Having a strong social support network is essential during tough times, whether from job stress or a year filled with loss or illness. A social support network is comprised of family, friends, and peers. Having intimate relationships with others helps you feel cared for and maintain optimism, and aids in stress management. All of these emotional benefits lead to stronger immunity to help you fight disease and stress.
Study after study shows that people who are lonely, depressed, and isolated are three to five times more likely to die prematurely than people who feel connection in their life.
But how do you resolve loneliness? Everyone feels a little lonely now and again, and experts say that this forlornness can actually be a good thing, as long as you do something about it. Loneliness is actually an evolutionary adaptation that should spur us to get back to socialising, a state in which we are happier and safer. But could you be lonely without even realising it? These signs point to “yes.”
Loneliness and weight gain often go hand in hand, possibly because we tend to compensate for our blues with food. In addition, loneliness can zap motivation — keeping us on the couch instead of on the treadmill.
Loneliness Can Wreck Restful Sleep
Loneliness can wreck your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep. Research shows that the lonelier you are, the higher the levels of fragmented sleep. Studies show that loneliness does not appear to change the total amount of sleep in individuals, but awakens them more times during the night. When you feel lonely, you show more micro-awakenings. This means you wake up a little bit at night even though you aren’t aware of it.
Steamy Showers & Hot Chocolate
The lonelier a person is, the more showers and baths they take, the hotter the water, and the longer they stay under the water. There’s nothing wrong with this, people are not always in control of the reasons they feel alone. It could be due to a breakup, or a recent move. But comfort is found in the warmth of a hot shower and a hot cuppa.
Love People, Not Stuff
The reason you are so attached to your new computer, suped-up bike, or overpriced purse? According to research, some people go gaga over inanimate objects because they’re lonely. Researchers call this “material possession love,” and you’ve probably witnessed it a number of times: your neighbour who calls his car “baby,” or your great aunt who prides herself on her jewellery collection. Because these folks suffer from a lack of social connections, they start doting on their things. And as you can probably guess, most experts say possessions aren’t a healthy substitute for real live relationships. In fact, a number of studies indicate that having stuff has little effect on your happiness levels; you’d be better off spending the money on an experience, such as a vacation.
Can You Catch Loneliness From a Friend?
You can catch a cold from your friend — but did you know you can catch his loneliness, too? According to research, lonesomeness can be contagious. In fact, you’re 52% more likely to feel lonely if someone you’re directly connected to is lonely as well. Why? When you’re feeling empty or isolated, you may behave in more hostile and awkward ways toward another person, who in turn behaves a bit negatively toward someone else, and so on. The result can be an outbreak of social isolation and rejection.
More Facebook ‘Friends’ Than Real Friends Worsens Loneliness
You know all about your cousin’s recent holiday, but not because she told you about it; you saw her pictures on Facebook. According to Facebook, users spend an average of 50 minutes each on its Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger platforms. Social networking feels temporarily satisfying for people who turn to that as means of interacting. When you’re feeling alone, you might spend more time posting on social networking sites or online game forums than actually picking up that phone and arranging a lunch or dinner date. But having a lot of Facebook friends or Twitter followers won’t do much to stave off loneliness. Instead, research shows it can exacerbate the problem.
Being Lonely Makes You Blow Things out of Proportion
How many nerve-racking experiences have you had in the past month? If you can count them up without much hesitation – traffic jams, terrible weather, rude waitresses – that doesn’t necessarily mean your stars were crossed this month, instead, it could point to loneliness. The effects of loneliness on our health and stress levels is huge. People who reported being lonely also reported more sources of stress and childhood adversity in their lives. The brain goes on the alert for social threats.
Have you packed on the kilos?
Loneliness and weight gain often go hand in hand, possibly because we tend to compensate for our blues with food. In addition, loneliness can zap motivation — keeping us on the couch instead of on the treadmill. And that means it may also be a predictor of health problems, such as high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Feeling Alone Can Make You Ill
Sniffling, sneezing, and feeling crummy overall? It could be a bad case of loneliness. Loneliness has a systemic effect, possibly raising our stress hormone levels and making it harder for our bodies to repair the daily wear and tear of life. We humans are a social species. In fact, being part of a social network is so biologically fundamental that feeling alone and disconnected might actually hurt our immunity.
Nip Loneliness in the Bud to Prevent Depression
Loneliness often goes hand in hand with one major health problem — depression. In fact, loneliness is a specific risk factor for mental health condition. But just because you’ve been feeling lonely doesn’t mean you are doomed to become depressed. Here’s what it does mean: You should start taking steps to nip loneliness in the bud — call up a friend, make dinner plans for next week — so you can prevent depression.