Have you ever felt yourself slipping away when you’re at a party with a group of friends? Longed for deeper connections and a support system? Canceled plans to stay at home more often lately? We feel alone amidst a crowd and often do not understand how to cope with loneliness. We have broken down the types of loneliness and also listed down some self-help tips to help you deal with loneliness.
There are times when we feel sad even when we are among people. Sometimes we feel like not getting out of the house and avoid people. This somehow just feels safe.
Loneliness isn’t fun, carefree or spiritually cleansing. Both UK and US governments have recently declared loneliness to be a public health issue that afflicts generations X and Y as much as little old ladies stranded on stairlifts. A study for the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness revealed the scale of the epidemic: shockingly, nine million people “always or often feel lonely”.
We have all been there, but what if it starts getting overwhelming. Is it normal to feel it very often? When does alone time become too much? Well, let’s understand this better.
Solitude vs Loneliness
First, let’s not get confused between loneliness and solitude. Though they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Solitude is a positive feeling of spending time with yourself and enjoying it. It leaves you refreshed and full of ideas.
Loneliness, on the other hand, is a sad and isolated feeling that makes you feel like nobody gets you or cares for you. Loneliness can make you feel stuck, lost, low on energy or empty. It’s a natural feeling and can happen due to various reasons. But, there are ways to deal with loneliness, below we have listed a few major ones that we think would be really helpful.
Causes of Loneliness
Before we even begin with the suggestions depending on the type of loneliness, let’s start with the most important step. This is a step that you have to imbibe within you to make an honest attempt in helping yourself.
The first and most important step in the process of healing is to believe that there’s a solution. And to understand yourself better – you can be your own person. Being more self-compassionate and forgiving towards yourself goes a long way. We know, this is a journey in itself but it’s definitely worth taking.
So, now what we really need to work on, is understanding why we feel the way we feel. When we understand the cause, the problem is half solved 🙂 Let’s begin with understanding the causes that might help to identify the reason you could be feeling lonely.
1. Situational Loneliness
This might be due to a change in your external environment, for example moving to a new city or becoming a parent or getting a new job. Thankfully, these get better with time and are temporary. You might feel anxious about the new surroundings, but, remember this too shall pass.
In this period of change, make sure you are open to new experiences, new friends and to make memories. We know the past can come back crawling sometimes, but, remember the new person you have become. Embrace the present you, the present surrounding, find your new favorite spot, explore, and you’ll slowly start falling in love with change.
2. Developmental Loneliness
Today, we’re connected to each other more than ever. The only catch is, we consume so much about other people’s lives that we consciously or subconsciously compare ourselves with them. Developmental loneliness is when you feel everyone around is succeeding and moving ahead in life. There is a lot of work stress.
We can always clean our social media feeds and unfollow all those who trigger us. More meme pages are always welcome. Millennials are calling it meme therapy. Maybe it is a good time to take a break from social media. All you need to remember is, you are on your own journey and a beautiful one. Let’s try not to get distracted by all the noise around us, shall we?
3. Internal loneliness:
Also called ‘trait loneliness’ this the kind where external factors don’t play a huge role in how you feel. The same kind where you feel lonely at a party, you can’t really make deep connections with others, you just feel lonely no matter what. This happens to a lot of people.
Remember that it’s okay to reach out to your friends, family, and people who care for you. You can seek external help and join community groups as well. Or you could try self-help tools such as meditation. Research has also shown that getting a pet and taking care of it can help build deeper connections too.
If you feel you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to help, talking to a Therapist may help a lot. Therapy can make you understand the root cause of your loneliness, help you make real connections and bring a sense of purpose back in life.
Most people have the notion that therapy is extremely expensive. But there are many digital or online therapists or apps that provide amazing counseling at an affordable cost. In fact, Wysa also provides a pool of experienced and qualified therapists who can walk this journey with you. And our services are extremely affordable because we believe that money should never hinder your nurturing.
The feeling of loneliness can worsen during the winters and festive seasons. So make it a point to check up on your neighbors, especially if they are old. The cold is a lot colder to the elderly, so please share your warmth this season, share your food, be kind to each other and make it a merrier Christmas for everyone.