Loneliness

Loneliness

Being lonely can mean not feeling part of the world despite having a great deal of social contact with others, or being in a relationship.

Loneliness can have a significant impact on your mental health and your emotional and physical well-being. It can be a contributing factor in anxiety, depression and can lead to prolonged isolation.

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Personal Circumstances:

  • Experiencing the break down of a relationship.

  • Comparing yourself to the apparently ‘happy’ lives of others - seeing only their positives and ignoring the negatives.

  • Not having as much social contact.
  • Losing someone close to you.

Internal Loneliness: 

  • You may find it difficult to like yourself or feel others do not like you.

  • Experiencing low self-confidence.

Mental Health Conditions:

  • Experiencing a mental health condition can contribute to feelings of loneliness.

  • Social contact may be difficult and create high levels of anxiety.

  • You may find yourself unconsciously or consciously avoiding meeting people.

  • Reconnect with the world around you - Making the most out of social contact
  • Spend meaningful time alone - this will develop your ability to manage time spent on your own.
  • Do regular physical activity.
  • Join a club, group or voluntary organization.

We will all at some point face loneliness, isolation and a deep sense of sadness. To move forward from these feelings, we must first look directly at our lonely thoughts and understand what they mean and where they come from. 

Realize that you are not alone in your loneliness. We all experience these feelings at some point. Over time, you will feel less lonely and will manage and cope, and find the light at the end of the tunnel.

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A public health problem

Most people consider loneliness a personal problem to be figured out by individuals. 

However, a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health identified high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, disability, cognitive decline, and depression among the conditions affected by loneliness. What we have is a public health problem.

No emerging technology or drug exists on the horizon to cure loneliness. 

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Dealing with loneliness through creativity

One way people have always dealt with loneliness is through creativity. By metamorphosing their reality into art, lonely people throughout history have managed to interchange the sense of community relationships could foster with their creative outputs.

The artist Edward Hopper (1882–1967) is known for his paintings of American cityscapes inhabited by closed-off figures who seem to embody a vision of modern loneliness.

Meditation for combating loneliness

Meditation can help lessen the impact of loneliness, and the more we practice, the more we allow ourselves to feel the benefits.

When you are feeling overwhelmed by loneliness, it can always be helpful to stop, take a minute, and take a few deep breaths.

Those breaths can calm you like nothing else.

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