Social, psychological and medical research has now demonstrated conclusively that there is a direct correlation between the degree to which a person feels connected to others and their physical and mental health. Here are some of the most commonly known effects of NOT feeling a connection to others:
- Generally decreased feeling of vitality, less energy and feeling tired more often.
- Greater likelihood of chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.
- More frequent bouts of sickness, such as colds or flu, and longer recovery times.
- Longer recovery times from injury.
- Regular feelings of loneliness.
- Increased likelihood of depression.
- Decreased level of happiness and satisfaction with life in general.
- Shorter life spans.
Examples from one day’s media stories – Thursday, August 30, 2007
- The toll loneliness takes accumulates with time and goes right down to the cellular level. — University of Chicago
- Lonely middle-aged and older people report more chronic stress and lt more helpless and threatened than non-lonely people with the same number of stressful challenges and blood pressure was 16 points higher in lonely people over 65. — Current Directions in Psychological Science
- Loneliness is linked to accelerated wear and tear on the body, due to the interruption of restorative sleep. Even college-age lonely people had poorer quality sleep. — Science Daily
- Longevity increased by 22 per cent among people 70 and older with a large circle of friends compared to those with the fewest. — Australian Centre for Aging Studies
- The weakest immune response to flu vaccine among young people is found in the most isolated and lonely first-year university students. — Journal of Health Psychology
- Alzheimer’s disease is twice as likely to develop in lonely people. — Archives of General Psychiatry
- Feelings of social isolation are linked to alterations in the activity of genes that control inflammation. The study provides a molecular framework for understanding why social factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections and cancer. — University of California