Are You Lonely Or Alone?
February 10th, 2022 at 5:53 am
It’s ten o’clock at night and you’re going about your night routine when it suddenly hits you: you’re alone. It is something that has happened to all of us, a countless number of times, and some more than others. However, being alone is one thing, loneliness is another.
Everyone has felt lonely at least once in their life. Though it is an inevitable emotion bound to happen at least once for everyone, it is important to remember that it is a very human and natural feeling to go through.
The Differences Between Being Alone And Being Lonely
Feeling alone and feeling lonely (although similar) are two very different emotions. Being alone is a physical state where one is physically by themselves. Loneliness, however, can be the sadness or anxiety that comes from it – a mental state of wanting human contact and / or connection.
Loneliness is also something that can be felt no matter your situation or environment. It is even possible to still feel lonely in a room full of people; and is not synonymous to isolating by choice, or solitude. Someone can feel lonely when alone, when surrounded with company, or when loved ones are emotionally unavailable. When you feel lonely, you may feel ’empty’, and may feel separated from others or everyone else.
The Effects Of Loneliness
Dealing with loneliness, and especially over a long period of time, can have a number of negative effects on one’s physical and mental health. Besides causing one to feel isolated, empty, and unwanted, it can lead to depression, social anxiety, anti-social behavior, increased stress levels, and can also lead to alcohol and drug abuse in attempts to cope.
Incredibly hard emotions can come from feeling lonely which can also affect a person’s way of living. Someone battling these emotions may begin neglecting taking care of themselves by neglecting physical activity, a balanced diet, and may also experience sleeping disorders and withdraw themselves further from society. According to the American Psychological Association, impaired immunity and poor cardiovascular function are also among the effects of loneliness.
However, with that said, loneliness does not necessarily show itself in how someone’s day-to-day life looks. The most outgoing and energetic person you know most probably feels lonely from time-to-time too.
How To Overcome Loneliness
No matter how long you may have been feeling lonely for, or how heavy the feelings have gotten, there are ways to cope with loneliness and to overcome it.
- Firstly, it is okay to feel lonely. There should be no shame; and if you are surrounded by people who you know love and care for you but find yourself feeling lonely every once in a while, there should be no guilt either. Validate your emotions, and remind yourself too that you are not alone.
- Reach out to relatives and / or friends. Plan to visit friends / family or meet up with them for coffee or a meal. To help combat the feeling of loneliness, we must try not to isolate ourselves further but spend time with others instead.
- Let go of expectations. Sometimes loneliness can be stemmed from lack of feeling understood by others or the lack of the level of connection we desire, and so we may end up feeling disappointed when these expectations aren’t delivered. Let go of expectations and remind yourself that there are so many people out there. You will find the right people to have conversations and experiences with of which will be more on the same wavelength as you.
- Take control over the situation by spending time with yourself, reflecting, doing what you enjoy, picking up new hobbies, or even putting yourself in new environments and communities (you’ll more likely to meet new people that way who may just become potential friends).
Feeling lonely can be an extremely dark and scary space to be in, but it is important to remember that you are not alone in this feeling, and neither are you truly alone in this world. Be gentle with yourself as you are dealing with loneliness, it is okay to feel lonely, and there are ways to overcome it.
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