Isolation hurts. Loneliness is a serious threat to body, brain and mind health. It is incredible that a sense of loneliness – an intangible feeling – leads to tangible changes in the body. Specifically, researchers have now discovered the mechanisms by which being lonely reduces health – it changes white blood cells, reducing immunity and increasing inflammation. These two are linked to a cascade of health problems for the body and ultimately the brain, hence loneliness is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
Summer and the festive season are very difficult periods for people who feel isolated, stranded or alone. Consider reaching out in the spirit of the festive season to those you know who might be feeling lonely. A text, a phone call, an old fashioned card, an hello over the fence, a smile…. may be the best gifts you can give. “Happiness never decreases by being shared.” —The 14th Dalai Lama