14 May Do You Feel Alone?
Everyone Feels Alone Sometimes
I think everyone feels like they are alone sometimes. Feeling lonely kind of sucks, and it seems the experts are starting to worry. A quick Google search of the word loneliness reveals multiple articles in the past couple days about loneliness. Business Insider just posted an article on loneliness, calling it an epidemic. As much as we might think it is just us over in North America, the Independent for the UK just posted an article called: Loneliness is on its way to becoming Britain’s most lethal condition. This article on the Mother Nature Network states that loneliness could be as big of a health issue as obesity. So how do we combat loneliness?
An article in Psychology Today talks about the reasons some people feel more lonely than others. Apparently, some of us just happen to be wired in such a way that we really benefit from a higher level of social interaction than others. Even if you don’t think they will change your mind, talking to someone is a good place to start. You can talk to a trusted friend, a family member, co-worker, teacher or helpline like Kids Help Phone or HERE24/7.
The second factor that contributes to feelings of loneliness is listed as the ability to cope with the feeling of loneliness, which I know from experience isn’t easy to do. In my first year of university I found myself really struggling to connect with anyone on a deeper level, a level that we need to feel supported. Being lonely that year lead me into feeling despondent and probably made the problem worse because I stopped trying to connect. That actually brings us to the third cause of loneliness in the article; when we feel lonely we often feel it is our own fault and typically don’t use the social skills we have. This can make it really hard to feel connected again.
What Can We Do?
Luckily, the article also offers some advice on this; the first piece is to accept that everyone feels lonely – you aren’t weird. In fact, this article on Forbes claims that 46% of Americans feel lonely sometimes or always. And this is with people feeling the need to pretend they aren’t lonely, the number is probably higher than that. Feeling alone is nothing to be ashamed of and I know I’ve blamed myself for it in the past too. Psychology Today says one of the best ways to help combat feelings of loneliness is to not judge yourself for it, for whatever reason we seem to think it’s an awful thing to be, or feel, alone. Perhaps we feel our family and friends should be enough. Often loneliness is rooted in things going back years, even to childhood. You can work on letting go of negative feelings and letting people in. I know it isn’t easy, but it can help.