For many, this phrase is a familiar one “I am lonely”.
It can be challenging to experience loneliness, and it’s even more challenging to know what to do about it. Examining how loneliness affects our lives both mentally and physically and identify the signs is vital to ensure we are not heading down a destructive path.
Knowing how to reduce feelings of loneliness will help us and help us in helping another.
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What Loneliness Does To A Person?
Loneliness is linked to increased paranoia, depression, anxiety, shame, and anger. It also affects people in different ways based on their personality type and the situation they are experiencing.
For example, you may feel lonely and isolated due to an illness, social issue, or environmental factors, such as illness, being in prison or living abroad, significantly impacts how you feel.
A lonely person isolates, and as the loneliness increases, their relationships with others start to deteriorate along with their health.
Loneliness And Health?
Loneliness is unhelpful for your health as it affects how different parts of the brain function and how well your body functions day-to-day. The toll of loneliness leads to less sleep, higher stress hormones, and increased risk for several health problems. The brain releases endorphins when feeling lonely, which may make us more prone to depression or anxiety.
Changes in hormones that affect how we feel physically have been linked to loneliness. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience article The Association Between Loneliness and Inflammation: Findings From an Older Adult Sample is one of many linking loneliness to physical health decline.
Loneliness can make you sick. We are also less likely to eat well and pay attention to tasks because it is harder for lonely people to concentrate on what they’re doing. They are being distracted by their thoughts about not having anyone around them. This becomes a circle event that is not healthy for the person’s body, mind, or spiritual wellness. The result is that loneliness can make you sick.
What Happens When You Get Too Lonely?
What you think becomes your emotions, and what you believe becomes who you are.
When it comes to loneliness and social isolation, thoughts and feelings are often negative and can change a person’s personality. We all have negative thoughts, and being lonely and isolated gives life to these thoughts without any positive to counterbalance, sending the lonely person into a downward spiral.
It can change a person’s personality. When people who are feeling alone don’t make an effort to stay connected with others or manage their emotions, they can experience a range of negative impacts on their physical and mental well-being.
- Loneliness also affects your social skills, creativity, and cognitive abilities.
- Loneliness leads to feeling socially disconnected, the inability to think creatively and solve problems.
- Loneliness leads to stress, which creates feelings of anxiety.
Negative thoughts flood in and become the truth, and the person begins to believe the opposing views are real, and personality changes occur. The lonely person may utilize more negative coping strategies such as alcohol, excess food, shopping, smoking, or drugs, making the problem worse.
As no one is available to hear them, a lonely person may feel alone in their pain. As a result of the loneliness, people with intense loneliness are at an increased risk for anxiety disorders, depression, and suicide.
How Do You Know You Are Lonely?
I choose to be alone, and being lonely is not the same thing, and one can be isolated and not feel lonely.
Consider the following to determine if you are lonely.
- Being by yourself is not your choice.
- You are often uncomfortable or unhappy when you’re around others.
- Your relationships seem more like a chore than an enjoyment.
- There is a notable change in how outgoing, talkative, and lively you typically are.
- You experience a change in appetite or sleep patterns, sleeping too much, waking up early.
- Your happiness decreases, and cravings for drugs, shopping, food, or alcohol increase.
Loneliness can also affect people with plenty of close relationships with family members and friends. For example, if a person starts having problems establishing new relationships because of their job, they might feel lonely despite all those close connections already established.
Some people have a deep reaction to loneliness and become more prone than others to feelings of isolation from other humans. Reach out to a therapist, and the people in your life you feel safe with for help in dealing with your loneliness.
Meanwhile, below are a few things for you to try to help you deal with your loneliness.
Tips To Help You Through Your Loneliness
|Keep busy with day-to-day activities such as showering, brushing your teeth, watch movies or tv shows that make you laugh and smile.|
|Go out with friends for lunch or dinner or invite people you trust over.|
|Start a new hobby like painting or playing the piano; this will help keep your brain occupied while making you less lonely also!|
|Connect with your pet by taking them for a walk or playing with them as they are always happy to see you and make excellent companions.|
|If you’re not into animals, then find some plants to place in your environment. Put you care and attention into helping the plant grow stronger.|
|Keep a routine; this helps your brain and body feel more grounded; it also prevents feelings of loneliness because you are doing the same thing every day.|
|Talk to a friend or loved one on the phone if they live nearby or via video chat, even if it is just for 5 minutes; this can make a difference in how much less lonely you might feel.|
|Get outside and connect with nature and get as much sunlight into your life as possible.|
|Try a new hobby or keep up with current hobbies and be sure to do a little bit every day; anything is better than nothing!|
|Keep a gratitude journal or create a gratitude practice. When we are grateful, we create positive to counterbalance our interior negative. Moments of joy that will inspire us to move forward.|
One of the best things to do for yourself when it comes to loneliness is to stay connected with people. In-person, face-to-face contact is always best when feeling lonely. If you cannot have face-to-face contact, reach out to others on social media or video platforms. If face-to-face and social apps are not available, take the time to talk to the cashier when you get your groceries or the receptionist at your next appointment.
When you are lonely, safely reach out and you will see people do care.