From Nautilus: Numerous research studies demonstrate the strong correlation between social isolation and significant emotional and physical health risks. The pain of loneliness can serve an important role in driving us to build relationships with others.
“In recent years, scientists have sharpened their focus on loneliness, concluding it does have a purpose, does have redeeming features. They are not talking like Thoreau about the benefits of solitude on our creative minds and spirits. They are talking like Darwin about loneliness driving change, an evolutionary correction.
‘Loneliness is a warning system,’ says Louise Hawkley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. It is our body telling us we’re breaking from the social bonds that nourished us as a species. ‘We’re failing to satisfy our fundamental drive to connect with other humans,’ Hawkley says. Feeling isolated switches our bodies into self-preservation mode. ‘What happens with people who are lonely for a long time is their threat-defense programs get activated,’ says Steve Cole, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. ‘The body interprets loneliness as threatening.'”