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Psychologists reveal 2 simple methods to fight the effects of loneliness

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“The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.” Other studies also confirmed the ill effects that loneliness has on our health: It’s bad for the heart Anne Vinggaard Christensen, a researcher from The Heart Centre at Copenhagen University Hospital, found that loneliness was associated with poor outcomes in patients suffering from heart disease, regardless of their age, level of education, other diseases, body mass index, alcohol intake, and whether they smoked.

For many of us who’ve been working from home over the past months, it can start to feel isolating when your interactions with friends and loved ones are confined to texts, calls, video chats, or the rare masked visit. For people without strong social ties, this can lead to loneliness, which recent research has shown to be a huge danger to our health.

“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, said in 2017. “Yet an increasing portion of the US population now experiences isolation regularly.”

looked at data from more than 200 studies. In one, she and her team looked at 148 studies that represented more than 300,000 participants and found that greater social connection is associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of early death. In a second analysis that involved 70 studies representing more than 3.4 million people, the researchers found that social isolation, loneliness, or living alone had a significant effect on the risk of premature death that was equal to or more than other risk factors such as obesity.

“Many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic,’” Holt-Lunstad said. “The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”

Other studies also confirmed the ill effects that loneliness has on our health:

It’s bad for the heart

Anne Vinggaard Christensen, a researcher from The Heart Centre at Copenhagen University Hospital, found that loneliness was associated with poor outcomes in patients suffering from heart disease, regardless of their age, level of education, other diseases, body mass index, alcohol intake, and whether they smoked. She reached after looking at questionnaires and health outcomes of 13,463 patients who were discharged from the hospital.

It causes cellular changes

Loneliness triggers physiological responses that can , according to research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Analyzing humans and rhesus macaques, a highly social primate species, the researchers found that feeling alone leads to fight-or-flight stress signaling that can ultimately affect the production of white blood cells, leading to a less effective immune response and more inflammation.

It could lead to poor sleep

In a study of more than 2,000 British young adults, King’s College London researchers found that lonelier people were 24 percent and have difficulty concentrating during the day. Researchers theorize this could be due to lonely people feeling less safe, and that they could have a heightened biological stress response.

Loneliness is bad for your health, but fortunately there are two simple ways to fight back against its effects.

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