Dr. Dean Ornish answered:
According to Mr. Robert F. Lehman, the president of the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, people who feel lonely and isolated are more likely to be unhealthy because they are cut off from spirit. "If God is the source of life, and if God is love, then love creates life. Every tradition has said that. What is healing but the renewal of life? All ancient traditions connect the spirit with healing, through love. Spirit is another word for life, for what animates. It has the same root in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: All words meaning 'breath,' the breath of life. So, spirit is life. That can be taken in a psychological way, but why not a physical way, too? If there is a mind-body unity, then logic has it that when spirit is absent psychologically, then life is absent or depleted from the body as well. "There are some recent surveys by Dan Yankelovich looking at what people are describing as the new spiritual movement in our culture, and he's found some very interesting things. The number people who say that spiritual growth is a significant part of their life has increased from 52 percent to 76 percent, while, at the same time, the number of people who say that belonging to a religious institution is significant has decreased from 78 percent to 50 percent. So, this is going on outside traditional religious institutions. But the other part of the survey showed that, of the 76 percent who said spiritual growth was significant, only 8 percent would identify themselves with the so-called New Age. So this is a mainstream movement that's growing rapidly.
"What is the character of that movement? It seems to have one or two defining characteristics, and one of the most interesting is that the unit of transformation is not the individual in isolation, as it always has been throughout history, but it's the individual in community, and the relationships which form the community. Relationships are the basic unit of the spirit now, and I find that very hopeful, because it's about becoming more conscious. Relationships help us become more conscious, and my own belief system says that when that happens, then love and intimacy and all those qualities become visible, and they, in themselves, carry an energy of healing, whether it's on personal, social, or environmental levels.Find out more about this book: Love and Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and HealthAccording to Mr. Robert F. Lehman, the president of the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, people who feel lonely and isolated are more likely to be unhealthy because they are cut off from spirit. "If God is the source of life, and if God is... More
Lots of research has shown that a person's health-related behaviors are closely tied to the health-related behaviors of those they know. Health information about such things as good nutrition, exercise, and opinions about healthcare professionals are often discussed among those in social groups. Someone who is isolated from others can not benefit from this information sharing. Feeling lonely can also have the effect of causing feelings of depression and low self-worth. These feelings have been shown to contribute to people not eating well, not seeing their doctor, and generally not taking care of themselves. Conversely, when people who are lonely and isolated are able to become involved with caring communities, and are able to address any emotional issues, then there is likely to be an improvement in overall health.Lots of research has shown that a person's health-related behaviors are closely tied to the health-related behaviors of those they know. Health information about such things as good nutrition, exercise, and opinions about healthcare professionals... More