This story originally appeared on Easy Health Options®.
Your feelings can kill you. Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that older people enjoy longer life expectancy if they avoid certain emotional relationships and maintain others.
The deadly emotion to avoid is loneliness along with social isolation. Feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 percent, according to this study. It is twice as deadly as obesity.
“Retiring to Florida to live in a warmer climate among strangers isn’t necessarily a good idea if it means you are disconnected from the people who mean the most to you,” says researcher John Cacioppo.
Cacioppo points out that solitude or physical isolation is not deadly if you don’t feel painfully isolated. So an older person living by himself won’t be fatally lonely if he’s socially engaged and has friends he sees frequently. But physical infirmities like being hard of hearing or blind adds to the risk of loneliness and isolation.