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Posted on 01-29-2018

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Have you ever taken a personality test to find out if you are more extroverted vs introverted when it comes to social interaction? Extroverts often thoroughly enjoy being surrounded by crowds and parties full of people, whereas introverts might prefer a quieter atmosphere like enjoying a conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee. Most would think that just because someone is introverted that they do not like to be around people, but it’s simply not true. Many people want to avoid the feeling of loneliness altogether because we were ultimately created with a need to belong and be close to others, whether that is close to just one person or surrounded by a room full.  

Of course, there are times where people desire to have some time by themselves, but it is completely against human nature to long to be alone 100 percent of the time. Constant isolation from others can create a deep sense of loneliness that actually has a major impact on one’s health.

It’s easy for one to think they are connected to others all the time because of social media, but truthfully, it is only an illusion; nothing can replace face to face conversation or physical connection with someone. The more loneliness and isolation sets in, we begin to see a decline in our emotional and psychological health and then it is only a matter of time before we see a negative reaction to our physical health:

  • Perceived isolation and loneliness put stress on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. Chronic activation of the HPA begins to affect glucose regulation, metabolism, inflammatory control, cardiovascular, reproductive, and neuroendocrine health.
  • Isolation and loneliness are linked to cardiovascular disease- one of the greatest causes of mortality among women because it can lead to physical inactivity and loss of motivation for healthy lifestyles.

Similar to the damaging effects that chronic stress has on the body, the feelings of loneliness are just as severe and life-threatening, affecting one’s whole being. These issues are something that we need to take note of when we find out that someone is struggling in this area. If you are wrestling with these deep feelings of loneliness and isolation, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We desire to see you thrive in all areas of your life, not just your physical health. You are not alone!

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