According to Cigna, 61% of people in America suffered from loneliness in 2019, compared to 54% in 2018, and as per a study by Brigham Young University, loneliness might increase the risk of early death by 26 percent.
Loneliness is an emotional response to feelings of isolation. Often loneliness becomes one of the reasons for increased sadness in our lives.
In the long run, loneliness can cause numerous harmful effects on us. So, it is essential to know how to deal with loneliness. But before that, let’s look at the common signs of loneliness.
- increased frustration,
- having a low sense of self-worth,
- lacking motivation or being unproductive,
- emotionally detaching from loved ones, etc.
By the end of this article, you will know more about loneliness and how to deal with loneliness.
Reasons for Loneliness
There are multiple trigger points in our life, which can make us more prone to feeling lonely in life; the following is the list of a few reasons that might trigger your loneliness:
1. Traumatic past
Those with a history of trauma are subject to a higher rate of loneliness. Traumatic histories can be either in childhood or adulthood. Childhood trauma has a severe effect on the growth and development of the individual. Due to this, there is a significant impact on the sense of safety, perception of relationships, and trusting others.
2, Poor attachment with parents
Ever since childhood, we are bonded with our parents, but if there is a disruption in that bond, it becomes difficult to have such a bond with them throughout your life. According to the attachment theory, the attachment we have with ourselves tends to repeat with others as well, and if this bond is only poor, the rest may feel the same.
3. Social factors
The direct cause of loneliness may be social factors like losing someone or something, growing old alone, or being socially awkward. This can severely impact the person and may ruin bonds like friendships and relationships as they get involved with persons who end up adjusting.
4. Mental or physical health issues
If someone is suffering from mental or physical health issues, there is a high risk of feeling lonely. People love to be isolated from everyone as they find it challenging to explain to others how they are feeling. They even lack social connection with people.
Effects of Loneliness
Not knowing how to deal with loneliness can be an issue for us in the long run. Loneliness creates a significant impact on our lives and can cause some degrading effects on our physical as well as mental health.
The feeling of loneliness plays a significant role in developing cardiovascular problems and depression. Loneliness can cause an increase in stress, which has many adverse effects, such as increased anxiety, negative thinking, and lowered self-esteem.
Increased stress and anxiety from loneliness also affect our relations and might weaken them. This proves how important it is to know what to do if you feel lonely.
What to do when you are feeling lonely?
Working on feelings of loneliness is very important for all of us, as it directly or indirectly affects our mental and physical health. Here, we provide you with seven ways to cope with loneliness.
1. Spend some time with animals!
If you don’t know what to do when you are feeling lonely, start by spending some time with animals.
Animals may be unable to talk out loud, but their companionship and loyalty prove it. Often we crave another living creature, and animals might be the best way for it. The presence of another living creature helps provide comfort.
As per a paper published in “The Power of Pets” by NIH News in Health, spending time with animals can improve mental and physical wellness.
Petting an animal helps you figure out how to deal with being alone and can also reduce stress and anxiety. Several people also use animals like dogs to ease their symptoms of depression.
2. Give yourself a break from social media!
Although social media might seem like an answer for how to deal with loneliness, sometimes this solution can become a cause.
As per research published on NCBI by B. Dibb and M. Foster on “Loneliness and Facebook use: the role of social comparison and rumination,” an increase in comparison due to social media can be linked to an increased feeling of loneliness.
Social media never shows you the whole truth about a situation; you might be looking at some posts of your friends, relatives, or even of unknown people and start feeling lonely. This might hamper your inner peace and make you more susceptible to overthinking and feeling alone.
You can practice various techniques to construct social media boundaries to help ease the signs of loneliness and make you emotionally and mentally healthy.
3. Start journaling!
Maintaining a journal is considered a cathartic process and can help you sort out your feelings.
Whenever we write something down, we clear our minds and push the reset button in our brains. This helps you release the emotional and mental weight you have been carrying.
When you feel lonely, try writing down the exact details of how you feel, it helps you process your emotions and provide a new perspective. There are various journaling prompts and journal techniques over the internet through which we can work on yourselves and lead a better and happy life.
4. Start talking to people!
As per the University of Manchester, people suffering from loneliness show improvement in their emotional state by:
- initiating a conversation with someone,
- being more optimistic for the next person you meet.
- inviting people fearlessly,
- sharing your loneliness feeling with someone, etc.
Without stressing over what to do when you feel lonely, go ahead and try to initiate a conversation; it can be with someone you know or even a random person. It might seem awkward initially, but once you start talking to people, you gain more self-confidence and can even wipe off your loneliness.
5. Get involved in group activities!
One of the best answers to what to do when you are feeling lonely is to get involved in group activities. This method is preferable because you can talk to different kinds of people with diverse perspectives. At the same time, it is easier to speak in a group because somehow you get involved in the conversation, and it even becomes easier to initiate a conversation.
There are various group activities like NGOs, volunteering, and college clubs, where you can actively participate and even make new friends to talk to. This might help you get over your feeling of loneliness.
6. Enroll yourself in a support group!
One of the most direct ways to learn how to deal with loneliness is through support groups.
Talking to different people who can relate to you might help you learn what to do when you are feeling lonely. Spending time with the support group enables you to deal with and control your emotions healthily.
Support groups are available online and offline for different causes, from anxiety and depression to emotional distress caused by health, accident, and other factors.
7. Work on your existing relations!
Sometimes, you might be looking for how to deal with being alone in life, but you already have people who care about you. So, it’s time for you to work on your existing relations and strengthen them.
Start by spending more time with your loved ones. Don’t rush into things; start with just one friend or family member and then slowly climb up the wall. Strengthen your relationship, which will help you cope with loneliness and also help you feel more happiness and satisfaction in life.
There are many types of emotions that we suppress in our daily life, and loneliness is just one of those types. The above-mentioned ways how to deal with loneliness are just a few of them to achieve better mental health.
One thing we need to keep in our mind is that these methods aren’t going to show results in a day; every good thing takes time. All you need to invest to achieve better mental health is your time, patience, and determination.
Feeling like loneliness, anger, and others make it quite a challenge for us to achieve good mental health; here are some tips for you to learn how to control your emotions.
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