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Loneliness can mean: feeling that you are unacceptable, unloved by those around you, not worthwhile, even if others don’t share these perceptions; feeling alienated from your surroundings: lack the attachments that you had in the past... feeling that there is no one with whom to share your personal concerns and experiences... feeling that you are alone and have no other choice. You may find it difficult to make friends or go beyond mere acquaintance...
Chronic loneliness is a serious, life-threatening condition. At least one study has empirically correlated it with an increased risk of cancer, especially for those who hide their loneliness from the outside world, and it is also associated with increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Loneliness has been linked with depression, and is thus a risk factor for suicide.
People who are socially isolated may report poor sleep quality, and thus have diminished restorative processes.
Loneliness has also been linked with a Schizoid character type in which case one may see the world differently and experience social alienation, described as the self in exile.
Loneliness can also play a part in alcoholism and substance abuse.
In children, a lack of social connections is directly linked to several forms of antisocial and self-destructive behavior, most notably hostile and delinquent behavior.
In both children and adults, loneliness often has a negative impact on learning and memory. Its disruption of sleep patterns can have a significant impact on the ability to function in everyday life.
Some other effects of loneliness may not be symptomatic for years. In 2005, results from the American Framingham Heart Study demonstrated that lonely men had raised levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a blood chemical linked to heart disease. A 2006 study conducted by the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago found loneliness can add thirty points to a blood pressure reading for adults over the age of fifty. Another finding, from a survey conducted by John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago, is that doctors report providing better medical care to patients who have a strong network of family and friends than they do to patients who are alone.
Cacioppo states that loneliness impairs cognition and willpower, alters DNA transcription in immune cells, and leads over time to high blood pressure.
1. Keep Busy. If you are lonely, don't dwell on the fact. Get up and get out! Go somewhere where there are a lot of people. Don't worry if you don't know any of them; sometimes being around other people can help brighten your spirits. Other simple things you can do to keep busy are to join a club, take some classes at the YMCA, volunteer at a non-profit organization, or take up a hobby that requires mental concentration. The point is to find something that interests you and run with.
2. Get Involved. Your neighborhood and your church are two great places to start getting involved. On the surface this might sound like the same thing as keeping busy. Getting involved in something will require a little more time and lot more of your attention, but that is what you want. So commit yourself to some cause or charity that you feel passionate about. The more involved you get, the more people you will meet, the less and less loneliness will be an issue. Look around at the people you know who do not experience loneliness. Chances are, they are busy and involved people.
3. Help Other Lonely People. There are a lot of people out there like yourself: people who are lonely and don't know how to cope with their loneliness. If you look for those people and strive to help cure their loneliness, in the end you will also be helping yourself to cure your own loneliness.
4. See it for What it Is. You will need to start to view loneliness as a choice and not as a defined way of life. This means that you choose to be lonely when you do not really have to be lonely. Try being happy for a change and you will see the difference a smile will make. Just as feelings of loneliness breed more feelings of loneliness, feeling of happiness can bring about more feelings of happiness. If necessary, join a group that deals with feeling lonely. A group setting is designed to help you develop an optimistic attitude.
5. Change your Thought Pattern. I don't know why, but people who feel lonely and depressed tend to watch shows and read materials that reinforce their depressed mood. Are you listening to music about heartbroken people? Are you watching movies that require a box of tissues? What you need to do is change your way of thinking! Start listening to uplifting music, read inspirational writing -- such as poems or the Bible -- and start watching uplifting TV shows. All of these will help to change your negative thought patterns.
Originally posted by StealthyKat
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
There is a difference between loneliness and being alone....