I am so lonely
I have nobody
On my own”
If you sang those words in your head and probably sighed with some nostalgia, you are in good company. Lonely by Akon was a hit in the early 2000s, and singing it now probably evokes some nostalgia in you.
Nostalgia is an emotion that is linked to loneliness. Remembering the good days that are long gone, and wishing you could go back to those times.
For a lot of us, the events of 2020 have made us nostalgic for the world we knew before facemasks, handwashing, and social distancing. Our favorite relaxation spots and bars are not the same anymore. Our churches and mosques are different too. Also, the lockdown period made the feeling of isolation and abandonment even worse. Most of us were stuck at home, far away from our friends, and in some cases, family too.
Learning how to deal with loneliness is an important skill, not just for the year 2020, but also for navigating through life. After all, chronic loneliness has been linked to high blood pressure, a weak immune system, and dementia.
Use Words To Fight Loneliness
The expression, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is quite apt in this situation. While you cannot cut down loneliness with a sword, you can do so with words. To do this, you need to sort through your emotions by writing. Write down what you miss, why you feel lonely, and what you need. Writing this and reviewing what you have written can help you trace the source of your loneliness.
Remember, loneliness is an emotion, and like all emotions, you can process it.
Reach Out To Someone
If left unchecked, loneliness can become an unending negative spiral that can degenerate into feeling worthless and even depression. An effective of mitigating loneliness is by associating with people. Even if you are stuck at home, video calls or phone calls can help cheer you up.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes, the feeling of isolation you get when you are lonely may be because you do not have many friends. Even if you are deeply introverted, it is beneficial for your mental and physical health if you form bonds with other people. Indeed, people who have quality friendships over a long period tend to live longer and are healthier too. Remember the sitcom ‘Friends’ and how they were always there for each other through ups and downs? That’s how beneficial good friendships can be. But you won’t make good friends by curling up in your room, will you?
So, join a book club, become more active in your local church or mosque, go out, mix with people, and watch the loneliness fizzle out.
Our digital world can make you feel connected to everyone, yet so alone. Worse still, surfing through social media networks and seeing pictures of people looking like they are having the time of their lives can worsen loneliness.
Learn to unplug from that world and delve into nature. Take a walk, and appreciate your surroundings, interact with your neighbors, observe the natural flow of things in your environment. Immersing yourself in the physical world and interacting with it can help to get you out of the dreary state of loneliness.
By Dr. Okonkwor Oyor C.