Being lonely might be affecting us in more ways than one, reveals a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology's annual nursing congress earlier this month (June 2018). Isolation can have some serious repercussions on our heart and may even lead to premature death.
Don’t Believe Us? Here’s How They Proved This
The theory, although heartbreaking, is quite true. During the research, Anne Vinggaard Christensen, a PhD student at The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, investigated the link between cardiovascular problems and loneliness in 13,463 people suffering from heart ailments. Patients were made to fill out questionnaires about their physical and mental health, friendships and habits like smoking. The study also differentiated between being alone and being lonely. The questions on friendship were significant and people were specifically asked if they stayed alone, if they felt lonely and whether they had someone to talk to or not.
The feeling of loneliness was associated with poor outcomes in both men and women suffering from cardiovascular diseases. The study found that loneliness led to a double mortality risk in them. People who claimed to be lonely were also found to be three times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression and had a significantly lower quality of life than those who weren’t lonely.
Here’s What You Can Do About It
We have all gone through phases of loneliness where we feel we have no one to turn to. Dr Neha Patel, Clinical Psychologist and Facilitator of Aashayein – group therapy for depression, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, gives us some practical tips to overcome this problem.
1. Stop Comparing: The first step to combatting loneliness is to stop comparing your situation and relationships to those of others. When we make comparisons, it often leaves us questioning why we don’t share the same personal equation with the people who are close to us.
2. Reach Out: Even if you are in a situation where you don’t have any friends around, there are communities where you can connect with like-minded people. It’s important to find common ground. So make an effort and step out!
3. Get Professional Help: If the feeling of loneliness persists, going for therapy might be a great idea. Undergoing counselling or treatment helps understand oneself better.
4. Live In The Present Moment: We often feel that things will not work out in the future. The feeling of rejection from people who matter get to us and make us feel lonely. It’s important to try and not worry about these things.
5. Make Adjustments: We often get lonely because we feel that things and people must be a certain way. It’s important to break away from the limiting beliefs that make you want to change whatever is happening around you.
“It’s important to remember that being lonely is a state of mind”, assures Patel, adding “It’s very unlikely that no one gets you, you just have to reach out to the right people.” Take these practical steps the next time you feel absolutely alone, it might help lift your spirits considerably.