It is no mystery that companionship is essential to human well-being, being lonely can drive a person to death faster than a fresh pack of Marlboro Reds. In fact, a recently published study from Brigham Young University shows evidence that loneliness can be deadlier than obesity and has the negative health effects of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s a pretty heavy statistic, especially considering that single living has been trending up recently. In 2013, 27% of all Americans reported living alone, up from 5% in 1920.
For some, that represents a personal choice, as living with people can be stressful and some people truly enjoy being on their own way more than they enjoy the presence of other humans. I would be lying to you if I said that sharing a bathroom with a sloppy person is as enjoyable as sharing a bathroom with my great friends Me, Myself, and I. But for others, living alone can represent their disconnection from society, their rejection from social connections, their own personal hell of microwave dinners and nights in front of a television. Overcoming loneliness while living by one’s self is a monumental task that can drag down even the happiest of people. This is a path that can lead to self-destructive behavior, substance abuse, and even suicide.
But for those of you who reside by yourselves, fear not, for there is a solution that doesn’t involve any of the behaviors listed above. Better yet, it doesn’t even require moving back in with one’s parents.