Loneliness Can Be More Harmful Than Smoking!

Hello, everybody!  I know it has been over a week since I wrote last, and I must admit, I was a little lonely without writing to all of you.  Therefore, lets look at loneliness, and more specifically, how it affects a person physically.

What is Loneliness?

We all have experienced loneliness at one point in our lives.  Loneliness is an emotional reaction to being isolated, alone, and not in social contact with other people.  People can feel lonely at home, in the mall or at the beach.  Human beings are social, and need others to ‘hang out’ with together.  When we start experiencing isolation, we receive an emotional reaction.

The Immune System

The immune system is a biological structure in the human body that is used to fight and protect the body against diseases.  The immune system is complex, but is vital to the function of the body.  It can produce antibodies to fight against viruses and diseases.  However, your immune system can be more or less active.  Sometimes, the immune system is boosted and healthy, meaning it is able to be more efficient against diseases.   Other times, the immune system can become depressed, meaning it is down and less efficient at fighting against diseases.

The Health Effects of Loneliness 

Yes, feeling lonely can actually depress and hinder your immune system.  Loneliness can cause higher inflammation, which makes the immune system go into overdrive.  Also, loneliness can cause a genetic expression, called “conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA)”.  This causes the genes within cells to change their expression to more inflammation, and less immunity.  The white blood cells are hindered by loneliness, which are a major component of the immune system and fighting diseases.

A study found that older adults who were extremely lonely were 14% more likely to die a premature death.

A meta-study, which analyzed dozens of separate studies about the affect of loneliness.  The results found that loneliness can have a worse affect on people than obesity and smoking.

That’s right.  Loneliness could be worse than smoking and obesity!  By no means am I justifying smoking, but it just goes to prove that the side effects of being lonely are serious and can have adverse effects on the human body.

Remaining connected with your friends and family is important.  It is beneficial to you social, phycological and physical health.  This does not mean that you have to be extraverted, or super social.  It is not about the quantity of friends or the amount of “Socialization”.  It is about the quality of those relationships.

I think we all can feel lonely from time to time, but as long as we continue to reach out to others, we can overcome those moments.

Have a great day, everybody!  And remember to do WLYF!

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