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The Heaviness of Loneliness

We all know that obesity is a problem. Now, we’re told that just sitting and working at a desk is much like smoking for your health. But from Telegraph.com comes another “health issue”. The article is titled Loneliness is Deadlier than Obesity.

Researchers in more than 200 studies evaluated the health effects of social isolation and loneliness. The studies evaluated four million people.

Their findings connect loneliness to length of life. The primary finding: lonely people had a 50% increased risk of early death, compared to those who had relationships. As a comparison, obesity raises the chance of dying before the age of 70 by around 30%.

Lead researcher, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University, Utah, advises that the study shows that people should be preparing for retirement socially, just as they prepare financially. For most, the workplace is their biggest source of companionship. I think that’s a great response to those who think that people that are injured on the job, don’t want to get back to work.

According to Holt-Lunstad, “Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need—crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment. As she notedYet an increasing portion of the population now experiences isolation regularly.”

Campaign To End Loneliness states that 17 per cent of the elderly see friends, family and neighbors less than once a week, while one in 10 may see more that one month pass without seeing any loved ones.

There was a time that people would walk next door to get a cup-of sugar and spend some time on the neighbors porch. (At least you see that in the movies, right?)  Now, Facebook, email, Instagram and other methods on the Internet have become the preferred way of staying in touch. Just a thought of our reality.

Some ways in combating loneliness include making a habit of helping others and staying connected. Proverbs 18:24 tells us that “For a man to have friends, he must show himself friendly“. (Be Friendly)

Unfortunately, I see some clients who are hurting and isolated and don’t feel like connecting with others. Emotional trauma from a car crash can ultimately lead to isolation. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean loneliness. I think that loneliness really comes from not feeling valued by someone else.

On a positive ending, it’s a great feeling to feel connected!

And for pic o’ day, two great expressions that made me laugh:

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And

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