The term loneliness immediately takes the mind to the image of an individual who lacks a social circle or is not in a relationship, someone who is sad or isolated or physically a misfit. Loneliness brings to mind an individual who does not get along with others or is ostracized by their friends. For example, think of a boy sitting alone during lunch breaks, one might think he has no friends or that others do not want to be friends with him. Loneliness indeed is defined as a deprivation of connection and a sense of being isolated alongside the feelings of being in pain about not sharing a bond with another person. However, loneliness does not always mean the aforementioned. Sometimes loneliness is just that empty feeling, even when surrounded by friends or family. Imagine being at a party for which you got ready and traveled a certain distance to meet with friends. Once there, you feel that discomfort and mental distance when sitting with those friends and you ask yourself ‘Why am I even here?’ In this case, one is physically surrounded by others, but feels emotionally empty. Even when one has hundreds of friends, there still exists that disconnect from others, ones surroundings and from everything external to a point where one feels they have no one in their life with whom they have a true connection.

Loneliness has another side that many do not acknowledge. It is also a threat to one’s self-concept. With the two contrasting definitions of loneliness just shared, it can be that disease of the mind, which leads into thinking that one is deprived of love and affection. That feeling of being unloved, leads to questioning the self-worth such as ‘I am probably not a good person: this is why they don’t like me’ or ‘Nobody cares about me.’ When an individual suffers from loneliness, their ability to look at themselves or their life in a positive manner diminishes. Thus, many individuals who are lonely often carry a negative set of feelings such as sadness, anger or frustration.

Everyone experiences a state of isolation from time to time. When one feels lonely, it leaves a mark in different ways. It may become difficult to concentrate or enjoy any activity. Another impact of loneliness is avoiding people. It is interesting that loneliness results from a lack of connection with others, and it leads to a further moving away from people. It has the power to damage an already damaged area of life, to make individuals feel more disconnected and lonely.

Addressing loneliness is important. It is a psychological concern that impacts well-being. So, how should loneliness be addressed? A change can only occur once there is acceptance of the concern, hence, the first step is to acknowledge the feeling and accept it. Some individuals might not be willing to accept that they feel lonely or isolated. The acknowledgment that one lacks a social circle might be embarrassing, but it is integral for addressing the concern. The next step is reaching out to the right person. Answer the question: Whom can you tell that you feel empty inside? Can you think of a name? Is it your best friend you thought of, your sibling, or a co-worker you have lunch with? Reaching out to that person and discussing your problem can be helpful.

Practicing some simple techniques can assist in handling loneliness. In isolation, since the sufferer is the one who truly is aware of their emotional and mental state, it is essential for them to take the first step, which is acceptance. Accept that you feel low sometimes because you cannot connect with others. Acceptance will make way for moving towards solutions. For instance, a person can initiate their process by simply making a call, sending a text message or an e-mail to someone dear. Another example that can also be helpful is to engage in an activity that one enjoys. Several other self-care tools, like mindfulness meditation, can alleviate the effects of this emotional burden. Some people might also find it helpful to keep a pet or a plant. The main purpose is to understand what uplifts one, through trial and error. Did that phone call make you feel better or did going to your favorite eatery with your friend make you feel less lonely? Notice what assists you in feeling good. In instances when self-initiated acts are unproductive, and catering to loneliness is not easy, the help and assistance of a professional mental health practitioner is encouraged.

 Every one strives to be happy and content with their life. Although loneliness carries a negative connotation and would indicate towards the need to connect with others and be social, loneliness can be managed once an individual learns how to be comfortable with them self. Sitting alone in a room, do you feel the need to text someone or call someone because you are lonely and bored? Why not learn to spend time with yourself? Happiness comes from within and as stated above, many people are surrounded by many friends yet, but still feel lonely. Therefore, loneliness is not an externally originated problem every time: it can be managed by the individual them self. When one learns how to spend time with themselves and be comfortable, the term loneliness changes to ‘alone time.’ Alone time is defined as an individual’s time away from others, in their own space where they get a chance to unwind, be with their thoughts or engage in activities they like.

Read about beating loneliness here: https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-beat-loneliness/

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