You are sitting at a dinner get-together surrounded by friends and family, but still you feel alone.
Your youngest child leaves for college, and you finally have the freedom you have longed for, except the house feels too quiet.
You spend most of your life doing things by yourself. In fact, you feel a little proud that you can be so independent. You should be accustomed to this by now, but you can’t help wondering why you are always alone.
You might think being alone and loneliness are the same, but there is a clear difference between the two. A person can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. According to WebMD, “loneliness is actually a state of mind” that “causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted.”
Someone who feels lonely lacks more than human contact. Rather, they lack a deeper connectedness with other people. Often, they feel that no one understands them or what they are going through. These feelings can come from low self-esteem, isolation, trauma, or depression.
How Do You Know If You Suffer from Chronic Loneliness?
Many people suffer from some form of loneliness from time to time, but this occasional loneliness isn’t the same as chronic loneliness. Rather, chronic loneliness can be long-term as well as reoccurring. The symptoms of chronic loneliness are much like those of depression. They include,
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Higher cortisol levels leading to stress.
- Low energy or no motivation.
Furthermore, people suffering from chronic loneliness may also:
- Feel that their relationships are superficial.
- Have a lot of acquaintances as opposed to a best friend.
- Feel isolated even in crowded situations.
- Exhibit antisocial behaviors.
- Make bad decisions.
- Easily lose focus making learning difficult.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer from loneliness. If you have ever felt deeply lonely, these 7 simple lifestyle tweaks can help you overcome those feelings, so you can find the connection you long for.
- Join a Group
It’s easy to isolate when you feel lonely, but that is the last thing you should do. It interferes with any chance to make a connection with others so that you can overcome chronic loneliness. Consider joining a club that caters to your hobbies. There you will find other people with similar interests that offer a natural connection. Do you have a love for animals? Join a turtle rescue club. Enjoy taking pictures? How about a photography meetup? Working out? Join a gym.
- Bask in the Sun
Loneliness increases cortisol levels that can cause stress. On the other hand, outdoor activities done in sunlight increases endorphins and serotonin or “happy hormones.” Call a friend to join you as a daily walking partner. You can use that time to talk and make a connection. You will find yourself in a better mood and more able to sleep.
- Get off Social Media
You can have thousands of friends and followers on your social media accounts, but they won’t bring you the satisfaction that you can get from one good friend with which you have a quality relationship. Turn off the computer and set the phone aside, so you can spend the afternoon connecting with someone face-to-face.
- Get on Social Media
I know it’s a contradiction but consider this. The distance or anonymity social media allows often lets us express ourselves more openly. Try searching “loneliness groups” and picking one or two to join. Then challenge yourself to do more than lurk in these groups. You will get more out of them if you make yourself known and comment on other peoples’ posts. Who knows? You might find yourself in a private message connecting with someone you have never met before.
- Seek Help from a Family Member or Friend
You may be thinking, “I don’t have friends—that’s why I’m lonely,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You may, in fact, have many friends that you can trust. Rather, the problem is often that loneliness stems from a lack of close or intimate connection to other people. Therefore, even though it may be scary, it is also important to share your feelings with someone else. Learning to trust is the first step to making a connection.
- Shift Your Perspective
Instead of not having any friends, you may simply be suffering from a skewed perspective or a negative state of mind. In other words, you may perceive your friends feel one way about you when in fact they feel completely different.
For example, you have turned down several invitations from a friend because you have work commitments. Then one day you realize they are no longer inviting you, and you begin to feel that they don’t like you. They, on the other hand, would love to spend time with you but realize that your schedule does not permit it. While it feels like they no longer want to be your friend, the disconnection has really occurred because your work has simply made getting together difficult.
- Seek Help from a Therapist or Health Care Professional
Chronic loneliness can both lead to depression and be caused by depression. Unfortunately, these conditions can also lead to thoughts of suicide. Regardless of which came first, your mental health should be a priority. A doctor or therapist can offer techniques and/or medications that can help you through these times. They can also check to determine if there is a physical condition that has caused your feelings of loneliness.
See also: 15 Easy Ways to Stay Positive in a Negative World that will help you how to overcome your loneliness using the positive thought.
You Are Not Alone
Feeling alone is quite normal. Statistics show that 22% of Americans say they often feel lonely. https://socialpronow.com/loneliness-statistics/ The simple fact exists. We need each other for more than just interaction. We need deep social connections.
If you find yourself feeling like you are constantly spending time alone, have difficulty making close connections with other people, have no one to talk to about important things, or like no one understands you, it may be time to try one or several of these 7 simple lifestyle tweaks to help you overcome your loneliness.
Spirituals Life wants to hear your questions. If you want to know more about the topic of loneliness or depression, please let us know in the comments, so we can cover it in a future article.