A recent survey has revealed that almost 50% of all adults in the UK experience feelings of loneliness. For some people the feeling is fleeting, for others it is a battle they face every day.
While loneliness is considered as an emotional feeling, studies have shown that severe loneliness is felt as a physical sensation and is processed by the same part of the brain as hunger. The reason being alone affects us so much is because feeling connected to the rest of the world is one of the biggest components of happiness.
Unfortunately a sense of disconnection can come as we age, however in today’s world loneliness is becoming a problem for the young too. People aged between 24 and 44 are now five times more likely to live alone than they were four decades ago. Of course there are some people who relish being alone and enjoy living by themselves, but there are others who struggle without social interaction.
Once loneliness begins it has a habit of feeding on itself, causing you to feel less confident and more anxious. If you feel lonely, try the following tips to nip it in the bud:
1. Get out of your house and interact with someone
This could involve something as simple as popping to the shop, or treating yourself to a massage or pedicure. Social interaction combined with skin-on-skin contact releases a hormone called oxytocin which leads to increased self-esteem and feelings of optimism all of which should help to curb your loneliness.
2. Turn your hobby into a social event
If you have a passion for something – chances are there’ll be someone else out there with the same passion. If you love reading, join a book club or if you love to dance, start attending dance classes.
3. Distract yourself
If you aren’t able to leave the house, try to make your house as tranquil and cosy as possible. Distracting yourself with a good book or your favourite movie can help when loneliness takes hold.
4. Get online
There are lots of different social networking websites out there, making it easier for people to connect and even find long-lost friends. If you don’t know how to use a computer, go to a class – you never know, you may even make friends while you’re there!