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5 Reasons Why “Lonely” Seems To Be The Hardest Word (And Why We Should Be Saying It)

5 Reasons Why “Lonely” Seems To Be The Hardest Word (And Why We Should Be Saying It)

We’ve all felt it. That empty feeling in your stomach. The thought of hours or days ahead of you with no company but yourself. That restless feeling, like you’re in a little bubble that you’re afraid might implode at any minute. You may even have felt it when you’re surrounded by people. No matter how hard we try and fight it, we all feel alone sometimes. So why do we find that so hard to admit to each other? Even to ourselves?

The answer is important. Loneliness has been shown to be very significant in the deterioration of our physical and mental health, and it can have a huge impact on lifespan. In short, being lonely for extended periods of time does no good for you or for society as a whole. So let’s bust some loneliness myths right now. After all, no man (or woman) is an island!

1. We think it shows weakness (but it doesn’t)

This is one of the biggest reasons we suffer in silence from depression, from loneliness, from anything that life throws at us that we “should” be able to handle. We seem to have a need to soldier on through feeling low, and a lot of us would rather carry on in silent misery than face the shame of admitting it to another person.

The fact is you don’t need a right to feel lonely. It can happen at any time in your life. Whether you’re young, old, whether you’ve just had a child or whether you’re at college surrounded by people, you can still feel alone. To admit it can make you feel weak and unworthy at the time, but the truth is it will actually make you stronger. Admitting that you’re going through a tough time is a strength, not a weakness.

2. We don’t want to burden others (but we won’t)

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    Photo credit: Loneliness via photopin (license)

    When we’re feeling lonely, we assume that everyone else has more exciting stuff going on in their lives than us. Whether this is true or not, we convince ourselves that we shouldn’t hassle them. The last thing we want is for people to spend time with us out of pity. So instead of reaching out and asking someone over for dinner or a glass of wine, we hide behind pride and make ourselves lonelier.

    But hang on one second — if you think about it, how many times when a friend has called us have we thought “oh no not them again?” Most of the time, we are delighted to hear from that person because we’re feeling the same way ourselves.

    It’s easy to assume other people have these exciting lives and are too busy for us. Most of the time, it’s just not the case.

    Having said that…

    3. We’re living busy lives (so slow down)

    In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to be lonely even when you’re surrounded by people. Yes, it’s true that you are working with people all day, but how often in your day do you make meaningful connections? How many times do you open up about yourself to another person rather than letting them just see the surface version of you?

    Going through the motions and hiding behind a mask can make you feel like a living ghost. Not taking the time to really listen or contemplate conversations and the people around you is equal to walking around in a bubble. No wonder you’re feeling lonely. Slow down and take the time to listen and connect with people. It will make the world of a difference.

    4. We live on our keypads (so give someone a call!)

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      Photo credit: Communication Centre via photopin (license)

      With all the technology at our fingertips, it can be easy to rely on our phones and laptops as the sole form of communication with our friends and family. After all, it’s easier to send a quick Whatsapp or update our Facebook status than it is to pick up the phone and call someone. But in keeping everything digital, we are losing out on a vital part of human connection. Being able to hear someone’s voice and reactions or see them in person goes a long way to helping you feel less lonely. It reminds us that someone cares about us and wants to know how our day has been. It allows us to feel connected to another human in a much more natural way than looking at words on a screen.

      5. We are scared of it (but it shows we’re human)

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        Photo credit: Christophe Leung via Flickr

        The biggest reason we don’t want to tell anyone we’re lonely is because we don’t want to admit it to ourselves. Sometimes, it’s easier to mask it by being really busy, and then when we are alone finding any distraction we can — movies/the internet/drinking. The thing about that is it will always catch up with you eventually. It is far more helpful to admit it to yourself — “Oh hey, yep, I think I’m lonely.” — and work out how you’re going to deal with it.

        How to deal with loneliness

        Step 1: Just accepting it is a big step. It’s okay to be lonely. We’re human and we all get lonely sometimes.

        Step 2: Know that it will pass. Although it may feel like it, you won’t be lonely for the rest of your life. Feelings come and go, like people, and sometimes loneliness is a natural emotion signaling that you need to change something to move onto the next stage.

        Step 3: Do something about it. Even if it’s something small like making a dinner date with a friend or joining a local club. Doing something about it will make you feel more positive and in control of the situation. Remember that there are millions of other humans out there that want to make connections too. This proves that you should never feel ashamed to feel lonely.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via hd.unsplash.com

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        Last Updated on December 9, 2019

        5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

        5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

        Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

        Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

        Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

        1. Get Rationally Optimistic

        Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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        This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

        In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

        The result: no more mental stress.

        2. Unplug

        Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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        How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

        It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

        Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

        3. Easy on the Caffeine

        Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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        Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

        4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

        That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

        How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

        • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
        • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
        • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

        While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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        5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

        This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

        The result: mental stress will be gone!

        So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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