"No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world," Aristotle
New science says being lonely speeds aging. Wise people say the holiday blues are a signal to examine and change ones life. A brief period of loneliness doesn’t appear to cause grave harm but chronic loneliness does. The long-term lonely suffer more diseases at an earlier age, and die younger than those who feel close to others. Middle aged lonely drink more alcohol, eat more fat and exercise less than their more social fellows. The experience of feeling lonely, even when you have family and co-workers around you, impacts stress hormones, immune function and heart health. UCLA has a Loneliness Scale where anyone can test themselves.
Facebook is not a substiture for Face to face contact Researchers say that loneliness takes a toll on our sleep. One study found that people who scored high on a loneliness scale slept the same number of hours as those who did not, but their sleep was less restorative, since they suffered times when you wake up for a few moments, and then go back to sleep. The lonely are more fatigued.
Technology has given us exciting ways to connect and stay in touch. They can increase feelings of loneliness if they are a substitution for in-person interaction. We tend to spend an lot of time worrying about ourselves, but not much time caring for ourselves. Caring for ourselves means thinking very seriously about the conditions we live in and how others are living.
When is the last time your turned an online contact into a real contact?