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Why We Feel Lonely and What to Do About It

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According to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, man is, by nature, a social animal. The loneliest people are antisocial individuals in any society. Human brains are wired to depend on social connections to thrive. Whenever you are cut out from these connections, your brain will tend to trigger the feelings of pain and sadness. Loneliness is a feeling that causes people to feel alone, unwanted, and empty. It is therefore politically correct to say as a human being, you cannot live alone. You need social interactions to define who you are.

Loneliness can take a toll on your health. It can affect your mental and physical health. When it affects you psychologically, you develop conditions such as insomnia in that you are completely unable to sleep. Research has shown that loneliness can also elevate your chances of developing dementia when you’re older. In very severe instances, loneliness has been known to trigger suicidal thoughts and can drive you to take your life. 

Apart from impacting your mental health, this condition can also influence your physical health. Studies have reported that people who experience chronic loneliness eat unhealthy foods that lower their immune system. They are also at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Apart from your health, loneliness can also influence your behavior. Most lonely people tend to turn to substance abuse in certain instances.

So, in a world filled with interesting people and a lot of fun things to do, why do people feel lonely? Here are three reasons detailing why:

1. Loneliness can be hereditary

You could have inherited loneliness from your parents. Research shows that there are about 15 genetic variations that can make you susceptible to loneliness. It is such traits that make you want to distance yourself from people. 

A good example of people with hereditary loneliness is an introvert. These are people who prefer to live in isolation. They possess a reserved and quiet demeanor and are overwhelmed by social engagements involving many people. Some people are born introverts, while others pick up this trait as a result of how they were raised. 

2. Inflated expectations toward friends

Have you ever felt lonely while hanging out with a group of friends? Well, it is possible to feel that way. Having a lot of friends is not a guarantee that you will not get lonely. Friendships are built on relationships and often have feelings attached to them. If you do not feel connected to your numerous companions, you will tend to get lonely. People with lonely tendencies assume that having friends will help them solve their problems. Unfortunately, not everyone in your social circle will come to your aid when you are in trouble. Very few will provide support, so you should strive to have quality and not quantity with regards to friends.

“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” – Zig Ziglar

3. You’re too uptight

Some people constantly maintain their “guard up” which makes it difficult for them to bond and connect with other people. If you are the kind of person who sits in a social gathering and stays quiet the entire time when other people are having a conversation, then you’re contributing to your loneliness. Such behavior will make it difficult for other people to reach out to you and want to bond with you.

4. The fallacy of social media

Ideally, social media is supposed to bring people together but the irony is that it causes people to feel lonely. How does this happen? People tend to post their best selves on social media platforms even when it is not true. When you are busy checking your friends or colleague’s images of their supposedly “perfect lives”, it is likely that you will feel left out. 

A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found an association between social media and loneliness. 

Having known why people tend to get lonely, what do you do about it then? Here are tips on how to avert loneliness:

1. Engage in sporting activities

You know you are lonely when you feel unhappy and sad because you are isolated. The journey to averting loneliness begins with you. There are numerous activities you can engage in to feel connected to people. For example, you could take part in sporting activities such as marathons or cycling races near you. In such sporting activities, you have a chance to meet numerous people and it is unlikely that you will feel alone. 

2. Volunteer in community work

Volunteering gives you a chance to focus on the needs of other people. It is difficult to feel lonely when you are caring for the elderly in a home or catering to the homeless. Lending a hand will leave you feeling fulfilled and it will also help you keep your mind off sad thoughts that are associated with loneliness.

“A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.” – Mandy Hale

3. Attend therapy

When you experience chronic loneliness, you should seek help. You could source the services of a therapist who will help you understand the underlying issues that are making you dissociate from other people. Therapy will give you fresh perspectives on your problems and help you understand your emotions better.

4. Detach from social platforms

As indicated above, social media is one of the factors that contribute to loneliness. In case you spend a lot of time on these social media platforms, you need to stop it and reexamine your life. When you do so, you will realize there is a lot you could with your life away from these platforms. However, you can decide to scroll through these platforms once in a while based on how well you are doing with the management of your loneliness

Conclusion

Loneliness is a complex emotion that can affect anyone. Of importance is how you handle yourself when this feeling overwhelms you. If you want to be happier and live a full life, you need to tackle the problems in your life that are making you sad and unhappy. 

The process of overcoming loneliness begins when you focus your attention on the things that matter the most in life like social interactions. Often, it is difficult for people to notice that you are sad and lonely, therefore, you should endeavor to look after yourself. 

How do you keep your mental health in check especially when you’re feeling lonely? Please share your advice for everyone to read below!

Vincent Rubin is a life coach with 7 years of experience. He loves jewelry and always turns to Ariana Nila for versatile personalized jewelry. Furthermore, he is a cycling enthusiast and is especially keen on electric bikes. Currently, he is focused on sharing his expertise in life coaching with a wider audience through his writing.

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Life

How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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