Loneliness is a universal concept which is complex and which is unique to each and every human being or individual.For example, a lonely child at school struggling to make friends is different from an adult who feels lonely because his/her spouse is dead.
The common definitions of loneliness describes it as a state of solitude or being alone whereas loneliness is a state of mind.Loneliness leads to feelings such as alone, unwanted and empty.People who are lonely usually crave for human attention but its also difficult for them for form connections.
Different studies and research state that loneliness is associated with social isolation, poor social skills and depression.According to many experts, Loneliness is not necessarily a state of being alone.Instead the feeling of being alone and isolated creates loneliness.
LONELINESS VS SOLITUDE:
Being alone is not as same as being lonely. Researches therefore say that the feeling of loneliness and being isolated leads to both physical and mental despair.Solitude is actually important for many health benefits including allowing people to better focus and recharge.
It’s the feeling of isolation despite wanting social connections. It is often perceived as an involuntary separation, rejection, or abandonment by other people.
Solitude on the other hand explains people who enjoy spending time by themselves. Its voluntary. This group of people also spends time with others but they balance it off by spending some alone time with themselves.
HEALTH RISK ASSOCIATED WITH LONELINESS:
Well, Loneliness has a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health of an individual.
- Alcohol and drug misuse
- Altered brain function
- Antisocial behaviour
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Decreased memory and learning
- Depression and suicide
- Increased stress levels
- Poor decision making capabilities
These are not the only areas where loneliness takes a toll. It also disrupts the regulation of cellular processes deep within the body which predisposes lonely people to premature aging.
People who are less lonely are more likely to be married, having high incomes and have higher educational qualifications.People who have higher level of loneliness are usually found living in small cities with small social networks and low quality social relationships.
CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS HELP COMBAT LONELINESS:
Statistics states that Loneliness is becoming quite prevalent especially among the younger generations. According to a study conducted in 2019, 25% adults between 18 to 27 age groups have no close friends while 22% reportedly have no friends at all. The rise of internet and social media are partially to be blamed.Study says that it’s not the quantity of social interactions but the quality which helps combat loneliness.
Having just a few close friends is more than enough to combat loneliness and reduce the negative health consequences associated with this state of mind. Research says that the experience of actual face to face contact with friends helps boost peoples sense of well-being.
WAYS TO OVERCOME LONELINESS:
Loneliness can be overcome but with a conscious effort to make a change. In the long run it helps with your physical health makes you feel happier and leather and enables you to impact around you in a positive way.
- EXPECT THE BEST:
Lonely people often expect rejection so instead try to focus on the positive thoughts and attitudes in your social relationships.
- FOCUS ON DEVELOPING QUALITY RElATIONSHIPS:
Seek people who share similar thoughts and ideas, interests and values within you.
- STRENGTHEN CURRENT RELATIONSHIP:
Yes, it’s true that building new relationships are important but improving the current relationships are also important in a great way to help combat loneliness. Try talking to a friend or family member whom you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST:
Reaching out to somebody in your life is very important and talking about what you feel is equally important. This could be a family member, a friend or your therapist.
- REALISE THE EFFECTS OF LONELINESS:
There are physical and mental repercussions to loneliness. If you recognise some of these symptoms affecting how you feel, make a conscious effort to combat them.
Loneliness can have a serious effect on your health so it is important to be able to recognise signs that you are feeling lonely. It is also important to remember that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.If loneliness is affecting your well being then there are things that you can do that can help you form new connections and find the social support that you need.Work on new connections and develop the current relationships, spend time in talking to people. If you’re still struggling consider therapy but always remember that there is the right help and right way to deal with it.