Is Loneliness Deadly?

When people talk about lifestyle changes that can make a difference in longevity, they focus on things like diet and exercise. One factor not often considered is mental health. Lack of a social life affects longevity. It diminishes it. People who laugh less don’t live as long, either. Even having a pet can increase your potential life span. In other words, having someone or something to share life with extends your life. Loneliness can be deadly.

Loneliness can occur even if you’re with someone.

You may be in a group of people and still be lonely or sitting by yourself and not be. It isn’t about numbers. It’s about interaction. Unless you’re an outgoing personality, if you’re riding a train, plane, or bus and surrounded by people, you don’t normally interact. You can be lonely with people. Now, change that scenario to a sporting event. You’re sitting alone, but you’re with other fans who also love the team as much as you do. You’ll be more likely to high-five others and interact. This time, you’ve come alone, but you’re not lonely. Working out with a group also has the same effect. It’s about having a common interest and common goal.

Loneliness affects your body by triggering bad habits to compensate for the lack of companionship.

People who feel alone often feel empty and try to fill that emptiness with food, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, or other habits. All those things can increase the risk of illness or disease. Eating too many calories can lead to obesity. Lack of exercise leads to coronary problems. Alcohol and other addictions take their toll on your body and mind in a variety of ways. It comes from having that emptiness in their life called loneliness.

Fighting loneliness is just as important as dieting and exercising.

You can handle loneliness like other lifestyle changes and directly confront it. Instead of focusing on how lonely you are, focus on the needs of others. You’ll be surprised how good you feel when volunteering your time and talent to help other people or animals. If you aren’t comfortable with people, volunteer at an animal shelter or feed the squirrels or the birds. Take a part-time job that forces you to interact, like a mall greeter, or work for a cause.

  • Loneliness has become almost epidemic and affects other parts of your health. Lonely people are less active and often eat more. That may cause weight gain. They don’t laugh as much, so their blood pressure may be higher.
  • Loneliness is known to increase blood pressure. It also causes elevated stress hormones in the body. If you can’t get out and socialize or get a pet, consider feeding birds or squirrels. As they become accustomed
  • The very old and younger people tend to be lonely. Studies show that regular exercise can relieve the problem. It may be because loneliness is a form of depression, and exercise helps depression.
  • Check your lifestyle. Exercising, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep help. Get out of the house and walk. Commune with nature or find a healthy outlet. Seek professional help if loneliness seems overwhelming.

For more information, contact us today at Get RIPPED! by Jari Love

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