According to British Red Cross, more than nine million people say they are always or often lonely, out of a population of 65.6 million. Loneliness is a major problem in the modern world as traditional roles and relationships of both men and women have change tremendously in the last few decades. Loneliness is a universal human experience that can affect us as badly as any physical ailment. The evidence shows that being lonely is bad for your physical and mental health. Loneliness is a warning sign that our needs are not being met. Hunger is a sign that we need food, thirst is a sign that we need water and pain signals that our body is sick and needs healing and repair. There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators. Today, an emotional and psychological problem tormenting the elders is loneliness. Environmental factors like type of family, social network, transportation issues and place of residence, population migrations, etc. are also some other significant correlates of loneliness. Loneliness can be overcome through certain initiatives. Volunteering time and talent can help put one’s own situation in perspective, bringing to light the positives.
One can fight loneliness, learn to love isolation, make use of discomfort of time on their own and come to realise that sometimes the best tunes come in solos. One of the reasons for feeling lonely is a lack of friends and communication in childhood. This has a strong impact of mature life and social relationships in adulthood. Loneliness may often grow out of some psychological compulsions. A person may suffer from an inferiority complex that he is unwanted or unloved. He will naturally avoid routine contact with others for fear of being repulsed or rebuffed. Lonely persons often aware that they are lonely but do not know how to deal with the loneliness. Feelings of loneliness don’t have to be constant to call for action, but one will need to give himself a push to get back into the thick of life and re-engage with others to start feeling better.
Other studies have shown that changing our thinking altogether might be a more foundational way of dealing with loneliness. Loneliness can creep through your bones like a disease, wash over you unexpectedly as if a stranger’s vomit, or sit in the pit of your stomach for weeks like undigested chewing gum. Especially, it turns out, if you’re young. The elderly should make efforts to make friends and meet new people, the kind one can turn to for emotional support. They could check with local senior centres and hospitals for opportunities to volunteer. Hobbies can keep them motivated and forward-thinking; they can help set goals. They could adopt a pet for company; caring for a pet can renew the meaning and purpose of one’s life. They should recall aspects of their past life, which will enhance their emotional health. This will make an individual less likely to be lonely or withdrawn.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit