Despite our hyper-connected world, loneliness is a real issue that is leading to serious health problems.
Linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s, loneliness has been deemed as much of a long-term health risk as smoking.
Loneliness can impact anyone – men and women, it doesn’t discriminate. But there is a big difference in how men and women interact socially. Women can maintain close friendships even when living far apart. They spend time on the phone, will stand and chit-chat face to face with neighbours, giving them the opportunity to stay connected.
Men, however, need an activity together in order to make and keep a bond. Studies have found that men make their deepest connections through periods of intense engagement, such as in school, military service, or through sports.
By middle age, many men have long replaced their male-bonding activities with work and family responsibilities. As men age, this trend continues and sadly, typically worsens.
Keeping tabs of friends through social media, sharing weekend plans around the water cooler at work, and exchanging pleasantries when bumping into people isn’t enough. You need friendship, proper communication and regular interaction.
Dr. Richard S. Schwartz, is a psychiatrist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who co-wrote the book The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century. He recommends men schedule time with the guys into their weekly routine. This could be something as simple as meeting for pub night every Thursday or hockey on Wednesdays, golf Saturday morning or card games Sunday afternoons.
The point is to have something that is always on the schedule. You know about it, have planned for it, and are expecting it. And in that case are much more likely to follow through with the plan.
All too often we find ourselves saying “we should get together”. It is time to stop procrastinating and actually do it. Make time for yourself, for your friends. You will be happier and healthier for it. And in turn, you will be better able to help care for your family; whether it is babysitting the grandkids, looking after your significant other, or helping with an elderly parent.
Everyone benefits from strong, healthy relationships. And if you aren’t sure where or how to get started, let Amintro help. We are a social community designed for those 50 plus looking to make new friends and increase their social circles. With Amintro you can connect with confidence online and then head out in the community to get the socialization we all need.
Start living a more socially engaged life, you will be happier and healthier for it!
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By Christine Tompa