There are times in everyone’s life when they feel lonely for a short period of time. Those feelings are usually temporary and not long-lasting. There is a distinct feeling of loneliness among many of us, a feeling that has aggravated lately due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the necessity to remain at home.
Remember that if you experience an overwhelming sense of loneliness and disconnection, you should pay attention to more serious signs and symptoms, and take the appropriate steps.
The meaning of loneliness
Having a lower level of social connection than the level you wish to have leads to loneliness. It is accompanied by a multitude of symptoms that are reflected in this state. Isolation and loneliness are ultimately different experiences – even if they are frequently interconnected.
Often, loneliness is accompanied by these feelings:
- Frequently misunderstood
- Never heard
- Not seen
- A void
- …or any combination of these.
As a result, you might feel isolated, which leads you to feel even more lonely.
It’s only the person feeling lonely who can truly define what loneliness means to them. Being lonely does not mean being alone. You might spend a lot of time socialising with people with whom you do not necessarily get along with or who do not understand who you are.
The opposite of social inclusion is social isolation. This occurs when a person does not have close relationships with others or has limited social networking.
A prolonged state of loneliness becomes deeply rooted in your daily existence, and that is when chronic loneliness takes hold.
People who suffer from chronic loneliness feel perpetual separation from other people. Symptoms include feelings of deep loneliness and difficulty relating to others.
How Does Loneliness Develop?
Everyone experiences loneliness, but it is different from person to person. As a result of its multifactorial nature, it is explained quite simply by the biopsychosocial model, which incorporates biological factors, psychological factors, and environmental factors. A few examples include the following:
- Unfamiliarity brought on by a major change or life experience. Among these are big responsibilities at work or at home, frequent moves and unstable living arrangements.
- Sense of being out of place in the company of others. Occasionally, you may not feel comfortable around certain people or find that their frequencies do not match yours.
- The feeling of not belonging on the job or at school can result from strict rules or rigid cultures. You may feel that your distinct qualities aren’t valued or understood.
- Linguistic barriers, strong differences of opinion, and the inability to accept or understand another’s viewpoint.
- Lack of solitude (ME time). You can’t establish a profound bond with others if you haven’t developed a personal connection with yourself first. Having poor self-esteem.
- Betrayed/ heartbroken frequently, these leave deep scars that make one feel lost and afraid to form new social connections for fear of going through the same experience again.
- Overusing social media apps is linked to loneliness, negative emotions, and depression, according to research.
A person suffering from it may feel abandoned, worthless, and unable to function not just today, but often continues into the future. In addition to affecting one’s mental health, loneliness can also affect their physical health. Therefore, it is very important to recognise all the sighs and symptoms associated with it.
Loneliness is characterised by a number of signs and symptoms
Loneliness is most frequently characterised by the feeling of being profoundly cut off from the surrounding and alone. There are many other symptoms of loneliness, including:
- Utilizing drugs and substance abuse as a coping mechanism for loneliness.
- Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep is a common issue that leads to a lack of sleep most days of the week.
- Going without human interaction for an extended period of time is an indication of extreme isolation.
- Feeling restless and not able to relax. Having social anxiety. Withdrawing and decreased self-esteem.
- Inflammation of the body: experiencing pain in different parts of the body, either internally or externally.
- A decline in mental health can manifest as emotional instability, depression, manic-depressive episodes, panic attacks etc.
- A high heart rate and high blood pressure, indicators of cardiovascular problems.
Researchers have found that loneliness leads to physiological stress in the body. Individuals who are lonely may suffer serious physical health symptoms as a result and may require professional medical advice. Here are some of the health risks:
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are more likely to occur in lonely people.
- Chronic inflammation arises when the body senses it is threatened, such as during times of pressure or loneliness.
- A heart attack or stroke and many other types of cardiovascular disease. Weakened immune system.
- Paranoid behaviour, negative feelings’, anxiety, and depression are all mental health issues and risks.
- Substance abuse and addiction can result in health problems.
- Bad eating habits: eating too much or too little leads to bad health.
How to cope with loneliness
The best way of overcoming loneliness and depression is to use therapies. It takes conscious effort to cure loneliness, but early intervention helps to accelerate the process. Consider talking to doctors and mental health professional.
Gain confidence in yourself by accepting yourself for who you are, valuing yourself, and practising self-compassion. Your social skills will improve as a result. As you accept yourself for who you are and find love for yourself, your self-esteem increases. Being more comfortable around others is easier when you practice daily self-care.
A person who suffers from loneliness may be nervous of getting rejected. You cannot control the actions of other people, but you can control how you treat them. Don’t be afraid to approach someone or initiate conversation without giving it so much thought. Should it not work out, there are many individuals in the world who would love the chance to meet you.
Experience the benefits of our equine therapy
Spending time with horses, especially in a natural setting, can help them cope to loneliness differently. Horses assist you in facing your struggles, unwinding your loneliness, gaining a positive attitude, and creating a sense of warmth and affection. Collectively, horses are inherently supportive of one another and seek balance and security. It is deeply ingrained in their nature to sense energy around them and reciprocate in kind. They will motivate you, rekindle your zest for life, and help you to experience all that life has to offer. You are more than welcome to contact us if you are interested in learning more about this therapy.