This article was written in 1988 by Daniel Goleman for the N. Y. Times, and still we are only beginning to deal with the idea of emotional intelligence, wellness and social support.
It's important to note that if you cannot connect with people emotionally, you can be isolated and lonely in a room full of people.
It is hard to ignore data like this. It makes a very compelling case for developing your emotional intelligence.
From the article:
Being cut off from friendships and one's family doubles a person's chances of sickness or death ...
Although social scientists have long known there was a strong association between loneliness and illness, it was unclear until recent studies which was the cause and which the effect.
But the new studies, summarized in the current issue of Science magazine, show that a lack of social relationships in and of itself heightens people's susceptibility to illness.
''The data shows that people who are isolated but healthy are twice as likely to die over the period of a decade or so as are others in the same health,'' said James House, a sociologist at the Institute of Social Research at University of Michigan, a co-author of the report.
The report, co-written by two other researchers ... summarizes studies ... on the effects isolation has on health that have been done over the last two decades. In the studies, more than 37,000 people were assessed over periods of up to 12 years.
... ''It's the 10 to 20 percent of people who say they have nobody with whom they can share their private feelings, or who have close contact with others less than once a week, who are at most risk,'' Dr. House said.
More Risky Than Smoking
In adding to the list of factors that put people at an increased risk for disease, the report said social isolation ''is as significant to mortality rates as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of physical exercise.''
''In fact, when age is adjusted for, social isolation is as great or greater a mortality risk than smoking,'' it added.
While smoking makes a person about 1.6 times more likely to develop illnesses of all kinds, social isolation makes a person twice as likely to become sick, the researchers said.
''After controlling for the effects of physical health, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol, exercise, obesity, race, life satisfaction and health care, the studies found that those with few or weak social ties were twice as likely to die as were those with strong ties,'' Dr. House said. '
Isolation is more devastating to men than to women ...
The comforting effect of another person's presence has been shown to lower not just heart rate and blood pressure but also the secretion of fatty acids that can block arteries.
Effect in Brain Theorized
One theory of why the presence of another person might help suggests that there is an effect in the brain from social contact. The theory holds that social contact inhibits activity in the posterior hypothalmic zone of the brain, lowering the rate of secretion of acetylcholine, cortisol and catecholamines, chemicals that trigger more rapid breathing, a quickened heartbeat and other physiological signs of stress.
Signs of Stress: The Body Reacts
Social isolation can have a broad range of physiological effects, notably on the brain and the cardiovascular system, among other major organs. Loneliness seems to lower the effectiveness of the immune system while increasing stress on the heart. One theory holds that social relationships can lower the rate of secretion of certain brain chemicals that cause rapid breathing, a quickened heartbeat and similar signs of stress.
To read the full article, follow the link above.
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS SUFFERING FROM ISOLATION, coaching is a great route for them to take. It is contact with another person who has their interests at heart. It is just as effective by phone and email, from an experienced and knowledgeable coach. Emotional Intelligence coaching helps us learn the social skills that keep us from being isolated.
Note the effects on MEN.
Take the EQ Course, email me for coaching, email@example.com .