Loneliness kills. It is dangerous than obesity and about as deadly as smoking, warns an article in The Atlantic. “A lack of social connections can spark inflammation and changes in the immune system, so lonely people are far more likely to die prematurely.”
Surprisingly, lonely people tend to become lonelier with time. “People with few social connections experience brain changes that cause them to be more likely to view human faces as threatening, making it harder for them to bond with others.”
John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, has studied loneliness and has ideas about overcoming it. He says loneliness is not about being alone but ‘feeling alone’. It also serves a purpose, like hunger. “Hunger takes care of your physical body. Loneliness takes care of your social body.” It lets us know that we need to bond with people.
“Think about patients in hospitals: They aren’t alone, they have all the support they could ask for, but they tend to feel very lonely.” A married person may feel lonely if the cannot connect with their spouse and family.
Digital interactions on facebook do nothing to ward off the feeling. “If the only acceptance you can get of yourself is a fake representation on the web, that’s not going to make you feel connected.”
Is there a way lonely people can come out of this self-stoking cycle? Cacioppo suggests doing volunteer service in something they enjoy.
He has a plan to “ease your way back into social connections.” Begin by extending yourself a little bit at a time; recognise that it is going to be hard– most people won’t like you and that’s alright; seek out people with similar interests, activities and values, and do all of these expecting the best outcome, not seeing others as a threat to yourself.
At last I just want to say that–
“Take initiative and don’t fear from anything. Its your life so do what you want to do.”
And “live positive, stay positive.” Keep smiling………