Many elderly people spend their last years alone as spouses pass and families scatter. Loneliness, however, takes more than a toll than just on emotions, it can have serious physical impact as well. We have known for some time that feeling lonely is linked to heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression and even on premature death.
UCLA researchers reported in the journal, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, that an eight week course in mindfulness-based meditation not only helped with loneliness, but also altered the genes and protein markers of inflammation, including CRP and the transcription factor NF-kB.
The power of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs have a powerful effect on our biochemistry and physiology. All too often in modern day psychiatry, doctors rely on modifying levels of neurotransmitters to alter brain chemistry, rather than working through the root cause of why people are anxious or depressed.