Loneliness has a cure, but it is not always easy. Loneliness is a state of mind linked to wanting human contact but feeling alone. People can be alone and not feel lonely, or they can have contact with people and still experience feelings of isolation.
Everyone suffers from loneliness from time to time. This can cause peeps to be uncomfortable or sad, but it can also be an invitation to look within and discover the things that genuinely make you happy.
Nobody wants to be alone
- Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different.
- By understanding how to acknowledge and navigate these moments, you can nurture your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being for greater overall contentment with yourself, whether you are physically around others or by yourself.
- Because of the human mind’s tendency to obsess over the past and worry about the future (instead of simply being present), too much time alone can have real mental and physical health consequences.
- One common description of loneliness is the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met.
- But loneliness is not always the same as being alone.
- You may choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find this a lonely experience.
- Or you may have lots of social contact, or be in a relationship or part of a family, and still feel lonely – especially if you don’t feel understood or cared for by the people around you
Make contact with others
When you’re feeling your most lonely, you doubt yourself, feel anxious socially, or are just unmotivated and want to be on your own. It’s almost counterintuitive to interact with others, but that’s exactly what you need to do.
- Loneliness is the pain that our genes provide when we are not participating in the kind of social behaviour that is responsible for our civilization.
- Just as a burn on the skin tells us that we should take our hand out of the fire, loneliness is the pain that tells us to interact more with other people.
- Recall the great scene in the movie Lawrence of Arabia when Lawrence purposefully burns his fingers, and then tells his colleague that the “trick” is “not minding that it hurts.”
- You can endure loneliness, just as Lawrence endured fire.
- Do you want to?
- (“… not minding” is what Lawrence said in the movie.
- Did Lawrence actually say those words anywhere, in his writings?
- Did someone overhear him say it?
- Or was that just the imagination of the scriptwriter?)
- In some ways, loneliness is the greatest pain of all.
- This is known by prison officials, who recognize that the worst torture they can give to a prisoner is solitary confinement.
- Depriving the prisoner of interaction with murderers and rapists is considered punishment.
- Yet some people prefer loneliness.
“Some people can’t stand being alone.
I love solitude and silence.
But when I come out of it, I’m a regular talking machine.
It’s all or nothing for me.” – Celine Dion
How loneliness feels to us…
Here we share with you how loneliness makes us feel.
We hope that our openness and honesty helps you to feel less alone and more understood.
Sharing can be a great way to tackle those feelings of shame around loneliness.
- “I feel like I’m not important to anyone.”
- “I feel like nobody needs me.”
- “I feel like I don’t really exist.”
- “I feel alone within myself.”
- “It feels safer to be alone – then I can’t get rejected.”
- “I feel numb when I feel lonely.”
- “I feel like I don’t have any meaningful relationships.”
- “I feel like I don’t have anyone to tell my good news to.”
- “I feel alone when I’m surrounded by people.”
We want you to know that we have been there.
We have felt it.
We want to help you feel empowered and able to tackle loneliness.
You are not alone out there, and there are people who care.
How to reduce loneliness…
- You are connected to the world: right now, you are sharing this experience of loneliness with people all around the world.
- Remember that loneliness is a universal experience – a part of being human.
- Don’t be idle and lock yourself in a room.
- Get out of the house and wander around the town or someplace far away.
- It will completely change your perspective.
- Find a beautiful and lonely place, put some kickass music and lie down.
- Trust me, new places and observing new people will help you to cope better.
- You are in control: you can use the power within yourself to make positive changes to your life.
- You could do this by relaxing, reflecting or doing a new hobby.
- We believe in you. You can take action.
- You can embrace your creativity: try to represent your experience through art and creativity and share it with others.
- Own your experience.
- Take its power away. Share it with the world. Help someone else out of the pain.
- Want to write a book? Don’t think about whether it will be successful or not.
- Just start penning down your thoughts. One word at a time.
- Want to build a community online? Don’t worry about the followers. Just start posting.
- One post at a time.
- Want to start dancing? Don’t think whether you will be able to do it or not.
- Just start attending classes. One class at a time.
- We get lost when we start thinking too deep in the future before even starting an activity.
- You are cared for: we care about you, as do support services, friends and family (or your created family). They are already out there. Reach out and let them in.
- You deserve quality relationships: make building quality relationships a priority over a quantity of relationships.
- The bonds you have with people can help to combat loneliness.
- Take time to strengthen your relationships. Tell yourself you deserve this.
- It really doesn’t matter whom you interact with.
- Just find somebody; almost anyone will do.
- Spend time with your animals. Some people find pets sufficient.
- I suspect loneliness is often a result of the fact that you don’t like the people you know.
- You might think that loneliness is preferable.
- The solution is to find someone new.
- If you are shy, that isn’t always easy.
- It doesn’t have to be someone you will love, or even like; it just has to be somebody.
- Experts believe that it is not the quantity of social interaction that combats loneliness, but the quality.
- Get active…Your hobbies and interests are important: we care about what you enjoy.
- It could be anything from finding a new TV show to learning a new sport.
- Remember that the things that feel a little scary can help us grow.
- Online groups
- You can express your emotions in a healthy way: practice sitting with your emotions.
- Being present with your emotions.
- Reflecting and accepting your emotions.
- Connect to you.
Start the morning by high-fiving the mirror and repeat a few I AM’s … I am enough. I am lovable
Visualize – close your eyes and see yourself taking care of you. Just as if you are actually doing it!
I will feel happy. I am so grateful that I made the changes there I am…I just signed another customer to my business…serve people around the world…visualize how happy you feel.
Takes 30 seconds each morning. Build through consistency.
- Journal, doodle, voice-memo and express yourself. Morning routine – write down 5 things you want. Use manifestation – see, feel – close your eyes and feel it!
- You can get curious about guilt and shame: try and have a conversation with them.
- Tell guilt and shame that you are not to blame for your feelings of loneliness.
- Remind yourself that it is not your fault. That these feelings are okay.
- You are unique: not following the crowd doesn’t make you alone, it makes you unique.
- We love who you are. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
- You are allowed to open up: opening up about how you feel is not a weakness, it is courageous.
- Try sharing how you feel with someone you trust.
- Getting honest and vulnerable can help create connection.
- You can create space between your feelings and social media: try to become active not passive when using social media.
- What feelings arise?
- Are you making judgements about someone else’s life or your own?
- Could you take a break from social media Unfollowing or muting accounts that bring up difficult feelings and following accounts that make you feel empowered can help with feelings of loneliness.
- You can find your community: by joining a group whether based on a hobby, religion, spirituality or an interest can help you ‘find your tribe’.
- There are people out there waiting to connect with you.
- Who are just as scared to make the first move.
- You can find peace in a busy world: if you are feeling disconnected to yourself try and get into nature.
- Whether that’s noticing a houseplant, finding a little park or getting into a forest.
Getting into nature can help you to feel at peace with yourself.
The trick is to simply start. One step at a time.
- You deserve to treat yourself: show kindness to yourself with a little gift.
- Whether that’s buying your favourite chocolate bar, putting time aside to take a bubble bath or dancing to your favourite song.
- You can be your own friend. You can be kind to yourself.
- We are grateful for you: we’ve taken a moment to be grateful for you.
- So, why don’t you take a moment to be grateful for the small wins in your life.
- It could be for getting out of bed and making it today.
- It could be for watching a bird patter across a roof.
- It could be for a great new show you’ve found.
- Try having the glass half full rather than half empty
By taking the time to read the hacks you have taken the first step to telling yourself that you deserve support.
Thank you for showing up today for you and for letting us in.
Remember that we’re in this with you and you are not alone.
Meditation Is Your Best Friend
- While the very best cure for loneliness is a strong “in-person” social network (i.e. not Facebook) and a loving family, this isn’t possible for everybody.
- Unless we go back to tribal living like our ancient ancestors, a more realistic solution is ideal.
- Luckily, neuroscientists are on it.
- When we feel isolated and separated from the “whole,” one particular brain region (the “parietal lobe”) becomes overheated.
- To prevent your car engine from burning up, you need a good radiator.
- To ensure loneliness doesn’t roast your brain, you need to keep your parietal lobe calm, cool, and collected.
- Thankfully, meditation is up to the task.
- I am not saying the pain will suddenly vanish, but you will understand that it is a process which you cannot forego.
By making us feel connected to everyone and everything, meditation cancels out the detrimental mental, emotional, and physical effects of loneliness.
You know, that problem plaguing more than half of modern society.
While friends come and go, meditation will always be there for you.
- According to a highly referenced 300,000+ person study published in the esteemed ‘PLOS Medicine’ journal, people with the most social relationships (both quantity & quality) are not only much happier, but live 50%+ longer (!) than the rest of us lonely folks.
“We can never be afraid to stand up for what is right, no matter what others may say.
And sometimes, if that means taking a lonely road, if what we are standing for is true, then perhaps moonlight or sunshine will light our way and make it less lonely.”Pramila Jayapal
- Contributing factors to loneliness include situational variables, such as physical isolation, moving to a new location, and divorce.2
- The death of someone significant in a person’s life can also lead to feelings of loneliness.
- Additionally, it can be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression.
- Depression often causes people to withdrawal socially, which can lead to isolation.
- Research also suggests that loneliness can be a factor that contributes to symptoms of depression.3
- Loneliness can also be attributed to internal factors such as low self-esteem.
- People who lack confidence in themselves often believe that they are unworthy of the attention or regard of other people, which can lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.
- Personality factors may also play a role.1 Introverts, for example, might be less likely to cultivate and seek social connections, which can contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Where To Get Help:
- Kids Help Line – telephone 1800 55 1800 (free call) – for young people:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 (cost of a local call anywhere in Australia)
- Beyond blue, the national depression initiative:
- Blue Pages. Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University:
- Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUFAD). A WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of New South Wales:
- Living is for everyone – suicide prevention in Australia
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
SAVE offers information on suicide prevention. Call: (800) SUICIDE
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
This group is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of suicide and the ability to prevent it.
American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.
This website from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention provides suicide hotlines, resources, and information for people who are thinking about suicide or are concerned about someone they know.
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Centre (NYVPRC)
NYVPRC was established as a central source of information on prevention and intervention programs, publications, research, and statistics on violence committed by and against children and teens. Call: (866) SAFEYOUTH