It is the most basic human need to want social connections or companionship and feel loved. But when we feel the absence of these things in our life, we are bound to feel lonely. Whenever we feel that our loved ones are slipping away from us, the feeling of loneliness can arise and envelop us.
If you are going through a divorce, breakup, a friend moving to another city or the death of a loved one, all these incidents can give a shock to your system and constrict your heart with the feeling that your happiness is going away with that person and hence, a feeling of emptiness and loneliness takes over you.
A study published in PubMed Central shows that as many as 80% of those under 18 years of age and 40% of adults over 65 years of age report being lonely at least sometimes, with levels of loneliness gradually diminishing through the middle adult years, and then increasing in old age.
Apart from bringing acceptance in your life about the fact that everything is temporary and no one can stay beside you forever, there are some things that can be done to deal with loneliness. When Health Shots spoke to Dr. Kamna Chhiber, a psychologist at Fortis Healthcare, she told us some ways to deal with loneliness.
Whether you are an introvert or have a hectic schedule, it doesn’t matter. If you are feeling lonely then you will have to make efforts to get out of your house and socialize. Don’t ghost your friends and meet up with them. This will give you a chance to change your ambience and hence, automatically change your thoughts and feelings. Dr. Chhiber advises, “Build connections with the people who surround you. Look at investing time from your side and take initiatives.”
Shift your focus to the real world and take a break from the virtual world. Always picking binge watching shows at home or scrolling through Instagram over physical interactions with family and friends will only add to the feeling of loneliness. “Do a digital detox to more effectively engage with situations and people in your life,” says Dr. Chhiber
Chhiber says that to deal with loneliness you need to “work towards determining the activities that make you happy. Proactively engage in these so you can experience a sense of positivity towards the life you are living.” Instead of thinking on a loop how lonely you feel, try to engage your mind in doing something you enjoy whether it is cooking, dancing, singing, drawing, etc.
Practicing mindfulness basically means being completely involved in the present moment without thinking about the hundred different things that are happening around you. Be completely aware of who you are, what are your goals and just focus on that. “Practice mindfulness in your approach to daily life. Immerse yourself in the activities of daily living by focusing on the activity you are engaged in,” says Dr. Chhiber.
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If you stay grateful for things that are working in your favour, then you will focus less on things that are not. Try to steer away from the feeling that you don’t have that one person in your life and instead, focus on the ones that you have. Focus on working towards building things and experiences that hold greater meaning and value for you.
In this world, you will never be lonely, if you just have the will to be not lonely.