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Lonely? Then go to a football game

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It can be a bit of dilemma.  To offset the harmful effects of loneliness, we’re encouraged to join social groups, such as the local drama society, but for the socially awkward and introverts, there’s another way we can be around others—going to a sporting event.

Being in the crowd at any sporting occasion increases ‘life satisfaction’ and lowers feelings of loneliness, two subjective markers of general wellbeing and health.

The boost to our sense of wellbeing from going to a game or event is as great as getting a new job, say researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, who monitored 7,209 people who had signed up to the Taking Part survey.

The events ranged from village sports games to Premier League football matches, and attending any sporting event “provides many opportunities for social interaction and this helps to forge group identity and belonging, which in turn mitigates loneliness and boosts levels of wellbeing,” said Helen Keyes, one of the researchers.

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References
Frontiers in Public Health, 2023; 10: doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.989706
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