In the US 43% of seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis. It’s not just the emotional or societal impacts of loneliness that should concern us, loneliness and social isolation can cause physiological health problems. Research suggests that it can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Everyone can feel lonely, but we know there are some people who are more susceptible, and things like living alone (or living through a global pandemic) can make things worse.
Can reading really help?
Incredibly, #reading with someone or on your own can help people from feeling lonely. Studies from as early as 1995 suggest that adults who read for pleasure are less lonely than those who do not. Prior research from the University of Buffalo, found that "narratives alleviate loneliness by providing a collective identity that is easily assumed and psychologically rewarding." One study asked participants to read passages about wizards (Harry Potter) or vampires (Twilight series) and saw over time that readers empathized more deeply with the narrative figures. This underscored a basic need for human connection and, more deeply, for belonging through some sort of affiliation. So, the simple act of reading creates a sense of socializing and group identity for readers, which in turns makes them feel less lonely.
So, what now?
Get reading! No, seriously. Reading can have a transformative impact on our lives, and is one of the core reasons we founded Laaddu. Our app helps you develop new connections with readers to share narratives, experiences and joy! We want everyone to be able to access the right book for them at the right time - for free.
Stop what you’re doing and: