This guide discusses the meaning of loneliness, songs, poems, books, tests, and quotes about this kind of feeling, coping and overcoming this kind of feeling, feeling lonely after a break-up and feeling lonely in a marriage, loneliness in the elderly, and the relation and difference between loneliness and depression.
The meaning of loneliness
Loneliness is defined as unhappiness felt when one feels neglected by any form of social communication. Loneliness can also stem even in the presence of people. This feeling is considered to be rampant around the world despite our involvement in social media. In this case, this issue must be discussed to ease this unpleasant feeling.
Loneliness is a universal human feeling that’s distinctive to each individual. Having no individual cause, the interference and treatment of this doubtless damaging state of mind will vary dramatically.
For example, a lonely student who struggles to form friends in college has different desires than a lonely man whose spouse has recently died. To know loneliness, it is important to specifically decipher what we mean by the term “lonely”.
While common definitions of loneliness describe it as a state of solitude or being alone, loneliness is truly a state of the mind. Loneliness is outlined by researchers as feeling lonely at least once per week.
Loneliness causes individuals to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. Those who identify as being lonely typically crave human contact; however, their state of mind makes it harder to create connections with others.
Loneliness, per several specialists, isn’t essentially regarding being alone. Instead, it’s a state of mind resulting from feeling isolated. As an example, a college freshman may feel lonely despite being physically close to a roommate and peers. A soldier may feel lonely when deployed overseas, despite being perpetually troop members.
Contributing factors to loneliness
Loneliness can occur from a variety of reasons. As an example, you may feel lonely if you:
- Amendment faculties or jobs
- Work from home
- Move to a new town
- Are experiencing a breakup
- Reside alone
As you navigate through these new circumstances, feelings of loneliness could pass. However, you might find that they persist. It’s not always easy to articulate your feelings, coupled with the challenge of reaching out to others, you may feel even more alone.
A lack of meaningful connections also contributes to loneliness, which is why some feel lonely albeit having a large social network.
You may have loads of friends and fill some time with social activities, however, a deeper connection with those friends may not exist. Spending much of your time with couples and families also can result in feelings of loneliness if you’re single.
Living with mental or physical health challenges can also increase the risk of loneliness. Typically, social activities demand an excessive amount of emotional or physical energy, and you may find yourself exhausted when coping with mental or physical ailments, thus decreasing time spent with others or often canceling plans.
Eventually, a continuing lack of social associations may cause you to feel even worse.
If you’re lonely, you may experience feelings of unhappiness, emptiness, or as if you’re lacking something in life. Chronic loneliness can also involve the subsequent symptoms:
- Reduced energy
- Feeling foggy or unable to focus
- Insomnia, interrupted sleep, or alternative sleep problems
- Reduced appetite
- Feelings of despair or worthlessness
- Weakened immune system
- Body aches and pains
- Feelings of anxiousness or restlessness
- Substance abuse
- Inflated need to binge-watch shows or movies
- Cravings for physical heat, like hot drinks, baths, or cozy garments and blankets
Loneliness, even chronic loneliness, isn’t a specific behavioral diagnosis. However, specialists acknowledge the ways that loneliness will affect your physical and emotional health.
If you have felt any of the symptoms mentioned above, consulting a mental health professional may help.
A psychiatric professional can assist in helping to identify root causes for behavioral symptoms. Though there’s no diagnosis for loneliness, a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist can help identify coping mechanisms.
They can teach you processes to manage symptoms of loneliness and assist in ways to form positive changes.
Experts are more often finding that loneliness and isolation can have comprehensive impacts on one’s health. The following is a glance at what recent analyses found.
A 2017 review of forty studies on social isolation and loneliness found links to death, vascular problems, and an overall worsened mental state.
Another 2017 study reviewed the results of the 2012 Swiss Health Survey, and located alink loneliness to inflated risk for:
- Chronic unwellness
- High cholesterol
- Emotional distress
Results of a 2017 study showed 2,000 young adults who felt lonely also had a lower quality of sleep. The study also found that those who experienced violence may have heightened feelings of loneliness.
According to a 2018 study of 639 older adults, both loneliness and social isolation impacted sleep quality.
A 2016 study looking at the link between loneliness and social isolation together in 116 people subjects found that lonely individuals typically had depression.
According to a 2018 study of 88 subjects with loneliness and depression, loneliness had a “moderately significant” impact on the risk of depression.
Results of a 2017 study looking at 382 adults aged 65 and older found that loneliness and depression increase the risk of psychological decline.
Causes of loneliness
Contributing factors to loneliness embody situational variables, such as physical isolation, relocation, and divorce. The experience of death in one’s life also can result in feelings of loneliness. It may lead to psychological disorders such as depression.
Loneliness also can be attributed to internal factors like low self-esteem. Those who lack confidence in themselves typically believe that they’re unworthy of others. This could result in isolation and chronic loneliness.
Health risks related to loneliness
Loneliness incorporates a big selection of negative effects on each physical and mental health, including:
- Inflated stress levels
- Slowed memory and learning
- Delinquent behavior
- Alcoholism and misuse
- The progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Altered brain functionality
- Depression and suicide
These aren’t the sole areas within which loneliness takes its toll.
Lonely adults get less exercise than those that aren’t lonely. Their diet is often higher in fat, their sleep is outside of regular norms, and they report excess of daytime fatigue.
What analysis suggests regarding loneliness
Researchers have found that low levels of loneliness are seen in individuals with romantic partners, higher incomes, and better academic standing. On the other hand, high levels of loneliness are related to those with physical health symptoms, those that live alone, and have low-quality social relationships.
Friendships and loneliness
Researchers have found that reports of loneliness are increasing within the United States. Since 1985, the number of individuals reporting lack of quality relationships has tripled, with social media playing more of a part in the 21st century.
Experts believe that it’s not the quantity of social interaction that combats loneliness; however, it’s the quality.
Having simply 3 or four close friends is enough to chase away loneliness and scale back the negative health consequences related to this state of mind.
Loneliness is contagious
One study suggests that loneliness may very well be contagious. In a 10 year study, researchers examined how loneliness spreads in social networks. The results indicated that individuals who confided in others on their experiences with loneliness were much more likely to experience loneliness themselves.
Tips to combat loneliness
Loneliness can be overcome. It will need full effort of the individual to be countered. Creating lifestyle changes long-term will cause one to be happier, healthier, and aid in modifying the impact you have around others with a positive approach.
Ways to decrease loneliness:
- Acknowledge that loneliness may be a sign of the need for change
- Perceive the results that loneliness has on your life, each physically and mentally
- Consider community service or another activity that you may get pleasure from. These activities may be opportunities to bring fulfillment to individuals and to cultivate friendships and social interaction
- Concentrate on developing quality relationships with those who share similar attitudes, interests, and values with you
- Expect the simplest. Lonely individuals typically expect rejection, thus, you should instead concentrate on positive thoughts and attitudes in your social relationships.
Dealing with loneliness
Loneliness is both an emotional and situational dilemma. Individuals with several friends will feel fulfilled, while individuals with large social networks are more likely to feel lonely. Because of this, those who experience loneliness must challenge their feelings and acknowledge the possible transience of these feelings, while additionally taking concrete steps to strengthen connections to others.
It may be difficult to create new friendships, especially the older one gets. However, reaching out to others in close proximity or those with whom you may not have the strongest relationship with in your social network can be great starts. Those experiencing acute loneliness could get pleasure from talking to mental state skilled that will facilitate tailor methods for brick and for meeting others.
While loneliness might not be an identifiable condition, you will still greatly benefit from working to decrease feelings of loneliness.
Finding the simplest measures to address loneliness typically depends on its cause. For example:
- It may be difficult to recognize individuals, whether or not they’re new friends or potential romantic partners
- You will may have a handful of casual relationships, however, none that appear meaningful
- You may have feelings of social anxiety that prevent you from connecting with others
In all cases, seeking the help of a mental health counseling or medical professional can help in identifying causes of loneliness. If you’re handling mental or physical health problems that isolate you or worsen feelings of loneliness, seeking help for these problems will help you combat these symptoms.
If you are feeling lonely while not necessarily sure of the root causes for your feelings, a counselor can help; it is vital to seek help in combating feelings of loneliness if you aren’t certain what’s happening. An expert will assist you in examining areas in your life that may be causing such feelings.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about loneliness:
Can loneliness impact your physical health?
Feelings of isolation will have a significantly harmful result on one’s mental and physical health. Loneliness and depression may increase chances of heart disease, arthritis, among other illnesses. Lonely individuals are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Isolation and depression compromises immunity will increase stress hormones and is also harmful to one’s sleep. These factors increase chronic inflammation that lowers one’s immunity, even to the degree that some suffer from respiratory disorders. Loneliness is a chronic stress condition that ages the body and causes injury to overall well-being.
Is loneliness a mental health problem?
Feeling lonely is not in itself a psychiatric diagnosis, however, it can contribute to existing mental health challenges or help cause them.
For example, one might experience social phobia – referred to as social anxiety – resulting in difficulties in group or social settings. If one is inhibited from taking part in social activities due to anxiety, this can often result in feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Loneliness and depression
As mentioned before, loneliness is an unpleasant feeling that can happen with or without social support. With depression, it is described as a constant sadness and an apathetic look on anything pleasurable in life. It is not uncommon for these concepts to be found together on some research papers about them and people tend to find that they are feeling lonely and depressed. The connection between these feelings is loneliness tends to be the first step towards the downward spiral of depression.
Feeling lonely and depressed
The feeling of being lonely contains overwhelming insecurity of oneself on having any form of social contact or even having social contacts but the connection is not present. The feeling of being depressed is a chronic sadness and apathy that makes the affected person feel nothing at all and not willing to participate in any activity. The imagination that a person may have both of these feelings is not unusual. As stated before, these two feelings tend to coincide because the depressed people may lead people to move away and leaving no social contact to the person which might lead to loneliness
Quotes are meaningful messages that people may put on their bedroom walls, desktop wallpapers, and notebooks because they may act as a source of inspiration to the reader. These messages may also help the person cope with this kind of feeling. Feeling alone quotes concentrate on how the person perceives it because some people see it as a welcoming feeling but others perceive it as unsettling. Here are the quotes about this unpleasant feeling.
- “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” by Kurt Vonnegut
- “And in the end, all I learned was how to be strong… Alone.”
- “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” by Arthur C. Clarke
Feeling alone quotes
Sometimes, quotes express our inner feelings and thoughts when we aren’t willing to express these feelings. We tend to not express these feelings because we are afraid that the world may not listen to us. Most of the time, this is the sad truth. So, the following are the quotes that make you feel alone and making you less alone because you know that other people are also experiencing these feelings.
- Myself, I suffer from loneliness. And I think we all feel alone. I’m looking for stories that help people deal with loneliness and help them if they are monsters: they don’t have to undertake monstrous actions. And maybe they’re not monsters by David Harbour found here
- As for now I’m gonna hear the saddest songs And sit alone and wonder by Anonymous
- Lonely is not being alone, it’s the feeling that no one cares by Anonymous
Loneliness songs describe the feeling of not being able to make dreams come true and the fear of being left alone. We find ourselves singing these songs since they represent our mood in the present which makes us feel safe in the knowledge that we can express such feelings and feel less lonely. Sometimes, lonely people tend to listen to this kind of song for the intensifying of their loneliness. Here are the songs about loneliness.
- “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day
- “Scared to Be Lonely” by Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa
- “Pictures of You” by The Cure
Poems on Loneliness describe this feeling as a painful sensation and can be felt even in the presence of a crowd. Some people see solitude as a blessing for their healing but others find it demeaning and terrifying. In the end, our perceptions of loneliness can influence how we read loneliness poems and see how the author has perceived loneliness in his/her work. Here are the following loneliness poems.
- “Solitude Is Not a Bliss, It’s an Agony” by Awanis found in this book
- “Shy Boy” by Seller
- “Night” by Michael Hoffman
Loneliness books can help you apprehend the origins of the feeling and getting yourself out of that feeling. Some books exclaimed that people should take a new perspective by looking at those who are considered inferior and find friendship with them. Loneliness has also been taken to mean the silence of our inner feelings. The following are the books with their meanings of loneliness.
- “Becoming Human” book by Javier
- “Louder than Words” book by Laura Jerrett
- “Positive Solitude: A Practical Program for Self-Fulfillment” book by Rae Andre
Some psychological tests measure the aspect of loneliness to let the client know the degree of loneliness he/she is feeling. Some of these tests measuring loneliness make a comprehensive and interpretative report on the client’s loneliness. Other tests are used for a short version of the report on the client’s loneliness. Here are the psychological tests that measure loneliness.
- The Loneliness Quiz by the Psych Central research team
- The UCLA Loneliness Scale by Peplau
- Loneliness Test by Depression Guide
Feeling lonely in a marriage
As mentioned before, some people tend to feel lonely in a crowd which is quite similar to people who are in intimate relationships as well. Some people perceive loneliness in their marriages. Loneliness in a marriage has several causes such as the relationship is not working, changes in your life, unmet expectations, new sexual preferences, and lack of emotional support. Therapists suggest open communication between married couples with this kind of inadequacy.
Sometimes, couples have unmet expectations due to the constant demands of work. Promises like going out to dinner in a restaurant will not be met because one of the partners are prioritizing work. Partners also feel lonely in marriage because one of the partners is exploring his/her sexual orientation with a third party. This kind of reason can be resolved through time management between work and couple’s time and if necessary, psychological intervention may be helpful for their ease of mind.
Feeling lonely after a breakup
Loneliness can also be felt when the relationship was ended on a sour note. It is quite expected that someone’s relationship which ended up badly will become lonely, especially if the relationship was around for a long time. People will start thinking of the imperfections that may have lead to the loss of intimacy. Sometimes, these people will take the blame on themselves that may lead to suicide.
These people should be advised that it is inevitable to be lonely after the relationship ends but the hope is not. These people have a chance to live productive lives even if they’re on their own. They can explore new things such as hiking, adventure trips, and sightseeing. All they need to have is the courage to know that they can still be alive even when they have been disconnected by a close relationship.
Loneliness at Christmas
Christmas is one of the happiest seasons of the year and it would be a shame if we have this unpleasant feeling during this time. Loneliness at Christmas tends to come from the person’s focus of negative thoughts at this time of the year. Experts have suggested strategies on how to cope with this unpleasant feeling. They recommended that the affected people volunteer in community work, work with colleagues, and enjoy your solitude.
Loneliness in the elderly
In the United Kingdom, 2 million people over the age of 75 are afflicted with the feeling of loneliness. The risks of such feelings present in this age group are varied such as susceptibility to mental disorders and increase disability in the elderly. NHS has formed support groups to donate and give emotional aid to these affected people. These support groups also suggested that to minimize the loneliness felt by the elderly, they should follow these tips such as invite someone for tea, be internet friends, and talk to other older people.
Loneliness at Uni
The college life is considered one of the most exciting lives of a student. This may not be the case if you see the statistics of the students who have suicidal thoughts or have thought of dropping out in a survey. Students are forced to get exposed immediately to the independent lifestyle of University which makes them feel pressured to do what it takes to graduate from this experience. These students may be seen as hard-working but it is hiding a very complicated story behind what happened while in University.
Dr. Roberts found that students in their initial years of University had psychological issues at that time. Schools were not even encouraging to heal students from their loneliness in their fast-paced world. Several suggestions were made for students to cope with loneliness such as meeting new friend groups, having a part-time job, getting a significant partner, asking advice from a trusted professor, and hanging out in student lounges. Students are also recommended to not have high expectations about University.
How to cope with loneliness
Loneliness is a hard beating to your emotional system but you can try alleviating the pain by trying several techniques proposed by therapists. It may not be easy to start the healing process in the initial stages but it can help in the long run. Therapists suggested that you can start with writing a diary or learning how to obtain mindfulness to help you get along with your feelings. By starting with these techniques, you can start accepting loneliness and stop dealing with the denial of such feelings.
Next, you can try volunteering for several programs to help you socialize with people again. If you are a student, you can apply for a part-time job to have more interactions thereby eliminating your unpleasant feeling. You could also hang out in your assigned student lounges to help you know your social environment. You can also own a pet since they can help get you out of that bad feeling by constant cuddling.
How to overcome loneliness
Several ways have been proposed by psychologists and therapists on how to overcome loneliness. Psychologists have proposed these techniques such as make new connections, recognize the unpleasant feeling, be comfortable in your own company, be active, consult helplines and do productive work. You can make new social connections through online or interpersonal interactions. You can even do both of these kinds of interactions to help you get out of your unpleasant feeling.
You also need to recognize that you are feeling lonely because awareness is always the key to understanding. You need to learn that loneliness may not be all that bad but it may even be good for you such as giving time to take care of yourself. Psychologists also suggest these affected people do more exercise and any activity that gets them moving. Helplines are also available to help you with your troubled minds such as Mind, NHS, and Samaritans.
Can you die of loneliness?
You can die of loneliness just as you die from heavy smoking. Stress can be a factor in such chronic loneliness leading to death.
Is loneliness a medical condition?
Loneliness is not a medical condition but a symptom of a mental disorder such as depression.
What is the difference between social isolation and loneliness?
Loneliness is an emotional state that may not be caused by external factors while social isolation is caused by the separation of loved ones by leaving a relationship or running away from home.
Does isolation make you crazy?
Isolation can make you crazy because of the mixture of loneliness, fear of social situations, and negative thoughts about oneself.
Can loneliness change your personality?
Loneliness can change your personality as you age.
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