Being alone versus feeling alone

Not having a job means I sit alone at home a lot. Most of that time I don’t actually feel lonely. There are things to do like the projects I’m currently working on an of course the obligatory housework. But sometimes I do feel lonely. Not because of the fact that I am physically alone, but rather because I feel like I want to talk to someone, or connect with someone, but I don’t know how, or perhaps I don’t dare to take the necessary steps to get to people, or connect with them.

I’ve read a few articles this morning about the subject and there is indeed a great difference between the state of mind of feeling alone and physically being alone. The state of mind is quite common, but it does not necessarily persist. If it does persist however, it can lead to mental as well as physical health problems. The mental health danger is that loneliness can lead to depression. Physically it can lead to reduced immunity, heart disease and it can even increase the effects of, or rather speed up, illnesses like Alzheimer’s. This is due to spikes in cortisol levels (stress hormone).

In my own case the problem can likely be pinpointed to my struggle to belong, to fit in. Moving to another country is fun, but it does mean you need to rebuild relationships. It was easy enough when I was at university. Now I don’t really have a lot of reasons to get out of the house. This has created a lack of human contact. There is of course my lovely fiancé who is there for mornings, evenings and weekends, which is really great. And there are also friends and family who are only a phone call away, but it can be trying sometimes.

Sources:
http://greatist.com/happiness/alone-time/ (Best source. Must read)
http://physophy.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/effects-of-being-alone-are-painful-and-long-lasting/
http://psychology.about.com/od/psychotherapy/a/loneliness.htm

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