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Jul 07, 2021

Decoding the pandemic: All about the loneliness

Decoding the pandemic: All about the loneliness

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Article by - Dr. Rahul Bansal

 

With the boom of social media, we feel that we are more connected than ever – but are we?

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved” - Mother Theresa

The outbreak of Corona virus disease in 2019 has completely altered our lives. People are being asked to stay home and practice social distancing. Schools and business are getting shut and we are unable to meet our family members. 

As we emerge from the lockdown and the restrictions are being relaxed, there are now hundreds and thousands of bereaved people across the country, many of whom are suffering through grief and loneliness. Quite simply put, it hurts.

So, what is loneliness?

It’s a subjective and unwelcome feeling which results from a mismatch in the quality and quantity of social relationships we have and those that we desire.

What causes loneliness?

 

What happens when we feel lonely?

Loneliness induces a range of thoughts and feeling states:

  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Distress
  • Emptiness
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Emptiness
  • Abandonment

How does loneliness affect our health?

Higher stress

Decreased memory

Drug abuse risk

Depression

Heart problems

 

What happens next? - The downward spiral of loneliness

 

What we can do to be healthier with our emotions?

Since many things can make us feel lonely, most of which we may not have control over, our attempts to feel better would be more fruitful if they are focused on what to do next. Here are a few ways to deal with loneliness:

  • Accepting that what we are feeling is loneliness and that it is normal to feel so given the circumstances.
  • Understanding situations and thoughts that make us feel lonely.
  • Being mindful of such situations and thoughts.
  • Promoting well-being by:
  • Trying to acknowledge positive emotions
  • Engaging in satisfying tasks
  • Developing positive communication with other people
  • Finding a meaning and sense of purpose in life
  • Setting and attaining meaningful goals in life

What can the upward climb out of loneliness feel like?

If the following ways are hard for you to apply for yourself and you are feeling overwhelmed, the following approaches can be tried:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Seeking the help of a psychiatrist.