lonely vs alone

How has the most connected society in history, become the loneliest? In such a short time we’ve gone from Phone calls to text messages to FaceTime, all within a few years. In an instant we can contact someone from the other side of the world, allowing us to feel connected to the people we wouldn’t be able to reach without this technology. In 2016 over 9 million people in the UK stated that they always or often feel lonely, yet almost two thirds feel uncomfortable admitting to it, if you’re on social media, go have a look at what your “friends” are posting, I bet most of them only show themselves having a great time, which is fine but the problem is you’re only getting to see the “highlights”  of other peoples lives. It’s been said that emotional maturity is knowing the difference from being alone and being lonely.
It is a vital part for your mental well being to know the difference between being alone and being lonely

What is loneliness

Being lonely is subjective, you could class it as an emotion or maybe in some cases, a by product of being alone. Loneliness is the feeling of being disconnected, but our need for connection is engrained in our DNA. Loneliness is a signal, just like “fight or flight” telling you that something isn’t right. There are two main types of loneliness:
  • Emotional loneliness is when we miss the companionship of one particular person, this could be the withdrawal of a spouse, friend or sibling.
  • The other is social loneliness which is when we lack a network of groups or friends.
 Loneliness can lead to depression and in some rare occasions pre mature death. Being lonely doesn’t necessarily mean you are without others and you’re by yourself, you could be in a crowd at a party, surrounded by people and still feel lonely. It’s all about being connected with others and feeling that you are of value to them. Loneliness is having the unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want. You can suffer from loneliness at certain times like, valentines day or Sunday’s etc or maybe you suffer from chronic loneliness where you feel lonely all the time. The effects of being lonely are detrimental to our physical and mental health. Valtorta et al found that the effect of loneliness Is comparable to well known risk factors such as heart disease and strokes. Holwerda found that loneliness not being alone was a factor of the onset of dementia.

The difference between being lonely to being alone

As you can see from the above paragraphs, being lonely doesn’t sound too appealing with all the issues that it can bring however there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. As I wrote before being lonely is subjective and more of a feeling, whereas being alone is an observable fact-you are by yourself, you are alone. As I stated lonely people can feel alone in a crowd. Being alone is perfectly healthy sometimes we can reflect In peace, meditate and get more work done, you can enjoy and appreciate time alone. If you’re an introvert you will understand that you can gain “energy” from spending time alone. Being alone can allow yourself to become more independent, making you self sufficient and not needing to rely on others. “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude” – Nikola Tesla. We often give others more of our time than we give ourselves, so instead go on a date yourself, treat yourself, go out for dinner yourself. This stigma of being by yourself means you have problems socializing is totally wrong, it’s fine to have a little alone time as long as you’re enjoying it! One of the problems of feeling lonely is that you try and force yourself to build relationships and go out more but when you get back home you feel lonelier than what you did before you went out, because there’s something wrong within and you need to feel free from loneliness whilst being alone.

How to not feel lonely when alone

Meaningful life: When doing something bigger than yourself you’re to focused on it to care whether you are lonely, you’re often helping other people out to because you could start a charity or be part of a movement that effects everyone not just yourself. So start something today that you will thank yourself for in the future.

Take yourself on a date: I believe one of the reasons why people feel lonely is because of a lack of self worth due to them never really taking care of themselves first. You need to do more for yourself. “ you can either be your own best friend or your worst enemy” so go out for a drink by yourself or have a nice relaxing bath. Don’t feel embarrassed about spending time alone, everyone is to busy worrying about themselves to be bothered to notice what you’re doing. Who knows, you might even meet someone new who you become best friends with.
Realize you’re in control: When you’re on your own you can do anything you want, literally anything. Explore, try something new, create, anything, you can even run around the house naked if it tickles your fancy. You’ll be so busy enjoying yourself that you won’t have time to feel lonely.

How to not feel lonely with people

Join a group or a club: Being a part of something is so fun, find out what you’re interested in and start socializing with other people that are interested in, it’s a great way to make friends. Whether you’re a football fanatic or you love to read books there’s something out there for everyone. A great way of meeting new people is by using the app meetup to find people just like you. Join what we’re trying to create here by buying our merch by clicking here.
Talk more: I know this can be hard sometimes, but try and speak to as many people as possible, you don’t necessarily need to go out of your way to connect with other people you could just start talking to people at the bus stop or open up to the person at the till register, you don’t know where these relationships might lead.
Ritual: You might think that this has to be religious but that doesn’t have to be the case, rituals just need to be something that you repeat, preferably daily. Baya Voce did a great Tedx talk where she explains about blue zones, which are places that are found to have people with higher longevity, the reason for this may due to how they live, they often have their own rituals like having a meal with the family at the table. So make your own rituals, every week go visit your grandparents especially as the rates of loneliness rise during old age or every night you could go for a walk with your child.
If you’re not very close to any friends or family feel free to message, I would love to speak to you guys
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