Even in the cleanest home, when a stream of sunlight illuminates a room, you can see the dancing particles of dust floating in the air. When you sew, those dust particles increase substantially. Obviously, it is impossible to count the dust particles as they float and move as if they were a swarm of gnats because there’s just too many of them moving around so quickly.
The movement of numberless dust particles are as mesmerizing as a swarm of gnats, a school of fish in the river, or people at an outdoor rock concert.
As of today, there are over 7.3 billion people in the world and yet millions of people still feel sad and lonely. Why? Why are so many people sad and lonely? It’s not unusual to hear people say, “I am lonely,” or “I feel so lonely” any day of the week.
Loneliness is not specific to any particular group. There are lonely men, lonely women, lonely fathers, lonely moms, lonely boys, lonely girls – lonely people of all ages and genders. Being lonely also isn’t unique to a specific relationship status. It’s common to hear about single and lonely people, but there are many married and lonely people too. People can be lonely alone and can be a person experiencing lonely love.
With so many people being lonely, it is important to understand what loneliness is and what makes people so lonely. Even more important is to learn how to prevent feeling lonely.
What Is Loneliness?
The best way to start understanding loneliness is to pin down the definition.
: sad from being apart from other people
: causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people
: not visited by or traveled on by many people
You have to think about this definition more than just in a physical sense of being apart from other people. Loneliness can occur even when you are in the middle of a large group, among friends, or in a lifelong marriage and/or partnership. Physically you can be lonely, but you can also be mentally, spiritually and emotionally lonely.
Being Lonely Affects Your Health
It probably doesn’t come as a big surprise that being alone for a long time can really affect your mental and physical health. Once again don’t think about being alone as just a physical condition. If you are thinking, “I am so lonely” and you are in the midst of family and friends, you are still alone.
There is continued research by scientists who are studying the link between mental and physical health as it relates to loneliness and your body. Some of their findings already include:
- Loneliness affects your brain in the same way that you feel physical pain in other parts of your body.
- Being lonely is a leading reason that you don’t feel the need to go to the doctor when you have a problem.
- When you are feeling lonely, you get less exercise and are not as physically active.
- Loneliness causes a decrease in learning.
- Being lonely makes you more likely to neglect regular overall good care of yourself.
- Loneliness is a leading cause of unproductive sleep, insomnia and just an overall bad’s night’s rest.
- Being lonely decreases memory.
- Suicide is prevalent in lonely people.
- Depression and loneliness often go hand in hand.
- Being lonely makes you more susceptible to getting dementia.
- Loneliness exacerbates addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse. People with these addictions physically withdraw from others which leads to suffering emotional loneliness.
- Being lonely weakens your immune system.
- Loneliness increases your stress level.
- Alzheimer’s disease progresses quickly when you feel lonely or suffer loneliness for an extended amount of time.
- Being lonely leads to heart problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks, and a broken heart. Research states that these heart problems may happen because loneliness increases your stress level to the point that your body and more specifically your heart is injured.
- Loneliness leads to a shorter life.
How To Stop Being Lonely
Now that we discussed what loneliness is and what loneliness does to your health, how can we stop being lonely and stop feeling overwhelmed with loneliness?
- Recognize being lonely – Before you can change anything, you first have to recognize it. The same holds true with being lonely. First recognize that you are experiencing loneliness.
- Why are you lonely? – After recognizing your lonely condition, see if you can determine why you are suffering loneliness.
- Physically change your surroundings – Give yourself the opportunity to be around and interacting with more people.
- Focus on other people’s feelings – Yes, you are feeling lonely, but forget yourself for awhile and think about other people and how they are feeling.
- Volunteer – After you understand the loneliness, sadness or depression that someone else might be feeling, volunteer to be of service to change their lonely condition.
- Open up – Since being lonely is suffered alone, it is imperative to open up, confide, interact, trust, and build a relationship with someone else. That human contact is vital in changing from being lonely to feeling fulfilled and happy.
- Change the self-talk – That little voice in your head can cause so many problems sometimes. When your self-talk starts to increase your loneliness, it is time to turn it around. Instead of focusing on the negatives, start purposefully seeking the positive, happy and uplifting things or people.
- Write – The process of writing your thoughts on a piece of paper or typing them in a document on the computer are very physical actions. That connection of your hands and your brain leads to a calming condition which allows you to not only put your thoughts in order, but to come up with creative answers to problems.
Final Thoughts On Loneliness
At some point in life, most people will say, “I’m so lonely.” Don’t feed your loneliness. The moment you start being lonely, pull up your boot straps and work to change the situation. Wallowing in being lonely will not make you feel better or solve the lonely problem.
Loneliness is a terrible state of being and leads to so many negative health conditions that you should never under estimate it’s power in your life or the life of someone you care about.
There’s a song by America called, “Lonely People.” I bet that most of you have heard it because it is a golden oldie of the early 1970’s. I like the tune of the song, but one of the messages of the song is not to give up.
Don’t give up.
When you are in the grips of loneliness, you have a distorted view of the past, present and future. Don’t let the loneliness overwhelm you. Don’t give up or give into being lonely.
Fight the loneliness!
Fight it as if your life depends on it because it does!
Loneliness can slowly kill you and diminishes the happiness that could be in your life right now.
Remember there are over 7.3 billion people in this world. There is no reason that you have to be lonely with that many people or with so many ways to build a relationship thanks to all the modern technological advances. It requires you to change a few things, but it is worth the effort that you must put forth.
This is for all the lonely people…Happiness is a lovely replacement for loneliness.