ST. CLOUD -- About 54 percent of Americans say they are lonely sometimes or always. This is coming from a recent report released by Cigna.

The health services organization surveyed 20,000 in the United States. Of people surveyed Cigna found that Generation Z adults ages 18-22 and Millennials ages 23-37 feel lonelier than older generations such as Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation.

Sam Schofield is a licensed marriage and family therapist at The Village Family Service Center in St. Cloud. She says what she finds is that many young adults struggle with in-person communication.

"It's all too common to see groups of teenagers and young adults that are all together but are connected to their phones. That really limits the actual human connection that we have, even if they are talking to one another, we lose so much in terms of the non-verbals, the tone of voice and the eye contact even that deepens a relationship and a connection."

The Cigna survey didn't find any connection between loneliness and using solely social media. However, like Schofield's experiences, it did find that people who frequently have face-to-face conversations are likely to be less lonely.

To be able to help fight against this feeling of being alone, Schofield says the best way is to talk and get to know others.

"The idea of having to invest over a long period of time into a relationship and giving of ourselves can be kind of scary. I would say that would be the biggest factor that I would really recommend is showing an interest in people, sharing of yourself and doing it verbally, in person."

Schofield says often times people who struggle with depression or anxiety also experience a feeling of loneliness and this does impact your physical health. According to Cigna's survey being frequently lonely has the same impact on your body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, which is 3/4 of a regular pack. Because of this, loneliness is more deadly than obesity.

Schofield says if you're looking for advice on loneliness The Village has several services you can look into.

"We provide a range of services. We do individual therapy across the lifespan. We do marriage counseling, family therapy, and we're also doing a number of groups."

The Village Family Service Center is in downtown St. Cloud. For appointment information follow the link below.

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