On the surface, it has never been easier to communicate with other people. In our globalized world, you can theoretically be in (digital) exchange with anyone at any time. Yet loneliness is a widespread problem. This is illustrated by scientific investigations clearly.
Loneliness is a complex feeling and not always recognizable from the outside. You can feel lonely even in the midst of a thousand people. The decisive factor is the thought of not having an emotional contact person. You seem to be alone with your worries and needs. Whether this is actually true or you only feel it that way makes no difference at first.
Everyone feels lonely from time to time. That is completely normal. It only becomes problematic when loneliness becomes a permanent condition. The good news is that you can actively do something about it. Admittedly, this takes courage and perhaps also a little bit of overcoming. But it is worth it.
What is the difference between being alone and being lonely?
Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. They are two fundamentally different states. Loneliness is an unwanted state of social isolation that can even wear you down psychologically in the long run. Being alone, on the other hand, can also be healing.
The state of being alone is temporary and can be controlled at will. This means that you just have to go back to being with people as soon as you want to. You know that there are people who care about you and to whom you can turn. The latter is not the case with a lonely person.
The three phases of loneliness
The feeling of loneliness can be divided into three phases:
- temporary solitude
- continuing loneliness
- chronic loneliness
We all suffer from temporary loneliness. It is usually the result of a drastic life change such as separation, relocation or job change. In such situations, it takes a while until you get used to the new circumstances and make new contacts. Depending on your mentality, this can happen quickly or take longer.
Persistent loneliness is when the feeling of loneliness continues and deepens for several weeks after a life change. You get increasingly difficult to interact with other people. In this phase, many affected people lose the joy of their hobbies and can only smile under duress. At the latest now you should become active to avoid chronic loneliness.
If the loneliness has become chronic, you have already lost yourself completely in this feeling. You are in a vicious circle. On the one hand, you want social interaction with other people. But if someone actually approaches you or compliments you, you don't know how to deal with it. This increases your anger towards yourself - and your self-esteem suffers.
Possible reasons for your loneliness
The reasons why you feel lonely can vary in nature. Often a combination of several factors leads to the loneliness trap. In the following, we will list possible reasons and explain them in more detail:
- life-altering changes (separation, death of a relative, relocation)
- low self-esteem
- bad experiences with other people (mobbing)
- fear of rejection
An interesting study from 2017 has looked at the main causes of loneliness. Sadly, seniors are particularly often affected by loneliness. If the spouse has passed away and the children live far away, the road to isolation is not far. This is especially true when there are additional health limitations. Those who can no longer independently go out among people or cultivate social hobbies become lonely all too quickly.
But younger people are also increasingly suffering from loneliness. As already mentioned, this is often caused by drastic life events or strokes of fate. In addition, low self-confidence contributes to loneliness. If you do not dare to approach other people or are afraid of rejection, the danger of unwanted isolation is great.
You may have experienced bullying or violence in the past. Under these circumstances, it is understandable that you can no longer approach people in an unbiased way. After all, you want to avoid repeating your trauma at all costs. However, this protective mechanism can lead to loneliness.
Symptoms of loneliness
When you're lonely, after a while it becomes noticeable through both psychological and physical symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- sense of emptiness
- Sleep disorders
Many sufferers feel worthless because of their loneliness. "Who wants to spend time with me?" might be a thought, or "Who cares about me?" When you notice such thought processes, try interrupting them with a loudly spoken "Stop." Don't continue to manifest your belief system, but find ways out of loneliness. Come into action!
9 tips against loneliness
As long as you are young and mobile, loneliness is not an inevitable fate. Older people with physical or mental limitations, on the other hand, have a harder time actively changing their lives. But even for them it is not impossible.
1. search for like-minded people
Since loneliness is a widespread problem, many concepts have been developed to counteract it. One popular option, for example, is to arrange to cook and eat together with other people. There are groups in almost every city. Do some research on the Internet or check your weekly newspaper. If you don't want to cook, there are other activities you can do.
Handicrafts, walks together, literature circles - the possibilities are almost endless. Here you can easily get into conversation with other people who also feel lonely. Who knows, maybe real friendships will develop?
2. read testimonials
This tip ties in a bit with tip 1. It's about making yourself aware that you are not alone in your situation. Reading testimonials from people who have successfully overcome loneliness can give you new hope. You see that it's not impossible. Whether you prefer to read blogs or books is up to you.
3. go out with people
Don't hole up in your apartment. Remaining in the silence of your own four walls will only make your mental condition worse. Instead, make a conscious effort to be around people. Pick up a book or magazine and sit in a lively park if the weather is nice. Visit the sights of your city. Have lunch or dinner at a restaurant - if they open again soon. Alternatively, cookouts via Zoom or with your one favorite person at home are a lot of fun right now.
Just the ambient sounds (laughter, voices) can brighten your mood and help you feel less lonely.
4. find a mental balance
Loneliness hits the psyche. The link between mental illness and loneliness has been demonstrated in several scientific studies occupied.
Therefore, it is even more important that you consciously do something good for your soul. How about, for example, yoga or Meditation? Both are wonderful for releasing mental tension. You learn to let go of your despair and regain a positive view of the world.
5. use the social media
If you find it too difficult to go out with people, social media is a start. But be careful: it should only be the first step and not a permanent solution. Social platforms can never replace face-to-face interactions.
Still, social media can help you stay in touch with friends or make new acquaintances. There are now groups on social media for almost every area of interest. This way you can find people who share your interests.
6. do sports
Sport is almost as effective against depression as psychiatric drugs. This rather lurid-sounding claim has been already scientifically confirmed several times.
Since lonely people are at a higher risk of depression, you should get moving. Physical activity releases the hormone serotonin, which brightens your mood. Tip: Find a group sport. That way, there's a chance you'll socialize.
7. analyze your life situation
Question why you feel lonely. Only if you know the causes, the problem can be eliminated. Do you live alone and don't feel comfortable with it? Would it be an option to start a flat share with friends or move in with relatives? Or is your job too lonely and you would prefer a job with more customer contact?
However, some people feel lonely even when they live with others. Feeling lonely within a family or a partnership is particularly oppressive. In this case, you should ask yourself whether your social environment is really good for you. Do you really want to surround yourself with people who tolerate you but do not appreciate you?
Changing your life situation is not easy. However, you should make it worth your while. End your partnership if you feel lonely at your partner's side. End friendships in which you are not appreciated. Find a job that fulfills you.
8. find someone you can trust
Feeling lonely is often fraught with shame. But it doesn't have to be! Find someone you can talk to about your situation. Parents, siblings, friends or a therapist ... confide in someone! If you feel that you are understood, it will be easier for you to actively change your situation.
9. focus on yourself
Make an effort to appreciate the positive side of being alone. It is by no means only negative! You are unattached and free in your decisions. You have the possibility to arrange your everyday life the way you want it. Nobody annoys you and you have absolute peace and quiet.
Focusing on the positive aspects of being alone has a special advantage: You come to terms with yourself and your situation. If this happens, you automatically seem happier to other people and therefore more attractive! Sometimes the way out of loneliness is to make the best of the situation.
Take care of your well-being
Another effective way to do something about your loneliness is to seek professional coaching. Coaches are trained to guide their clients through difficult life situations. With the Greator app, you always have your personal coach with you.
A special focus will be on your personal development laid. You learn how to strengthen and use your personal resources to escape the loneliness trap. You will find motivation and inspiration to achieve your goals.
The Greator App includes various courses:
- Develop personality
- Strengthen relationships
- Mindfulness and health
- Time Management
- Set goals
- Understanding people
All these skills will help you overcome your loneliness. The app shows you your personal progress, which keeps you motivated. With the help of proven learning methods, you'll make your way back to a socially fulfilling life at your own pace.