Jakarta, TOPNews Indonesia –
Pandemic period Covid-19 has impacted many things, including feeling lonely. The reason is, this pandemic makes people have to limit direct interaction and activities freely in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Loneliness is an epidemic. We are the most socially connected society, but so many people experience extreme loneliness,” said psychologist Amy Sullivan. Cleveland Clinic.
How can loneliness hurt?
Feeling lonely is an unpleasant experience that also has long-term health consequences.
“We know very well that sitting, smoking, and obesity are linked to chronic disease,” said Sullivan.
“But I consider loneliness to be another risk factor for chronic health conditions.”
Sullivan said that loneliness is not the same as social isolation. It is more about how you perceive your level of connectedness with other people.
“Someone who is socially isolated and doesn’t have a lot of social contact may not feel lonely at all, but other people may feel lonely even when they are surrounded by lots of people,” he said.
What happens to your body when you are lonely?
Sullivan said that when you experience loneliness, people’s levels of cortisol or the stress hormone will increase. It can have a negative impact on health.
“Cortisol can impair cognitive performance, interfere with the immune system, and increase the risk of blood vessel problems, inflammation and heart disease,” he said.
In addition, he also said that loneliness is also a risk factor for more serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
The reason lonely people die early
As reported Toronto Sun, loneliness makes people feel empty, isolated and empty, wanting something as simple as a friendly voice, even a simple hug to signify that they are worthy and alive.
Loneliness is about real feelings. Loneliness sometimes goes hand in hand with despair.
So it’s no surprise that there is a real loneliness epidemic around. It can even be deadly.
Research shows, “people who are lonely are up to 32 percent more likely to die earlier than their more connected counterparts,” wrote columnist Sonya Collins for WebMD.
Social isolation isn’t just a problem for parents or those at home.
New research shows young adults ages 18 to 22 are the loneliest generation. Children are known to behave because they are lonely.
“Lack of social relationships has a significant effect comparable to other leading indicators of risk of premature death,” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University.
Feeling alone, he says, falls into the categories of smoking, obesity and a lack of physical activity in terms of their impact on your health.
Sullivan then suggested a number of things to overcome loneliness:
1. Become more aware of your feelings
It’s natural to feel lonely from time to time, but if you find that you feel lonely more often than not, this is the time to take action.
2. Understand the health effects
Many people maintain their health by eating well and exercising but neglect an important aspect of health, namely social relationships.
Social relationships are just as important as following a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.
3. Enlarge social relationships
Plan to spend time with friends instead of chatting via text message. Even choosing a telephone conversation over an email can help you feel more connected. Small daily decisions can also help. Make an effort to talk to coworkers instead of sending instant messages or emails.
4. Do a little kindness for others
“Those kinds of things are powerful and help improve your connection,” says Sullivan.
When you give to others, it also takes your mind off yourself.
5. Take a break from social media
“What we found is that when people withdraw from social media, they become more intense in looking for real relationships,” he said.
6. Focus on quality, not quantity
Going out for coffee or just chatting with a friend you have an authentic relationship with will go a long way toward quenching your loneliness than having thousands of Facebook friends or Instagram followers.
7. Find a professional counselor
Feeling lonely is sometimes a symptom of depression. A therapist can help you deal with this and develop strategies for reconnecting with others.
Sometimes loneliness becomes a habit that is difficult to break. This may mean pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
“I think it can be scary for people to reach out,” said Sullivan. “If you put yourself out there there is a risk of rejection. But in the end, the payoff far outweighs the risks.”
(agn / agn)