Finding yourself lonely lately? Is the loneliness now starting to get to you? Is it eating at your feelings and making you succumb to isolating yourself further? Don’t let it. Because loneliness doesn’t only leave emotional scars, but it also messes with your health.
Wondering how? Here’s how loneliness can impact your health negatively:
1 – It decreases your lifespan
Physical activity and social interactions are necessary for good health. Lonely individuals don’t get much of either. Without these, one’s mental and physical health get compromised. This is how loneliness cuts down one’s lifespan. Lonely people also typically do not have the will to carry on. Research also shows that loneliness increases the risks of premature death.
2 – It ups risks for heart disease
Research shows that loneliness and cardiovascular problems are related. As per a study, social insolation can increase the risk of a heart attack or angina by 29 percent and up the risks of a stroke by 32 percent. However, this link between weakened heart health and loneliness needs more exploration and scientific research to confirm it.
3 – It leads to depression
Loneliness and depression share a stable link. It’s not as if a person can get used to being lonely and hence, experience less symptoms of depression. Social isolation makes one carry his burdens in his heart. This brings about depressive symptoms. Overwhelming grief and even suicidal thoughts can become a part of one’s life if he feels lonely.
4 – It causes eating disorders
Loneliness can also result in the development of eating disorders. A study shows that loneliness can trigger anorexia, bulimia, overeating or another eating disorder. This can cause either weight gain or weight loss. Weight gain typically happens because of emotional eating when a person uses food to deal with the stress and loneliness.
5 – It weakens the immune system
Loneliness also weakens the immune system. This makes lonely people more susceptible to cold and flus. Those who experience feelings of loneliness are more prone to attract viral infections. According to a study, this is because their bodies are too focused on fighting off bacteria. However, more research needs to be carried out on the link that loneliness and weak immunity share.
6 – It triggers inflammation
Loneliness and inflammation are also associated. You must be knowing how inflammation can stimulate a whole lot of illnesses such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc. This is because loneliness is still perceived the same way it was ages ago when the threat of attack on being lonely loomed large. So, when a person is lonely, inflammation is triggered in defense. However, chronic inflammation leads to illnesses.
7 – It promotes sleep problems
Lonely people also have sleep problems. You see, loneliness steals your sleep by introducing stress as well. Lonely people either have trouble sleeping or they can sleep but not calmly. It’s common knowledge that sleep deprivation can negatively impact your health in many ways. It is linked to both mental and physical health problems.
8 – It brings throbbing headaches
Perhaps the reason behind the insistent headaches that you keep getting is loneliness. Therapist, Annie Wright, says that loneliness can be the cause behind headaches. It can also introduce migraine attacks. Over and above that, the ache also feels way worse because when you are lonely, your tolerance to pain is low.
9 – It results in heavy drinking
Another vice of loneliness is that it makes you resort to alcohol more regularly. You find relief in a bottle of booze, at least, that is what you tell yourself. Because alcohol doesn’t work in the favor of your health. In fact, it causes even more health problems. Over-bingeing on alcohol can cause liver, heart, and brain problems. It can also cause cancer.
10 – It introduces anxiety
Loneliness may also be accompanied by anxiety because of the fear of abandonment. This anxiety worsens one’s social interactions as one tries to seek attention. This leads one to become a demanding and dependent individual toward anyone who gets closer. This anxiety comes with feelings of emptiness as well.
How to get rid of loneliness?
It’s not that you cannot escape the grip of loneliness. You can if you put work into it. Here are some ways you can kick loneliness out:
1 – Consider volunteer work
Helping others can be of benefit to your own self too. As per a research, giving people without any selfish intentions sparks two reward centers of the brain. Volunteer work doesn’t only come with physical and mental health benefits, but it also expands your social circle. It makes you happier, reduces anxiety, relieves stress, and makes you new friends. It also encourages mobility, better heart health, and makes you age gracefully.
2 – Catch enough zzz
Don’t compromise on sleep. Sleep can relieve you of stress and it can up your productivity levels. It also ensures better performance. Proper sleep also boosts your mood along with boosting your energy levels. Your immune system is also strengthened. Experts recommend sleeping for about 6 to 8 hours per day. Hence, don’t skip on sleep.
3 – Think positive
Don’t let negative thoughts buzz in your mind. Don’t isolate yourself because you fear judgment or betrayal. Think positively about yourself and the future. Do not blame and beat yourself for every mistake you make. Practice self-care and self-love. While self-reflection is good if you let it turn into self-hatred, you’ll only drown deeper into the hole of negativity, loneliness, and depression.
4 – Log out of social media
Social media might have been made for connecting people, for encouraging them to make more friends, and to keep friends and fam updated about yourself, but it has actually contributed to more social isolation. Excess social media use can make you feel lonelier and more depressed. A better idea? Go for a social detox. Deactivate your social accounts for a while. Connect with people through phone conversations or face-to-face meetings instead.
5 – Talk to someone
Sure, you’re lonely because you don’t have friends so how will you be able to open your heart out to someone to share your burden? Seek therapy. Talking your burden out and going to a professional for help can save you from further health problems. Don’t sulk alone in the corner of your room. You won’t be able to change your situation if you put in an effort to do so.
To sum up, loneliness comes with tons of emotional, physical, and mental negative impacts. However, you can get relief from it by following these simple tips.