Loneliness: Finding the Light in the Darkness

If I were to ask you to describe the state of loneliness, what would you say? Loneliness is a phenomenon that is interpreted differently by different people. For me, personally, loneliness is like being in a dark cave, which only grows deeper and darker every day. 


And by feeling lonely, I don’t just mean longing to have a friend or have deep interpersonal relationships; I also mean a constant deteriorating state of health, both physical and mental, leading to thoughts of suicide and purposelessness. A study by Brigham Young University demonstrates the negative health consequences of loneliness. It compares the health risks of loneliness to factors like smoking and obesity, highlighting the importance of social connection for overall well-being.


Subjectively speaking, loneliness is a disturbing feeling that arises from the absence of a social connection or companion. And in the light of this feeling, many of us are left heartbroken and completely listless. Loneliness is a feeling of social rejection and isolation resulting from a web of complex interconnected factors ranging from economic to cultural. 


A study published in Nature Communications discusses the evolutionary basis of social connection and its link to happiness. It highlights that humans evolved to thrive in social groups, and social isolation can trigger feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction. Primaeval societies were based on grouping; hence, being accepted by groups was a natural human need. 


And I know that feeling like a prisoner in solitary confinement is devastating, but the good news is that all is not lost. Just because we don’t have anyone doesn’t mean that we don’t have ourselves, right?


 A guiding light is always present with us; the need is for us to see it, feel it, acknowledge it and follow it. The dark cave can be and will be lighted up, and all of us will be led out of it forever and ever. 


The torch is in your hand, and I will give you the matchstick. The tactics mentioned below helped me significantly emerge from my cave, and I am optimistic they will benefit you, too. So, let us see how we can find our light. 


  1. Clear and Early Counselling Among Older People: Psychologists conducted research among older adults to assess loneliness among those living in lifetime care facilities. Those who were given early counselling significantly had better rates of coping than those who did not. Counselling allowed them to realise their feelings and elevate them from loneliness by using automated measures and finding new meanings in their lived experiences. 


  1. Meditation: Mindfulness practices such as meditation have been extensively studied for their potential to alleviate feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Through regular meditation, individuals can cultivate a heightened awareness of their present-moment experiences, fostering a sense of interconnectedness with themselves and their surroundings. 


  1. Acceptance: the first stage of healing is always acceptance. By consciously observing and accepting our thoughts and emotions without judgment, we can gain valuable insights into the root causes of our loneliness. This self-exploration often leads to a deeper understanding of our unmet needs and realising the impermanent nature of such feelings. 


  1. Cultivating Feelings of Compassion: Meditation also promotes emotional regulation, enabling individuals to manage negative thought patterns and cultivate positive emotions like gratitude and compassion. As a result, we become better equipped to find meaning and purpose in our past experiences, nurturing a sense of inner peace and contentment that can effectively counteract the debilitating effects of loneliness.


  1. Build Social Connections: This is the primary reason responsible for loneliness. Studies have shown the proven benefits of forming social connections in order to combat loneliness. Forging meaningful social connections can serve as a powerful antidote to the pervasive feelings of loneliness. 


  1. Engaging in Community Work: By actively engaging in activities that foster interpersonal interactions, whether through joining community groups, volunteering, or simply reaching out to friends and family, we can gradually build a supportive network that provides a sense of belonging and purpose. This process of nurturing social bonds enriches our lives with shared experiences and cultivates a deeper appreciation for the value of human connection.


  1. Practice Self-Care: Prioritising self-care practices is equally crucial in combating the detrimental effects of loneliness. Simple self-compassion, such as engaging in hobbies, practising mindful relaxation techniques, or even pursuing personal growth opportunities, can help us regain control and self-worth. 


  1. Challenge Negative Thoughts: it is imperative to challenge the negative thought patterns often accompanying feelings of loneliness. Through cognitive reframing techniques, individuals can learn to identify and counter irrational beliefs or distorted perceptions that rapidly multiply our sense of isolation. 


By actively restructuring our thought processes, we can gain a more balanced and realistic perspective, ultimately reducing loneliness’s grip on our daily lives. By nourishing our physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being, we can develop a more positive self-perception, thereby mitigating loneliness’s negative impact on our overall mental health. 


The steps written above are just some techniques that can be applied to improve our current state of mind. The catch here is that building a support system and taking steps when feeling like the whole world is crashing around you can be challenging. 


At the peak of our depressed state, very little makes sense to us and the strength to take action to mitigate our feelings of loneliness is absent. But the time has come for us to uproot this feeling from our lives. Antaha is always here to help you navigate your way around this harsh feeling. 


Antaha provides help and support to those who are struggling with feelings of loneliness. We understand the need for compassionate individuals in the world and try to give a shoulder to those who need it. You can also start your journey with us. 


So now that the matchstick is in your hand, I encourage you to light the torch and find your way out of this cave. Just a little bit of courage is all you need, and it will take you a long way. Go and conquer the world now!