Loneliness is a normal part of people’s lives. It’s okay to feel lonely from time to time because it’s a valid human emotion and you must accept it. The problem comes when loneliness becomes chronic and starts affecting your life negatively in several ways.

By definition, loneliness is the feeling of being isolated, but it doesn’t equate to being alone. You can feel lonely even when you’re surrounded by people, and you can also be alone and not feel lonely.

Loneliness Affects Your Physical and Emotional Health Negatively

Several factors contribute to feelings of loneliness, such as low self-esteem, physical isolation, loss of a loved one, and lack of social connections. If you let loneliness fester, it can lead to various negative consequences.

Weak Immune System

Prolonged loneliness can make your immune system weak. Your body then finds it harder to fight infections, so you’re more prone to cold and flu symptoms.

Loneliness can weaken your body’s defense system because it triggers your body to produce more stress hormones. It can cause chronic inflammation, making your body decrease its ability to defend against viral infections. Studies have shown that when you’re lonely, vaccinations are less effective.

Muscle Tension

When you’re lonely, it puts your emotions in distress, which increases your pain perception. You can feel muscle tension and pain, including leg cramps and lower back pain. 


Loneliness can impact your emotional state and lower your pain tolerance. As a result, you may experience more headaches and migraines.

Loneliness triggers the body to produce more cortisol and other stress hormones. These hormones send signals to the brain and make your body physically react similarly to when you cry.

Elevated Blood Pressure

Chronic loneliness can elevate your blood pressure. Being lonely triggers stress, which elevates your blood pressure as your body reacts to the released hormones.

Decreased Energy

When you’re lonely, you can feel as though the energy has been sucked out of your body. You may feel lethargic and too discouraged to exercise. Loneliness can prevent you from having an active lifestyle, but being physically active is important to keep your body and mind healthy.

Poor Memory

Loneliness can affect your memory, making you forgetful and confused at times. It reduces your ability to solve problems, focus on your work, make sound decisions, and think clearly. Worse, chronic loneliness can contribute to the risks of developing brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Heart Health Issues

Loneliness can lead to obesity and elevated blood pressure, which are risk factors for heart diseases.


Loneliness can be a contributing factor to depression and also an unfortunate symptom of depression. When you’re lonely, you feel isolated. Negative emotions can worsen depression, making you feel socially withdrawn, giving you hard time sleeping, and making you lethargic and lacking in motivation.

Weight Gain

When you’re lonely, your appetite can change. If you use eating as a coping mechanism, you’ll be gaining weight before you know it. Also, loneliness stops you from exercising and getting enough sleep, and all these lead to weight gain.

Poor Sleep

Loneliness makes you dwell on your negative thoughts, which can keep you awake at night. You’ll be tossing and turning in your bed, preventing you from getting quality sleep. As a result, you’ll wake up feeling more tired, irritated, and in a bad mood. In the long term, poor sleep worsens other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Longevity Decreases – Early Death

Because loneliness weakens your health physically, emotionally, and mentally, it can lead to premature death. Studies have shown that people who are socially connected and have stronger relationships tend to live longer.

Inability to Connect Socially

When you’re lonely, it can cause you to fear reconnecting to social groups. You may feel inadequate or fearful. Loneliness makes it hard to form connections and interact with others.

Risky Behaviors

Loneliness can result in heavy smoking, drug use, or excessive alcohol drinking. Some people use these risk behaviors as coping mechanisms. They think that they feel better when they forget about their loneliness, but once their effects have worn off, the problem is still there, and usually worse.

Take Action

Loneliness has bad side effects, which can get worse if you let them grow inside you. Know, however, that you can do something about it. Make a conscious effort to prevent loneliness. Seek opportunities to connect with others, talk about what you’re going through, and do the things that make you happy. Seek whatever professional help is available if self-care doesn’t work for you.