Sunday, May 17, 2009

How to avoid being lonely and be healthy?

When you are missing friends and family, blood pressure may soar and your immune system weakens. People with a good network of friends tend to live longer than those without friends. They are also less likely to fall victim to depression. However, loneliness is more common these days. We live longer, have fewer children and are more likely to move away from our home towns and often, we are no longer part of close-knit communities.
Health effects:

  • Raises blood pressure: The most lonely people had blood pressure readings 30 points higher than the most sociable, making them 3 times more likely to get heart disease or have a stroke, as compared to those with normal blood pressure.
  • Lowers immunity: High levels of the stress hormone cortisol is found to be more common in lonely people. It can suppress the ability to fight off infection.
  • Interferes with sleep: Loneliness interferes with sleep and poor sleep is linked to obesity and depression.
  • Encourages bad habits: The lonelier you are, the more likely you are to eat fatty, sugary foods and the less likely you are to exercise.
  • Faster progression of alzheimer's: It is not known why loneliness affects Alzheimer's, but it is true that it could be the result of a lack of mental stimulation.
How you can get connected:
  • Make the effort with family: Ask your family to stay in touch and try to plan regular meetings. If you have more spare time than them, accept that and you may have to do more of the running around. Meanwhile, stay in touch with them through phone calls, texts and e-mails.
  • Go out of the house daily: Even if it is just to go to the shop, make an effort to go out. Smile at people and make conversation with someone you see regularly. Smiling not only releases feel good chemicals, but it also attracts people.
  • Learn a new skill: Learning something new keeps your brain active. Sometimes, it could open up a whole new world.
  • Exercise: Not only does regular exercise help prevent heart disease and chances of stroke. It can also slow the progression of Alzhelimer's.
  • Join a group: If you choose something you are really interested in-whether it is walking, reading or music-you will instantly find that you are with like minded people.
  • Be a volunteer: People who do voluntary work for 2 hours a week have lower depression rates and better health than those who don't.
  • Get a pet: Owning a pet helps lower blood pressure, boost immunity and ease depression. Walking a dog every day is a great way to get out and meet people.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Add to Mixx!

Stumble Upon Toolbar