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June 16, 2015

A Surprising Health Risk: Loneliness

Summary:

More people are professing loneliness in their lives, and more evidence is piling up that loneliness, like dissatisfaction in life, is a killer.

Photo Courtesy of Antoine Gady

Loneliness is both sad and a major health risk. More and more people are professing loneliness in their lives, and more and more evidence is piling up that loneliness, like dissatisfaction in life, is a killer.

Here are some personal observations:

  • Why do many people have so few friends as they age? Maintaining long-term friendships takes a lot of work and investment of time. Don’t let your career stand in the way. Don’t wait for someone to befriend you; reach out.
  • Some people have invested their time and energy solely in a spouse, who may predecease them by 25 years, or in children who fly the nest in time.
  • Many people have invested much in work-related friendships, which, while genuine at the time, can wilt almost immediately when they retire.
  • In friendships, one has to give more than he or she takes.
    Make yourself likable. Who wants to spend time with someone who complains all the time? People like that are often avoided by people around them.
  • Be a good listener.
  • If you’re lonely, try joining something…a church, a book club, a hiking club, anything.

In the end, a true measure of wealth is the number of lifelong friends we have. Having lifelong friends is a joy and a great cure for loneliness.

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About the Author

Tom Emerick is president of Emerick Consulting and cofounder of EdisonHealth and Thera Advisors.  Emerick’s years with Wal-Mart Stores, Burger King, British Petroleum and American Fidelity Assurance have provided him with an excellent blend of experience and contacts.

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