Loneliness Could Become an Even Bigger Public Health Threat than Obesity

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But there a massive difference between being lonely when you feel down and being lonely when, let’s say you are doing some sport activity like running with headphones on your ears. Let’s break it all down to know what to expect from the healthy and unhealthy side of being lonely.

Social isolation doesn’t just make you feel down in the dumps—it can shorten your lifespan, new research finds. 

Isolation is a race you can’t win

When people are lonely involuntarily, desperate for connection and contact but kind of shy, and introvert to do something with it. It is something you can definitely change but it takes more than reading about it, it takes action. Anyway let’s read about some facts they might help you to realize that isolation is not an option for someone who is lonely.

Everybody experiences loneliness from time to time. But a new study suggests that in recent years, people have felt increasingly lonely and isolated—and the physical and psychological ramifications of all this solo time could prove to be a bigger health threat than the obesity epidemic.

The idea that having fewer social connections can lead to poorer health is not new. But the research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, two meta-analyses of previous data covering 218 studies, made a stronger case that it’s a major public health issue.

The first meta-analyses looked at previous study results covering more than 300,000 people and found that those with higher social interactions decreased their risk for early death by 50%. The second reviewed prior study data on over 3.4 million people and concluded that social isolation, including living alone, caused the risk of premature death to surge—and this had a greater impact on dying early than obesity.

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly do increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds many of the leading health indicators,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University and lead author of the study, in a press release. 

Finding yourself unable to connect with others is never a fun feeling, but it’s an inescapable human condition, Igor Galynker, MD, associate chairman for research in the department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, tells Health. “Socialization activates our reward circuitry and is mentally rewarding, so the absence of such creates a withdrawal similar to feelings of hunger with food,” Dr. Galynker says.

Still, a number of things can affect how often or deeply a person experiences loneliness. People who suffer from depression or anxiety are likely to feel isolated on a grander scale, since loneliness is a state of mind, says Dr. Galynker, adding that a happy person with five social interactions a day may feel connected, while a depressed person with the same five social interactions may feel isolated and disconnected from others. 

How often and how deeply a person feels lonely is inherited to a degree, says Dr. Galynker, but environmental factors also play a role in determining isolation’s effect on an entire population. In the United States, people tend to value individualism and self-resilience more than other parts of the world, he says. This cultural mindset normalizes living alone, while other cultures value extended families and spend their entire lives living with their children or grandchildren. A culture that lessens the value of social interaction results in less people who interact with others, he adds.

Social media plays a role, too. While the elderly have been shown to benefit from increased communication via the internet, those who naturally gravitate toward isolation become lonelier the more they use social media. “They substitute the internet for human contact and are more likely to develop an internet addiction,” says Dr. Galynker. 

So when is loneliness natural and when is it life-threatening? “If you feel lonely and reach out to people to alleviate loneliness, that’s fine. But if it doesn’t work, you need to see a psychiatrist or therapist to find out if it’s something more,” says Dr. Galynker, like a mood or anxiety disorder.

The best way to cope with feeling isolated is asking for help and support, says Dr. Galynker, but people who are actually lonely feel difficulty doing this. “They shun uplifting situations. Actually reaching out is associated with fear of rejection and more stress. But if they are able to reach out, they will feel less rejected and more likely to reach out in the future,” he says.

Consider this advice next time you’ve been solo for a while and are craving face time with friends and family, or if you suspect someone in your circle might be dealing with isolation and needs a hand to help pull her out.

Me on holiday with family, went off the path to see, I am focusing, I could not see the whole world, no I couldn’t, I simply sensed it.

Loneliness as a potential to find myself, finally I made it!

Imagine you go for a run, you go with no one but you, and you simply want to be alone because you know that communication of any kind would disturb you from focusing. That it is, when you run along, you can focus, whenever you are able to focus 100% you can control, when you are able to control, you can make more of the run, you can even enjoy the exhaustion. It is like depletion of bad, negative energy, and tiredness replacing it with a new breath bringing so much wanted new fresh kick, start, a boost of energy, simply, feeling relaxed from exhaustion…

But when you feel lonely, whenever you feel like you need someone along with you, and there isn’t anybody around to talk to, your emotions will take control because your thoughts are not under your control. You feel your thoughts are scattered- unable to focus, feeling destructed…

This is what I would like to advise you, a very basic thing which applies to anything you do or you are thinking about; be determined, be focused, have it under control, be willing to change for good…, and mainly persist in whatever you do because changes are inevitable, change is the cause of action. Whatever action you take, expect changes coming, always!

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