Loneliness is a disturbing state of mind in which a person experiences a strong feeling of blankness and remoteness. Loneliness is a feeling of being halted & detached from other people. Lonely people often feel blank or hollow inside. The effects of loneliness can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicide, alcohol addiction, and chronic illness. However, the experience of loneliness is very tough to define; an individual can be alone without feeling lonely and can feel lonely even when he/she is at any crowded place.
Loneliness should not be associated with a fear of being alone. Instead, it is the perception of being lonely and a strong feeling of emptiness & isolation. It is a state of mind with constant feelings/thoughts of emptiness, unwantedness, helplessness, worthlessness and a strong need of human contacts – lasting for 2 weeks and more. The fear of being alone can be caused by scores of things. A fear of being alone can be directly correlated to lack of self-confidence. People can experience loneliness for lots of social reasons, and many life events are associated to loneliness. Loneliness is a very common response after breakups & loss/death of a closed one. Although loneliness is generally a temporary problem but when it becomes chronic, the consequences can be severe. Loneliness has been correlated to depression, anxiety, and increased vulnerability to health problems such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even to suicide.
Technology has also been overpowering human contacts, making them feel lonely. It is ironic that with an increase in population in recent years, there is also an increase in the graph of loneliness.
Sometimes, transient loneliness remains beneficial and encourages the strength in a relationship. At the other hand, chronic or long-term loneliness is a risk factor for mental health and physical health.
TYPES OF LONELINESS:
- Social loneliness
- Emotional loneliness
- Family loneliness
- Romantic loneliness
CAUSES OF LONELINESS:
Causative factors to loneliness include situational variables. Loneliness can also be attributed to internal factors such as lack of self confidence, low self-esteem & due to health problems. Few prominent factors are mentioned below –
- Depression anhedonia
- Physical isolation
- Migration to a new place
- Domestic violence (makes a person emotionally tortured & lonely)
- Sometimes after marriage or after the birth of a child
- Divorce, Breakups or separation
- Death of a beloved person
- Barrier of communication
- Social anxiety
- Psychological (dependency on someone)
- Lack of self-confidence
HOW LONELINESS CAN MAKE YOU FEEL?
Loneliness affects both physical as well as mental health. Loneliness makes many people insecure, anxious and depressed.
- Boredom, bleak, faded colours of life, rotten smell
- Suicidal thoughts (50% more attempts than the normal)
- Decreased performance
- Low mood, crying spells
- Self-injurious behaviour
- Disturbed sleep
- Gap between effort and output i.e. efficiency
- Low interaction
- Family, friends and children suffer
- Weight changes
- Physical illness due to the release of increased stress hormones, like hypertension, decreased immune system & diabetes mellitus.
ALARMING SIGNS OF LONELINESS:
When feelings of loneliness and isolation worsen, there may be more serious signs and symptoms. Long-term feelings of loneliness can affect your health in many ways. Few major signs are mentioned below –
- Persistent low or depressed mood
- Severe anxiety symptoms
- Increased thoughts of self-injurious behaviour or suicidal ideas
- Affecting work, job, finances & business
- High blood pressure & Distress
- Sleep disorders
- Painful feelings & sometimes lost
- Fear and Sadness
- Family, personal life suffering
- Daily activities change
- Helplessness & Emptiness
WAYS TO AVERT LONELINESS:
- Do activities that you enjoy
- Focus on positive thoughts and attitudes
- Try to develop quality relationships
- Meet those people who share similar interests, habits and values with you
- Recognize that loneliness is a short term thing and it goes by each passing day
- Focus on your health
- Spend maximum time outside and meet friends and family
- Watch movies and go for party with friends
- Identify the cause of your loneliness
- Do not spend much time at home alone
- Do exercises, gym and even dance and go for loud music
HOW “UDGAM” CAN HELP YOU?
We believe that loneliness and the fear of being alone are common experiences. The first move is to own that you have a trouble with being alone and that you would like to think and behave differently. Our experienced psychologists and counsellors will help you to change your behavioral approaches, relationship and communication skills, and also use specific techniques to deal with your sufferings.
- Acknowledging the issue/finding out reasons
- Find someone with whom you can share your feelings
- Get you involved in your hobbies
- Gives you psychological help/psychotherapy (Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Reality therapy and Behavioral therapy)
- Exercises, meditation, dance classes, gym and many other facilities
- Relaxation and stress relief techniques
- Following a healthy diet
- Avoiding alcohol/other substances
- Increased surveillance by family members, friends & closed ones
- Reconnect you to your old friends