If you’ve been feeling socially isolated, you’re not alone. About 33 percent of people worldwide feel lonely. And loneliness doesn’t merely cause mental distress and discomfort—it can have implications on your physical health as well. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to an individual’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, and the National Academies of Sciences found that loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with around a four times increased risk of death and a 68 percent increased risk of hospitalization, writes Lars Hartenstein, coleader at the McKinsey Health Institute. What can you do to combat the loneliness epidemic? Check out these insights to discover why it’s impossible to experience good health alone, and what shifts you can make now to strengthen your social world.
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