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Can you catch loneliness?

Loneliness.jpg

The New York Times' Well Blog has an interesting post about a 10-year study of 5,100 people showing that negative emotions can spread to others, potentially increasing their risk of feeling desolate.

Researchers focused on the subjective feelings of loneliness instead of socially isolated people. This particular finding grabbed my attention:

The average person experiences loneliness about 48 days a year, but having a lonely friend can add 17 days of loneliness annually. By comparison, every additional friend can decrease loneliness by about 5 percent, which translates to about two and a half fewer lonely days a year.

Photo by Jenny Downing

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