New Studies Reveal the Health Hazard of Being Lonely and Living Alone
After decades of research on loneliness, it’s becoming evident that being lonely living alone or just living alone can have a devastating impact on one’s personal health and actually create a health hazard.
Research conducted by Brigham Young University has been analyzing nearly 35 years of data on how living alone can impact our lifespans. Let’s take a deeper look at how the choices we make regarding dating and relationships are creating a negative impact on our lives and health.
“Thirty-Five Years of Data on how Living Alone Can Impact our Lifespans”
I can attest that being lonely and living alone are two very different lifestyles. Furthermore, I was surprised to learn that living alone was found to be MORE harmful than the feelings of loneliness.
As it turns out, I enjoyed the single, divorced lifestyle for many years. It was refreshing to choose what I wanted to do and when. Every other weekend off without the kids and focused time for personal growth. In addition, simple things like having a protein shake for dinner when I didn’t feel like cooking. My friends often commented, “You just make divorce and living alone look so good!” Furthermore, I rarely felt lonely and sad and believed I mastered being single. I occasionally had the “Aw, it might be nice…” moment. But even with these fleeting thoughts, it was easy to get into a creative project and lose myself in the art of being alone once again.
“Reality Doesn’t Exist Without Relationship”
However, the more I searched spiritually to understand personal fulfillment and the path to self-actualization, I was consistently pointed down the path of relationship. Furthermore, I struggled with the idea that being alone was not supposed to be part of my soul’s journey. My research in various spiritual texts kept confirming that I am a being who ONLY exists in the reality of relationships and this really messed with my mind. As such, I felt to be in a committed relationship would require me to give up certain things. For starters, I would have to give up a lifestyle I loved. Only now, after half a decade of being open minded enough to allow something different to happen, do I understand that living within the devotion of a relationship isn’t giving up…it’s having it all.
Living within the Commitment of a Relationship Isn’t Giving Up . . .
It’s Having it All.
Below is a summary of points from the research of being lonely and living alone. Furthermore, the unsettling news when it comes to the health hazard of both:
– “The effect of this is comparable to obesity. Something public health takes very seriously,” says BYU researcher Julianne Holt-Lundstad, lead author of the study. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”
– “The data, based on roughly 3 million participants, found that the subjective feeling of loneliness increases the risk of death by 26%. Also, this is particularly worrisome given that loneliness plagues nearly 60 million Americans.”
But What if You Live Alone? What if You Enjoy Spending Time by Yourself?
– “While being alone and feeling alone are not the same thing, the effect on longevity, however, is similar. Social isolation and living alone are found to be even more harmful to a person’s health than feelings of loneliness. Increasing mortality risk by 29% and 32% respectively. Therefore, this is on par with the risk mortality associated with obesity.”
– “Yet as staggering as these findings are, they aren’t exactly new. Earlier research has found that isolation and loneliness threaten longevity as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. And a number of studies have revealed the ways isolation and loneliness can manifest in health issues.”
The same research reveals the potentially detrimental influence of negativity in close relationships is also to be considered in the same manner.
“Can’t Live With Them and Can’t Live Without Them!”
Furthermore, we (as evolved beings) truly need to understand how we create or re-create from yesterday’s thoughts and memories. We have to make a deliberate, conscious effort to do something differently. Relationships don’t make us angry – controlling – ugly – wounded – monstrous beings. But rather relationships bring all this loveliness to the surface so we can face it head on and change it! We go into this process in great detail through the Laws of Love.
This Process of Discovery Requires us to Pause, Ask, Listen, Question our Judgments and Open Our Minds…and Hearts.
The closed mind is the reason we don’t have the love in our lives for which we yearn. Therefore, this seeking is a call from the soul. It’s not about finding one’s “soul mate,” but rather it’s about answering to the soul’s calling. Oh, and by the way, the ringtone sounds a lot like love.
The conversation continues below. Let us know your thoughts and experiences when it comes to being lonely and living alone.