Loneliness is more than just a fleeting emotion; it’s a profound state that can significantly affect our health. Research has shown that loneliness can be as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In this episode, Jen dives deep into what we can do about the state of loneliness.

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SHOWNOTES

Social Isolation and Loneliness

Slightly over one in six (16%) Australians reported feeling lonely in 2022. About 1 in 5 (17%), men and 1 in 6 (15%) women between the ages of 15 and 24 were lonely as of 2022. Between 2012 and now, more persons between the ages of 15 and 24 have claimed feeling lonely. New studies reveal that more than earlier generations, Millennials and Gen Z show loneliness and alienation. One might be simultaneously digitally “connected” and socially distant. According to statistics, close to 33% of Americans, or one in three persons, regularly suffer from loneliness. Of younger Americans, sixty-one percent admit they are consistently lonely.

The Significance of Loneliness

Loneliness is a deep condition that can seriously compromise our health, not just a passing feeling. Studies have indicated that loneliness can be as bad for health as fifteen daily smokes. With the U.S. surgeon general claiming that its death effects are similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has proclaimed loneliness to be a major worldwide health problem. It’s not only about feeling depressed or alone; it can have actual, long-lasting impact on our mental and physical health.

Physical Implications for Health

Loneliness has been connected to a compromised immune system, which increases our vulnerability to infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases including cardiovascular disease. A known component in many chronic health issues, chronic loneliness has also been linked to higher bodily inflammation.

Effects on Mental Health

On the mental health front, loneliness can aggravate depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. It can intensify stress and complicate people’s ability to handle demands of daily life. Over time, this can cause a vicious cycle whereby loneliness aggravates mental health problems, which then aggravates loneliness.

Social and Behavioural Impact

Socially, loneliness can cause one to retreat from connections and events, therefore generating an endless circle of solitude. This isolation can undermine confidence and self-esteem even more, thus reaching out and interacting with others becomes much more difficult.

Technology’s Function

Social media and internet contacts might occasionally aggravate loneliness in the digital era. Although these sites can offer a sensation of connection, they can lack the depth and intimacy of in-person meetings, therefore isolating people even if they are always linked.

Techniques for Fighting Loneliness

Fortunately, there are ways to fight loneliness and minimize how it affects health. Developing strong social ties via significant partnerships is absolutely vital. This can be simply reaching out to friends and relatives for support, volunteering in your neighborhood, or joining clubs or groups that fit your hobbies.

Getting Professional Support

Seeking expert advice and support from a therapist or counsellor can help people who suffer with chronic loneliness or consequences on mental health.

In summary

Though it is a universal human experience, loneliness has a significant and sometimes overlooked effect on health. Understanding the link between loneliness and health can help us to actively strengthen our social ties, give our mental health first priority, and create a better, healthier community all around us.

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.

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