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Mental Health

When loneliness comes knocking

Executives Initiative

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Photo by Aziz Acharki

Once in a while, a visitor named Loneliness shows up at the door of our hearts uninvited. Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you. It may be felt more over a long period of time. It is also possible to feel lonely, even when surrounded by people and like every uninvited guest at a party, loneliness brings along other members of its family to complete the party; the more, the merrier after all.

Negative Effects of  Loneliness on Physical and Mental Health

The feeling of loneliness or being detached from others is not just a human emotion; it is a complex emotional response to the lack of companionship. Although, days pass by with tremendous speed forcing each one of us to run at its pace, if we take a moment to stand and think about our relationshipd and friendships, how many of us enjoy true companionship?

It is said that one in every five persons is lonely and a majority of people don’t have anyone to talk to or spend time with, and this rate is increasing
rapidly. Loneliness has increased with modernization, since people are engrossed in virtual social communities and networks and don’t have the urge to attend social gathering or stay in touch with family and friends. But, with time, loneliness and lack of companionship makes a person vulnerable which affects physical and mental health and increases the chances of mental health disorders.

Six (6) Common Causes of Loneliness

Research shows that loneliness is connected to genetics but there are several external factors that lead to loneliness and social isolation in certain individuals in whom it works as a major depressive disorder that can even lead to suicide.

1. Abused or rejected by others
2. Inability or struggle to tit In
3. Heartbreak
4. Loss of a loved one by death or divorce in marriage
5. Social media
6. Aging

Negative Impact of Loneliness on Physical and Mental Health

Loneliness is hardly seen as a serious disorder, but in reality, chronic loneliness and feelings of alienation can be extremely detrimental to health.
Depression and suicide

  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Poor decision-making
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • The progression of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Altered brain function

How do you deal with loneliness?

  1. Getting involved in social activities and engaging in social interactions
  2. Know that loneliness is just a feeling, not a reality
  3. Reach out to others – It is better to reach out to friends and family rather than withdrawing into yourself.
  4. Cultivating a healthy friendship helps in alleviating sadness and loneliness.
  5. Form a Plan to fight Mental and Emotional Habits of Loneliness – When dealing with emotional habits of loneliness and sadness, healthy interactions with friends on a daily basis can make things better.  Have a schedule to spend quality time with friends and family and initiate
    wholesome conversations.
  6. Find like-minded people who share your hobbies and interests
  7. Make it a point to show up at meetings and gatherings.
  8. Meet new people, create new relationships, and build friendships.
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