Loneliness feels bad. We know that, but do you know loneliness also puts us at risk of a range of physiological and psychological problems.
Humans are hardwired for social interaction. It’s the way that we learn to speak, think, express emotions, feel secure, and become cultured. Socialization is what takes us above our animal-like instincts; it’s what makes us fully human. Studies conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University concluded that loneliness and social isolation increase a person’s risk of early death by as much as 50 percent.
With changing dynamics, the loneliness epidemic is on the rise in India. People are becoming more isolated and lonely. Some of the reasons for this are:
- Breaking down of the joint family system
- Globalisation resulting in youth moving away to different cities and countries for studies and work
- A false sense of connectivity through social media,
- Busy fast-paced lives, and
- Personalities and life stages of people evolving at varied timelines
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology has outlined a new approach to help understand loneliness, and what causes it. According to them, there are different types of loneliness. Social loneliness refers to the quantity of one’s relationships, where as emotional loneliness refers to the quality of one’s relationships.
As per researchers, emotional loneliness, or a lack of quality relationships, leads to most distress, and higher levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety and negative psychological wellbeing. The combination of social and emotional loneliness is associated with the poorest mental health status.
At a time when we feel lonely, it important to know that loneliness is a normal thing and almost everyone experiences it at some point. Its temporary and can be overcome. Here are some tips for overcoming loneliness –
1) Understand that it is normal and temporary – According to a report by the National Sample Survey Office, 4.91 million people in India were living alone and suffered from loneliness in 2004. A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely. There are millions of people all over the world who grapple with loneliness at any point in time, and it can be overcome.
2) Nurture existing relationships – Sometimes with life’s circumstances or changes in our personality, we move away from people we once loved and connected with. We can make a proactive and conscious effort to reconnect with and nurture old relationships. Schedule a time each day to call or visit family/ friends, and plan outings with them. We can even start by connecting with lost contacts through social media.
3) Practice positive self talk – When we feel lonely we start to question ourselves and feel “no one wants to spend time with me”. With such self talk we are not only missing social connection but also negatively impacting our self esteem. There could be many reasons for loneliness, and we have the option of doing something about it and changing this state. There are people out there who will match our wavelength, and we can work on ways to look for and connect with them.
4) Find a hobby – Taking up a hobby in a social set up is a great way of meeting like-minded people.
5) Volunteer – Volunteering gives us an opportunity to meet people with similar interests and sensitivities. We can engage with people while focussing on the task at hand, which makes breaking the ice easier. Of course helping someone is a gratifying experience that works wonders for our self esteem as well.
6) Seek professional help – Sometimes we may not be able to deal with loneliness on our own or there may be underlying reasons behind the loneliness like bereavement or relocation. A mental health professional may be able to give us valuable guidance on how to cope at such times.
Bach Flower Remedies Water Violet, Heather and Impatiens are flower remedies that help us overcome the feeling of loneliness.
The water violet type are lonely because of their aloof nature. So the Water Violet remedy helps by allowing these people to become friendlier and less reserved.
The Heather type personality is the exact opposite of the water violet personality. They are chatterboxes and people avoid them for fear of getting buttonholed by them. Their self centred nature and long drawn monologues are enough to drive people away. This makes them lonely and miserable, as they love company . The Heather remedy helps them to get interested in other people as well and noticing the change in them people stop avoiding them and as a consequence they no longer feel lonely.
The impatiens type on the other hand intentionally drives people away. They like to work alone rather than as a team, as they don’t have patience with slow workers . Their irritability and impatience may keep people away as well. Eventually this makes them feel lonely. The flower essence Impatiens remedies this aspect of their personality, making them patient and relaxed with others and more accepting of the pace others set for themselves.
Other Bach remedies would also help if the cause of loneliness was something else altogether. For e.g. shy people could take the remedies Mimulus and Larch to make them bold and confident.
Olive Tree promotes wellbeing through healing with and learning Bach Flower Remedies. As practitioners of alternative medicine our aim is to enhance wellness and healing by restoring the mind and body harmony.
Our services include Bach Flower Therapy consultation (at our centre in New Delhi, and online worldwide) and a Bach Centre UK certified short distance learning programme which can be taken from any place in India and will empower you to heal your family and friends and also to start a fulfilling career in alternative medicine. We also sell Bach flower essences. To know more call us on 9717146337 or write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.