What months of lockdown does to your body and brain

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In this Feb. 11, 2020, photo, Ken Zurek, 63, poses for a photo at his home in Highland, Ind. Zurek and his wife arrived in China days before news broke of the coronavirus. They cut their trip short because of the virus and decided to self quarantine themselves in their Highland home for 15 days, just as an extra precaution. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune via AP)

As stay-at-home measures ease across the US, people are eager to get out for reasons that make sense, psychologically and physiologically.
Loneliness is uncomfortable, for example, because your body is trying to prompt you to seek connection.
Physically, moving less can contribute to restlessness or lethargy.
While the ability to go out more now can feel particularly great, it’s still critical to take precautions to prevent needing to lock down again.
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You’ll likely be in an “unpleasant state” after a period of social isolation, since humans thrive, and survive, on interaction.

Humans don’t just like to be social, we need to be.

In fact, people who have weaker social relationships are 50% more likely to die over a given period than those with more robust connections, according to a 2015 meta-analysis including more than 308,000 people.

Put another way, being lonely seems to be as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

That’s why depriving yourself of social connections, even temporarily, doesn’t feel good: Your body is trying to tell you to mingle so that, long-term, you stay alive.

“If we think about loneliness as this adaptive response kind of like hunger and thirst, it’s this unpleasant state that motivates us to seek out social connections just like hunger motivates us to seek out food,” lead study author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, told Business Insider.

Of course, she said, in a situation like a pandemic that requires you to reduce or eliminate your face-to-face contact, that discomfort needs to be endured to stave off more dangerous, immediate effects.

  Use this script if you want to ask your boss to let you work from home forever

The disruption of routine, including the activities that usually boost your mood, can also feel like an uncomfortable “jolt.”


Not going to work, school, social events, or the gym means lacking “social rhythm reinforcers” and causing stress, Simon Rego, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, told TODAY.

“The removal of those things that normally lift our mood — like connecting with others, feeling we had a good productive day, getting out and exercising, moving about — when you take those things away … it can potentially have an impact on people’s mood,” he said.

Feeling frequently bored can also …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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