to make us even lonelier in the long run, let's all make an effort to talk face-to-face. I know it can be scary. But hey, it's not all bad — making more connections probably get you more likes on your next Instagram post, too!

(Image via Shutterstock)