According to a study by researchers at Brigham Young University
social connections – friends, family, neighbors or colleagues – improve our odds
of survival by 50 percent. Here is how low social interaction compares to more
well-known risk factors:
- Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
- Equivalent to being an alcoholic
- More harmful than not exercising
- Twice as harmful as obesity
These comparisons are shocking. Not surprisingly pen pals and social networks don't count as "social connections".
An unrelated study that was in the news this week from the University of Chicago suggests similar things about feelings of loneliness as well.
Moral of the study: keep real friends around you, stay in touch with people, and reach out to others.