The Physical Effects of Loneliness

People often don’t think about the physical effects of loneliness, yet loneliness could be one of the largest health concerns that we face today.

It is important to understand the facts and figures about loneliness, especially with Christmas approaching. A time of year that can make the feeling of loneliness even bigger for some.

What are the physical effects of loneliness?

  • Physical Effects of LonelinessIt increases the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Loneliness creates a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
  • It is worse for your health than obesity.
  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26%.
  • It’s associated with increasing the risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.

What is the loneliest age group?

  • There are nine million lonely people in the UK, and four million of them are older people.
  • The number of over-50s who suffer from loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/26, heading for a 49% increase in 10 years.
  • 20 million adults occasionally feel, sometimes or often lonely in England.
  • 43% of 17 – 25-year-olds who used Action for Children’s services had experienced problems with loneliness.

What are the causes of loneliness?

The reason for someone feeling lonely can differ from person to person. It could be certain life events that have happened, such as experiencing a bereavement, losing social contact you had at work after retiring or moving to a new area on your own.

For others, they may feel lonely at certain times of the year, like at Christmas. The charity Marmalade Trust have their Christmas Cheer project where they run Christmas day events for those who would otherwise be alone.

Other research suggests people may be more vulnerable to loneliness if they live in certain circumstances or belong to demographics. For example, if you care for someone else, you may find it hard to maintain a social life or if you experience discrimination due to a long-term health problem or disability.

How to combat loneliness?

In these unusual times, you may find it hard to combat loneliness in ways that you normally would or in ways that are normally suggested. Take a look at some ideas that could help you feel less lonely…

Check-in with your friends, family and colleagues; whether that’s over the phone, via a video chat or through social media.

Stay active by going on regular walks or by going to exercise classes. Mental and physical health are closely linked. So, by not leaving your home or getting exercise, it will affect how to cope mentally.

Why not take up a new hobby? Whether that’s reading or starting a new project; finding ways to give yourself comfort could help to improve your mental health.

What we are doing to help…

This Christmas, to help raise money for Maramalde Trust we are delivery two online Mental Health Awareness courses for a donation of £30 per person which will go directly to the charity. This charity raises awareness of loneliness and helps people make new friendships.

Please find out more about our charity Mental Health Awareness courses here.

Spotting the Signs of Loneliness

If you can spot the signs of loneliness in your friends and family, you could give them the support they need. Take a look at some common signs of loneliness and how to help here.

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