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Isolation Blues: Coping With Loneliness

Loneliness is said to be one of the major causes of depression. It is a state of mind where one feels isolated, unwanted, and alone. Being alone and being lonely are two different things. Some people enjoy solitude and like being alone. That being said, there are also times when one is surrounded by people but still experiences a feeling of loneliness. This could be because one feels like they don’t belong here or one is not able to connect properly with those around him/her.

Solitude is a choice, loneliness isn’t. 

Loneliness can result because of a lot of reasons. It can be triggered when you lose a loved one when you are going through a heartbreak, when you are going into a new environment, or when you experience social rejection. Changing cities, jobs, and starting something new can be challenging and overwhelming, it sometimes comes with an emotion of loneliness.

“If loneliness is to be defined as a desire for intimacy, then included within that is the need to express oneself and to be heard, to share thoughts, experiences, and feelings.”

  • Olivia Laing

When someone feels lonely, they crave human connection. There is a longing to feel understood, to be able to express themselves, to be heard, and to experience belonging. Even if they want to feel connected, they find it difficult to do so because of their mental state. 

A survey conducted by the Agewell foundation found that 47.49% of elderly people in India suffer from loneliness. That is almost 50% of the population included in the survey. Another survey conducted on millennials in the US found that 3 in 10 millennials say that they always or often feel lonely. 

The study also found strong links between the overuse of social media and loneliness.

What are the few things that you can do to overcome loneliness?

  • Reach out to your close ones- Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you are close to. Talk to someone you can trust. There are a few suicide prevention helplines where you can talk to them and share your distress. Talking to someone who understands you and does not judge is the first step that you can take toward connecting. You can use HappiBUDDY for the same.
  • Join clubs- The best way to make new connections even if you doubt your social skills is by joining a club about an activity that you already enjoy doing. That way there is no pressure to talk or interact constantly, the conversation can flow naturally while you are doing something you enjoy. This is the best way to practice self-care for yourself, as well as utilize it as a tool to make new friends and develop connections.
  • Disconnecting from social media- Social media is said to be one of the main causes of loneliness. Check with yourself if you feel more lonely when you use the phone a little too much. Check the amount of time you spend on these devices and how that impacts your mood. If you feel that loneliness increases after the use of social media, you might want to consider taking a break from it. 
  • Visit a therapist- Loneliness can be quite overwhelming. You might find it difficult to manage on your own. If this impacts your daily life and you feel it is too difficult to manage, reach out to a professional. They would be able to help you. 

Loneliness might look and feel different for every one of us. But we need to understand that even if it feels like no one cares, remember there is always help available.