Updated: May 12
I've been reading an article about the physical and psychological impact of loneliness. Not just occasional bouts of loneliness. I mean the soul-destroying pain of a long-term lack of connectedness which affects so many people these days. Neuroscientist John Cappicuco of the University of Chicago concludes (amongst many other factors) that long term loneliness triggers our internal fight or flight response. Humans are social animals, and we've got an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep us in touch with "the pack", or else we'd be at risk of being attacked or eaten alive! When we're not connected to our family, friends and support networks for long periods, the mechanism can trigger the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol stimulates fight or flight to maintain survival so it was a sign we needed to reconnect - fast. Nowadays, the opportunities for connection can seem remote, if not impossible, to a chronically lonely person. Cortisol exposure can increase stress, increase blood pressure and impair restful sleep. If someone has been lonely for a long time, they are more likely to avoid social contact, and when they are faced with an opportunity, they are more likely to predict a negative outcome (primitive brains are very good at overestimating risk and underestimating our ability to deal with it!). So, how could hypnotherapy help you or someone you know, in this position? Learning to relax is key : the journey into a pleasant guided trance can help you to reduce stress in the body and mind. Using imagination to paint a more positive future can help you to create a sense of hope, and solution-focused coaching can support you each step of the way :
what small thing might tell you that you're able to connect with others? How do you feel when you have made a connection, no matter how small? Loneliness is a killer, and you don't have to remain stuck. Call me if you need help.