5 Shocking Effects Loneliness Can Have On Your Health

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lonely man

Nearly all of us feel lonely at some point in our lives. Whether it’s moving house or starting a new job, loneliness can be triggered by various different things. However, the good news is for the majority of us is this tends to be a temporary feeling until we get settled. For others though, loneliness can be a way of life.

This is where we cross over to the CNN website, which has an interesting article which outlines five hidden truths everyone should know about being lonely. It lists some of the findings scientists have discovered over the years and they may surprise you:

It May Affect Your Brain In A Similar Way To Physical Pain

As CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes in a column for O Magazine regarding a 2003 study:

“A remarkable study led by Naomi Eisenberger, an associate professor of social psychology at UCLA, found that being excluded — which can push you to the social perimeter and, as a result, cause feelings of loneliness — triggered activity in some of the same regions of the brain that register physical pain.

“From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense; our prehistoric ancestors relied on social groups not just for companionship, but for survival.”

It Can Increase Your Risk Of Dementia

In a 2012 study of nearly 2,200 older adults living in Amsterdam, researchers found that participants who reported feeling lonely — regardless of the number of friends and family surrounding them — were more likely to experience dementia than those who lived alone.

After adjusting for factors like age, the researchers found that feeling lonely raised the risk of dementia by 64%. But, they cautioned, that does not prove that loneliness causes dementia and noted that the opposite could be true as well, because dementia and its accompanying mood changes could contribute to some of the social withdrawal of loneliness.

Remember that if you are suffering from loneliness, you don’t have to go through it on your own. There are a number of great helplines out there such as Mind or Samaritans, who both offer 100% confidentiality.

At work, it can be beneficial telling your boss how you’re feeling or alternatively, getting involved in general office chitchat can also help to relieve emotional and psychological stress. Make sure to take a look through the post or check out some of the helplines above if you feel like you’re suffering from loneliness.

 


About Matt Lawson

Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.

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