Loneliness is something every single person on this planet will or has experienced at some point in their lifetime. For some of us, it may spark an actual debilitating fear. For others, it’s more intense when we don’t have a significant other we’re spending our lives with. The interesting thing about loneliness is it can also happen when we are not alone. We could be in a room full of people and feel just as lonely, because it is our perception of ourselves that accounts for this.
The “Lonely Brain”
External circumstances like a breakup or someone dying can exacerbate the feeling of loneliness; however, the chronic feeling is entirely dependent on the way we see ourselves and the world around us. There have been numerous studies that show that people who are the most affected by loneliness have a different perception of the world.
In a study published by the American Psychological Association, it was found that differences in the “lonely brain” are both structural and biochemical. The people who struggle with this have a more difficult time feeling positive or experiencing positive situations, since the lonely brain shows suppressed neural responses to positive images and events. These people also have a hard time picturing the thoughts of others or “mentalizing”.
Other research shows that people who experience loneliness like this are more likely to view the world as threatening. They have a negative outlook and are in a lot of fear most of their day. They also respond to people negatively and are at times even off-putting.
This behavior ultimately reinforces their beliefs about the world, because others do not want to be around their negativity. These people also tend to miss out on social queues or societal norms. The cycle of loneliness is continued as a result of their perception of the world.
Loneliness Is a State of Mind
You may be wondering how to get out of this loop — is there a cure? Loneliness is very simple. It is just a state of mind and it is important to at first recognize that. Our mind is trying to trick us into feeling terrible and pushing us away from people. This can put our mental and physical health at risk a lot of the time and causes extreme turbulence in relationships in general.
During the current health crisis, it is important to not allow your state of mind to take you there, since we have to be physically alone most of the time. It is truly just a mindset, and you can get out of it at any point in time.
Loneliness has mostly to do with how we think about the world or our circumstances rather than the actual circumstances themselves. We have the power to change it whenever we want. It doesn’t feel that way, yet it is the truth. Being around more positive people can help change that for us. Although maybe not immediately at first, it is something that can happen with the more exposure you receive.
For example, if you hang out with people who are constantly negative or choose to isolate yourself, your mental health is going to suffer. Your perception will be negative and skewed. The perception is the problem, and changing it is the solution — isolation doesn’t cure loneliness.
Our Inner Voice
Another negative feature of this is the inner dialogue that goes on in our mind that is extremely negative and abusive. It’s that little voice in your head that is hypercritical and always suggests the wrong thing. It tells us not to trust people, that we are unloveable, and that we are better off without people.
This voice is what fuels the feelings of loneliness. An obsessive mind that won’t stop talking prevents us from experiencing true joy, in the end. We miss out on opportunities to be present and enjoy the company of our friends and family. We are so wrapped up in our thoughts that we don’t even realize how deeply it is affecting us.
For example, many of us experience a true disconnection of our higher selves. We feel like we aren’t a part of the world or a part of a friend group. We feel like nobody wants us around or that we are a waste of space. We think people want to hang out with us only because they pity us.
These feelings are all a disconnection from the true reality. We are so preoccupied with the lies our minds tell us that we miss the reality right in front of us. A lot of the struggle with this tends to come from some sort of turbulent past. We think our lives will remain turbulent forever, even though that is not the case.
The more we believe these lies, the worse it gets. What is helpful to remember is that we want human connection; that is what we crave. Even though sometimes we don’t want to be around people, we are creatures that are social and need to talk to others to remain sane.
This is important for us to remember when we are feeling disconnected from ourselves, the world, and others. The more we practice this awareness coupled with contrary action, the better our results will be in the long run.
Avalon Malibu can help you reconnect with yourself if you are struggling with isolation and loneliness. Avalon Malibu has mindful practices it uses to help you regroup and become centered. If you are struggling and ready to seek help, call Avalon Malibu today at (844)-857-5992.