Loneliness and feelings of isolation are becoming more common in this age of connectivity. In fact, more than three in five Americans are lonely, according to a recent survey released by health insurer Cigna Insurance.
Even then, more and more people are reporting that they often feel left out, are poorly understood and lacking companionship. Unfortunately, loneliness can do more than just foster feelings of sadness. Recent studies find that loneliness, particularly the chronic kind, is linked to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
More often than not, loneliness makes individuals feel as if no one understands them. In turn, this might make it difficult for them to connect with others on a more intimate level. Loneliness can also foster negative feelings of self-doubt, heavily impact workplace productivity, and fuel overwhelming feelings of isolation.
Earlier studies have also associated loneliness with a heightened risk of obesity, poor immune health, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even death.
These adverse outcomes occur because loneliness activates a biological defense mechanism. In effect, this then leads to changes at the cellular level. For instance, immune cells may promote chronic inflammation as a result of loneliness. It may even accelerate the buildup of plaque in the arteries and help cancer cells spread. Read more…