The Dangers of Loneliness

22.11.2018

What is loneliness? Let's define that in the following article. Sometimes those who, apparently, are not deprived of social ties complain about loneliness. If a person does not contact or has little contact with others, they talk about social isolation. If a person contacts with others sufficiently but still feels abandoned by all, this is alienation. And if someone just lives alone and feels great, regardless of the number of contacts, this is privacy or solitude in other words.

dangers of loneliness

Loneliness is considered both as an unmet need for communication and a result of the lack of social skills, when a person does not know how to build connections with other people, or a special combination of personality traits.

Loneliness in terms of science and psychology

From the scientific point of view, loneliness is one of the least developed concepts. In this case, it would be wrong and unfair to say that loneliness as a phenomenon has not been studied at all.

Analysis of various studies on loneliness suggests that loneliness is directly related to the development of the personality, which often causes discomfort to the personality. It has a connection with personal activity (specifically stimulating or blocking it), affects the socialization and individualization of the personality. Many researchers involved in the phenomenon of loneliness emphasize its direct connection with the orientation of the subject to their inner world; with their self-knowledge and ability to reflect. Analysis of the data of psychological studies allows us to make the assumption that the central place in the phenomenon of loneliness belongs to the feeling of loneliness.

Considering the feeling of loneliness as a characteristic of a person, we have the right to say that solitude, alienation, and isolation are forms of manifestation of an accentuated experience. From this point of view, loneliness is the mechanism of a person’s response to the direct (solitude, isolation) or indirect change in characteristics of social space-time, which determines the degree and form of individual psychological adaptation to these changes. This experience has its own structure, which is represented by the following main links: the primary reaction of loneliness in the form of discomfort against the backdrop of traumatic situations and its intellectualization as the process of going through a specific experience (the state of loneliness). The second component is the dynamic survival of the process. In this case, we are talking about the formation of a special state on the basis of the intellectualized experience and its conscious analysis - reflection, which allows to deepen and diversify the experience by transforming it into certain forms of experience.

The problem of loneliness often arises at psychological counseling and in psychotherapy. Loneliness and helplessness in the face of a problem that makes a person feel lonely, lead to depression and suicidal behavior. Speaking about loneliness, people mean something negative, perceiving it as a certain deprivation and failure. However, it is often forgotten that a person needs to be alone in order to be in touch with oneself, to rest and develop. Loneliness can be pleasant. It is hard for people who find it difficult to be alone with themselves.

How loneliness damages your health

Dangers of loneliness manifest in our health. Isolation is harmful to humans physically. It is known that lonely people are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, they are more susceptible to viral infections, and they also have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's syndrome and dementia. Loneliness affects the state of health: sleep, attention, logical and verbal thinking, causes a breakdown of the immune system, hormonal imbalance, activates inflammatory processes in the body. What is behind these violations is not completely clear. Perhaps the reason lies in evolution. Irrespective of the internal health of your heart, the relative isolation can increase the risk of death by 50%, in some cases by 90%. To be socially alone means to be more aggressive, to have a high rate of developing inflammation and raising blood pressure. It turns out that the harm from prolonged loneliness and social isolation is greater than from smoking, alcohol, or obesity. The danger also lies in the fact that people are not even aware of the negative effects of loneliness. Scientists have made such conclusions, having analyzed the condition of 500 people. According to them, people connected by the strong friendly relations lived longer and better than their lonely counterparts. To protect yourself, in fact, it is enough to have one or more best friends. Loneliness increases the risk of death before the age of 35 years by 30%. Loneliness harms human health much more than obesity. Such conclusions concern older people. Scientists note that if obesity carries a danger to the health of organs, then loneliness acts primarily on the human psyche. According to the “prescription” of doctors, in order to live longer, you need to communicate with loved ones, travel, or find a mate.

Other negative aspects of being lonely

Aspects of loneliness are very diverse and specific to a particular group of people and for each person separately. But the main characteristic of loneliness is the subjective personal negative experiences associated with loneliness. The feeling of loneliness is primarily associated with dissatisfaction with the quality of interaction. And the quality of interaction is not related to the number of friends. If a person experiences chronic stress associated with loneliness, then the quality of interaction with other people also decreases. Being in long loneliness, people begin to attach great importance to negative signals emanating from others. They constantly interpret the behavior of other people, emphasizing rejection or condemnation, while their own communication needs are ignored and are not satisfied as a result. Overcoming loneliness is possible through the development of communication skills. However, communication in social networks and online cannot be considered a full practice. This kind of communication suffers from insufficient involvement, as well as a lack of intimacy and empathy. Empathy skills cannot be fully revealed during virtual communication.effects of loneliness

How to combat loneliness

If the feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and despair does not go away for more than two weeks, it may be worth talking to a counseling psychologist or psychotherapist. Let's consider some tips on how to get rid of the oppressive feeling of loneliness quickly.

1. DO NOT THINK BUT ACT

We spend too much time sparing ourselves while doing nothing. And most often, we are sure that this will not change. Such thoughts should be abandoned immediately. Find what you can do right now. Acting rather than thinking, you will break out of the endless cycle of negative thoughts. Work in the garden. Do cleaning in the garage. Wash the car. Chat with your neighbors. Call your friends and go to a cafe or a movie with them. Go for a walk. Changing the scenery will help to distract from the oppressive melancholy. It is impossible to suffer if you are busy.

2. BE GOOD TO YOURSELF Self-blame will not help if we are depressed. Unfortunately, we all do it, unwittingly. For example, you made a mistake at work or quarreled with a partner or friend and now you are not on speaking terms. Or maybe you have too many expenses, but nowhere to get the money from. Instead of discussing with everyone everything that concerns us, we keep it inside of us. And as a result, we feel incredibly lonely. When we feel bad, it is important to take care of ourselves. In fact, we often forget about this because of more pressing problems. As a result, we do not sleep, we eat poorly, we do not do sports, we overload ourselves. It's time to press the reset button and restore the lost balance, feel better physically. Go to the park, take a bath, read a book in your favorite cafe.

3. DO NOT WITHDRAW INTO YOURSELF Although you can be lonely in a crowd, communication helps to get distracted even for a while. The best medicine is to go out and find a company. It is good to spend time in a company of friends, but group classes, hobby groups, traveling and hiking in groups are also great ways out. It's not easy to think how sad you are during an interesting conversation.

4. DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW

A guaranteed way to deal with sad feelings is to discover and learn new things. When you are busy with doing something that really intrigues and interests you, there is no place for the blues. Try to choose another path to get to work. Plan a small trip for one day, visit the surrounding attractions: small towns, parks, forests, reserves, museums, places of memory. On the road, try to learn something new, meet new people so that there is something to remember.

5. HELP PEOPLE WHO NEED IT

A sure way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to help another. This does not mean that you need to run into the street to save the homeless immediately. There are other ways. Check the wardrobe, collect things that you don`t wear anymore, and give them away to a charity organization. Donate old, but working electronics, dishes, furniture, bedding, toys and other unnecessary things. It will be useful for them, but even more useful for you. If there are pensioners among the neighbors, bedridden patients or just lonely people who need support, visit them, chat, treat them to something delicious, play board games. It's easier to overcome loneliness together. Remember, you can get rid of negative emotions only through conscious efforts.

Tips to prevent loneliness

how to cure lonelinessFirst of all, it is worth remembering that relatives and people close to you are not to blame for the fact that a temporary crisis has occurred in your life, therefore, it is not worth bringing down a stream of negative emotions on them. You will make peace sooner or later, and hurtful words are unlikely to be forgotten soon, but only increase the chance of losing a loved one. From now on, try to restrain yourself, answer all questions politely, and then, if you suddenly feel bad in your soul, family and friends will be ready to support and comfort you.

Secondly, do not forget about mutual understanding. From a moral point of view, no one in this world should owe you anything, so you should not behave as if every oncoming person is obliged to provide you with moral support, given the fact that you have not done anything for this person. Always take the first step to a meeting, help friends, relatives, passers-by on the street. It is pleasant for each person to hear gratitude in their address. As a rule, all the good deeds that we once committed are returned to us in double size. We just often don’t notice (or don’t want to notice) this. In a word, help people, and in a difficult moment people will help you.

Find out for yourself what you like best to do. Try everything from origami to skydiving. “How can this help avoid loneliness?” Everything is very simple! If you find a lesson that you like, you can easily find people whose interests are similar to yours.

Stop complaining! No one likes sad people constantly complaining about their problems. Agree, this is a pitiful sight. Bring joy and good into society, and you will see how people themselves begin to show proper interest in you.

Loneliness is a subjective negative experience that affects not only the emotional background but also the biological functions of the body. Accept it as an existential experience and remember that loneliness can be overcome through the development of communication skills.

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