2 minute read

IGNITE December 2019

Another taboo topic: loneliness

The necessity for forming quality relationships

Researchers have found that loneliness is just as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Lonely people are 50 percent more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social relationships. Loneliness was found to be such a big problem in the United Kingdom, that the former Prime Minister, Theresa May, appointed a minister of loneliness.

Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need, crucial to both wellbeing and survival. More and more people are living alone, with declining marriage rates and fewer children.

Loneliness is not the same thing as being alone. Some solitude is good for you. But being alone needs to be a choice in order to be healthy.

So why is loneliness deadly? First, it reduces your immunity, which can increase your risk of disease. It also increases inflammation in the body, which can contribute to heart disease and chronic health conditions.

People Who Fuel Your Soul

What to do? Quality relationships matter more than quantity. Even though we live in a technologically hyper-connected world, it is a very different kind of connection from interacting with other human beings face to face. If you have been spending a lot of time alone, this is the point at which it would be a good idea to head to your local roastery or join a young professionals group, so that you can fend off this year’s flu bug.

This might be the biggest challenge, but you need to find people that fuel your soul; those with whom you could talk for hours and leave energized instead of depleted. There are undoubtedly people in the area who share at least a couple of your interests and hobbies, whether you are into Game of Thrones, crocheting, collecting vintage vinyls … .

Look around for local meetup groups, social media for communities and get socializing!

Zakera Nanabawa, M.D., Crusader Community Health, is a member of IGNITE Rockford.

Connect with others at upcoming IGNITE events:

IGNITE Smokey Bones Happy Hour, Dec. 3, 4:30 to 6 p.m., at Smokey Bones, 6690 E. State St., Rockford.

IGNITE Holiday Party, Dec. 18, 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Aero Ale House. Check for updates on IGNITE’s Facebook page.

To find more IGNITE events, check out the following:

IGNITE Facebook page (https:// www.facebook.com/ IgniteRockford/) IGNITE Instagram (@ igniterockfordyp) IGNITE website (www. igniterockford.com/)