L o n e l i n e s s

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

How to Deal with Loneliness in Today’s World

Is this normal?

Loneliness isn’t the same as being alone. You can be alone, yet not lonely. You can feel lonely in a houseful of people.

It’s a feeling that you’re disconnected from others, with no one to confide in. It’s a lack of meaningful relationships and it can happen to children, older adults, and everyone in between.

Through technology, we have more access to each other than ever before. You might feel more connected to the world when you find “friends” on social media, but it doesn’t always ease the ache of loneliness.

Almost everybody feels lonely at some point, and that’s not necessarily detrimental. Sometimes, it’s a temporary state of affairs due to circumstances, like when you move to a new town, get divorced, or lose a loved one. Getting more involved in social activities and meeting new people can usually help you move forward.

But this can be difficult at times, and the longer your isolation continues, the harder it can be to change. Maybe you don’t know what to do, or maybe you’ve tried without success.

This can be a problem because persistent loneliness can have a negative impact on your emotional and physical health. In fact, loneliness has been associated with depression, suicide, and physical illness.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing loneliness, know that the solution can be simple. Connecting more with others and meeting new people can help you move forward.

If you’re dealing with a mental health condition

Unfortunately, there’s still a certain amount of stigma attached to mental health conditions. The resulting social isolation can certainly add to feelings of loneliness. Long-term loneliness is also associated with depression and suicidal thoughts.

If you have a mental health condition, such as depression or substance abuse, having no one to lean on can make it harder to seek the help you need.

Whether your first steps are through an online chat or a mental health hotline, talking it over with someone is a good place to start.

If you’re dealing with a chronic condition

When chronic illness and disability make it hard for you to get around, social isolation can creep up on you. You might feel that your old friends aren’t as supportive as they once were, and you’re spending more time alone than you would like.

Loneliness can negatively affect health, so it becomes a loop of emotional and physical negativity.

One way to break the cycle is to actively work on expanding your network of friends. You can start with people who also have physical health challenges. Search for mutually supportive relationships where you can share ideas on how to overcome loneliness and isolation.

If you’re a teen

There are many reasons a teen might be lonely, but they’re not always obvious. Things like family problems, finances, and bullying can push teens into social isolation. It might be especially hard for shy or introverted teens to breakthrough.

If you’re an older adult

There are a variety of reasons older adults experience loneliness. The kids are grown and the house is empty. You’ve retired from a long career. Health problems have left you unable to socialize like you used to.

Whether you live on your own or in a group setting, loneliness is a common problem for older adults. It’s associated with poor health, depression, and cognitive decline.

As with other age groups, things can get better if you develop friendships and join activities that provide a sense of purpose.

How to practice self-care and seek out support-

You may be lonely because you feel disconnected from people and lack meaningful, supportive relationships. When that goes on too long, it can lead to feelings of sadness and rejection, which can stop you from reaching out to others.

Taking those first steps can be intimidating, but you can break the cycle.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of loneliness. Consider your own wants and needs. Think about activities that pique your interest or provide some connection to others.

You don’t have to wait for someone else to strike up a conversation or a friendship. Take a chance on being first. If that doesn’t work out, try something or someone else.

You’re worth the effort.

Take Care :)

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