A serious question for you: how often do you feel lonely? Not spending time alone but actually feeling lonely and isolated. It happens to all of us from time to time – we find ourselves on our own at a time when we’re craving a connection with someone. We feel lonely when we move to a new city or when we’re between relationships; when we go home for weekends and we have nobody to spend time with. We may feel especially cut off when we see all those happy couples and groups of friends out and about and having a good time.
Most of the time, loneliness is fleeting. It’s a temporary feeling, something we know is going to pass with time. The loneliness that comes after a break-up or a loss prompts us to reconnect with others. But for many of us, being lonely is something we feel all the time, a state of being rather than a momentary issue. And that chronic loneliness can actually hurt us over time.
That’s not hyperbole. Beyond the health issues that arise from social isolation, feeling chronically lonely triggers changes in us on the cellular level that can suppress our immune system, cause inflammation reactions and leave us more vulnerable to infection and disease. So, how do we overcome that loneliness?