How Does Loneliness Affect Your Mental and Physical Health?

How Does Loneliness Affect Your Mental and Physical Health?

Loneliness is something that we all experience at some point in our lives. It can negatively influence every aspect of a person’s life. With all the recent uncertainty and the necessity of isolation, there is a more significant focus on the effects of loneliness. It has become more critical than ever to understand what isolation can do to a person. We need to have a good understanding of why social connections are so important for our sense of well-being. Finding new and unique ways to make social connections is important as it is one of the principles that are a foundation for holistic health

Loneliness is not exclusive to being isolated from people. If you aren’t feeling a strong personal connection with the people around you, it can also lead to feeling lonely, even if you aren’t technically alone. When the people around you don’t really understand who you are as a person, it can affect the strength of your connection, and you can still feel lonely. You can also feel loneliness if your relationships are mainly casual and don’t get deeper than surface level when you are interacting.  

How Does Loneliness Affect Physical Health?

Human beings are social creatures. From the time we are born, we depend on the relationships around us to thrive. We shape our culture around group settings like work and religion. The connections you have with the people around you are essential to your overall well-being. When you are not getting the social connection you need to thrive, it can affect you detrimentally. The effects are not just mental either; being lonely can have a significant impact on your physical health. 

When you experience loneliness, it can increase your levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. This puts your body in a physical state of stress. That kind of stress can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. It can also lower your immune system, causing you to be more susceptible to illness. Stress often leads to unhealthy habits, which contribute to extreme weight loss or weight gain. Cortisol directly affects your natural ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can exacerbate many of the effects of stress. 

How Is Mental Health Affected by Loneliness?

There is a definitive correlation between loneliness and poor mental health. When you don’t have safe and satisfying relationships with your social group, you cannot thrive psychologically. People experiencing loneliness are far more likely to have a negative outlook and experience symptoms of depression. Loneliness can also spike anxiety and stress levels. Prolonged loneliness has also been shown to increase your risk of developing other psychiatric conditions, such as mood disorders or personality disorders. It has even been linked to a higher risk of developing dementia later in life.

Loneliness and stress can decrease cognitive functions, especially if sleep patterns are interrupted. Feeling foggy or groggy is a common experience. If you are experiencing loneliness, you might have a hard time with tasks like problem-solving. You might find it harder to concentrate and complete tasks. Memory and recall might also be affected by loneliness. Not having social connections can severely impact your ability to function well day to day. 

Fighting Loneliness

There are several things you can do to fight off feelings of loneliness in your life. Reducing the amount of time you are spending on social media is one of the best ways to stop feeling lonely. The connections you make on social media can’t give you the mental health benefits that in-person relationships do. When you are trying to improve your social well-being make sure that you are not relying too heavily on social media, which can actually increase your feelings of loneliness. 

Getting out into your community is a great way to find people to connect with. You might consider trying a new social hobby. You could look for experiences like exercise classes, book clubs, or gaming groups. You might even find some fun community events like festivals or trivia competitions. Find something that you enjoy, and then look for ways that you can experience it with other people.

Finding ways to give back to your community can also help you make connections with people. Volunteer opportunities provide a lot of mental health benefits and will also help you find new people to connect with. Connecting with your local volunteer community can provide a sense of belonging. When you are providing service alongside other volunteers, you will most likely develop a special bond. 

Seeking Out Support

Sometimes you might find yourself overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness. Feeling disconnected from your social group can be hard to cope with. You might also feel some social anxiety when thinking about trying to find a new social group. If you could use some extra support to develop social connections there are resources available to you. At Alter Wellness Care, we can help you discover the skills and opportunities you need to overcome anything you are struggling with, from social anxiety to depression stemming from loneliness. We strive to make a special connection with each of our clients, and we will provide you with the support you need.

Loneliness can be detrimental to our mental and physical health. It will affect all areas of your life. We need relationships with other people to thrive. At Alter Wellness Care, we have the resources to help you find healthy social connections. Our group experiences can help you strengthen your health and connect with people who have similar goals. Our amazing team can provide a variety of services to help you make and achieve your goals. We want to support you in developing the confidence and skills you need to thrive. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 to find out how we can help you beat loneliness and start living to your fullest potential today.

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