Have you ever asked yourself, Why do I feel alone in a crowded room?
If yes, then it will be a relief to know it's not uncommon. Researches portray the normal social being is inclined to feel isolated or detached at some point in their life. It is a self-demeaning process. You feel less in some way or you cannot relate to the others in the room.
Solitude and Loneliness are not relatable. A person can feel disconnected in a crowd while some others who are secured in their own company feel content and serene. They may never experience loneliness.
The Collins English Dictionary defines Loneliness as unhappiness that is felt by someone because of the absence of friends or they do not have anyone to talk to. It is an emotional response to an individual's perception of isolation.
Millions around the globe are socially active and extroverted, but equally inclined towards loneliness. It has no degrees of measurement when it comes to being socially active and lonely at the same time.
Fact: 8 Years of life expectancy are lost as the direct impact of loneliness.
It is a very generic human emotion, but unique in terms of experiencing. We assimilate and react to loneliness in our own individual ways. Doctors have argued over classifying it as a disease. Researches suggest that feeling lonely can lead to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, insomnia and stress.
Fact: The findings, based on an analysis of more than 300,000 people, suggest social isolation is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic.
So what exactly leads people to feel lonely?
Researches suggest loneliness be categorised based on situations.
People who belong to a particular group such as socio-economic disparities, cultural disparities.
Estrangement from a loved one or family.
Discrimination or stigma based on gender, some form of physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or financial status.
Discrimination based on the fact of being a trauma survivor, etc.
How to address the elephant in the room?
Studies exhibit that individualized interventions are a necessity when it comes to coping with loneliness. Each individual experience is a response, a detailed study. These are psychological triggers that make people seek out connections.
Philosophers believe loneliness to be an enigma of thoughts; in fact, a way of life itself. It is in the very being of being human. It transcends the limits of the human thought realm.
It leads people to the belief as humans are social beings, the support of their peers is a boon.
Fact: According to a study, the support of family, friends and neighbours can increase your chances of living to a healthy old age by 50 per cent.
So, the next time you feel lonely, never shy away.
Speak about it with your family or friends. Letting it all out leads to contentment.
Don't stay cooped up.
Go out, join a support group or if not an online community.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Believe that the light will shine through; it will be bright one day.
#Speaking out heals
This letter was written as a part of a project, Dear Loneliness. Do feel free to contribute to this project and share your thoughts.
In the current pandemic scenario, it is perfectly logical if we develop symptoms of anxiety and stress, being away from family and friends.
Feel free to call up helplines that guide you on the how-tos and the whys. This makes the process easier as we address our problems head-on.
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'Loneliness is a killer: It's as bad for your health as alcoholism, smoking and over-eating, say scientists' | Mail Online| David Derbyshire | Available at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1298225/Loneliness-killer-Its-bad-health-alcoholism-smoking-eating-say-scientists.html
'Loneliness Definition And Meaning' | Collins Dictionary | Available at https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/loneliness#:~:text=Loneliness%20is%20the%20unhappiness%20that,Quick%20word%20challenge
'Loneliness: A disease?' | PubMed Central- National Centre for Biotechnology Information | Sarvada Chandra Tiwari | Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890922/
'About Loneliness' | Mind, the mental health charity | Available at https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/loneliness/about-loneliness/