Home BiologyThe Science Behind How Being Lonely Affects Humans
BiologyBy Joe Burgett -

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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