Human beings are instinctively social animals.
I feel lonely: what to do when you’re feeling alone
It is natural for us to feel alone or lonely when we are isolated from others. As a tribal species, our brains adapted to rely on social connections as a means to survive. However, modern life, with all of its conveniences, has led to a sharp increase in isolation. As a result, loneliness is on the rise.
1. start with small talk
When we find ourselves becoming isolated, we should take that as a warning that we may turning against ourselves in some basic way. The path of isolation le to loneliness, despair, and even depression. When we feel lonely, we often tend to beat ourselves up and think that something is just wrong with us. The more alone we feel, the more we start to have thoughts of not belonging or of feeling rejected by others.
Left alone with our thoughts, we become our own worst enemy. An isolated space is the perfect breeding ground for negative, self-critical thoughts.
This inner critic feeds into our feelings of isolation, encouraging us to avoid others and remain in a lonely state. Although our critical inner voices may tell us otherwise, in reality, there is nothing inherently wrong with us that le us to be lonely. It is a common misconception that people are lonely because they have poor social skills.
In fact, new research shows that lonely people have perfectly adequate social skills and even out perform non-lonely individuals when it comes to reading social cues. They start to feel very anxious or fear failure. In essence, their self-limiting beliefs or critical inner voices interfere with their natural social abilities.
Loneliness is not quantified by the amount of time we spend alone, but rather by how we feel about the time we spend alone. Your critical inner voice will come up with a nasty list of reasons that you are lonely, viciously attacking you and the people around you. Subsequently, you may then attack yourself for not talking enough. These thoughts reflect a hostile and unfriendly point of view toward yourself. Treat these thoughts like they were coming from an external enemy, and do not tolerate them.
Making good friends
There are several factors that lead individuals to feel lonely. The main causes of loneliness being:. There are other psychological and developmental factors that can lead to feeling alone.
Severely lonely individuals often report :. The effects of long-term loneliness on psychical health include, diminished sleep quality, weakened health, and even increased mortality. Studies are now showing that a lonely brain is structurally and biochemically different. The neural response to positive events and images get suppressed, so the world is perceived through a negative filter. When we are lonely, we are more likely to see things as hopeless.
We may feel that the world around us is threatening or beyond our control. This makes it difficult to summon up the energy and courage to find happiness and change. In this Webinar: Learn about the psychological roots of loneliness. Overcome the critical inner voice that perpetuates feelings of isolation. Challenge the psychological…. Loneliness is not a helpless condition. There are actions you can take to combat feeling alone and begin to have more meaningful, social connections in your life. In their research, father and daughter psychologists Drs.
Your critical inner voices try to keep you from challenging yourself to step outside your comfort zone, then stab you in the back for avoiding taking action. When you hear these self-attacks, it is vital that you do not allow them to manipulate your behavior.
Why are friends so important?
Learn how to Overcome Your Inner Critic in this online course. Self-compassion is the radical act of treating yourself with the same kindness that you would treat a friend. Researcher Dr. Neff, self-compassion involves three main elements. Self-kindness Vs. Neff says.
When we feel isolated or alone, we can choose to have compassion for ourselves. Mindfulness Vs. Over-identification with thoughts — According to Dr. Embrace the non-judgemental nature of mindfulness. Common humanity Vs. Isolation — Even when you are feeling isolated from others, you can begin to recognize your common humanity.
ALL humans suffer.
ALL humans are wired for social connection and will feel pain when they feel emotionally isolated from others. Just look at the comment section below. The world is full of lonely people. Come up with a plan and begin to take steps to break free from isolation.
Ask yourself the following questions:. How can you feel less alone at those lonely times? Can you reach out to a friend? an online chat community? Find a healthy way to distract yourself from the loneliness, like exercise, meditation, or even temporarily playing a distracting video game? Why do you think you feel less alone at certain times? How can you expand on those positive times?
70+ you're not alone quotes to help you be there for a friend
For example, if you feel good at work, maybe you could spend more time with your coworkers or find hobbies like volunteering that build on similar skills you enjoy sharing at work. Are the activities you enjoy social? If so, how can you participate in these activities more?
If the activities are isolated, how can you connect with others who enjoy these activities? The Internet is an incredible resource for building community with people around the world who share your interests.
People who use the Internet to really connect with others are less likely to feel lonely. If there are friends, coworkers, or family members that you feel good being around, make plans to spend more time with them. Think of activities you could do together or things you could share on a more regular basis.
Because our brains do not respond positively to seclusion, place yourself in social settings, even if you are among strangers.
If you feel shy in public, try going online. Interacting on the Internet may be a good first step in giving you the confidence to express yourself.
Fight hard against the critical inner voices that try to talk you into isolating yourself. One of the best actions we can take to counteract the hopelessness we may feel is to think outside of ourselves. Generosity is a natural repellant against self-hatred. Believe beyond all doubt that you have something to offer!
About the author
Volunteering is a great exercise in thinking outside yourself and often gives you the opportunity to connect with new people. Even little acts of generosity can have a ificant impact. Generosity, as a principle, can lead to stronger self-esteem, which then le to more social behavior.