Overcoming Loneliness

Loneliness and being alone are often confused.  Loneliness is a feeling — a feeling of being distress because of being alone or feeling alone.  Someone can be surrounded by people  such as partner, children, friends.  Someone can be alone and feel perfectly satisfied — or lonely.

The elderly or more person is one of those that are most vulnerable to feelings of loneliness.  This may be because of retirement, divorce, death of spouse,   or illness.   Mature people are more likely to live alone.  

One ingredient to loneliness is not feeling connected to other people.  Although today we have internet connections and cell phones these sometimes make a person feel lonelier.  So many people find it difficult to connect.  For example, I talked to one man who was trying to do some online dating.  He said, “All of my conversations are so shallow.”   I teach individuals a skill that people can learn — how to ask questions to make a good connection with others,

Many people have been forced into social isolation by the pandemic.  Instead of going to a store and seeing other shoppers, joking with the cashier, and having a coffee with a friend later, they are having packages delivered to their door.  Now it’s difficult to get the energy to make contacts.

Here are 3 false beliefs ( and the truth) about loneliness that hold lonely people back from making deep connections.

False Belief #1.  Loneliness only affects your emotions.
The Truth #1   Loneliness can be as physically harmful to you as prolonged smoking or obesity.  It can also contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.

False Belief #2.  The internet “friends” that we make help us feel connected.
The Truth  #2.  Increased internet use increases social isolation as well as depression when it replaces more tangible forms of human contact.

False Belief #3.  Lonely people often think that they’ll be vulnerable and look needy if they reach out.
The Truth. #3  You can overcome these fears.  The reality is that many people would feel good about being contacted for a phone call or a meeting.

In general, if loneliness seems to be taking over your experience, the sooner you talk with a therapist the better.  You can overcome loneliness.  

The writer, Sheila Henry, is a California licensed Marriage Therapist.  She is also a Certified EFT Relationship Coach.  She specializes in anxiety, PTSD, and having fulfilling relationships.  She can be reached at 858 450 1965 or on her website:  www.SheilaHenry.com

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