I saw a study a few years ago out of Boston University and Bringham Young University about loneliness. Apparently, human beings are such social creatures that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking. I saw another study that said that continued rejection showed serious harm as well. Too bad there is nothing that can be done about that.
Anger is horrible for your heart. Depression shrinks your brains neocortex. The emotions are a neglected part of health and healthcare.
I’ve read this and similar studies and it seems to me that what can be truly destructive is social isolation, of which lonliness can be a result. We are deeply social creatures, and have been so since before we became modern humans. We use each other as reference points and reality checks, and without that sort of contact and feedback, our judgement suffers and perspective narrows. Our greatest achievements have been collaborative (science, for instance). Downside can be groupthink, peer pressure and social dysfunctions, but I’ll risk those and would rather deal with them as opposed to missing all the intellectual, material and emotional possibilities my fellow human beings can offer.
Ironically, people who feel lonely feel the most lonely when they are around other people. Loneliness is a state of mind first and foremost. It is a mental state in which you feel disconnected from the people around you which causes you to subsequently isolate yourself from them physically as well because it can be intensely painful to be with people. Being alone is almost always caused by feeling lonely.
Loneliness is usually caused initially by rejection or perceived rejection from others. If you were rejected a lot as a child, you can become overly sensitive and begin to see rejection in situations where you are actually accepted, in which case changing your state of loneliness can seem insurmountable. To complicate things further, people tend to instinctively shy away from people who isolate themselves so a great deal of real rejection is likely to be taking place as well.
Though it seems like it should be easy to simply change your state of mind, experience suggests those can be the most difficult changes we make. A lonely person has a long journey ahead of them if they desire to change. The first step, however, is accepting that it is first and foremost a state of mind and that it can be changed with a great deal of hard work. If you don't believe it can be changed, you won't be doing the work.
Lonliness is a state of mind, therefore you and only you can change it.
@Spinliesel It is how you gain interaction. I'm very lonely, yet for six hours I am surrounded by fellow students, who almost all refuse to interact with me. As such this makes loneliness more acute. When working I will often be working with a person in very close one on one support, that too is also very lonely. I dare say a person in an orgy could feel quite lonely... Not tried it.... yet
@Sofabeast A long, long time ago, when I was young and alone and on the road, I made up my mind to live my life "with my arms wide open." It meant that I stopped bveing afraid of stuff that may or may not happen, kept my ego in check and shared freely and willingly with everybody. Here is what helped me to get there: an intense study of my communication methods ( I spent a lot of time not speaking my native language), learning more and more about everything and honestly talking to myself when stuff went screwy.
I think it helps that I am not encumbered by religious influences, even old ones.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: " don't let other people get your kicks for you."
I do not like being alone,and being by myself let's the strange little beings inside my head out?
I agree with the comments below that you can do something about loneliness. They didn't mention that you can also do something about rejection. You can work on yourself. You can join groups where you have things in common with people and honestly get to know those people, not to try to get something out of them, but to enrich each other's lives. For example, if I constantly go after happily married men trying to get them to divorce their wives and marry me, I will be rejected. If I join a chess club, I will get to know nice people to play chess with. Then if I am positive and fun to play with, people will to get to know me. If I cry and complain every time I lose, no one will want to play with me.
@WayneDalton You joined this site. Have you joined any of the groups here? If you can join something online, with some effort you could probably do likewise in real life.
We can all do something about loneliness by befriending and being kind to those whom we know of who are lonely. The problem is that we often don’t know, and can’t do anything to help, unless we ask them. Many people don’t express the fact that they are feeling lonely, maybe we need to ask people whom we suspect may be lonely, if they need anything and try to include them and encourage them to join in activities with others. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely, but I do agree that it is definitely a problem, especially amongst older people.
I agree loneliness is unhealthy. But why do you believe there is nothing that can be done about that?
I had been taken advantage when I was younger and naive;this has always made me suspicious of people being kind with seemingly no reason.Even though I know better now,I still tend to keep people at arms length?.
@maturin1919 Oh, please, unless you live in a cave in the mountain or on a deserted island, you can hardly avoid other people. Then the next step is up to you.