ORLANDO, FL (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Loneliness can be as detrimental to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. New research shows that as many as a third of Americans feel severely lonely.
Not everyone feels cheerful this time of year. Fifty-five percent of Americans say they experience the holiday blues, with most attributing it to loneliness. Researchers found these negative emotions speed up the biological clocks more than cigarettes.
“The effect of social isolation and loneliness on our health is as powerful as things like smoking, high blood pressure, obesity,” says Psychiatrist Richard S. Schwartz, MD.
Being in a constant state of loneliness increases inflammation, and in turn can raise the risk of several other diseases. A study from Florida State University found that it can increase dementia risk by 40 percent. But researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that the more positive social interactions a person had during the day, the more purposeful and the less lonely they felt. You can get those interactions by joining groups with similar interests, like a hiking group, an art class, or a fitness club. They also say a simple call can also go a long way. December 28th is national call a friend day, so call and reach out to your loved ones if you can’t be there. It can benefit their mental and physical health.
Having friends can really make you live longer. An analysis of 148 studies found that those with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent higher chance of living an average of seven-point-five years more than those without.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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