Is it Possible to be Too Independent? Going it Alone Often an Obstacle to Improving Health and Well-Being

Whenever someone faces a significant problem it can be tempting to resist confiding in anyone. This is especially true if the problem is a lifestyle issue that might cause embarrassment if it is revealed to others. Even if others know about the issue, it’s human nature to want to be independent and to try to handle things on your own.

Going it Alone Makes it Harder to Make Changes

The desire to keep one’s imperfections and flaws hidden is very common. This is especially true for men who face social pressures to be the “strong, silent type.” For generations, men have been told that to “be a man” they must withhold sharing their thoughts and feelings.

For this reason, one of the biggest challenges many men must overcome when they first attempt to face their personal problems is their insistence on doing it by themselves. Whether dealing with financial setbacks, learning how to manage anger, working past obsessive thoughts, or coping with stress, many men make the process harder than it has to be when they insist on going it alone.

So many who struggle with self-destructive behaviors, such as overeating, gambling, alcoholism or other substance abuse issues never get the support that they need to help them overcome their addictions because they resist sharing their struggle with their loved ones.

Social Support Key to Making Real and Lasting Lifestyle Changes

Talking with others about what they are going through is a vital part of the process of breaking free of negative behaviors and patterns so that the process of healing and recovery can begin.

Social contact and support is a cornerstone of many recovery plans across the country. For example, some of the most successful drug rehab Arizona treatment facilities include a social component where those who are currently working to beat their addiction can gain support and encouragement from those who are going through the exact same challenges and temptations. After all, who knows what it feels like trying to make such a significant change in one’s life other than someone who is fighting the exact same battle?

It takes a real man to admit he needs help in the fight, and addiction issues are not the only lifestyle change that can benefit from the act of opening up and sharing the details. Whether one is a man or a woman, nearly any problem is easier to face and solve when we have a support system made up of friends and family that care about us and that will work to support our efforts to find a solution.

Going it Alone Can Shorten Your Lifespan and is Linked to Other Health Issues

Social withdrawal doesn’t just make it harder to change one’s lifestyle and beat destructive habits. While recognizing the need to make changes is a fantastic start, it’s much harder to accomplish alone. According to a 2009 study, Social Disconnectedness, Perceived Isolation, and Health among Older Adults, social isolation has a profound effect on our health and well-being.

In addition to a loss in willpower, those who have little contact with others and keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves are more likely to die early. They are also more prone to developing other significant health issues and conditions, including heart disease and depression.

In fact, social isolation has been shown to have such a negative impact on mood and mental health that increasing social contact, exercise and sleep are well-known strategies to beat the blues.

Benefits of Increased Social Interactions Go Beyond a Boost to Blood Flow and Inner Resolve

While no one is exactly certain why social isolation itself has such a negative impact on one’s health, social contact with others has been shown to improve overall health, quality of life and lower mortality rates. Studies have also shown that social support is important when making lifestyle changes.

Social support in the form of physical contact is especially helpful to those who are struggling with health conditions. Hugs, or even just holding someone’s hand, increases determination. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the levels of various stress hormones in the blood.

There shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that you have issues that you need help to overcome. Talking with others about your struggles will not only increase your chances of making a successful lifestyle change, it will work to improve your overall health and well-being for the long term.

 

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