What has loneliness to do with health, you may be wondering after reading the title. When people talk about factors that affect your health, you will hear factors like smoking, drinking, overeating, passive way of living etc. But you are not likely to hear loneliness being mentioned as a factor that could impact your health. However, there are studies hat indicate that loneliness can be as much a hazard to your health as the above mentioned factors are.
Who do you think are most likely to be affected by loneliness? You are in for another surprise. It is not the old, as you may expect! Old people are not affected by loneliness as much as young people are. Perhaps, this is because old people are reconciled to themselves being lonely, since being alone is often associated with old age.
If you are interested in empirical evidence, you may find it interesting to know that communities that have social interactions as a way of life have been found to have higher proportions of healthy people and people living longer.
The impact of loneliness on health arises from psychological factors. As is well known, psychological factors can have a considerable influence on anyone’s health. Certain illnesses like high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels are often found to have psychological rather than physiological origins. Given the havoc emotions can play on health, loneliness can affect your health by triggering your emotions. In fact, since being alone can often lead to a constantly depressed state of mind and thus trigger health problems.
Loneliness can become a serious problem if it persists for a long time. Its immediate impact is also considerable. When you are alone, your thoughts can go in uncontrolled ways making you feel bad in many ways. By generating negative feelings, loneliness will have an adverse effect on your appetite, digestion, sleep and other normal routines of your body. Sometimes, you may be induced to smoke or drink more.
If you understand good health as feeling good, then you will understand that anything that makes you feel bad is not good for your health. Being in the midst of people makes you feel comfortable, confident and safe even if you don’t interact much. When you are deprived of the company of people, the opposite feelings will begin to take shape and affect your mind and your body.