The Undiagnosed Killer of Millions – Cynthia Curry Adv Dip Chyp
75 years ago, researchers at Harvard University wondered what factors were at play in making some graduates successful and others fail. Not just in business and career but in life in general.
That’s where an amazing 75 year old study on adult development started; following an entire graduating class throughout their lives, right up to today. And what it reveals about human beings is fascinating in so many ways, but the most important one is this: good relationships with other people keep us happier and healthier.
It turns out social connections are good for us. People who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to their community are not only happier, they are physically healthier and live longer.
And the opposite is also true: Loneliness kills.
The research found that people who were more isolated than they wanted to be from others were much less happy. In fact, in these people, health declined much earlier in their midlife. The study showed that the brain function in such people declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.
I don’t have statistics for the UK and Ireland, but in USA 1 in 5 Americans report that they are lonely. That is a horrible statistic to think upon, when you consider what’s behind it. According to Google, a s of 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are 242,470,820 adults living in the United States. That means there are around 48,494,1640 lonely people living in America. That’s nearly 50 million lonely people in USA alone!
And are we any better off here? And even if it’s not 1 in 5, it’s probably still quite high as more and more people get voluntarily trapped behind social media screens on their phones and computers. As more and more jobs get downsized and people lose the social network that working life often is. As more and more we disconnect from each other and connect more and more to devices and find person to person communication difficult and challenging.
And when you think about lonely people, don’t just think about the pensioner sitting alone day after day, no family visiting, no friends, trapped at home by ill health.
There are those people, god knows and my hearts breaks for them. Just as it does for those who are lonely in a crowd of people because they feel disconnected from for some reason, who feel they can’t be their true selves for fear of rejection. And many of us know the loneliness of being in a relationship that’s not working.
It’s not the number of friends you have, it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, the research found that it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters most. Living in the midst of conflict, arguments, fights, manipulations, this is really bad for our health. Living in the midst of good, strong, warm relationships is actually protective of our health.
Good, close relationships buffer us from the trials of getting old. The people in the study most satisfied with their relationships when in their fifties were the healthiest of the group when in their eighties.
People in unhappy relationships reported that on the days they experienced more physical pain, it was magnified by more emotional pain. The most happily partnered men and women reported that on the days they experienced more physical pain, their mood stayed just as happy.
Good relationships with other people don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains too. The study found people who are in really healthy, respectful, warm, close relationships in their eighties have memories that stay sharper for longer. Whilst those in relationships where they felt they couldn’t count on the other found their memories declined much earlier.
It’s hard work to tend to family and friends, especially when we’re busy forging careers, working to provide for the those very same families we’re not so close to.
And when we move from one major life situation to the next, it’s important to prioritise and actively work at replacing work friends, developing community links, creating new friends that share our interests and values.
The study shows how valuable it is to lean into our relationships, to place value in the work required in making them grow and thrive. It’s not just about life being nicer with family, friends and a community you feel a part of, accepted by, respected, liked and loved, nice as that is. It’s about living healthier for longer.
And this is where hypnotherapy comes in, because we often don’t know why we don’t have successful relationships, we can’t seem to say why we’re always angry or push people away, why we don’t engage with our families, friends, neighbours.
Because few of us had perfect childhoods, and even if we had as near to perfect as possible, there are always some perceived slights that hurt us and cause us anguish, pain and anger. And it’s in holding onto these hurts, when we’ve buried them so deeply in our pysche that we’ve forgotten they’re there, that we damage our current relationships.
Hypnotherapy can not only provide the answers of why, where, when and how, but can get a person to release their anger, their hostility, their fears and welcome people warmly into their lives. More than ever, the emerging sciences of epigenetics and neuroplasticity are showing the negative impact stress has on the brain. Loneliness is another stressor that simply needs to be relieved.
It might not say loneliness on many death certificates, but this study proves it’s a major contributing factor.
And once you’ve relieved your stress, this study shows that life gets better and you’ll live longer, healthier and happier.
I can attest to the life altering power of an anger release and forgiveness hypnosis session. It’s even made me mellow around the kids who constantly kick their ball into my garden. Most hypnotherapy practitioners offer a version of this therapy; go for it yourself, you’ll find that you feel amazing and will want to go deeper and stay longer next time. It might even help you live longer.