Researchers now believe that loneliness is as dire as obesity and drug abuse.
Whenever I think of loneliness, I imagine a solterona confiding in her cats (her only friends) while sobbing like a heartbroken telenovela star. I know what you are thinking: how dare I assume that a single, old cat lady is lonely? True. But there is something to say about isolation and how it affects us negatively.
It ain't easy being alone, especially when you live alone and have little to no family or friends. According to a new study by Brigham Young University researchers, loneliness can even kill us. And not like those fake deaths from the soaps. There’s no coming back from it, chicas!
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Researchers now believe that loneliness is as big of a public health concern as obesity and drug and alcohol abuse. That's because when we feel lonely we increase our chance of death by 26 percent. If you live alone or don't have much of a social life, it's much worse; the chance of death then ranges from 29 percent to 32 percent.
These are terrifying stats, but it makes perfect sense. Feeling alone is heart wrenching and can drive us into a deep depression. That kind of emotional pain is difficult to live with.
What’s more alarming is that the study suggests that everyone is at risk. Whether you are alone but feel happy, or you have many friends and family but feel lonely, you can fall victim to a loneliness that is so devastating it kills you.
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So, if you do feel lonely, seek professional help. If you feel happy but are often physically alone, find a buddy or two and mingle. No matter what your relationship status or living situation, try to continuously connect with other human beings and experience the joy of laughter, communication, and affection.
Your life literally depends on it.
This article was originally published at Latina . Reprinted with permission from the author.