The following article was among the latest findings in psychoneuroimmunology on the effects of loneliness:
Posted on: 02/09/2011
L O S A N G E L E S—U C L A researchers reported today that chronically lonely people may be at a higher risk for certain types of inflammatory disease, because their feelings of social isolation trigger the activity of pro- inflammatory immune cells.
The research appears in the Feb. 7 – 11 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In their analysis of 93 older adults, the researchers screened for gene function among different types of immune cells and found that genes originating from two particular cell types — plasmacytoid dendritic cells and monocytes —were over expressed in chronically lonely individuals, compared with the remainder of the sample.
These cell types produce an inflammatory response to tissue damage, and are part of the immune system’s first line of defense, which produces an immediate inflammatory response to tissue damage.
It’s this same inflammatory response that, over the long- term, can promote cardiovascular disease, cancer and neuro-degeneration. The report provides further evidence of how lifestyle and social environments can impact human health.
In addition, the researchers suggest that evolutionarily ancient immune system cells may have developed a molecular sensitivity to our social environment in order to help defend us against socially transmitted pathogens… (Study: Loneliness Triggers Inflammatory Illnesses in .pdf)
Thereupon, I became curious about the statistics of loneliness and possible causes. I googled an article, ” Modern way of life leading to loneliness, according to recent report,” which seems to explain a great deal (at least in the UK):
- One in ten people feel lonely often
- Loneliness a common experience yet ’embarrassing to admit’
- Feeling alone linked to physical and mental ill health
- Loneliness can affect people of all ages
- Loneliness a common experience yet ’embarrassing to admit to’
- Pressure to be ‘productive’ can lead to loneliness
- Loneliness linked to health problems
- Technology: friend or foe?
There are two points in particular that grabbed my attention wherein:
“Individuals pursuing aspirations in a market-driven world may be doing so at their own expense, and neglecting the basic human need to connect with others, says the Mental Health Foundation…” and
“..one in five people say they spend too much time communicating with family and friends online when they should see them in person (18%)…”
Meetup.com is a very simple cure for these frustrations that lead to loneliness.
Please copy and paste meetup.com into your browser now. Groups that get together in real life, person to person meetings advertise at meetup.com with common goals in mind.
Let’s say you want to socialize, but want to remain productive for your job. You need only do a search on your industry’s key word to find a group in your area with common interests.
As far as family, there are other ways besides texting like computer cameras. If that web connection is too slow, there are phones, even video phones. If that’s too expensive, then exchange audios and videos.
At Meetup.com, you can search “family” and/or “loneliness to meet up with other people in your situation who also miss their families. Put your thinking caps together and find ways to cure family loneliness.
Are you looking for ways to fill that void on Valentine’s Day? Your best bet is to do a search at meetup.com for “love” and/or “healing” in your area. You will discover hundreds of opportunities to socialize near you with at least a few that will hit a home run straight to your heart.
Are you lonely? Please do a simple search. Find out what’s happening in your area on Valentine’s Day. You might assume that it’s all couples activities. No – I see lots of activities for singles who want to socialize. There’s still a whole weekend left until 14 February. Plan Now. Find New Love.
Remember that post on How to Practice Bravery, Courage, and Wisdom? Now is your time to shine. Thanks for your time.