Many people often don’t think about loneliness as having a profound impact on their health. They simply see themselves as being able to do anything they want without having to answer to anyone else. While it might be nice to have the freedom to do what you want when you want, loneliness can end up having a detrimental impact on your health. In fact, it can end up causing you to suffer from physical illness and even cognitive decline.
The Effects Of Loneliness
People need contact with other people. It’s a basic part of life. Without human contact and interaction, your life will be negatively impacted. Loneliness can be devastating. Imagine not having someone that you could talk to every day, even if it is just to discuss something you did or someone you have seen. How would you feel being isolated and alone? Social isolation can affect you in a way that you never dreamed possible. Having a kind ear and someone to listen to you every day can make a huge difference in your life.
Many individuals who are lonely find themselves turning to something else for comfort. This often means food. Before they know it, they have consumed twice as much food as they normally would. In turn, they end up gaining 10, 20 even 50 pounds. Someone who used to be a vibrant individual and was healthy can end up being someone who is struggling to get around and do all of the things that they enjoy. Obesity is a serious problem today.
Countless individuals struggle to lose weight and regain control of their health, but when you are lonely, it seems like a never-ending battle that you can’t ever win. Obesity leads to problems like gallstones, sleep apnea, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart problems and much more. It is because of this that you want to make sure someone you know or love isn’t suffering from loneliness. Their physical health and well-being could end up being severely impacted by something that could have been avoided with a simple phone call or visit.
Stress Levels Rise Higher and Higher
When you are lonely, your body also tends to be stressed from all of the social isolation. Your body starts releasing an uncontrollable amount of cortisol and your blood pressure rises because you feel so alone and beside yourself. This increased level of cortisol isn’t good for your body. You end up struggling to fall asleep at night because your body is so wound up it cannot seem to unwind and relax at the end of the day.
All of the extra blood flowing through your system isn’t good for your body either. In fact, it could end up causing your heart muscles to have to work harder just to keep everything regulated. The blood vessels could end up being damaged by the extra turbulence. Next thing you know you are at risk of having a heart attack, stroke or hardened arteries all because your body couldn’t handle the stress.
If you aren’t using your memory and other cognitive abilities on a regular basis, it makes sense that you are going to start losing them. This cognitive decline could end up leading to Alzheimer’s simply because your mind wasn’t being stimulated enough on a regular basis. Social isolation can cause your health to decline as a whole, but it also increases the rate of cognitive decline and affects your overall performance. By using your memory and cognitive thinking abilities on a regular basis, you can keep your mind sharp and prevent or slow down the progression of certain diseases.
Don’t ever underestimate the importance of social interaction. It could end up being the key to a longer life and good health in general.