Loneliness is a silent killer. Research has found that it can be seriously detrimental to mental and physical health, as harmful to our bodies as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. This means that millennials are incredibly unhealthy, as new research shows that they are the loneliest generation.
The research by YouGov found that 30 percent of the millennials surveyed said they always or often felt lonely, compared to just 15 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Gen X. This is surprising considering that millennials are heavily active on various social media platformsand seemingly constantly communicating.
However, this online activity must be attributed to something else as a quarter of millennials say that they have no acquaintances, 22 percent say that have no close friends, and 30 percent have no best friends. Reasons for this varied, including being too shy to initiate friendships, while over a quarter said that they “didn’t need friends”.
YouGov didn’t identify one determining factor for the millennial loneliness epidemic but they did connect it to social media, citing a study from the University of Pennsylvania that found a link between social media use and decreased wellbeing, marked by increased levels of both depression and loneliness.
However, there is some good news. While it’s clear young adulthood can be accompanied by loneliness, an encouraging 76 percent of young adults in the study said they’d made at least one friend through work or their local community and 34 percent are still friends with people they met in university.
So since generation Y is struggling to connect with people instead of internet providers, maybe smile and introduce yourself the next time you see a colleague at the coffee machine.