The world has never been more connected. Modern technology allows us to instantly message, talk or video-call with someone on the other side of the world. Social media means we can share updates with our friends as often as we like and vice versa. And yet, even though we have all this social possibility, loneliness is on the increase. In fact, approximately one in 10 people in Australia say that loneliness is a regular part of their life.

What is loneliness?

Loneliness is a feeling that there is a lack of quality relationships in your life – and it doesn’t discriminate. You can be 16 years old or 90, homeless or living in a mansion. It’s an emotion everyone can feel at some stage in their life. But when these feelings of hopelessness and isolation continue over a longer period of time, it can have a serious impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.

Loneliness is closely linked with depression and anxiety, along with physical health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure.

A group of friends sit in the back of a car

Finding connection

One of the best things you can do to help with feeling lonely is to find opportunities for meaningful human connection. A group of like-minded people where you can share in a passion and just be yourself.

This group might be a:

  • Book club (online if you prefer)
  • Sporting team
  • Online forum
  • Musical band or choir
  • Language course
  • Craft group
  • Yoga or Pilates class
  • Cooking class
  • Cultural group

People with positive social connections report better quality of life and satisfaction with their life, are less likely to suffer from dementia, have less trouble sleeping, and have a stronger immune system than those who don’t have these social connections. Not to mention the sense of belonging and purpose that comes with feeling valued by people who matter to you.

Research strongly backs up the idea that meaningful relationships aren’t just a nice thing to have – they’re a fundamental human need.

If you’re feeling lonely, finding a group aligned with your passions might be just what you need. If you need help locating the right group for you, your local council can be a great resource.

Related reading: Four tips to handle social anxiety in the moment

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