Lonely this Christmas

According to recent research* loneliness kills more people than smoking. It says loneliness is as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and affects nine million UK people. Such is the power of emotional issues. 

Many people work to hide their low mood, isolating themselves from support – the battle becomes private and lonely. 

Socialising, work, relationships – all part of a normal life – can be taken for granted by those of us who are lucky to have these things. Some people who are feeling ‘less than’ psychologically are enduring a tough battle and this can be made worse by being alone. It is tough – and it is tougher when the battle is a secret one. Being lonely at Christmas deepens this wound.

“Human beings are pack animals and there is a primeval urge to belong. Being in a group is vital to both basic survival and emotional wellbeing.”

Being connected socially is generally accepted as an essential human necessity. 

Psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad from Brigham Young University (USA) says: "There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators." 

Many people tend not to say they are lonely and sometimes when they actually declare their isolation there is, obviously, no one to hear.

Conversely, giving is a fantastic way to improve your wellbeing. So, it may be a ‘double whammy’, a twofold benefit to visit a lonely person this Christmas. You’ll help someone else avoid seclusion and make them feel more in touch with the human race. Just to say, “I was thinking about you.” and listening empathically for a while will do wonders - you’ll both get a Christmas gift of ‘feel good’ serotonin. If you do feel good, it may be an idea to share that emotion.

Merry Christmas

*Jo Cox Commission Report 2017

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