The whole world is your oyster, but what happens when you don’t have anyone to share in these experiences? You don’t go out much, and you socially isolate yourself because you’re lonely. A lonely person might struggle with, and the feeling of solitude is increasing in this country.
This widespread issue is turning into a chronic problem. While some folks, like the introvert, thrive on solo time, others prefer to be in the company of the masses.
You can be alone but not lonely, and you can have a house full of folks and feel all alone. So, it’s about your feelings and perceptions of life. When you feel like there’s no one to talk to about your day and hold you when you’re sad, you may be one of the lonely people walking the tightrope of depression.
Fifteen Behaviors of a Lonely Person and the Need for Compassion
Sean Seepersad Ph.D. wrote an article on Psychology Today examining whether the pangs of solitude you feel are from depression or isolation. He concludes that the two conditions are highly associated, so it’s important to distinguish the two and get help.
Are you a lonely person? Here are some signs that might be eye-opening that you never realized about yourself.
1. You’ve Gained Weight
It’s important to know that gaining too much weight can cause an increase in blood pressure, cholesterol and even raise anxiety levels. So, if you’re a lonely person seeking solace through food, you need to find safer outlets. Food addiction can be just as much of a problem as alcohol or drugs.
2. You Feel Down in the Dumps
Whether you call it depression or loneliness doesn’t matter, you need social support daily. If you cut yourself off from the outside world, it can hurt your self-esteem and motivation. The longer you stay behind four walls, the more comfortable you find in isolation.
Pretty soon, that little voice inside your mind tells you that you can’t go out because people will talk about you or think you’re weird. Negative self-talk can be very convincing as soon you will believe it.
3. You Suffer From Social Media Addiction
Is it the only social interaction you get from social media or the internet? You always have your phone in hand and are ready to respond to any messages. Your life has become one of digital reality, and you may even fall in love and “date” virtually too.
Research cited on Study Finds uncovered that people who spend more than two hours a day on the internet are socially isolated. How much time are you tied to the world wide web each day?
4. There’s Physical Pain With No Logical Explanation
You feel awful, and there’s no reason why you feel so bad. You’ve been to the doctor, and the tests are all clear, yet you still feel like someone run you over. Emotional pain can absolutely affect you physically, and it can feel as real as a significant illness.
5. You’re Forgetful
Who knew that being lonely could impact your memory, but it can? When your loneliness arises from a mental health issue like depression, memory impairment is commonplace. Depression can inhibit your decision-making skills and make you forget important dates like anniversaries, birthdays, and paying the electric bill.
6. You’re Constantly Tired
You wake up in the morning and find it challenging to tear yourself out of bed. The only thing that keeps you going during the day is knowing that you will be able to soon crawl back into your comfortable bed and make the world away. Did you know that many lonely people use sleep as a coping mechanism?
The National Library of Medicine says that when people are in a state of loneliness, they rest to pass the time. You don’t feel so lonely when you’re resting, but getting too much sleep is just as bad as not getting enough.
7. You’re a Workaholic
Some lonely people bury themselves in their work to forget about how lonely they feel. While you need to work to live, it’s not good to be married to your job. When you shut the rest of the world out so that you can work, it’s a sign you have things you want to ignore.
You’re at an increased risk of burnout if you keep up this pattern, as you need a good work-life balance.
8. You’re Friends With Other Lonely People
Take inventory of the friends you have, and you might be surprised to find that they’re lonely people too. Remember that birds of a feather flock together, so you find comfort in each other’s misery. Some experts believe that loneliness is as contagious as a cold, but you have the power to fight against it.
9. You Cancel Most Appointments and Plans
When someone asks you to do something, or you make an appointment at the doctor, you have the best of intentions. However, when it comes down to going, you cancel. It’s a common problem faced by those who are lonely.
It becomes more challenging to push yourself to do things that you don’t have to do. While you need to work, you don’t have to go out with friends or family. You would rather sit home all day and chill, which is only enforcing the negative pattern you’re wrapped up in.
10. You Feel Anxious in Social Situations
Alas, once you’ve been isolated for a while, you will start to find that social situations feel uncomfortable. You avoid restaurants, movie theaters, and anywhere there’s a crowd, as it’s effortless these days to isolate. You can pick up your groceries and have them loaded in your car, watch new movie releases online, and function with little interaction from others.
If you have anxiety underlying your loneliness, you could quickly develop agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia avoid social situations because they’re afraid of a panic attack or other odd sensations. These folks don’t leave their home, as facing the outside world is too painful.
11. You Have a Poor Diet of Carbs and Sugars
A lonely person doesn’t want to cook a big meal for themselves, so they grab fast food and eat processed junk. This contributes to weight gain and poor overall health. Plus, the gut-brain connection is something that’s become hard to deny.
The unhealthier your diet, the worse you feel. However, the cycle continues because you are not motivated to eat healthy or even grocery shop for nutritious foods.
12. Shopping and Overspending Is a Big Issue
One way that a lonely person pacifies their time is by shopping. You can click a button and buy a new car, and you can even have it delivered to your door. It’s scary to think you can make such a significant purchase without ever leaving your couch.
Though, you may find that you hang out at the local mall, shopping away your troubles. Buying things and collecting stuff is what makes you feel better, and it can quickly get out of hand. Many people trade one addiction for another, and there are support groups for shopaholics, as it’s a common problem.
13. You’re Aging Too Fast
It’s normal to have some fine lines and wrinkles show up as you age, but when you’re aging faster than average, it can be from stress and loneliness. A lonely person is often dehydrated, eating the wrong foods, and not nourishing their body cells, and all this shows in their face.
14. Your Immune System Is Weak
Did you know that loneliness and the stress it causes you can weaken your immunity? If you seem to pick up every bug coming and going, it could be because of the condition your mental health has affecting you physically. Since getting viral sicknesses becomes effortless, you need more vitamin C, zinc, and other supplements to boost your immunity.
15. You Have Frequent Headaches
Headaches are a common issue, but it’s not normal to have them constantly. Did you know that being a lonely person can cause you to have headaches every day? It’s all connected to your mental health and the physical effects it has on your body.
Your muscles tighten and become tense when you’re under any kind of stress, including emotional pressure. These tight muscles are specifically tender in the neck and back area, where most headaches originate.
Final Thoughts on Gaining a More Compassionate Understanding of a Lonely Person
The pain of feeling alone is something that many people face every day. It’s a problem that affects people of all ages, but it significantly impacts the older generation. Women are more likely to be lonely than men, and living alone is another factor.
According to the CDC, people aged 45 and older are at an increase of loneliness, but once you hit 65, the chances of being a lonely person more than doubles. Sadly, people with poor social relationships have an increased risk of developing severe health problems like heart attacks and strokes. Socializing is not just fun, but it’s a vital part of staying healthy.