How Loneliness May Affect Our Health

aloneMany of us forget that what is currently happening in our lives will impact us further down the road, especially when it comes to our health and wellness. There are countless risk factors that present themselves as threats to our long-term health. Poor quality of diet, smoking tobacco, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, alcohol abuse, recreational drug use. The list goes on and on!

Our mental health also ties in directly with our risk of developing physiological problems such as chronic disease. Unfortunately, it seems as if we are discovering a new facet of the relationship between our mental health and our physical health every day. A new study titled “Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review” highlights the physical health implications of feeling lonely and isolated from the world around us, and there is definitely cause for concern.

This new study sheds light on how much of an impact this state of mind can have on the length of our lives. What stands out most is the conclusion that living alone can increase the risk of mortality by 32%. Close behind is the feeling that the individual is isolated from society, increasing the risk of mortality by 29%, and general feelings of loneliness increasing the risk of mortality by 26%.

It is extremely difficult to deal with these feelings, and it is even more difficult to do something about it. In many cases, these individuals are resigned to the fact that they are alone and while they do not want to feel this way, they are unwilling be proactive.

However, much like obesity and smoking, the risk of death resulting from loneliness can be mitigated by a change in behavioral patterns. It is common for individuals dealing with feelings of loneliness to let their emotions consume them, inhibiting their ability to seek mental health services. With the help of a mental health professional, individuals can form strategies to help them take action and feel less isolated.

Additionally, less interaction with technology and social media can help individuals focus more on the world around them and forming meaningful relationships. Overall, those who are most affected must know that action can be taken to quell these harmful feelings of loneliness.

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