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Loneliness Can Affect Your Physical Wellness in Surprising Ways

Update Date: Jul 29, 2019 11:43 AM EDT

Loneliness can have detrimental effects on your mental wellbeing, but it can also wreak havoc on your physical wellbeing, too. Read more to find out how.

Everyone knows that if you want to be physically fit, you have to eat right, drink water, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. However, there's another aspect of your lifestyle that is often overlooked and that is loneliness.

We all know how loneliness can affect our mental health, but today we want to highlight five ways loneliness can have a negative effect on your physical wellbeing.

  Loneliness Can Cause Inflammation

In 2007, Steve Cole, a professor of biobehavioral sciences, Medicine, and Psychiatry at UCLA conducted a study in which he explored how the body reacts to loneliness. In his study, he concluded that those who experience intense feelings of loneliness often experience inflammation. 

Inflammation is the body's defense mechanism that protects us from injury and infection. With that said, when a body has too much of it, it could lead to cancer and other serious illnesses. 

  Loneliness Makes Socializing Difficult

When you tell someone that you're feeling lonely, they may tell you to go out and socialize or find a date. What these well-intentioned people don't realize is that when you're feeling alone, you're going to be much more sensitive to social situations. 

Let's say you go on a dating website for lonely people in your area. You might go in feeling optimistic because one would assume that finding a date online would be easy. But, when you're feeling lonely, you're going to be more skeptical of people, so much so that you could lose out on a great catch.

  Loneliness Can Put You at Risk for Heart Disease

Do you know how we mentioned that loneliness can affect your body's natural defense system and cause serious illnesses? A 2016 study of 181,000 lonely adults revealed that 32% of participants had an increased risk of having a stroke and 29% were at risk of coronary heart disease. 

  Loneliness Affects Your Eating Habits

Individuals who suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation don't always have the best eating habits. For some, they use food as a way of coping with the loneliness they're feeling. By using food as comfort, weight gain is a possibility. 

With that said, there are those who are the complete opposite. Instead of eating to numb the feelings of loneliness, they feel so down and out that they just don't want to eat. Unfortunately, loneliness is linked to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. 

  Loneliness Can Cause a Decline in Hygiene and Activity

Loneliness doesn't just affect your eating habits, it can affect how active you are. You're not going to feel motivated to do much of anything. You won't want to exercise, maintain good hygiene, clean the house and more. This is because loneliness can cause depression and can make even the simplest of tasks seem like a massive undertaking. 

In 2006, a study revealed that when people feel lonely, they have more symptoms of depression, therefore making it difficult to do day-to-day tasks. What's interesting is that there is no one age group that is more likely to develop depression as a result of loneliness. On top of that, those feelings tend to fester and become more severe the longer we feel alone. 

  Loneliness and Physical Health Wrap Up

When people think of lonely people, they might assume that it's a self-imposed situation. They may picture a hermit that never comes to the door. They may picture a grump who hates being around others. They may even picture a hormonal teenager who feels like no one understands them and never will. 

The truth of the matter is, loneliness can affect everyone and anyone. Even the richest socialites can experience loneliness!

So what are you supposed to do if you're feeling lonely? Well, for starters you can call up a friend for a bit of support. If you don't go to your friends, involve yourself with a community organization. Not only will you be around more people, but you're giving back to the community, which also lends itself to boosting one's mood. 

A little bit of peace and quiet by yourself is fine. Many of which actually prefer their solitude. Just remember that socializing is good for you, be it going on a few dates, joining a gym, or just meeting up with a friend to catch

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