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A person can be alone and yet be happy. But when he is alone and begins to feel lonely that is when it becomes a cause of concern. During youth loneliness is regarded to be a hormonal effect that subsides with age. But for seniors it becomes an almost constant depression of being alone when friends of his age move away for one or the other reasons and may be because of divorce from his spouse he is left all alone. When you hit your sixties how loneliness matters the most to you.
How Grave Is The Situation?
The exact number of people suffering from loneliness is difficult to estimate. This is because it depends on how people describe the way they feel. But rough estimates can be drawn. For example, recently researcher, John Cacioppo, from the University of Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, revealed that the loneliness percentage was as high as 45 percent amongst the seniors.
Loneliness in seniors can become a grave situation since it leads to many chronic ailments and even affects the mental health of those suffering from it. In 2016, the British Medical Journal published a study done by Nicole Valtorta of the University of York in Britain that said that people who are lonely are 26 per cent more likely to have heart disease than others.
Another study done in 2016 by Cacioppo found that loneliness changed the way the brain functions in humans. He noted that the brains level of alertness had changed for the worse. More recently he did another study that revealed that loneliness could make people more selfish. Such people also stay quite reserved and hence are tough to get to know.
Dr. Aparna Shankar and her team from the University of London studied lonely people for over a six-year period and found that this group of people’s speed of work slowed down.
Dr. Julie Aitken Shermer belonging to the University of Western Ontario in Canada conducted a research that said lonely people can become more humorous but their humor is more “aggressive and self-defeating”.
How To Overcome Loneliness
Many studies have come to the conclusion that even one meaningful friendship can reduce the feeling of loneliness. So, you need not start hunting for a partner but rather find one person who you can connect with so as to develop a close bond with him/her.
If you are alone and feeling low then the time has come when you find yourself a partner. This could lead to having fun times and a lot of sex with him/her or even culminate into something deeper like dating and then marriage. Having someone you connect with mentally and emotionally will definitely make you feel happy once again. This is because both sex and love helps the mind to de -stress, make the body healthier, and calms the nerves down
Maybe you like to be by yourself and so you don’t like to attend parties or go to the pub hopping with your colleagues. However, if you have begun to feel lonely and sadness is creeping into you then now is the time when you should start a hobby. It could be gardening in your own home (seeing flowers bloom on plants that you have tended to will make you smile), or attention ding pottery and painting lessons (these are therapeutic), or maybe even learn a new sport like chess or swimming. These hobbies won’t force you to over interact with people and yet they will heal your depression.
When one is feeling depressed he needs to become one with nature. When you see the greenery around you and sit silently hearing the chirp of the birds or the sound of the gurgling stream your inner being will automatically feel more pepped up. So, if loneliness is getting to you, then you must pull yourself up and spend some time every day in a park or garden.
Loneliness will make you feel sluggish and tired. When you feel so you will tend to slouch around at home most of the time. This will make you feel even worse. Rather, if you are feeling alone then you should go exercise – be at the gym, a walk in the park, or playing some sport. When the body is active and the circulation of oxygenated blood in the body improves, the mind and heart also feels better.
When one travels and sees the world – with its natural beauty, people, the myriad cultures and history, one cannot but feel calm inside. So, if you have begun to feel lonely you should get your travel plan ready and head out to discover a new land. When you interact with fellow travelers and locals and hear their stories and share a cup of coffee with them, life will seem a better place.
If you think that your loneliness has begun to affect your health in any way then you should visit a counselor. Talk to him about your feelings and then follow his advice. However, don’t reach out for over the counter drugs on your own and start popping them into your mouth. Also there are organizations like the Red Cross that reach out to seniors and help them if they are living by themselves. You need to find one such that is closest to you.
Loneliness can have damaging effects on a human being and yet it still not been officially accepted as a public health issue. However, if you have begun to feel lonely, then you must accept it and then use these ways to bring about an improvement in your life. After all, we all just have one life to live and so we must live it happily.