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Retirement is something we’ve dreamed about for decades, unfortunately it’s not always the “time-of-our-life” that we assumed it would be. Realistically, most of us are probably barely making ends meet and thoughts of “I wish I’d put more money into a retirement fund” rattles around in our head.

But next to the fixed-income woes, the next problem often facing us is loneliness. Even if our spouse is still living, we sometimes find ourselves just plain lonely, and this can do more than make us sad, it can make us sick.

According to an article that appeared in USA TODAY, loneliness may put you at risk of an Alzheimer’s-like dementia. ‘"People who described themselves as lonely were twice as likely to develop dementia," says researcher Robert Wilson of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

And there’s more.

Other research suggests lonely people are at risk of other health problems such as cancer and high blood pressure, says John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago.”

Counteracting Loneliness

Even if you don’t develop dementia, cancer or high blood pressure, loneliness hurts. Here are some ways to counteract the feeling.
  • Keep busy -- If you’re lonely, do with eagerness whatever is in front of you to do.
  • Involve yourself -- If you’re lonely, involve yourself in community affairs.
  • Help others -- If you’re lonely, look for and strive to cure the loneliness of someone else—it will cure your own.
  • Collect good thoughts -- If you’re lonely, collect inspirational thoughts, good jokes, meaningful poems, and literary masterpieces.
  • Join a social group -- If you’re lonely, join one of the many social groups in your community.
  • Go to church -- If you’re lonely, go to church.
It’s not worth it to suffer from loneliness. You’re not fun to be around and there’s proof that you could get sick from it.

“Self-referenced thinking often leads to a barrenness of spirit that breeds discontent and loneliness. Think up, think out, toward people, think around, toward all the exciting things of life; and avoid thinking too much about yourself, and the problem of loneliness will disappear.”1

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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