If you’re down here reading this, then you’re probably familiar with the feeling of being alone. You’re probably also aware that loneliness can feel endless at times, and that you can be surrounded by friends and family while still feeling cut off from the rest of the world. However, loneliness isn’t something you have to deal with on your own, and there are things you can do to feel more connected to others around you, even if it’s difficult. This post answers the question, “Why am I so lonely?” It also gives you pointers and tips to deal with feeling lonely.
Why Am I So Lonely?
Because loneliness is so frequent, it’s only natural that there are a plethora of reasons why people are lonely. Here is a handful of the most significant:
#1. Friendships seem to Be Eroding
Have you ever felt disconnected from your friends despite the fact that they are only a button press away? Don’t worry, it’s a really common sensation.
#2. Being a Loner
It can feel like romantic connections are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, whether it’s because your friends are all getting into relationships and dating, you’re constantly watching dating shows on TV, or you’re under pressure from your extended family to bring someone home. It’s difficult to feel as if you’re missing out on something.
#3. Not Being Able to Fit In
Perhaps your interests differ from those of your friends. Or perhaps you simply dress differently. In any event, feeling out of place can exacerbate the symptoms of loneliness and make it more difficult to make friends and feel connected.
#4. Taking Care of a Parent or a Sibling
Being the primary caregiver for a family member who is ill or disabled might make you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. After all, many of your friends will have no idea what it’s like to have a sibling with Down’s syndrome or a mother who suffers from bipolar disorder, so being a caregiver can make you feel as though you can’t truly talk to others, let alone invite them over for dinner or a sleepover.
Why Am I So Lonely? Other Reasons
Something else going on in our lives can sometimes lead to loneliness. Here are some other common causes of loneliness:
Many mental diseases, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, can make people feel extremely lonely. You may spend more time indoors if you have a mental disorder that makes you apprehensive about seeing others. It can also cause sleeplessness, which makes you exhausted, irritated, and lonely.
People with a variety of disabilities may frequently feel as if no one cares about them. If individuals in public are unpleasant or impolite, these sentiments can become even worse, and daily discrimination can make loneliness even more difficult to bear.
People who have experienced racism claim that discrimination makes them feel alone and makes it difficult to develop genuine friendships. Racism comes in many forms, all of which are harmful, thus even a “small” or “casual” act of racism can have a significant impact on someone’s self-esteem.
Is It Normal to Feel Lonely?
According to recent ReachOut research, one in every five young people feels lonely ‘most of the time’ or ‘always.’
So, just because you’re lonely doesn’t mean you’re weird or different: it just indicates you have more in common with the people around you than you realize.
When Do People Experience Loneliness?
Loneliness can strike at any time. You may not feel lonely for obvious reasons, and what you’re going through could always be linked to other issues such as depression or anxiety.
However, it is true that many people experience loneliness during major life events. Perhaps you’re relocating; perhaps your parents are divorcing, or perhaps you’re transitioning from elementary to secondary school. Maybe you just feel like you’ve outgrown your group of pals, or that they’re getting into activities that don’t truly interest you.
All of these factors may make you feel lonely and lost, and you may find it difficult to connect with others.
Why Am I So Lonely? How to Manage and Cope
While many studies have looked into how to deal with loneliness, there is no consensus on what works best. And, as most psychologists point out, there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” solution that works for everyone. However, if you’re feeling lonely, there are a few things you can do.
#1. Recognize That You Are Lonely
According to researchers, there have always been a lot of stigmas linked with loneliness. Ignoring our sentiments of loneliness, on the other hand, just feeds them. So, giving your loneliness a name is the first step toward really dealing with it. Labeling your feelings also helps to diminish their intensity. On the plus side, the epidemic has “normalized” emotions of loneliness, making it less stigmatizing to discuss now that we’ve all felt it.
#2. Recognize That It’s Something That Most of Us Go Through on a Regular Basis
Loneliness, ironically, is a universal emotion.
“It happens to most of us at some point in our lives,” says James Ellor, Ph.D., D. Min, professor emeritus of family studies at Baylor University’s Diane R. Garland School of Social Work.
“Sometimes it’s the period of life we’re in, such as a young adult who hasn’t married, a mom with small children who hasn’t had any adult talk, or a divorce in our forties.”
Recognizing your loneliness won’t make it go away, but it can help to know that it’s just transitory for most of us.
#3. Reframe How You React to Situations
“Loneliness alters the brain and how you perceive things,” experts explain. However, you can learn to re-examine your perceptions of social circumstances by doing some introspection. For example , speaking with a cashier who didn’t respond, was it really you? Or was it just a bad day for her?
#4. Take a Risk
People who are lonely frequently expect to be rejected.
“They may isolate themselves from others, making their behavior a self-fulfilling prophecy that reinforces their loneliness,” according to psychologists.
But, in reality, you have to try new things and put yourself out there to meet new people and develop new relationships.” Try a new hobby or join a group with similar interests, such as a reading club, yoga class, or a meetup at the dog park. Also, never give up.
#5. Help People in Some Way
One way to feel connected to your community at large is to volunteer for a group that focuses on something that matters to you—literacy, homelessness, or the local food pantry. It basically shifts the focus away from yourself, and you’ll be surrounded by people who share your desire to serve others.
#6. Adopt a Member of the Family
While not everyone enjoys having dogs, studies have proven that they can be beneficial to our health, with advantages such as lower blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. Adopting a pet, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, will make you feel needed (it’s time for a walk! ), motivate you to be more active, and help you form new friendships with other pet lovers (hello, dog park!). Furthermore, some research suggests that simply looking into your dog’s eyes produces the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter instead if you can’t make the financial or time commitment to pet motherhood.
#7. Get Out in the Fresh Air
Gardening has been demonstrated to be beneficial to both mental and physical health in several studies. Getting your hands in the dirt can be precisely what you need to make new social connections, whether you join a local gardening club, engage in a community garden, or simply share your bumper harvest of zucchini with your neighbor. It’s also a lot of fun to choose your own fresh vegetables!
#8. Give Thanks for Everything
Concentrating on what you do have rather than what you don’t can help you focus on all the good things in your life. Gratitude has been linked to a lower incidence of melancholy, anxiety, and substance addiction, as well as a reduction in loneliness, according to research. Try a few simple gratitude exercises, such as reflecting on what you’re glad for each day, keeping a gratitude notebook, or writing a note to thank someone for something they’ve done for you recently or in the distant past. Also, consider attending a religious service or joining a prayer group to connect with a higher force you can relate to.
#9. Reduce Your Use of Social Media
According to research, the truth can be good or horrible depending on how you use it. However, continually comparing oneself to those who have an Instagram-worthy home, job, car, or life is exhausting and useless. It’s a good thing if you use social media to reconnect with distant relatives or rekindle an old connection. But then ensure to limit your consumption if you feel worse after a scrolling session. The same goes for news and push notifications; You don’t have to consume every piece of breaking news that comes out, which continuously raises emotions and may create feelings of worry.
#10. Don’t Let Technology Take the Place of Face-To-Face Interaction
Sure, technology can help you connect long distances or when you are unable to meet in person. However, a new study suggests that it can help sustain mental health by supplementing rather than replacing in-person relationships. In fact, despite more remote interaction, people reported loneliness, despair, and decreased happiness during the pandemic, according to studies.
#11. Recognize When It’s Time to Seek Assistance
It’s sometimes easier to just give up. However, it’s time to get treatment if you begin to feel unable to function or if loneliness begins to limit your ability to be yourself. Consult your primary care physician or ask for a referral to a mental health specialist who can assist you in determining the most effective methods for feeling better.
Why Am I So Lonely FAQs
Who suffers from loneliness?
According to a survey published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), more than one-third of persons aged 45 and older are lonely, and almost one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are socially isolated.
What is the root of loneliness?
Loneliness is caused by an inner absence—you don’t have a concentrated knowledge of your actual self—rather than by the absence of other individuals.
Is it OK to not have friends?
People require at least a little human touch to flourish, and complete solitude can have a negative impact on your general health. It’s perfectly OK to be content with your own company if you’re not completely isolated and your lack of friends doesn’t bother you.