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It is already a well-known fact that being lonely or suffering from depression are emotional factors that can be significantly bad for an individual’s psychological health, what is obscurely known is the fact that it can equally affect your physical health too, particularly advancing the aging process of your body.
This baffling piece of information was discovered in a new study which proved that the biological effects of loneliness are even more harmful than regular smoking. The researchers from Deep Longevity Limited in Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China, found that hopelessness, loneliness, and depression are psychological factors that substantially contribute to aging.
In order to study the impact of mental health on aging, the researchers developed a system known as the aging clock, which is a statistical model that measures a person’s biological age using blood, genetic and DNA testing. Normally, people calculate someone’s chronological age which is measured by the amount of time that has passed, but biological age depends upon how much the internal structure of the body of the individual has changed over time.
The aging clock developed by the team was then used to measure the impact of mental and physical health factors on the aging of almost 12,000 Chinese adults. The results presented that smoking alone increases the aging pace by 1.25 years whereas psychological factors including sleeping issues and smoking status when combined together accelerated a person’s aging by 1.65 years.
Seeing as so many health factors are jeopardized by the suffering of excruciating loneliness, individuals ought to take care of their mental health and well-being as well. There are several methods one can employ to heal their inner battles, one of the first steps to overcoming struggle is by realizing your feelings of isolation and loneliness. You can opt to talk it out with a counselor or a therapist who can suggest personalized loneliness therapy to help you.
When it comes to understanding how to cope with crippling loneliness, one must understand that the online world too plays a major role in the decline of one’s mental health, it can act like a double-edged sword by giving you the illusion of connection whereas putting you in further isolation from the real world. Features like multi-player gaming, chat, and even online dating sites provide ways to easily connect with strangers but turn out to be superficial most of the time.
The online community may increase feelings of isolation and loneliness for some people. For instance, social media can present people as having hundreds of close friends by their sides and leading exciting, carefree lives. This is typically not reality, to be honest. Some people may feel inadequate, excluded, and lonely as a result of social media. The bottom line is that you may need to log off if being online feels more isolating.
Many people also prefer to spend some time alone and explore more about themselves, while this is not unhealthy in any form, if not the contrary, yet there needs to be a clear line between spending some time alone and being engulfed in isolation. We have reached a phase in our generation where people think, “is being alone the new normal?” and whether or not being alone is better off than being surrounded by people and still feeling lonely. While the former would be correct in this case, but it is also extremely crucial that you find people who you connect with.
You can form communities which can make it easier for you to meet new people and form a bond with them. There are many loneliness group activities that do well in stimulating the brain and satisfying the social needs of a distressed person. Joining book clubs or volunteering organizations is a great way to get in touch with a social circle.
With accelerated aging comes a myriad of risks including reduced lung capacity, heart health, low bone density as well as cognitive decline. If you wish to repair your body and decrease the speed of your biological aging then it is also recommended to make some changes in your lifestyle which revolve around fitness and nutrition. Following are some of the natural methods which can help you start your journey of reverse aging:
Include more weight training sessions in your fitness regime :
Resistance training is a great way to boost growth hormone, prevent muscle wastage, reduce oxidative stress and increase blood flow. Studies reveal that people who integrate training sessions into their routines are less likely to suffer risks of heart diseases and diabetes.
Consume more Omega-3s :
Research from Japan has indicated that the traditional Japanese diet that is high in omega- 3 rich fish results in a 15% lower mortality rate.
Get adequate sleep :
Lack of sleep heightens the inflammatory markers that are linked to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and typediabetes, whereas it is proven that people who sleep less than five hours a night had an increased heart age of 5.1 years beyond their real life.
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