People suffering from loneliness often recognize that it affects their overall emotional well-being. They may not be aware that it can also influence their physical well-being. Carla Perissinotto, MD, assistant clinical professor of geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. reported on a study which tracked 1,604 people over a six year period who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time. The average age of the subjects was 71.
Those who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time were 59% more likely to experience functional decline, such as finding climbing stairs more difficult. And, even more concerning, those who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time were 45% more likely to die within six years than those who did not report feeling lonely. This indicates that loneliness is a medical risk factor similar to having diabetes or high blood pressure.
What can you do to cut that risk? First of all, your medical doctor may not ask about loneliness so be sure to report those feelings at your physicals. As people age, old friends may not be available due to moving, ill health or even having passed away. Find ways to add new people into your life through activities such as service to your community, joining a club, taking a class at the community college, attending a religious service. Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to motivate you to make the changes necessary to alleviate loneliness that can hurt your health.