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Question : I often feel lonely these days without any specific reason. I need your help to come out of this.

Dear Teentalker,

Thank you for writing to us about your concern. Feeling lonely can be so taxing and overwhelming for some of us. I can imagine how you feel.

Loneliness is a complex mental and emotional phenomenon that has at its base a powerful emotion that has survival value for children. All of us have experienced some degree of abandonment, perhaps for a short time, and remember the painful and scary feeling that comes along with it. Whenever we are reminded of this feeling or anticipate it, we get a twinge of abandonment distress that we experience as loneliness. 

Here are some tips to recognize loneliness for what it is and dealing with it in the healthiest ways:

Loneliness is a feeling not a fact: When you feel lonely, it is because something has triggered a memory of that feeling, not because you are isolated or alone. Our brain is designed to pay attention to pain and danger, and this includes painful, scary feelings; like loneliness.

Make a plan to fight loneliness: Since healthy interactions with friends/family are good, make some effort to reach out to others, to initiate conversation and confide in them.

Find others like you: These days there are tools which make it much easier to identify groups, with whom you may have something in common, a natural way to start a friendship.

Focus more on other things: You have the power to offer your attention, especially your love, kindness and generosity of spirit to all you come into contact with. It isn’t instinctual to be kind to strangers or people who scare you. It is a choice.

Be persistent in your efforts: If you are persistent, challenging the assumptions and feelings that tell you to give up, the odds are in your favor. Once you have a friend or two, nourish those friendships with time and attention.

Feeling lonely isn’t in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked. Having a mental health problem increases your chance of feeling lonely, and feeling lonely can have a negative impact on your mental health. Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes, but it is never pleasant. You don’t need to be alone to be lonely, and not all who are alone are lonely. 

Hope this is helpful. If you wish to reconnect with us, please chat with us from Monday through Saturday between 11am and 8pm or leave us an offline message.

Regards,

Expert Teentalk India