The Effects Of Loneliness On Health
Loneliness is an alarmingly concrete reality of our times. People are so incessantly busy that whatever little free time they do get, they prefer to reserve it for themselves since it gives them a chance to recuperate from their exhausting lives.
Being lonely and solitary aren’t the same thing. Solitude is often described as sweet for a reason. You can be alone without feeling lonely. You spend that time on self-work, which includes everything from pampering yourself with beauty and retail therapy to pursuing a forgotten hobby, from implementing a favoured fitness regime to meditating and praying.
Loneliness, on the other hand, is characterized by a despondent state of mind, which develops when you are, or feel like you are, cut off from friends, family, and other recreational circles that once made you feel happy, positive, motivated, and secure.
Loneliness is an alarmingly concrete reality of our times. People are so incessantly busy that whatever little free time they do get, they prefer to reserve it for themselves since it gives them a chance to recuperate from their exhausting lives. But, unmoderated, it can become one of those addictive habits which force you to avoid interpersonal relationships to the extent that people around you don’t bother with making sure you’re present around them. When you realize this, it suddenly begins to feel lonely.
Health and wellness issues stemming from loneliness are many, especially for people who feel lonely in a crowd. After all, what could possibly be worse than having all the support systems and resources at your disposal and still feeling like you don’t have many, or much, to lean upon?
An attack on confidence and self-esteem
Everybody feels lonely from time to time. But you’re really letting it control you, instead of teaching yourself to control it, when you begin to wonder if it’s your fault that people don’t want you.
Harsh as it may sound, there’s always the possibility that you could’ve done something to invite isolation from others. However, there’s also the possibility that you’re reading too much into the fact that people around you aren’t able to make as much time for you as before because they’ve got too much on their plate. You may not be their top priority at a given point in time, but it doesn’t mean you’re not a priority. A constructive inspiration to take from this would be to be as happily busy in your life as others are in theirs.
The physical manifestations of loneliness are deep-seated
Outward indicators of loneliness are but a hint of what’s going on inside. These indicators include drastic weight loss or weight gain, fluctuations in dietary habits and sleeping patterns, a lackadaisical approach to grooming and self-presentation, and a sporadic focus on work. Science has also shown a connection between loneliness and cardiovascular problems and a higher probability of death, especially in older persons.
Though they are distinctively independent concepts, loneliness and depression have been scientifically proven to be correlated. In some grave cases, loneliness has been found to increase the tendency towards substance abuse, physical abuse, and self-infliction.
The (sometimes continuous) lack of social interaction affects the quality of intellectual stimulation in lonely people. They get rusty with conversational skills and develop mild to alarming degrees of social anxiety, shyness, or awkwardness. Due to a long-standing habit of reduced social exposure, they don’t necessarily feel motivated to keep abreast with the latest developments in current affairs or the local goings-on in their city/country. This makes them self-conscious about contributing to discussions in social groups, and they withdraw within themselves even more. In the case of intense and consuming psychotic illnesses, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, loneliness is sadly at the crux of a vicious circle wherein the cognitive breakdown and associated behavioural patterns feed into each other to increase loneliness.
Vehement scientific and intellectual discussions exist and continue to increase on the subject of whether loneliness should be treated as an illness in its own right. Loneliness is an emotion. It’s what someone feels as a result of or in response to the surrounding circumstances and people. In some cases, the person suffering from loneliness may genuinely not be able to help themselves and may need medical guidance and mentorship. In cases where the reality isn’t so severe, it’s hopefully possible for people to find it within themselves, with help from family, friends, or colleagues, to avoid the comfortable trap of misery enjoying company, and then misery enjoying miserable company.