What to do When you are feeling lonely Or Alone
What Exactly is Loneliness
Loneliness is a common condition affecting around one in three adults. It damages your brain, immune system, and can lead to depression and suicide. Loneliness can also increase your risk of dying prematurely as much as smoking can – and even more so than obesity. If you feel lonely, you tend to feel more stressed in situations that others cope better in, and even though you might get sufficient sleep, you don’t feel rested during the day.
Loneliness is a tricky
So many people feel lonely these days. But loneliness is a tricky condition, because it doesn’t necessarily refer to the number of people you talk to or the number of acquaintances you have. You can have many people around you and still feel lonely
Loneliness refers to the discrepancy between the number and quality of the relationships that you desire and those you actually have. You can have only two friends, but if you get along really well with them and feel that they meet your needs, you’re not lonely. Or you can be in a crowd and feel all alone.
But loneliness is not just about how you feel. Being in this state can make you behave differently, too, because you have less control over yourself – for example, you’re more likely to eat that chocolate cake for lunch instead of a meal or order take-out for dinner and you will also feel less motivated to exercise, which is important for mental and physical health. You’re also more likely to act aggressively towards others.
Sometimes people think that the only way out of loneliness is to simply talk to a few more people. But while that can help, loneliness is less about the number of contacts that you make and more about how you see the world. When you become lonely, you start to act and see the world differently. You begin noticing the threats in your environment more readily, you expect to be rejected more often, and become more judgemental of the people you interact with. People that you talk to can feel this, and as a result, start moving away from you, which perpetuates your loneliness cycle.
Loneliness is Contagious
Studies have shown that (non-lonely) people who hang out with lonely people are more likely to become lonely themselves. So loneliness is contagious, just as happiness is – when you hang out with happy people, you are more likely to become happy.
There is also a loneliness gene that can be passed down and, while inheriting this gene doesn’t mean you will end up alone, it does affect how distressed you feel from social disconnection. If you have this gene, you are more likely to feel the pain of not having the kinds of relationships that you want.
How do we overcome Loneliness
- Be kind to yourself
- Remind yourself of how special you are. Do something like buying flowers and putting them in vases all around the house. But it’s also important to be kind to yourself emotionally.
- When you find yourself mentally reprimanding yourself or thinking about the negatives in your life, remind yourself how of wonderful you are and of all the wonderful qualities that make you, you.
- It’s great to do something to keep your mind off being lonely so keep busy doing what you love to do. If you enjoy cooking, maybe consider cooking a large dinner and invite your family and friends over to enjoy the lovely meal together
- Do not sit home night after night telling yourself you are a lonely person with no friends or family.
- Get up and get going. Connect or re-connect with people you know. Go to placed you’d always wanted to go but could never find the time.
Learn new things
- Have you ever wanted to take a class or learn something new? Use your alone time to do it. If you always wanted to learn a foreign language, now is the time.
- Take an art class. Begin to research something you always wanted to learn but never took the time to do it. Learning is a great way to keep your mind busy and get you thinking about new thoughts and ideas.
Reaching out to friends and family
- Your friends do not know how you feel unless you tell them. I am not suggesting you call or text them, “Hey, I am lonely.” I am suggesting you reach out and ask them to spend time with you. But, keep in mind it is positively okay to admit you’re lonely.
- Everyone has experienced loneliness at some time in their lives. All you have to do is ask someone and they will share their story. Beating loneliness is the best with friends and family.
- Being lonely is a natural feeling, one we all experience at different times. You do not have to prove how strong or how independent you are by fighting the loneliness by yourself. You can be the strongest person you know and reach out to someone and say, “I am feeling lonely and I need your time.”
- Asking for what you need is the bravest thing you can do for yourself.
- And remember this: if you do not ask for something you may never know what the answer could be. Besides, what is the big deal if they say no? Be true to yourself and ask for what you need.
Expressing it out load
- It’s particularly bad news for men. Loneliness more often results in death for men than for women. Lonely men are also less resilient and tend to be more depressed than lonely women. This is because men are typically discouraged from expressing their emotions in society and if they do they are judged harshly for it.
- As such, they might not even admit it to themselves that they’re feeling lonely and tend to wait a long time before seeking help. This can have serious consequences for their mental health.