Loneliness not only affects a person’s emotions but the physical health as well. It is not surprising to see people develop physical symptoms when they are anxious or depressed. Palpitations, sweating, headaches etc. are just examples of your emotions getting the best of you.
So, why is it that people are more prone to illness when their morale is low? Well, I guess it has to do with your immunity. Your immune system can better fight off infections when your spirits are up rather than when you are feeling depressed. So, you are more likely to catch a common cold when you feel sad and lonely.
Suffering through a cold is annoying enough, but if you’re lonely, you’re likely to feel even worse, according to Rice University researchers.
A study led by Rice psychologist Chris Fagundes and graduate student Angie LeRoy indicated people who feel lonely are more prone to report that their cold symptoms are more severe than those who have stronger social networks.
“Loneliness puts people at risk for premature mortality and all kinds of other physical illnesses,” LeRoy said. “But nothing had been done to look at an acute but temporary illness that we’re all vulnerable to, like the common cold.”
The study is the subject of a paper published this week in Health Psychology.
The researchers drew a distinction between feeling lonely and actual social isolation.