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Editorial- August-2022

Human beings are inherently and intensely social for their needs of survival. In many cases, people feel disconnectedness or isolated either being with others or being socially isolated. Such feelings are known as loneliness. The effects of loneliness on neural chemistry have been proven. A study published in Journal of American Heart Association on 4th August reveals the association of cardiovascular diseases and brain health with social isolation and loneliness. Due to behavioural, psychological and physiological changes, health of heart and brain get affected. Study notes the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke in those who are socially isolated or lonely.
The study has taken the reference of both objective and perceived (subjective) isolation. Various other studies suggest depression and stress due to any reason may lead to CHD and stroke. As increase in release of adrenaline is noted during stressful conditions. Adrenalin raises the blood pressure and heart rate. In response neuropeptide Y is released. This causes spasm of coronary artery.
Anything causing depression and stress may affect same way. It is not loneliness only, but feelings of pressure, changes in life-style, not ability to overcome specific situations etc. also cause stress and depression. It is all about the feelings and engagement of mind and brain.
Charak Sutrasthana 1/58 mentions meditation to treat such psychic problem as concept of meditation is based on interaction of brain, mind, body and behaviour. Meditation assists in understanding the sense of own gratitude in mindful ways. Thoughts and emotions automatically get controlled. Studies have observed meditation as a tool to combat loneliness as it reduces stress, related neurochemicals and lowers the level of increased adrenaline. Various neurophysiological studies have highlighted the positive effects of meditation in reduction of risks of cardiovascular diseases through brain-heart network. So, lack of mindful judgement or feelings are reasons behind such problems.