Make room for happiness: Gretchen Rubin on how to combat loneliness

Gretchen Rubin: Make room for happiness

One in 10 Americans say they feel lonely or isolated from those around them all or most of the time, according to a Pew Research Center survey. What factors could be contributing to this?

"Things like financial stress, feeling unhappy with your family life, feeling unattached from your community. These are the kinds of things that make people feel lonely," said New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, who uses science, pop culture and personal experiences to explore how we can make our lives happier. She also said more people are living alone.

To combat loneliness, Rubin, author of "The Happiness Project," encouraged finding or joining some sort of community.

"It's a great idea to join or start a group, whether it's bowling or maybe you want to have a book club or maybe you want to have a TV show club or you want to go bird watching or you want to volunteer," she said. "Often it's easier to make friends with people where you have a common interest or where you're working on a project together. So that's a way to forge those community bonds for yourself."

There are also economic impacts of loneliness. According to AARP, older adults who are isolated are not only at greater risk for death, but they're also associated with an additional $6.7 billion in Medicare spending annually.

"Psychosocial aspects of our lives have tremendous health consequences for us. You know, heart disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, in all kinds of ways. So it's extremely important to look at for all different kinds of reasons," Rubin said.

And while money can't buy happiness, Rubin said it can buy "many things that contribute greatly to happiness."

"The freedom not to worry about money is one of the greatest luxuries money can buy. So financial security. Then also having an extra set of keys, even though the keys are so expensive today. Or whatever it is, or to take that trip to see a friend," Rubin said.

Her upcoming book, "Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness," arrives in March 2019.