Loneliness doesn’t just affect your mind, it can also cause a number of health issues. For example, research shows that feeling lonely can raise your blood pressure. The risk of heart disease and dementia also increases.
More recently, researchers have concluded that social isolation and loneliness can have more serious consequences than obesity and smoking. According to two meta-analyses, loneliness and social isolation pose a greater public health threat than obesity, increasing the risk of premature death by up to 50%.
The first analysis, which looked at 148 studies involving more than 300,000 adults, found that social isolation increased the risk of premature death by 50%. The second, which evaluated 70 studies including more than 3.4 million individuals, showed that social isolation, loneliness and living alone were correlated with an increased risk of mortality by 29, 26 and 32%. respectively.
Overall, this is comparable to the risk of premature death associated with obesity and other well-established mortality risk factors, including the risks associated with smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Surely you are not the only one facing loneliness. The question is what to do.
Here are a few suggestions and strategies drawn from a variety of sources that can help you combat loneliness:
1) Join a club
Proactive approaches to meeting other people include joining a club and planning get-togethers with family, friends or neighbours.
Many communities also have community gardens where you can enjoy the outdoors while mingling with your neighbors.
2) Learn a new discipline
Take a training course or join a learning course class in a field.
3) Set up rituals:
Rituals are a powerful way to overcome loneliness. Examples include weekly chat sessions with your girlfriends or making mealtime a special time to connect with your family without rushing.
4) Consider a digital cleanup
If your online life has outgrown face-to-face interactions, consider taking a break from social media while taking proactive steps to meet people in person. Recent research shows that Facebook can do more harm than good for your emotional well-being, increasing your risk of depression, especially if your contacts’ posts are envy-inducing. In a recent study, Facebook users who took a week-long break from the site reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and improved emotional life.
5) Join a gym
Joining a sports club or team sport creates opportunities to meet people while improving your physical condition.
6) Shop near you
Regularly frequenting local shops, cafes or markets can help develop your sense of community and foster relationship building.
7) Adopt a pet
A dog or cat can provide unconditional love and comfort, and studies show that owning a pet can help protect against loneliness, depression, and anxiety. The bond that forms between a person and a pet can be incredibly satisfying and, in many ways, serves as an important and rewarding relationship.
The research on this subject is really very deep. Research on this subject has gone very far. For example, having a dog as a companion could add years to your life, as studies have shown that owning a dog has played a significant role in survival rates among heart attack victims.
Studies have also shown that people who own a pet make fewer visits to the doctor. The unconditional acceptance and love that the dog gives to its owner has a positive impact on the emotional health of its owner, including: Boosting self-confidence and self-esteem Helping to meet new friends and promoting communication between elderly residents and neighbors
8) Change jobs or places of work
Although the most drastic of all the options, it may be the answer for some. To make it worthwhile, be sure to identify the environment or culture that best matches your personality and consider the closeness of longtime friends and family.