Death By Loneliness is Real – Lonely
One thing scientists can agree on is the grim health effects of loneliness. Study after study has shown that chronic loneliness contributes to heart disease, increased inflammation and a decreased immune system. In fact, scientists say that loneliness is just as dangerous as smoking and obesity.
“I was shocked when I learned this,” said one of the researchers. “Last time I checked, spending time alone wasn’t going to give me lung cancer, but the numbers don’t lie.”
Roughly 40% of adults in the United States are diagnosed with some form of clinical depression. When it comes to loneliness, studies show people suffering from this affliction believe nobody cares about them, and this distortion taps into social isolation, making people hesitant to reach out to others.
“You see, it’s like this, people equal drama. So if I stay home, except to participate in the occasional paid scientific study, and don’t talk to people, I don’t have drama.”
The textbook definition of loneliness is “sadness because one has no friends” but in actuality loneliness is subjective and depends on the individuals opinion about their social needs being met. However, the study produced even more “exciting” results. Scientist learned that over 60% of people who report feeling lonely are married and live with their spouse.
“That part really didn’t surprise me as much as you would think,” explained the lab technician married for over 20 years. “If I didn’t have a television set at home I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to.”
But hope is not lost. Lonely people can take small steps to break free of their loneliness. For starters, researchers suggest not judging others too harshly when you feel slighted. They suggest recalling other times when friends or family were there for you.
“I try,” explained the participant, “but when your own mom forgets your birthday and she doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, it’s a real bummer.”
The takeaway is you have to acknowledge your loneliness and treat it just like you would a smoking habit you want to quit or a diet you actually stick to – schedule activities that put you out there. And one final note, scientists say it doesn’t matter how many cats you adopt, it’s about human interaction.
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