A word most of us are all too familiar with. And yet not many of us understand it. We all have experienced it at different points in time. We all have experienced it in different forms and intensities.
Wikipedia defines it as “Loneliness is an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. Loneliness is also described as social pain—a psychological mechanism which motivates individuals to seek social connections.”
But to each individual the feeling of loneliness can have different ramifications. Especially in today’s day and age this word is gaining a lot of ground – owing to the isolation forced on by the pandemic and the uncertain times we all live in where the social fabric of society that holds us all together and gives us a platform to connect is now lining shredded. ‘Being alone’ and ‘loneliness’ are not the same thing. We can ‘be alone’ and be happy with ourselves, doing things we love, indulging in passions and hobbies etc. And on the other hand, we can be surrounded by people, be in the midst of “happening events” and yet feel lonely. It is therefore important to understand that loneliness is more a state of mind.
And loneliness leads to a host of other issues:
• Alcoholism and drug use
• Altered brain function
• Alzheimer’s disease progression
• Antisocial behaviour
• Cardiovascular disease and stroke
• Decreased memory and learning
• Depression and suicide
• Increased stress levels
• Poor decision-making
So what does one do to combat loneliness?
1. The best thing to do – reach out to a friend. Talk/chat, establish a human and real connection – not an Insta like or a FB update – but a real human connection with a voice or in person.
2. Indulge in activities that make you happy – it could be watching TV, it could be polishing off a tub of ice-cream, it could be going out for a walk, it could be star gazing– whatever it is – do it as long as it puts a smile on your face.
3. Most critical – make friends with yourself. Loneliness is usually a sign of you running away from you – there is something that is bothering you – deep down – and it is not allowing you the peace that you seek. Make friends with yourself and try resolving this on your own or seek professional help. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and not weakness.
Get in some exercise – the importance of the release of endorphins in the body cannot be overemphasised. These are happy hormones – a natural high – indulge in this chemical – help your body make more of it…and you will find a lot of your negative thoughts just going “poof”!
About the Author.
Ms. Deepti Jacob, is a Founder and Chief Counselor at Sitara Emotional Counselling Center Message. she has 20 years of work experience in Market Research, Media, IT Sales, Psychological Counseling, Journalism and Entrepreneurship.