Back in the day, I used to be very lonely. I even considered myself depressed and was diagnosed with depression. A major factor that played into this label was the fact that I created habits that made me feel lonely. Interestingly enough scientists have identified common habits that are signs of loneliness. Reflecting back on these habits I realized, with the era of Covid, it is even more important to recognize patterns of lonely habits. Here are some common habits that lonely people practice and some I have practiced myself!
1.) Busy busy busy. I always used to be too busy to connect with others. I would fill my days with work and stress, work and stress. Don’t be too busy to connect with others.
2.) I used to be a more rigid thinker. I would have my daily routines and would not want to compromise my routine. When we were dating, I told my future husband he only had Tuesday and Sunday nights to hang out with me. He literally sat me down when we were dating and told me if I didn’t change up my routine so I could spend more time with him (looking back, he probably felt like he wasn’t a priority), things would not work out.
3.) The glass was always half empty. No matter what was going on in my life back then I always found a way to make everything about myself and then use the “poor me” attitude. I would always look at everything through a negative lens… No one wants to hang out with the “victim mindset.”
4.) I put up a heart wall and would not share my vulnerability with others. It was like I had to wear this mask of always being busy, being a hard worker, and independant when really I was hurting inside and longing for deep connections. It is amazing when you start sharing your vulnerability with others how it allows you to connect with them and they connect with you.
5.) More recently, I can only imagine people that are only connecting online as being even lonelier. Unfortunately, many people use social media as their primary means of connection. Results from a 2018 survey show that using social media as a replacement for real connections increases feelings of loneliness. Also, in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, they found young adults who were on social media experienced higher levels of social anxiety.
Knowing what I know now and changing my past habits I have stronger connections with others and have let loneliness go. It is vital for us to connect in person with other people. We must have conversations through voice versus text. We must have physical connections with smiles, eye contact, hugs, and handshakes. Most importantly we must take care of our physical and mental health so we are able to communicate in the real world with other people. When we are not taking care of our physical and mental health, we can be derailed and feel misplaced based on our body and brain not functioning how it should. What habits could you change to strengthen your relationships and flee the feelings of loneliness?