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Being a danger to yourself

The risks of loneliness

By AstromanPublished about a month ago 3 min read


loneliness can increase your risk of

heart disease by 29% and Stroke by 32%

which is huge numbers and is not

something to ignore I'm Mia de graph I'm

the deputy editor for health at Business

Insider we're going to talk about how

loneliness affects your brain and

body the thing with loneliness is that

it's quite

complicated when you are lacking in

meaningful social connections your body

is conscious of the fact that you're

alone so it starts to turn up the dial

on your stress response your sympathetic

nervous system starts to go on high

alert so it's natural that you might

feel more paranoid it's natural that you

might feel more suspicious of people and

not feel as open to connecting with

other people and it turns down the dial

in certain parts of your brain where you

feel love connection

relationship then you hit into this

vicious cycle and that's what scientists

refer to as the Paradox of loneliness

because loneliness drives you to retreat

and makes it harder for you to Crave

that meaningful interaction that would

resolve this feeling there's a chain

reaction that happens with the hormones

in your body first thing is your

cortisol levels go into complete

disarray it's what Peaks when you drink

coffee it's also what what wakes you up

in the morning it's that kind of Buzzy

feeling but it's also what elevates when

you get stressed your dopamine increas P

es this is a feel-good hormone but it

really drives you towards quick rewards

so that may be drinking gambling and

going out without thinking about the

consequences for yourself you'll also

see a decrease in serotonin oxytocin and

your natural opioid levels when you

speak to a friend or you eat a meal that

is just so delicious you'll get these

natural rushes of things which will be

natural pain relievers those things will

all decrease

when you're feeling lonely you start to

see this cascading effect on your

physical health so the short-term

effects are an increase in anxiety an

increase in stress so you may Retreat

just generally feel more tired generally

feel less of an Impulse to go out and

also feel this increased anxiety and

paranoia in a lonely body the longer

term effects are you're more likely to

be sick more often more likely to be

susceptible to the flu covid a slight

cough that's going around in your office

that's also linked to pain in your body

so chronic pain back pain or just

generally feeling run down most of the

time your sleep quality is not very good

so you may sleep exactly the same amount

of hours but you'll wake up and you're

quite tired you're slightly uneasy

loneliness impacts your memory that can

lead to cognitive decline it can be a

precursor to dementia increased

inflammation caused by loneliness or

honesty by anything directly impacts the

heart and heart disease is the number

one killer in the US loneliness can even

affect your life expectancy it can

increase your risk of premature death on

a level that's comparable with smoking

which is the number one preventable

cause of death in the US and around the

world it's hard to believe but there is

really strong evidence to suggest that

just connecting with people even if it's

one small piece of the puzle will at

least shift the needle a little bit

towards making you feel better

physically as well as emotionally

there's actually a lot of research that

shows that hearing the voice of someone

you care about has a direct impact on

your brain and on your your nervous

system but there are other things like

art for example art therapy has really

grown in recent years and it's something

that in Sun rehabilitation centers art

therapy is really integral there's a lot

of research that just seeing nature is

really really good for you so going

outside speaking to people picking up

the phone exercising speaking to

strangers ultimately what you're really

looking for is understanding what makes

you happy you're not looking to be

surrounded by people and you're not

looking to engage in a social scene just

to be there what you're looking for is

to connect with people on a level that

really really deeply connects with you

and that will have a really tangible

physical effect act on

self helphealinghappinessadvice

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