Loneliness is a common occurrence that we all experience from time to time. Fighting this type of feeling is difficult because loneliness is no respecter of persons. Teen-agers, young singles, the middle-aged and senior citizens have all known its sting. Wealth and position are no protection against it.
Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of how much social contact one has. A lack of social connections is referred to as social isolation. Some people experience loneliness as a result of social isolation, while others experience loneliness without being socially isolated.
And there will be many times in life that you will feel lonely and alone.
This is an experience shared by many and can sometimes last for years at a time.
I want to first say that this is completely okay.
There is nothing wrong with this, however this feeling of separation and isolation is a way of being guided to seek connection at a deeper subtler level...
I've spent time with monks who lived in total isolation and solitude and felt such incredible peace, love and connection.
The answer is not to seek for more people to be around. We can feel lonely in crowded cities and lonely in relationships.
Instead, the answer lies in something more subtle… something deeper.
To do so, one requires guidance and assistance.
But, before we get there, let's talk about loneliness and how it affects us…
In a recent video on the same subject, I go into greater detail with the link below.
Check out the 1 min video on my Instagram here.
The Health Consequences of Loneliness
Even though it is difficult to precisely measure social isolation and loneliness, there is compelling evidence that many individuals aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that jeopardise their health. According to a research:
- Social isolation increases a person's risk of dying prematurely from any cause, a risk that may rival smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation was found to be associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia.
- Poor social relationships (characterised by social isolation or loneliness) were linked to a 29% increase in the risk of heart disease and a 32% increase in the risk of stroke.
- Loneliness was linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Loneliness among heart failure patients was linked to a nearly fourfold increased risk of death, a 68 percent increased risk of hospitalisation, and a 57 percent increased risk of emergency department visits.
Feeling lonely may appear to be an easy emotion to dismiss for some, but it is extremely difficult for others.
It can have significant effects not only for our physical health, but also for our mental health.
That is why it is important more than ever to take care of our own mental health.
Meditate to fight loneliness, anxiety and depression
My suggestion for overcoming loneliness is that we must cultivate healthy mindsets, relationships, and be aware of our proclivity for the familiar over healthy relationships.
We must recognise and challenge our own harmful thinking. Instead, consider how valuable we are as people, how we do achieve some of our goals, and how we are all deserving of love.
And the first step to doing this is to practice mindfulness meditation.
Here are some of the things I've learned from mindfulness meditation that have helped me deal with my loneliness…
When you practise mindfulness, you learn to experience joy from a deeper level of your being. You appear to be complete in the absence of anyone or anything. It's no surprise that people who have trained their minds to be more mindful sometimes prefer solitude.
Mindfulness helps us move away from our earthly needs and our shortcomings. When we practise mindfulness, we uncover ourselves from this illusion. Instead, we realise that completeness is inside us. And the people we love simply reflect the beauty of our mind in all its complexity.
We practise being in the "here and now" with mindfulness meditation. We are not in a hurry to do something else. There will be no never-ending search for someone else to finish. We know we are a part of everything because we breathe.
Once we’ve learned that beauty and completeness can be found right within us, we attract relationships that are as beautiful as our mind.
Want to give meditation a try?
Our online course and live course is available for your discovery…