Feelings of loneliness: causes and how to avoid them.
A summary of the factors that play a role in the appearance of the feeling of loneliness.
One of the great evils of the 21st century is the feeling of loneliness, a problem that affects many more people than we think.A problem that affects many more people than we think.
We would be surprised to discover how many individuals, despite being surrounded by people, constantly experience this feeling. Let's discover why this phenomenon occurs so frequently and what are its psychological repercussions.
What does the feeling of loneliness consist of?
As human beings we are gregarious beings. This means that we have a tendency to live in community, close to our fellow human beings.However, this is not only reduced to physical closeness, which is also important, but we need to relate to other people on a regular basis if we do not want to experience the feeling of loneliness.
Therefore, the feeling of loneliness would be a perception of the individual of lacking adequate or quality interpersonal relationships, which makes him feel isolated from the world and not having covered vital needs for their full development as a human being, which generates unpleasant feelings at the psychological level, and may also be accompanied by physical discomfort.
We may think that nowadays, thanks to new technologies, it is very easy to relate to other people, and this is partly true. The problem is that on many occasions the interpersonal relationships that are generated are not of high quality.The socialization needs of the individual are too superficial and therefore fail to meet their socialization needs.
This is aggravated by the general lack of time that many individuals suffer from, working long hours and returning home late and tired, which leaves them with no energy and no time to enjoy a moment of interaction with family or friends, increasing the feeling of loneliness more and more.
The conclusion is that this feeling occurs when we do not have enough quality social relationships, but it is important to take into account the individual differences of each person, because some people will need a large number of interactions while others will be "satiated" with just a few..
When we talk about the feeling of loneliness we can talk about several symptoms or characteristics that always go with it. They would be the following.
A person who is experiencing the feeling of loneliness will first perceive that he/she feels isolated from the world, from all the people around him/her. the first thing she will perceive is that she feels isolated from the world, from all the people around her (even when she is not physically alone, as we have already seen). (even when they are not physically alone, as we have already seen).
Likewise, the experience she is feeling will cause her to sink into a spiral of sadness, and she may experience depressive symptoms if the situation is prolonged for too long.
Another characteristic that identifies the feeling of loneliness is the feeling of a complete lack of energy (also linked to the symptoms of depression), which can also affect performance and performance-related symptoms. can also influence the person's performance and performance both at work and in their daily tasks, becoming inefficient..
Obviously all this will generate restlessness in the individual, experiencing a feeling of not being satisfied with the stimuli he/she receives. and needing a change in such important aspects of their lives as their relationships with their peers.
How to stop feeling lonely
We already know the main factors that accompany the feeling of loneliness. The main problem is that these characteristics act as a vicious circle, so that the more exhausted, dejected, isolated and restless a person feels, the less likely it is that he or she will decide to make decisions that will lead to lowering the levels of all these feelings..
It is, therefore, fundamental to cut this loop and begin to carry out behaviors, however small, that stimulate the individual's interpersonal activity, whether it be a short telephone conversation with a friend or relative, a visit, a leisure plan, etc. All these social activities generate well-being, releasing a series of neurotransmitters in our brain that will gradually mitigate the anguish and make us feel better.
A very common practice that many people decide to carry out in order to leave behind the feeling of loneliness is to start a new leisure activity of a social nature. to start a new leisure activity, of a social nature, that is to say, one that allows them to get to know other people.That is to say, that allows you to meet new people, with the advantage of starting these interactions knowing that at least they have a common link, the same hobby for which they have met.
In addition, these groups offer another positive factor, which is that they often initiate a dynamic of sharing a while after class, talking and even going to a nearby place to continue talking while enjoying a drink. can lead to end up forging a lasting friendship beyond the hobby for which they met..
In short, the key would be to act, to take a proactive attitude, to have an activity that little by little changes the dynamics of the scarce interpersonal relationships that are taking place. Evidently this is often not easy, since it requires a willingness to change but also possibilities to do so, and without support people in the close circle it will be more complicated to achieve the objective.
But we have already anticipated that not all people have the same predisposition to experience the feeling of loneliness, and there are many personal and environmental variables that modulate the probability of its appearance but also the resources available to alleviate it, and one of the most important is the stage of life in which the subject is. Let us now focus on the most relevant in this matter: old age..
The feeling of loneliness in old age
It is evident that not all people have the same possibilities to get out of the circle we were talking about, either due to a lack of resources, a lack of social circle to rely on and of course there is the question of age. The fact is that it is it is in old age when most people experience the feeling of loneliness, due to the progressive isolation that many elderly people suffer, either because of the death of a loved one or because of the death of a loved one.This can be due to the death of their life companions, their friends, lack of family visits, living in homes, etc.
Within the elderly, it is also women who are most affected by the feeling of loneliness, mainly because of their longer life expectancy, which makes them more likely to outlive their partners, ending their last years alone, with the consequences that this entails.
The age factor may be aggravated if the person suffers from a physical ailment that prevents mobility, facilitating isolation in the home and thus complicating social contact. mobility, facilitating their isolation at home and thus complicating social contact. It may also be the case, which is becoming more and more frequent, of ending their days in a nursing home if the person is dependent and their relatives are unable to take care of them in their own homes, a very common situation nowadays.
As a final note on the question of age, an unexpected fact: after old age, the stage of life in which the feeling of loneliness is most prevalent is adolescence, because it is a time of great changes at all levels and sometimes it is not easy to achieve a balance between the interpersonal relationships that one would like to have and those that one actually has.
Avoiding loneliness in others
At this point, one might think that the feeling of loneliness is not something that is affecting us personally, since it is possible that at specific moments we feel lonely, but it is not the general trend, since we have a series of reasonably satisfactory interactions with other people.
The point is that it is possible that we have not stopped to think about the fact that perhaps some people in our environment are suffering from this problem in silence without anyone collaborating to remedy it.. We have already seen how difficult it is to get out of the spiral of isolation into which people trapped in a feeling of loneliness fall.
Therefore, it would be very positive for all of us to do the mental exercise of thinking about which people, maybe elderly family members (sometimes not as old as we might think), or old friends we haven't heard from in a while, may be experiencing an unpleasant feeling of loneliness.
If we identify someone who fits this pattern, it would be great if we could give them a call, it would be great if we could give them a call and suggest having a coffee or a walk together.. Actually the activity is the least important thing, since the important thing is to share a pleasant moment in company and give them back what they lost one day without knowing very well why: contact with another human being.
- Doblas, J.L., Conde, M.P.D. (2018). The feeling of loneliness in old age. International Journal of Sociology. CSIC.
- Karnick, P.M. (2005). Feeling lonely: Theoretical perspectives. Nursing science quarterly. SAGE Journals.
- Scalise, J.J., Ginter, E.J., Gerstein, L.H. (1984). Multidimensional loneliness measure: the loneliness rating scale (LRS). Journal of Personality. Taylor & Francis.