When it comes to having a happy and healthy life, we have learned a lot about what to avoid, but not so much about what to do.
We now know, for example, that cigarettes, salt, animal fat and being fat shorten our lives, while antibiotics, physical activity and the right diet prolong it. Wanting a longer life is something we all generally strive for, but we want those extra years to be full of life too, not just part of a slow decline.
Now new research is pointing the way. Our relationships – the people we know and care about – may just be as critical to our survival as the right diet and amount of exercise. Our social ties influence our sense of satisfaction with life, our cognitive skills, and how resistant we are to infections and chronic disease. In real terms, its estimated that being surrounded by a tightly connected circle of friends means you’re likely to live fifteen years longer than a loner.
Yet, despite all this emerging evidence, our habits are becoming more solitary. In the UK, young adults between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four feel the loneliest. In fact, in a nationally representative survey commissioned by the UK Mental Health Foundation in 2010, it was found that a quarter of Britons of all ages feel emotionally unconnected to others, and a third do not feel connected to a wider community. That’s pretty sobering.
So, what’s the antidote? We believe that co-living can provide a solution to one part of this multifaceted jigsaw, particularly for the eighteen to thirty-four year old demographic who are feeling the most acute loneliness. Yes, we all aspire to our own space but that doesn’t have to be at the expense of being connected to a wider community.
Co-living, a portmanteau of ‘community’ and ‘living’ creates this blend. People have their own private rooms and ensuite bathrooms but importantly share community spaces, from lounges and games rooms to fitness suites and chef’s kitchens. These purpose designed spaces reintroduce the element of serendipity and proximity which are the bedrock of creating friendships. Add in curated programme of events and you have all the ingredients necessary to spark true friendships and meaningful experiences.
At Neighbourhood Co-living we’re on a mission to address loneliness. Why not join us?