LONELINESS

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Loneliness is a pain many of us go through. A lot of us believe that loneliness is the bane of old age. Yes, it is true that lots of old people experience loneliness especially after the loss of their partner. However, loneliness is not only the domain of old age. Research shows that as young as 14-year olds experience loneliness. Loneliness is defined as an emotionally distressful experience coupled with perceived dissatisfying social relationships. There is a lingering sense of social isolation and uncaring, as well as unfulfilled need for affection.

While for some loneliness may be a transient state, for others it can be a longer lasting perception. The results of loneliness, especially chronic loneliness are debilitating. Poor mental health, exacerbated by negative thoughts, low mood and suicidal risk, poor physical health (high risk of hypertension, heart disease and metabolic disorders) and poor quality of life are common among individuals who are lonely.

People with loneliness frequently experience other conditions such as:

  • Low energy, listlessness
  • Sleeplessness – interrupted sleep
  • Lack of attention and concentration
  • Proneness to falling sick, body aches and pains
  • Substance abuse
  • Binge behaviours – binge eating, binge watching, shopping sprees
  • Anxiety/restlessness
  • Depression
  • Lack of emotional control – excessive crying, anger outbursts, shouting and screaming etc
  • Inability to express self
  • Mental clouding and incoherence

Some common causes of loneliness

  • Bereavement – loss of a partner or relationship
  • Grief
  • Change of location and not knowing anyone around
  • Empty-nest syndrome
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Dysfunctional family
  • Divorce
  • Lack of social skills or low self-esteem that cause a hinderance in social opportunities

Ways to feel better

  • Therapy is a wise choice of treatment. A psychologist will be able to understand the underlying causes of loneliness and provide a viable solution
  • Socializing or making friends in a new setting – talk to people, find people who have similar interests and who are willing to give you a listening ear, call them over, visit them, talk to them on phone
  • Change of lifestyle
    • Exercise – any form – aerobics, yoga or whichever form that pleases you. It is important to choose an exercise form that suits you or make you enjoy while doing it.
    • Meditate – you may find it hard to actually set your mind to meditate. But just as our body revolts by giving us pain when you first start exercising, much in the same way our mind also revolts when you try to control it using meditation. Remember, meditation is the answer to almost all your problems. It helps you with changing your aura, so that you attract positive energy and positive things happen to you.
    • Balanced diet – eat a balanced meal, and eat in small quantities many times a day. IT will help with your metabolism
    • Nature walk
    • Befriending other lonely people – if you are alone, befriend others who are sailing in the same boat.
    • Adopt a pet if you can
    • Develop a hobby
    • Visit places

What can you do about it?

Whatever may be the cause, the treatment lies in understanding the situation from the person’s point of view, who experiences loneliness. When you see someone living alone, it becomes your duty to ask him if he is alright and if he needs some company. Chances are that yes, he will need company but will be happy only with a few words of compassion and kindness. These people don’t need your pity or mercy, they simply need to be needed.

Thank you for reading.

Cheers always!

Aparna

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