Many do not know how loneliness forms but it has been linked to multiple mental illnesses. In this paper, there will be an explaining on loneliness and how it’s created within a person. Emotional well being is formulated and plays a large role in the aspects of loneliness but when is it that you start to see a change within behavior or physicality? Many will argue that loneliness is just the withdrawal from a romantic connection, that affects how your emotional state will react. There has been research conducted that helps promote healthy mannerisms to help achieve happiness. However, the question remains, do loneliness and emotional health affect physical health?
Loneliness and emotional health are in twine as a form of disruptive health. Each contribute to mental health challenges. When facing these negative behaviors, your thoughts and physical body take a toll. Being alone is not necessarily undesirable yet many live their lives with the hopes of finding love. Many would agree that finding love is not the way to go about, yet allowing love to find you. However, what if your true love is found within yourself?
There are many questions to ask when facing loneliness. Many would argue that social connection to oneself is not the reason why emotions develop. On the contrary, many would say that loneliness and declining emotional health often contributes to mental health challenges such as sadness, depression, anxiety, and addictions. This is indeed a factual statement however, a sense of belonging socially is what drives loneliness to its full potential. Loneliness and emotional health has tainted society, many find it tough to speak up about what they’re feeling and others just ignore it. Everyone has struggled at least once in life with a mental health challenge, whether it was not fitting in or low self-esteem, or thoughts that have clouded their judgement. Loneliness isn’t much different, it craves attention, it desires to connect socially.
What is Loneliness?
What is loneliness? Many would argue what loneliness truly is but in research, loneliness is dissatisfaction from an emotional response to isolation. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness (2011, p. 8), loneliness is a negative feeling that causes pain when there is a gap in relationships and/or connections. It is a primal instinct that is diverted from the subconscious mind. It is also mentioned that loneliness is considered to be the separation of social and emotional associations. The wrath of dismantling emotional balance. Normally including feelings of anxiety, depression, lost, etc. Emotional imbalance can be felt at any time. There’s no fountain of youth, it’s all about what brings the most joy in life. Ultimately, longevity of happiness comes from a combination of self love and relationships.
What are the Symptoms of Loneliness?
Since loneliness is now considered public health, it’s become an epidemic and many are looking for answers for this dreadful feeling. There is no scientific evidence when it began but it has been linked to many other mental illnesses that date back to 400 B.C. Back then, mental illness which was discovered by Hippocrates, was considered to be demonic possession or resentment from the greek gods. (Tracy, 2018). The more popular forms of mental illness were epilepsy, bodily fluids, mania, brain fever, and so on. In that time, any sickness that came from the head would be considered mental illness. In today’s world, loneliness is often described as isolation from a rejection. What identifies those emotions are a series of symptoms, such as:
- Physical– aches and pains, headaches, illness or worsening of medical conditions
- Mental health– increased risk of depression, anxiety, paranoia or panic attacks
- Low energy– tiredness or lack of motivation
- Sleep deprivation– difficulty getting to sleep, waking frequently or sleeping too much
- Dietary– loss of appetite, weight gain or loss
- Substance use– increased consumption of alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, medications, drugs
- Negativity– feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or thoughts about suicide
Just having one of these symptoms places someone on the grid to begin diagnosing with loneliness. But what is loneliness? Whenever you’re at loss of a connection. When thinking of a connection, most people think of romantic relationships. According to (Cacioppo, 2018), happiness does not come from romantic relationships yet from a social emotional connection to a person, place or thing. For instance, a twenty-five year old runner with a history of winning triathlons has an accident and fractures their leg in multiple locations. They’re told not to perform any type of exercise and they begin to change their character a little. They’re quiet, losing interest in knowing what’s going on, gaining weight, not sleeping right. After weeks of therapy, they’re told they can start running again and they change once more but this time much more positive. This is a sign of loneliness, a painful or unpleasant feeling from a separation of a previous connection.
How Does Loneliness Connect to Emotional Well Being?
Is loneliness something to be just mental? Loneliness is an emotion that is often mistaken for a feeling. Both are similar since each can be reactions to a life event however, feelings are the consequence of an emotion and how your body, mind and soul react to that emotion. Therefore, loneliness does connect to your emotional well being. Emotions are intense but are also temporary, while feelings are mild but are viable. Loneliness derives from the isolation in a connection, it’s the effect to a cause. Sadness, depression, anxiety are the feelings that follow the emotion which involve more cognitive awareness, allowing that feeling to sustain a lot longer. Emotional well being is the art of having your entire life in twine. With one moment causing chemical imbalance and the structure of your chakras to be manipulated. In order to have a positive emotional well being, you must be able to identify the problem, build a concept, program a resolution and operate from what strengths are present to fix any problems that are causing this imbalance. “Emotional freedom is your ability to connect with your body and utilize emotions, feelings, senses, and intuition to guide you into an empowered alignment with purpose.” (Colby, n.d.). When aligned, the more control a person has from within themselves the greater the ability to control your well being.
When control is lost, it’s best to know where the source comes from. Loneliness shapes itself in different ways. It’s categorized under five common dimensions:
- Romantic relationships
Each dimension can embrace being lonely but it’s when all dimensions suffer that a person can identify themselves as suffering from loneliness. For example, one could heart broken from a relationship due to a break-up yet the other aspects of life are thriving with positivity. The different ranks of loneliness help understand where the foundation started to then proceed with a solution. The five dimensions of loneliness exhibit three that involve social connections while the other two are developed by oneself, not allowing to be controlled. While loneliness is known to be affected socially, self and spirit are much harder to change due to its nature of development.
No one has owns a guide to help maneuver them through life. While growing, you learn about life through the hurdles you must overcome. You learn that selfless acts are what help make someone happy. So how is it that loneliness affects personality? Your personality is made up of a combination of traits, characteristics, behaviors, emotions and feelings. When someone is has a disconnect from their personality, they could experience a bit of loneliness. For instance, someone who is shy does not have the same ability to make friends like someone who is outgoing. Upbringing, morals, family traits have a lot to do with the behavior that is learned when growing up. Someone with a tough childhood such as a drug infested home could have felt the need to fit in within their surroundings even though they do not approve. Multiple personality traits can also lead to someone feeling misunderstood and alone. ‘Within a dual-level model of personality, loneliness, and attitudes toward aloneness can be regarded as phase-specific adaptations that are influenced by personality traits.” Teppers, et al. (2013). Even though someone could be within a group setting, sometimes they feel left out causing loneliness.
Loneliness is known to be a painful emotion, especially when it comes to relationships. The desolation, sadness, emptiness, depression, there are countless feelings someone exhibits within a lonely relationship. Relationships do not just deal with romance. Friendships, family, oneself, relationships come in all forms and identifying if your relationship is the cause of your loneliness is what should be determined before cutting the sources out. In romantic relationships, the other person could be a manipulator that often places the relationship on the rocks due to their own damaged self. Sometimes not being fulfilled within a relationship causes pain, confusion and loneliness. Romantic relationship is one of the dimensions that causes loneliness. Emotional stability is very important within a romantic relationship, the moment someone is disrespected there is potential for loneliness to erupt. For example, when cheating occurs. Both in the relationship are feeling lost and doubtful, why not just end the relationship? It’s easier said than done. Humans have the tendency to rely on others for happiness, they practice all forms of masochism because it’s easier than letting go of the problem.
Evolving within a relationship often leads to loneliness. If both parties are not on the same page when deciding where the relationship is leading to, that could cause of of the two to drift into certain feelings that make them want to get out. When someone is unhappy in a relationship yet stay enslaved to the relationship, they risk the possibility to have loneliness transition into other dimensions. Relationships with family and friends work similar to romantic relationships. However, most of the issues would come from jealousy, trying to prove something to someone, or for acceptance. The best thing to do in this situation is talk to the person you’re having a disconnect with. If the problem is lack of communication, then finding another way to communicate will help such as a note. Talking about the grievances being felt would help identify if feeling lonely is coming from the relationship or just oneself.
The combination of feeling lonely and empty with the technology of what is known as social media is more like staking a knife right through your chest. Too much time on social media contributes to feeling lonely, it is known that the more time spent on social media, ie: facebook, instagram, dating sites, etc, the more of a comparison the person will have to what’s being displayed, resulting in FOMO: fear of missing out which is an anxious feeling that something is happening and you’re not part of it. Social media is known as the “picture perfect” way to show off your life. However, do not believe everything being shown. Most of the time, what’s being uploaded is just for the person loading it. It is for self satisfaction to have countless of followers liking your post, all for show. Social media has been linked to the amount of effort one puts within a social setting. There have been psychological studies that have found connections between social media and the disruption of social interactions. Even though many use the power of social media in exchange of friends or dates, it is because the generation of today is finding it undesirable to make the effort to put themselves out there for others to meet whether it be romantically or socially. The more time spent on social media, the less time available to build new relationships leading an increase in feeling lonely. What about those in new areas or just starting something new?
Life Situations and Geographical Status
When life has become so complicated and overwhelming and you’re seeking for way out, moving to a new environment will do the job. Stresses at work or going away for college, no one understands what that feeling is. Packing up and going somewhere will help fill that void that is being desperately seeked starting life all over gives you that freedom. However, there are drawbacks to every thing and a new environment will increase the vulnerability a person must endure. For instance, freshman year at college in a city nearly one day of driving away from home. Still having a tough time making friends and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of school work given. Feelings of loneliness will start to come through because there is no support from back home. No one to just chit chat with, no one to have a milkshake with, no one close enough to just talk it out, you’re just alone. Daily life feels different when there’s no one to share it with. Life has a way of getting in between when it comes to feeling alone. The most significant would be the passing of a spouse has to be the worst one. Imagine after years upon years together, the one person who’s been there all along suddenly goes away to never return. Shattered would be the first word that comes to mind, empty, lost and lonely. “The rhythm of grief had three fluid stages: numbness, grief attacks or waves, and loneliness.” (Porter, 2016). Accidents have a different effect on loneliness. Those who have suffered from an accident typically feel at fault and are subject to loneliness because they cannot relate to anyone else.
Social Learning and Repercussions
Loneliness and emotional health have a strong bond with social learning. Without the social skills, there is no way to identify what emotions and feeling someone is having. In the social aspect, those that feel negativity often are threatened by the social environment. They’re much harder to please because they’re out of tune with themselves. Emotional health is much more important than people give it credit. Mental illness is the fastest growing epidemic in today’s world. With nearly 54 million Americans suffering from some sort of disorder, it’s much more common than people think. Mental illness causes mild to severe disturbances in behavior and your process, this causes the struggle of being able to function on a daily basis. There are hundreds of mental illness forms. All of these mental illnesses, have symptoms that relate to emotional health. The social connection can be viewed as a biological need linked to survival. Loneliness is a biological motivation to reconnect socially. Neuroscience has had studies that show social connections are adaptable. In addition, social pain has shown that it connects to physical pain. For instance, not fitting in with a social group because of looks. One will change their entire imagine just to fit into this social group.
How Does Loneliness Connect to Physical Well Being?
Loneliness and emotional health affect physical health in a big way. When someone feeling some type of hopelessness, they tend to use other resources to help them feel better. These resources such as alcohol, will then start changing the physical look of a person due to the amount that is being consumed. When declining in emotional health, your physical being could experience morbidity, influence in exposing your negative habits that’ll have the possibility to lead to something fatal. By not having control of your emotional health, you have the risk of a disconnect from your physical well being.
Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse
Emotional health affects physical health in numerous ways. The most indisputable would be with diet and substance use. When feeling lost or empty, much of your diet changes. There is one of two way for it to occur, gaining or losing. Each of these repercussions can happen as a positive or negative effect. The major cause of eating disorders with emotional imbalance are the anxiety levels that are presents. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 90% of all eating disorders occur before or during young adulthood, during the crucial years of finding yourself. Those with any emotional unstableness use food to manage the thoughts and feelings they encounter daily by masking the feelings of pain, loneliness, anxiety and so much more. Even though initially there is relief, it’ll then isolate the behaviors much more by making the person feel even worse, such as having self doubt.
The growing of chemical dependency starts with substance abuse. When suffering from loneliness or any emotional concern, substance abuse is used to escape from the act of feeling. Substance can be anything from cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs and prescription drugs. Those that use are hit with a boost of confidence and feel like nothing can hinder that feeling. However, as the substance wears off the true feelings come up they continue to use to ultimately have that feeling at all times. This is known as the vicious circle. It will get worse because they;re becoming addicted and will eventually alienate those around them, having a relationship just with the drug causing loneliness to erupt. Loneliness and emotional health is a major reason why individuals begin or return to use substance. However, other physical health conditions could be a reason why substance is used.