What are the Health Effects of Loneliness? During this time of “stay at home” orders and social distancing, many can start to feel lonely. Individuals may start to feel isolated, misunderstood, and depressed: lonely. It can take a physical, psychological, and even a spiritual toll. What is needed is to have strong connections. Those who do tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive. Finding ways to connect with others is wise.
Let’s look at how loneliness affects health:
An active lifestyle helps keep you well in body and soul. If you’re lonely, you’re more likely to cut back on or stop your exercise program or in some way diminish your activity level. Don’t let that happen! Stay with an active lifestyle. If able, go for a walk or stay busy around the house. Aim for at least 2.5 hours of activity per week.
#2 Mental Sharpness
Your ability to solve problems or remember things as you age is likely to be affected if you feel lonely.
You’re more likely to smoke when you’re lonely. This habit is bad for you from head to toe. Smoking is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and lung illnesses, and it affects nearly every organ in your body. Some people reach for a cigarette when they’re stressed. May I recommend that instead of reaching for a cigarette when stressed that you reach out for the Bible and cry out to your Heavenly Father and, if necessary, connect with a fellow believer in Christ who may encourage you in righteousness.
“My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.” (Psalm 119:28)
Loneliness affects the health of your body as well as your soul (mind, will, & emotions) and spirit. If you’re lonely, you may start to feel bad about your life and get depressed. And depression can be isolating, so you start to feel even worse. If you are having symptoms such as feeling down or hopeless, less interested in things you usually enjoyed, low energy, sleep problems, or appetite changes – get help. Reach out to your Pastor or your RU leadership team so you may receive biblical counsel to help you through this time. Stay focused on your walk with God. Spend much time in the Bible and prayer and always remembering that God is good all the time.
“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 107:1)
#5 Drinking and Drugs
Those who are lonely are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs (illegal or legal such as prescription medications). Alcohol and drugs may give you a false sense of feeling better, but it doesn’t last and will backfire. Alcohol and drug use can seriously damage your body, family, work-life, relationships, testimony, and ministry.
What to do
What can we do about the health effects of loneliness?
#1 Look for ways to connect with other believers in Christ. Participate in the Livestream services as much as possible. Attend worship services as they become available if you are physically able. Text or email fellow believers to stay in touch and to share one another burdens. If necessary, actually call and have a conversation.
“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)
#2 Stay in your Bible on a daily basis. Take this opportunity to memorize some Scriptures and meditate upon them. Make your Bible time the focal point of your day. Consider using the number one daily Bible Meditation tool the “It’s Personal” Daily Journal.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
#3 Pray without ceasing. Be aware of God’s presence all throughout the day (I call this having a “God-consciousness”).
“Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17)
#4 Look for the opportunity to help or serve others. You may find a connection with others who are suffering from the health effects of loneliness.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good…” (Psalm 37:3)
#5 Witness as opportunities present themselves. Mail a tract to someone. Pray for lost souls to be saved.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)
#6 Read some good godly books that will encourage and exhort you.
“The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13)
#7 Listen to past messages from church and RU.
#8 Reach out and seek Biblical counseling if you are struggling. Please remember you are not alone in this struggle you are facing.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14)
#9 Exercise / stay as active as you can.
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Timothy 4:8)
#10 Get adequate sleep
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety”. (Psalm 4:8)
These are just some ways that you can help yourself combat the health effects of loneliness and stay healthy from a spiritual, psychological, and physical standpoint during this time of isolation.