Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Lonely: A Guide To Your Emotions
Published Dec 23rd, 2020 & updated on Mar 19th, 2021
You’ve probably heard of the song ‘Supalonely’ by BENEE before. La la la la, la la la la, lonelyyyy. Super lonely! While it’s a pretty upbeat song, it talks about a common feeling we all have from time to time that nobody ever brings up. Loneliness. When we’re feeling lonely, it really drags down our mood and makes us feel sad as hell. There’s even a line in the song that goes: Now I’m in the sad club, just tryna get a backrub. Okay, #relatable.
But if this is a feeling we ALL go through sometimes, then why don’t we ever talk about it?! Wouldn’t sharing how we’re feeling with others make us feel, well… less lonely? When we’re feeling lonely, sometimes it’s hard to see any clear ways to overcome it. Maybe we think nobody will understand what we’re going through, or even care. We’re here to tell you that’s not the case! Let’s talk about feeling lonely, how it shows up mentally and physically, and how you can cope. Because guess what? We care. And we know you can get through this supa-lonely feeling, no matter how impossible it might seem right now.
A Deeper Look At Feeling Lonely
Okay sooo, what does it really mean to be lonely? APA Dictionary of Psychology defines loneliness (n.) as: “affective and cognitive discomfort or uneasiness from being or perceiving oneself to be alone or otherwise solitary.” Basically, feeling lonely happens when we feel like we’re alone, even if that’s not true. It’s a state of mind that obviously causes us to feel really, reallyyy down on ourselves and isolated from everyone else.
There can be a lot of different reasons why you might be feeling lonely. This emotion could be based on a situation you’re in right now. Maybe you’ve recently moved to a new city for work, or you work from home and don’t get to socialize much face-to-face. You could be starting college and don’t know anyone in your classes yet. You might also be dealing with the end of a relationship, whether romantic or not. It could even be that you’re dealing with the death of someone in your life. These are all common life events that can make us feel lonely and out of sorts.
A lack of social connection is another cause for being lonely. Even when you’re in a group of people, it’s still possible to feel lonely or to feel like it wouldn’t make a difference if you were there or not. Maybe we think that others don’t see us as worthy of their time or attention. Sometimes we grow apart from old friends and have a hard time forming new, strong connections with people. You might have a few casual friends or acquaintances at school or work, but no one you feel really close enough to hang out or talk to outside of those situations. If you’re the only one in a friend group who’s not in a relationship or starting a family, that can also make you feel lonely, even if you’re happy being single.
We get it: it can be really hard to talk to other people about how you feel lonely. Holding it inside, though, usually only makes us feel more alone.
How Feeling Lonely Shows Up Mentally
When you’re lonely, it obviously brings down your mood and makes you feel sad. It can also make you feel kinda empty inside. You might feel like part of you is missing, but you’re not sure what it is. Maybe your brain feels foggy and you’re having a hard time focusing on anything. Feeling lonely can affect our self-esteem, make us doubt ourselves or feel worthless. We might think there’s no hope, like we’ll never come out of this slump. It’s also common to feel really anxious or restless when we’re lonely. Maybe you just wanna curl up in a blanket and binge watch Netflix all day, because that’s really all you have the mental capacity for right now.
Loneliness can lead to even more antisocial behaviour, and possibly develop into mental health problems like depression and anxiety. It’s important to seek professional help if your feelings of loneliness continue!
How Feeling Lonely Shows Up Physically
Feeling lonely can show up in other ways, too. Here are some physical symptoms you might notice when you’re dealing with this emotion:
– Low energy
– Difficulty sleeping
– Decreased appetite
– Getting sick more frequently
– Body aches and pains
– Increased stress levels
Loneliness can also lead to issues like abusing alcohol and drugs, and making other poor choices that can impact your health. Again, professional help is an important route to take if your loneliness persists. We don’t want these symptoms to continue and negatively impact your life!
5 Ways To Cope With Feeling Lonely
Here’s some good news for ya. You won’t feel lonely forever! Right now you might be thinking: yeah, riiight. But don’t worry, ‘cause we’ve come up with some simple ways you can cope with this emotion.
1. Reach out for support
Your loved ones are there for a reason! When you need to talk through how you’re feeling, lean on the people you trust. Sometimes just having someone to listen to us and validate how we’re feeling makes all the difference.
2. Comfort yourself like a friend
If you don’t have someone around who can be there for you right now, be there for yourself as best as you can. Remind yourself that everything will be okay, and that this feeling is temporary.
3. Engage in something soothing or comforting
Spend time with your pet by cuddling them or taking them on a walk. Touch something comforting like your fav cozy blanket. Brew some tea or your drink of choice. Just do something that makes you feel calm and safe.
4. Find a positive distraction
Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for a while now. Watch an episode of a show that always makes you laugh. Clean out your closet. Listen to a podcast. Finding something that can take your mind off things can be so helpful!
5. Practice meditation
Meditation is a method that’s been used to relieve stress and improve mental clarity since, like… forever. This practice allows us to slowww down and shift our mindset. If you’re not sure how to meditate, start out with a guided practice. Hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere!
Well, there you have it. Remember: just because you feel lonely, doesn’t mean you’re alone. We know you can get through this feeling. Try out some of our coping tips and see for yourself! We’re here for you, friend.