Loneliness threatens our overall health. Yes you heard it right - not only does loneliness gravely affect our mental and psychological health, but it also goes on to impact our physical wellbeing. There are certain steps that you can take to battle loneliness and stay more connected with people.
Loneliness has become more pervasive than before, and it is important to take this issue seriously. "In present times the society is moving towards more and more individualistic way of living and there is a lot of isolation that is detrimental for all age groups, especially for children and the elderly," Dr Priyanka Yadav, a consultant psychiatrist based in Delhi-NCR told dailyO
American actress Brittany Snow, 37, opened up about her mental health challenges in a recent interview with Bustle magazine. Snow candidly spoke about having a difficult last year, and that she wouldn't have been able to get through that tumultuous time period without the support of her friends. She specifically referred to her Pitch Perfect movie costars who became "family" to her.
2022 took a toll on Snow's mental health as she went through a divorce with her ex-husband Tyler Stanaland and just a few days after that her grandmother had passed away.
It was during this time that she sought help from one of the Pitch Perfect cast mates (unnamed), who took care of Britanny's health. Snow basically met one of her Pitch Perfect co-stars and said that she "fell down to the ground and just cried and laid there." She said that her friend "basically nursed me back to health for like four days."
Snow also co-authored the book September Letters Finding Strength and Connection in Sharing Our Stories, which got published on May 23, 2023. The book is essentially a collection of letters, notes, advice, conversations with mental health experts, celebrities and friends and the September Letters community. It is a guide for people to know that they are not alone.
Loneliness has become more widespread than before, and has a grave impact on our mental and physical health.
Lonely people are at a higher risk of premature death, dementia, depression, anxiety, heart diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure. "An increase in the rate of depression in early population can be attributed to this isolation," Dr Priyanka said.
In a report by Dr Vivek Murthy, MD, the US Surgeon General, emphasizes that including a person's health, lifestyle practices, age and socioeconomic status, studies showcase that social connectedness impacts mortality and increases someone's "chances of living longer by 50 per cent."
When asked about the physical affects of loneliness, Dr Sundeep Khandelwal, a physician based in Delhi-NCR told dailyO: "Loneliness can lead to sleep deprivation, it also negatively affects your heart health, can lead to obesity." "Loneliness can cause stress which can which can increase your blood pressure, and affect your memory and problem-solving skills," he said.
Tips on how to stay connected
Here are some tips to combat loneliness:
1. Nurture and foster your existing social relationships
Fostering or nurturing existing social ties is important for our overall wellbeing.
Taking one step at a time in developing a relationship/connection with anyone is key, it is a sustained activity that you can begin with small acts of love such as thoughtful text messages, checking-in on your friends and family, and giving genuine time and attention when you're with people.
Dr Yadav asserts, "connection is a very important human need if it is not full filled then it can actually make you quite susceptible to depression and it and stress and many other mental disorders."
2. Join a group or e-community that shares the same interest as you
To achieve that feeling of belonging, you can join different kinds of groups that share the same interest and liking as yours.
Becoming a part of a group whether physically or an e-community online encourages you to interact with individuals on topics of interest - whether it is fashion, baking, cooking, sports etc. Learn different views and limits your social isolation.