Do you often find yourself feeling lonely? I don’t know about you, but there have been more than a few times in my life where I just felt so alone. And what makes matters worse, oftentimes I have felt that I had no one to go to when I felt those bouts of loneliness. Don’t you wish there were some secret tips you could apply for dealing with or better yet, eliminate loneliness?
Table of Contents
In this blog, Made You Smile Back will share 7 effective secret techniques for dealing with loneliness and get back to feeling happy. Every human being goes through periods feeling lonely. But if these feelings continue unchecked, then you can easily find yourself suffering from a mental health disease which is very real. And can even shorten your life!
We shall discuss exactly what loneliness is and how it is caused, explain the difference between being alone vs loneliness, the most common types of loneliness and present strategies in coping and finding your way ‘out of the darkness’.
FACT: Loneliness is a Worldwide Epidemic Currently Affecting 1 in Every 3 Adults
Let’s start the discussion with this very informative YouTube video by Jay Shetty, a former monk turned motivational speaker who shares his wisdom in providing clarity with mental health issues with positivity.
Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.
Douglas Nemecek, MD, chief medical officer for behavioral health, Cigna
What Exactly Is Loneliness?
According to verywellmind.com, loneliness is described as a state of solitude or being alone. But actually, loneliness is actually a state of mind. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people.
On the other hand, loneliness is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, if you feel alone and isolated, then that is how loneliness plays into your state of mind. But wait, some people are known to be ‘loners’. How does this play out?
The Difference between being a ‘Loner’ vs Being ‘Lonely’
One thing I’ve learned is the difference between feeling alone and feeling lonely – and how you can feel lonely in a crowd full of people, but quite peaceful and content when alone.
Everyone’s experience with loneliness is different from one another. It’s a personal thing. We must recognize that loneliness is not often the same thing and quite differently as being alone.
In fact, many people freely choose to be alone and live quite contently and happy. Others may find this to be rather lonely. But even ‘loners’ can easily find themselves struggling with loneliness as well.
Are You a Lonely Socialite?
Are you a Social Loner? How many of you would be labeled easily from your friends who ‘think they know you’ and would argue that you’re one of the most social people out there! Often you’re considered the life of the party, right? Sound familiar? Let’s go one step further shall we?
Get your Freebie
We can be totally surrounded by people — regardless whether they are family, friends or strangers and we still feel so very much alone. Is it any wonder that even well-known celebrities and personalities have suffered all their life dealing with this condition?
Yes, it is with much sadness that the world lost the most comedic and heart-warming soul — Robin Williams. He recently passed three years August 11, 2015. He suffered from major depression which was the result of isolation and loneliness, especially in his later years. The problem with being a ‘social loner’ is the fact that it’s even more difficult, in the eyes of these special people, to reach out and seek help…. much-needed help.
In our next sections, Made You Smile Back shall go into more detail on the symptoms, causes and effects of loneliness. It is SO IMPORTANT that you fully understand the depth and scope of this real, if not potentially dangerous disease.
Symptoms of Loneliness
Are you feeling disconnected? As mentioned earlier, symptoms of loneliness may differ from person to person but may take on one or more of the symptoms as featured on Psych2Go. Psych2Go is a popular YouTube channel that currently has over 2.4 million subscribers and promotes mental health advocacy. They list these 7 symptoms of loneliness:
Your insomnia is an ongoing problem. According to research published in the journal Sleep, loneliness can wreck your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep. Researchers measured the sleep cycles of 95 people in South Dakota, comparing them with the participant’s self-reported loneliness scores. The results? The lonelier the participant, the higher the levels of fragmented sleep.
Your anxiety worsens. Do you already suffer from anxiety? When you are lonely, anxiety increases your cortisol based on your stress levels In turn, you will also start have more feelings of hopelessness.
You live on your couch or bed. Loneliness tends to make us become even more isolated by feeling ‘locked in’ to our home or one favorite spot. You may also find yourself lounging all day in your pj’s or even begin binge-watching your favorite NetFlix shows.
You have difficulty with social situations. Research shows that people who are lonely have a harder time in understanding and adapting social skills. Thus, they become isolated and even more alone.
You choose materials over people. According to research published in the Journal of Consumer Research, some people go gaga over inanimate objects because they’re lonely. The researchers call this “material possession love,” and you’ve probably witnessed it a number of times: your neighbor who calls his car “baby,” or your great aunt who prides herself on her doll collection. Because these folks suffer from a lack of social connections, they start doting on their things. Obviously, materials items cannot buy you happiness versus having real-life experiences interacting and connecting with friends and family.
You’re gaining weight. When you’re lonely, you find yourself turning to ‘comfort food’ or eating out of boredom. If you don’t catch yourself early on to break the cycle, the calories add up…
Alone time doesn’t feel fun anymore! If you start to feel more irritable than usual or you have no one to talk to who can relate to you like in the past, you may realize that alone time is no longer enjoyable as it once was, especially if you consider yourself a loner by choice.
Once you recognize that you may have one or more of these symptoms, you need to reach out to your primary care physician and determine what is causing you this distress.
What Causes Loneliness Anyway?!?
Loneliness is a real and overwhelming problem that people struggle with every day. We know what the symptoms are, but what causes loneliness in the first place? Let’s find out.
A new move or relocation to a new city or country. As a result, you suddenly have no friends to turn to when needed.
Becoming a newlywed or Mom and suddenly your old ‘single friends’ seem to have abandoned you.
You’ve become newly divorced or separated and find yourself having to make new friends becoming even more isolated.
Unlike becoming a new mother, a stay-at-home mom can feel that her career-driven friends have all by vanished from her inner circle.
People who suffer from anxiety, self-esteem issues or weight-related issues all can contribute to loneliness as well.
If you’re suffering from current mental health issues or battling chronic illnesses, these conditions can definitely trigger loneliness and isolation from others who ‘simply don’t understand’ what you’re going thru.
Perhaps your very best friend moved a long distance away or you recently endured a relationship break-up. You find yourself having too much time on your hands and thus loneliness creeps in.
Empathetically and understandingly, we would be amiss if we didn’t include the sorrowful bereavement of losing a loved one. In fact, research from Dr. R.S. Weiss, Phd, there is a strong preponderance of evidence to support that one can actually ‘die’ of a broken heart and loneliness as a result of the death of your spouse.It’s important to have close family friends be nearby so you can reach out to them as needed and as for as long as you need to!
The Shocking Effects of Loneliness and How Our Body Reacts
Loneliness and isolation can have far-reaching effects on our health, whether they occur together or independently of each other. Let’s take a closer look at both the physical and mental effects that loneliness causes.
So enough already! Do you not agree how important it is that we learn to take care of ourselves and treat loneliness as a real health concern? We need to treat it as it truly is… a bonafide medical disease. Made You Smile Back encourages each and everyone reading this blog to learn these 7 secret tips to cope and help eliminate loneliness.
Acceptance that you are lonely. Dissect your feelings about it – change the mindset from having no friends to making friends.
Make a plan to deal with the loneliness – go where people are – like a coffee shop or the mall or the library – chat in lines – engage in small talk.
Get outside – an immediate mood booster – take a daily walk in a scenic park. Nature is so healing and you will feel an instant connection.
Start an exercise program – a dance class – the combo of music and movement will release the feel-good hormones – leaving you feeling more positive and energetic. Plus this is a great way to meet new friends!
Journal, journal, journal. I can’t emphasize the importance of pouring it all out there in a journal. Start doing daily and over time, you will progress from ‘venting’ to determining meaningful and effective solutions.
Create a support network of people to call or text or do facetime when feeling down.
Seek out counseling, therapy and/or make an immediate appointment with your primary care provider.
The big ‘takeaway’ from this article is… Remember, loneliness is temporary. Even if you’re feeling lonely now, that doesn’t mean you’ll always feel lonely or you’ll never find a community that nourishes you.
“You are the architect of your future. You get to go out and make new and wise choices.”
Everyone of us has something to offer in all the connections and relationshps we make.
Join in the Conversation Below and Share your Tips on how you deal with Loneliness!
If you’re in immediate crisis:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, compassionate support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can call them at 1-800-273-8255 or get in touch with them through online chat.
Madeyousmileback is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
I’m sure a lot of people are feeling isolated and alone right now.
Mary, thanks for your comment.
I’m so glad you commented on the difference between loneliness and being alone. They are NOT the same! I crave my alone time, and like my solitude (esp now that I’m a parent and rarely get any), but I am at a very different place now in my life than when I was younger, constantly surrounded by others, and yet always felt so lonely. Your tips for handling loneliness are spot-on, too.
Flossie, thanks so much for your comments. Yes, there is most definitely a big difference from loneliness and being alone. It was surprising to learn alot of people were not aware of this. Many blessings.
How interesting! Loneliness is definitely a big issue right now and it was fascinating to read how much it can effect others.
Audrey, thanks for your positive comment about loneliness.
This message is so important! I love the way you pointed out the different looks of loneliness. It’s hard to imagine that someone who seems outgoing could actually be struggling with loneliness. Great in-depth look that can be a comfort to so many people to know they are actually not alone in their situation.
Deshena, I appreciate all your comments. I love being alone when it is my choice. But loneliness definitely takes on various
I’ve definitely experienced loneliness, especially as a stay at home mom. Using you tips on how to cope will help me tremendously moving forward! Great read!
Shannon, thank you for your positive comments. I hope those tips do indeed help you cope. You have my utmost respect being a stay-at-home Mom. Take care.
It’s interesting that a few of these symptoms for loneliness can easily be confused with being an introvert. I learned a lot reading this. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the info. I don’t get lonely often but when I do I try to call or reach out to a friend or family member or even praying helps for me!
Great, thorough article. I think a lot of people are struggling with this right now, even if they don’t live alone.
Thanks, I found the tips really useful. I never knew I was suffering from loneliness till now.
Favour, thanks for your comments. But do know there is a difference from being lonely vs. being alone. Many blessings.
D**n i really needed this. I’m feeling lonely a lot during these days and this was just what i needed rn.
Kopal, thanks for your ‘impactful’ comment! I’m glad my blog describing techniques for dealing with loneliness helped! Take care!
Great article! Sometimes people think because you are alone you are lonely. Big difference.
Very interesting. Having moved and lived in a few countries I definitely relate to the feeling of loneliness, for many of my good friends and family don’t live nearby. Fortunately, over the years of living abroad, I have now got to know more people from joining clubs and volunteering. Journaling and mindful walking are my go to therapies when I feel lonely. Thanks for sharing.
Angie, thanks so much for your comments. I actually envy you that you have had the opportunity of living in other countries. But yes, I would imagine how easily one could feel alone. I love mindful walking as well! Many blessings to you!
I learned that being alone and being lonely can be two different things. I spend a lot of alone time. Especially since retirement. I have never been of a social butterfly, but have always had friends to spend time with up until the last few years. They all just keep dying off. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to make new friends because … well… they keep dying. Very thoughtful and informative article.
Linda, thank you for your kind comments regarding my blog on ‘Feeling lonly? 7 Secret Techniques fo Deailing with Lonleliness.
Thanks for all this information! It’s so easy to assume others understand our feelings, or feel the same about situations when the reality is everything affects individuals differently.
Annie, thank you for your comments on my latest post about dealing with loneliness. Yes, I so much agree. Loneliness and how it manifests itself is different with each person.
This is such a helpful post! I think many of us experience loneliness at some point in our lives. I have found keeping a gratitude journal to be extremely helpful in boosting my mood.
Myrtle, thanks so much for commenting on my blog about the 7 techniques in dealing with loneliness. I’m so glad you mentioned keeping a gratitude journal. I’m actually working on releasing several journals for the holiday season, one of which is entitled, ‘The Ultimate Happiness Journal’. Many blessings to you.
I like the distinction you draw between being a loner and being lonely. I’m a loner ie I am happy with my own company. But research says that you need to have daily personal interaction with others especially as you grow older. Therefore, it’s great to belong to a social group like a book or cooking club. But, if you are lonely, one of the best ways to deal with it is by starting to journal about it. You will soon realize the steps you need to take to stop being lonely. Great thought provoking post.
Poovanesh, thank you for your positive comments on my blog about techniques dealing with loneliness. Yes, I agree with you about the importance of journaling. Thanks for sharing.
interesting article. I do like being alone at times thinking and reading. But I also like company occasionally. I think the healthy thing is learning to have balance in our lives and when we have too much of any one thing it becomes dangerous for our mental health. thanks for sharing your knowledge..
Jiselle, thanks for your comments on my blog on loneliness. I too am like you in that there are occasions that I enjoy my ‘alone time’. But yes, too much of something is not healthy and can cause imbalance. Thanks again.
I remember feeling this way when I first moved to the U.S one scholarship for college. I missed my family and knew no one on my campus. Thankfully, we had an amazing support system for international students and I was able to establish relationships which made things improve drastically. Thank you for covering this topic in such great detail and care.
Kimberley, thanks for your comments.I hope things worked out for you in relicating to USA.
This is great information! Sometimes I an an extreme introvert and at times it can mix with lonliness. This article wil be saved.
Kelly, thanks for commenting on my blog on 7 Secret Techniques Dealing with Loneliness. I appreciate your kind words. Glad to help.
We get so excited for all the different options we have available to us for connection in today’s society – social media, video calling, text messaging, etc – However, that excitement and love for the options is, ultimately, the very barrier preventing us from connecting with others.
Britt, thanks for your positive comments. I agree, social media has become a double-edged sword.
What a great guide for what to do when you feel lonely! Thanks for posting this.
Thanks Nik for your comment. Loneliness is definitely more common than people give it credit to.
I don’t often feel lonely but when I do it an awfully powerful and ugly emotion. Your thoughts have given me hope that I can move on in a positive way. thank you!
phillis – https://fatjackscoffee.com
Thanks for your kind comments.
Thank you so much for writing this. It really made me realize so much about myself. I have recently gained weight and been baking a lot due to a local friend I use to run with all the time moved away. So I have stopped running and have been isolating myself which I am going to stop doing now.
Ashley, I know how you feel. Often times we turn to ‘high carb’ comfort food when feeling lonely. Yes, I need to get out and walk more as well. Thanks for your kind comments.
Thank you for this wonderful post. I’ve been lonely many times in my life, but I’m very lucky to have wonderful friends and family who supported me in those times. I definitely agree with these tips. And yes, you have to get out there and stop moping or the sadness might overwhelm you. 🙂
Wow! Thank you for this! I definitely have had feelings of loneliness before. Thanks for this reminder to examine yourself when you have those feelings and to know the seriousness of them.
Erin. thanks for your kind comments on the 7 techniques dealing with loneliness.
I’ll start the conversation by sharing that I am one that you would consider to be a ‘socialite loner’. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being around people and socializing, etc. But there is a definite part of me that chooses to be a ‘loner’ as well from time to time. I rather enjoy being by myself, especially while walking or being a part of nature. Even driving to me in the country is a joy. What about you?