Many people feel isolated these days. If you are on a healing journey, then you may feel this even more so. A survey conducted by Cigna Insurance before the COVID pandemic found that three out of five Americans experience deep feelings of loneliness on a regular basis. A CDC report put out in September 2020 found that incidents of anxiety and depression, thoughts of suicide, and substance abuse have risen significantly in the U.S. in 2020. In these trying times, connecting with others is difficult. At the same time, getting the support you need for your healing journey is more important than ever!
Loneliness Can Lead to Disease
You may already have an inkling that isolation and that “pit of your stomach” sense that you are “all alone in the world” is just bad news. The specific research that has come out over the last decade regarding loneliness and health may surprise you, however.
“The level of toxicity from loneliness is stunning,” explains Dr. John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago in a recent interview.
The research backs up Cacioppo’s bold statement. A 2015 meta-analysis of close to 6 dozen other studies sponsored by Brigham Young University discovered that ongoing, persistent feelings of loneliness can increase anxiety and depression. More importantly, it can actually affect a person on the biological level and increase the risk of mortality from any condition by 26 percent.
In addition, research teams at the University of Chicago as well as the University of California, Los Angeles have found that loneliness can affect health at the cellular level. A study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at white blood cells. The researchers found that loneliness can kickstart a condition called “Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity” or CTRA. CTRA is when genetic expressions for virus protection decrease and expressions for inflammation increase.
The Importance of Community
On the other end of the spectrum, there is real evidence to prove that simply being a part of a loving, supportive community can increase lifespan, boost the immune system, and prevent disease!
The most impressive investigation done in this regard was called the Roseto Study. Dr. Stewart Wolf was head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma in the 1960s when he began to study clusters of Italian immigrants around the area of Roseto in central Pennsylvania. Little did he know then that his investigation would span five decades!
What he found was incredible. Despite hazardous work (many of the men there worked in the local slate quarry) and an overall culture of smoking, drinking, and being overweight, the first-generation residents of Roseto enjoyed rates of heart disease that were practically non-existent. Take note that this was during a time in American history when cardiac disease was skyrocketing overall.
Wolf’s team concluded that neither diet nor genetics played a part in the community’s health success. No, the only thing that set Roseto apart from similar communities was the fact that the residents of Roseto were an extremely “tight-knit” community that frequently socialized together. No one owned a TV and group dinners were simply a nightly occurrence. In addition, traditions from back home were maintained and the overall lifestyle of Roseto residents was low-stress.
“This kind of relaxation translates into positive effects on the body’s physiology, leading to disease prevention and sometimes disease remission,” stated Dr. Wolf in one of his study reports of what is now known as the “Roseto Effect.”
How a Health Coach Can Support You On Your Journey
There is no doubt that reaching out for support can be extremely beneficial for anyone on a Healing Journey with Breast Cancer as well!
In fact, a 2006 report published in the Journal of Behavior Medicine found that individuals who work with a supportive professional or other supportive individuals during a health journey can experience immune system benefits as well as improvements in cognition and cardiovascular function.
At Breast Cancer Conqueror, we offer this support in a variety of ways, but especially through our coaching programs.
The kind of coaching a person may sign up for depends on their unique health situation, their style of learning, and also how familiar they are already with the 7 Essentials System®, which is the Breast Cancer Conqueror signature system that forms the foundation of all of our offerings and products. For more information about the 7 Essentials System®, please click HERE.
“Coaching has been a true guide…,” explains one participant of her experience. “Trust the system and guidance. You cannot do it alone and the support and love shown throughout will only have a positive impact on your journey.”
Click THIS LINK to sign up for private, one-on-one coaching.