RAC Aware – Loneliness

Provided by: www.psychologytoday.com and www.forbes.com

Loneliness is becoming a significant public health concern in the Western world. The ‘Cigna 2018 US Loneliness Index’ studied loneliness or social isolation among >20,000 adults in the US, and found that almost half of the adults feel ‘sometimes or always alone’.
The study showed that one in 4 people in the US ‘rarely or never feel’ understood. Despite the ever-increasing ‘connections’ and connectivity through social media nowadays, one in five people reported that they ‘rarely or never feel close to people’.
A review of studies done by Valtorta and team in the UK, revealed that lacking social relationships increased risk of coronary heart disease by 29% and of stroke by 32% among study participants. Coronary heart disease and stroke are two leading causes of death in the Western world. A review of several scientific studies done in 2015 found that social isolation, loneliness and living alone can increase risk of early mortality by 29%, 26% and 32% respectively.
In previous years, the 19th Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy noted the growing ‘loneliness epidemic’ in the US. He noted that rates of loneliness across the United States had doubled in the last few decades. Loneliness can affect people from all walks of life- be it CEOs, celebrities, young, elderly, new mothers or severely mentally ill.
Eat Well And Exercise
The benefits of eating well and exercise are bottomless, and supplement so many other items on this list: they help give you energy, maintain your weight and improving your mental health. Self-care is the foundation of achievement. If you feel better, you will have more energy and be more motivated personally and professionally.
Get Outside
According to Harvard Health, light increases happiness, focus, and the increase in vitamin D helps fight depression and cancer. It also encourages you to exercise, which also contributes to your overall happiness and productivity. So to combat loneliness fight the urge to stay inside, know it’s best for you to get outside even if it’s the last thing you want to do.
A big indicator of loneliness is inconsistent sleep: taking a long time to fall asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, not sleeping deeply, etc. The benefits of sleep, like exercise and going outside, can not be overstated. Getting at least eight hours of sleep at night according to Health.com helps manage depression, increases performance and focus and decreases stress. Make getting enough sleep a priority.
Carve Time for Yourself
Sometimes, people can get lonely if they are overworking for a prolonged period of time, or have piled up more activities than they can handle. People may end up feeling like they are just trying to catch up. This can leave little time to build and maintain meaningful social relationships. If you are at ease and not hurried, you may be more likely to want to talk to others and may be more likely to be able to develop meaningful social connections. Start with baby steps- attempts to declutter can go a long way if you have too much on your plate.

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