It's excellent if you exercise, watch your weight and don't drink or smoke; but if you're living in solitude, your health may suffer despite taking care of yourself! Loneliness can ruin the body like physical stress.
Researchers believe that social isolation and feelings of loneliness may trigger inflammation and damage the immune system. Loneliness has been shown to speed up changes in the heart. Loneliness has a number of negative effects on mental and physical health.
The risks associated with loneliness include (Journal of Personality & Social Psychology):
• Antisocial behavior
• Poor decision-making
• Altered brain function
• Increased stress levels
• Decreased memory and learning
• Cardiovascular disease and stroke
• Depression and suicide
• Alcoholism and drug abuse
• Progression of Alzheimer's disease
Lonely individuals tend to get insufficient sleep; their diet is high in fat, and they experience daytime fatigue. Loneliness also disrupts the regulation of cellular processes deep within the body, predisposing one to premature aging, says John Cacioppo, co-author of the book "Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection".
Preventing and Treating Loneliness Here are few tips offered by John Cacioppo to overcome loneliness:
1.Identify that loneliness is a sign that something needs to change.
2.Realize the effects that loneliness has on your life, both mentally and physically.
3.Focus on developing quality relationships with people who share similar attitudes, interests and values with you.
4.Consider doing activities that you enjoy. Such situations present a great amount of opportunities to meet people and cultivate new relationships.
5.Lastly, expect the best. Lonely people often expect rejection; so instead, focus on positive thoughts and attitudes in social relationships.
"Note that the key is in the quality of relationships and not the quantity of people!"