By Y K Gupta Updated on April 15, 2020
Ever wondered how loneliness affects your body and mind? Effects of loneliness on your body and mind can be devastating to your physical and mental health, which we will discuss in detail in this article.
But before explaining further the effects of loneliness on your body and mind let us first find out what pushes you towards loneliness.
What are your priorities in life?
The reason that you find yourself lonely are hidden in the priorities you have fixed for your life. As for most of us priorities in our life are money fame and achievements.
And to achieve this goal of money and fame you compromise on the attention and time deep relationships deserve.
You do this in the impression that money and fame will result in leading a good life for you. But alas, you are wrong. Money and fame are not the predominant ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life.
Instead, these are the deep satisfying relationships which lead to a happy and fulfilling life.
In absence of deep relationships in which you experience deep bond you are more likely to fall prey of loneliness which affects your body and mind so adversely.
We will discuss the effects of loneliness on our body and mind soon.
But before that watch this video to find what, Dr.Robert J Waldinger, professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Harvard Study of Adult Development, has to say on the subject of effects of loneliness on your body and mind-
Findings of more than 75 years long and still continuing Harvard study on the topic of adult development
The study was started in the year 1938 on 724 men then in their teens, although some of them have left to their heavenly abode, yet some are still with us.
The findings of the study on the subject matter of the effects of loneliness on our body and mind are detailed here under –
Effects of loneliness on our body and mind
Lonely people tend to lack longevity compared to happy people. Their brain functioning is affected adversely by the loneliness and their health deteriorate fast, particularly when they grow older.
Their memory gets retarded earlier than the people who are well connected.
For lonely people pain gets magnified and they are also tested with higher cholesterol levels compared to people who are enjoying deep meaningful relationships.
So, if you want a healthy body and a healthy mind then please don’t fall prey of loneliness, avoid isolation and be connected. For achieving this feat care for your relationships.
And always choose quality over quantity in your relationships. As shallow relationships don’t lead to much of the happiness.
Rather these are deep, meaningful relationships with a select few people, particularly your relationship with your spouse, which decide your level of happiness and contentment in your life.
Care for deep meaningful relationships with your spouse,family and friends. Create a deep and lasting bond with the people around you, so you have someone to fall back upon at the time of need.
As, just the feeling that you have someone, you can fall back upon at a time of need, results in increase of your happiness and satisfaction from life which results in healthy body and mind.
Now, we will discuss in further details, how you can avoid falling prey of loneliness and safeguard yourself against toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind-
1. Deep relationships with spouse and family
Your relationship with your spouse will ultimately decide whether you have lived a life of happiness and contentment or not.
This is the relationship in which we expend most of the time of our life, more than we spend with our parents or children.
So care for this relationship as much as you can. As a high conflict marriage is disastrous to not only to the health and happiness of both the partners but also their children and extended family.
For this give quality time to the spouse and family. Be with them, listen to them and understand their emotional needs.
And try to find out pain points through the process of in depth discussions of issues involved and understanding of one another’s emotional needs. So you and your family could develop a deep and lasting bond.
2. An ailing relationship with your spouse is not good for your body and mind
A bleeding relationship, particularly with your spouse, is not good for your body and mind. Continuous pain of this bleeding relationship affects your brain adversely which results in affecting your memory.
In addition to affecting your body and mind adversary, it also affects your social acceptance and reputation. You as well as people around you, treat yourself as a failure at least in this particular area of your life.
Which in turn have a potential to depress you and which also adversely affects your ability to maintain the existing connections with the people and creating new ones, exposing you further to the threat of loneliness and isolation.
This also limits your chances of success in other areas of your personal and professional life.
Further, its toxic affects also spill over to other areas of your life. As, depressed and unhappy, you are unlikely perform splendidly in social and professional areas as well.
Further, as your heart is heavy and your mind remains clouded with the conflicts, arguments and pain resulting from non acceptance of each other, it results in impairing your ability to think rationally and take right decisions.
3. If you have an ailing relationship with your spouse fix it ….soon
The only way out there is to make a truce, as early as possible. Don’t get stuck in a status quo. If nothing works then the last option is exiting from such bleeding toxic relationship.
I repeat,don’t live in a status quo, fix it quickly. I have discussed this aspect of life in further details in my article- Don’t Let Anyone Steal your Happiness.
Otherwise, you are bound to live a miserable life with a continuous agonizing pain as science has proved that for an unhappy person, physical pain also get magnified.
And this obviously will adversely affect your happiness, performance and success in other areas of your life as well.
As when your mind is in a continuous pain resulting from an ailing relationship with your spouse, it is really hard for you to interact properly with the friends, other members of your family and your colleagues.
And need not to say, it will soon make you unpopular and isolated.
4. Deep relationships with friends
Choose quality over quantity. It is better to have 5 close friends than having 5000 shallow friendships on face book. Keep friends who understand you and you can trust and rely on them.
And of course you also need to reciprocate in the same manner. For this I suggest to limit your time on social media and TV, particularly on those areas where you can not affect the outcome and which don’t add any value to your life.
Rather, such programs on TV and discussions and arguments on social media only kill your time and distract you from your goals.
Save this time and invest it in people who care for you. And for the people you care for, like your family friends and society you live in.
5. Care for your lonely parents
If your parents live alone away from your nuclear family then ask them to join your family. If they oblige then not only you will be protecting them from ill effects of loneliness but also adding to their as well as your happiness.
6. Be socially connected
To safeguard yourself from the toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind you have to connect with the society you live in. For this join either some group or social activity that interests you.
And chances are high that in such group you may stumble upon with like minded people company of whom, you may enjoy and later on you may develop a deep bond with them.
Being social is you innate nature. Because from primitive ages we human love to live in groups. This behavior is our second nature and is embedded in our psyche.
And this is why, that when you are lonely or isolated you feel so insecure and inadequate resulting in unhappiness which further translates into ill effects on your body and mind.
By connecting with society not only you will be safeguarding yourself from the ill effect of loneliness but also be contributing to the society in a meaningful manner, making lives good for other people.
And this is bound to result in deep satisfaction and a sense of contentment for you.
7. Find some other lonely person around and company with him
There might be people nearby you, who might be struggling with same problem of loneliness and isolation. Just explore if you can company with them to minimize your own as well as their loneliness.
You may create a group of such lonely people or alternatively join such a group if available nearby.
However, ensure that it adds to your happiness and doesn’t affect it adversely.
8. To minimize toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind, get a pet
They are selfless creatures and don’t have a grudge against you like humans, even if you occasionally mistreat them.
Well, I am not suggesting that you may mistreat them. I am just discussing their characteristics.
How can you even think of mistreating such a cute and loyal friend?
If you ever had a pet dog you will already be aware of this fact that no welcome can match with a welcome by your pet dog, when you are back home either from your office or from a long vacation.
In a nutshell if you go for a pet, particularly a dog you will minimize the toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind to a large extant.
However, if you ask me to tell one thing to safeguard from ill effects of loneliness on your body and mind. Then my answer will be, it is deep meaningful relationships and of course, at the top of the list is your relationship with your spouse.
Wish you a healthy body and mind.
Y K Gupta