It’s difficult to imagine feeling alone in today’s world. With social media, texting, and virtual … everything … getting any quality alone time is more difficult than ever. Yet, many people seem to feel less connected with the people and the world around them. For these people, loneliness can become a way of life. Long-term loneliness can affect more than just your mood. It can become detrimental to your physical health. Here are some of the ways loneliness affects your body.
When you’re lonely, you might spend a lot more time in bed, but you’re probably not sleeping well. Lonely people tend to experience insomnia and frequent sleep disruptions.
Increased risk of dementia
You can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely if you’re not making genuine connections. Studies have shown that lonely people are at a higher risk for dementia than those who live alone but have strong personal relationships.
Those suffering from chronic loneliness are more likely to have an over-expression of genes connected to cells that produce an inflammatory response. While short-term inflammation is usually not a major concern, inflammation that sticks around can increase your risk for heart disease and cancer.
When you’re lonely, you try to fill the void created by the lack of human connection. One of the most common ways people do this is with food. Think of all the movies you’ve seen where the depressed and broken-hearted character binges on ice cream, chocolate, pizza, pasta … whatever comfort foods are in reach! It fills a void, but jeopardizes your health in the process. This is a slippery slope and can lead to serious issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
We all feel lonely at times. That’s perfectly normal. But when it becomes a constant in our lives, it’s important to do what we can to combat it so that it doesn’t affect our physical well-being. Below are my tips for keeping loneliness at a distance.
Remember to make healthy living a part of every day!
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste. – Dr. Nandi
My prescriptions for beating loneliness.
- Find your tribe. These are the people who get you. They have your back, and you have theirs. Lean on and support each other. Enjoy these genuine connections. Having a tribe can even help you live longer!
- Make face-to-face connections. Social media is great, but don’t live there. Make the effort to meet up with family and friends in the flesh. This is when deep connections are made. You’ll keep loneliness at a distance while enjoying life and having fun.
- Unplug. Instead of connecting to your Wi-Fi, connect with nature. Get outdoors whenever you can. Walk through a park, watch a sunset, play with your kids in the backyard, take a bike ride. Enjoying nature nourishes your body and soul.