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The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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In Spite Of Assumption, It’s “NOT” Lonely At The Top

While there are different issues for all involved in the realm of leadership, a myth needs to be destroyed. For years, we’ve been told that managers, business owners, and the uber-rich had trouble with loneliness. The term “it’s lonely at the top” makes many assume that these people are lonely. In reality, it merely means they are where the buck stops and they are often the final answer. This makes them hard to like for some, but the respect for these people is often high.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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The struggle in places of work for these people is that they cannot have a lot of favorites or friends, in an effort to come off as fair to all. Therefore, people assume that equates to loneliness. Yet researchers at several universities have looked into this and found that, while they do put a terrific burden on themselves involving high-risk decisions, they don’t feel isolated socially. On the contrary, many have reported feeling even more connected to people. Very few report being lonely in these positions.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Volunteering Is A Proven Way To Reduce Loneliness

They say that volunteering can be rewarding. As it allows you to feel like you’re helping someone else. It gives you a special feeling, knowing that you are responsible for making someone’s day, week, or even year. In Seniors, it can be wonderful for them as they can use their skill-sets from life to help those younger than them. Yet younger people can be great to have around as they can come from a peer-like perspective to help people.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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However, volunteering is not only something that can help others, as it can also be useful to those who volunteer. It has been proven in Seniors to boost longevity, as you have a sense of belonging or feeling of use. In both older and younger people, a sense of well-being overall comes from volunteering as well as a boost in mental health. This sense of social connection can actually help people drastically. Therefore, volunteering is just as helpful for the volunteers.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Prison Isolation Creates Even Worse Criminal Behavior

Supermax prisons contain prisoners who are in complete isolation. They are only put there due to doing some pretty horrible things. While these prisons make sense to some, they drive the criminals completely mad. While the case study on isolation-only prisons have proven isolation can be problematic, it has also been used as a punishment at normal prisons. Usually, a prisoner is sent to isolation for an understandable reason such as starting a fight, attacking a guard, or something similar.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Many prisoners are sent there for insane reasons. LGBTQ+ people are often sent there just for being within that community. Others are sent for small problems such as arguments or talking back to guards. Then some are sent just because guards did not want to have to deal with them. Most who spent long-term periods in isolation over their stay in prison had altered behavior when they were released. It can be compared to soldiers before and after PTSD symptoms.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Disabled People And Loneliness

One can be forgiven for assuming all disabled people were those in a wheelchair. Disabilities can come in multiple forms, such as a brain disorder from birth or due to an injury, as well as an illness that affects a person’s nervous system. These people are easy to see as disabled due to visual. Yet there are many forms of disability, even those that we cannot technically see. That includes people who have nerve problems that cannot get out and do as much as their peers.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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It also includes those who have severe GI issues or even people with big-time back problems. Regardless, it does not matter where exactly a person falls on this list. Many have difficulties with making friends or going out, resulting in a lot of loneliness within the disabled community. In fact, as of the last study/survey regarding this, 50% of disabled people reported being lonely. Therefore, you should consider this if you know a disabled person.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Loneliness Can Devalue Your Relationships

When a person is lonely, their perception of any relationship can change. This results in them slowly devaluing those relationships, then withdraw further from the people that obviously care about them. They will even tell themselves things like how they do not feel like they matter to others. Their loneliness has, in this form, led them to a depression stage that caused them to even devalue themselves.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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When a person spends far too much time alone, even when you used to do things with them, they have started this stage of devaluing. It’s not as if they are trying to actively do this, of course. They find themselves in an issue they cannot technically control. Possibly, they won’t talk the way they used to when you hang out with them. The next case, perhaps the worst, is when they begin to push away. Making them remove the very thing that could help.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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When More Tech Arrives, More Loneliness Occurs

Most of our main technology has to do with not having to leave our home to accomplish things, and work from home jobs have only increased in the 2000s & 2010s. Soon we may not have to be anywhere we do not want to be, due to the potential for holograms of ourselves being in large meetings. Yet this lack of connection causes loneliness as well as a potential lack of possible relationships.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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While dating apps help, the best surefire way to meet someone for a romantic connection is still in-person. Meaning you’re less likely to meet someone to develop a relationship with due to new tech that allows us this wonderful freedom. Yes, these freedoms are great and could be used to develop relationships. More often they make people want to push away and simply just stay home or remain in isolation overall. 

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Loneliness Can Make You Blow Things Out Of Proportion

How many times have you had your stress levels hit a 9 or 10? Did you find yourself getting mad over, seemingly, nothing? It could be that you got upset about things that were out of your control as well as out of the control of most around you. Think of things like traffic jams, bad weather, or something similar. It’s almost as if, somehow, nothing could go right for you, and maybe like someone up above was out to get you.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Yet for those who experience loneliness, this is not uncommon. In fact, stress levels like this come from something known as ruminated thinking. Where you spend time alone and let things fester to a point when being out in the world makes things harder. You cannot control things outside your own bubble and that can be tough. Our brains, when unconnected from normal society, will just go into major alert once confronted by the major world around us.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Loneliness Can Even Ruin Sleep

Researchers published findings in something literally known as the Sleep Journal. They found that loneliness has a major effect on our sleeping. Studying people in South Dakota, they kept track of the sleep cycles of 95 people. They compared them with participants that had notable loneliness issues. All of the lonely material on their study subjects was self-reported, and their reporting seemed to hold up.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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They found that the lonelier a person happened to be, the higher their levels of fragmented or interrupted sleep. Basically, loneliness did not keep them from sleeping at all, rather, kept them waking up a lot during the night. It is a proven evolutionary tactic that when we know we’re alone, we’ll have more moments when we experience “micro-awakenings.” This is when you wake up during the night, unaware of things. All in an effort to keep yourself open to possible issues that might occur.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Social Isolation Leads To Far More Cases of Elder Abuse

We’re sure you’ve heard of the horror stories experienced by older people at retirement homes, or those similar, that help to take care of the elderly. The National Center on Elder Abuse found that there is a connection between social isolation and elder abuse. Researchers are not entirely sure why this is the case. Some believe it is simply easier to abuse those that will not have anyone to talk to about the issue in their family or group of friends.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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The most important thing one can do, however, is to speak up about the issue. The only reason places get away with abusing the elderly for so long is that no one spoke up. This could have been out of fear for their lives or those around them, or the fear of not being believed. The best thing we can do as a community is to push for more health and wellness checks at Retirement Homes. We also need to maintain a proper connection to our older loved ones as well.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Physical Activity Can Reduce Loneliness

There are a lot of reasons why physical activity can reduce the feeling of social isolation or loneliness. First and foremost, if you’re physically active, it is rare you’ll only ever be at your home and nowhere else. You might go to the gym, a Yoga Class, or something similar to these. In all forms, you’re putting yourself around others. Even simply going to your local track or park to walk will result in people being around. Physical activity is even more important for Seniors.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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They obviously need to do be involved in activities to keep their brains sharp and their immune systems at tip-top shape. For younger people, physical activity is certainly quite important as well. We build our immune system by exercise. Sitting around all day only serves to make us feel worse. Plus, it can cause leg and/or back problems to do that all day. Keep yourself active, help your health, and make some friends while you’re at it. Pretty good combo.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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Talking To Someone About Your Loneliness Is Proven To Help

From psychologists to therapists and everywhere in-between, discussing your loneliness has proven to be helpful. Simply talking with another person is useful in its own right but by discussing the reasons you’re lonely, you can potentially hear recommendations about what you can do to help cut this down. Your therapist/psychologist will know you and what can work best for your situation.

The Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
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However, your friends will as well. A Red Cross Survey of 1,000 people found that almost 60 percent of respondents admitted they didn’t feel confident talking about loneliness. A third more said they’d never admit to feeling lonely to anyone. We’re simply not talking about the issue, and that is only causing the problem to get worse in our society. Let’s talk about the problem and maybe we can begin to come up with more ways to end loneliness issues.

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