If you feel alone or suffer from loneliness, the solution can sometimes seem far away. And in our quite busy and sometime chaotic life, it may not get any easier. But did you know Mindfulness and Meditation can help you?
The difference between loneliness and being alone
There is definitely a difference between these two: You can feel lonely when you are alone, but also when you are with others.
In addition, you can be alone but not feel lonely at all.
Being alone says something about the number of people around you. It is an objective representation of reality.
Loneliness is a feeling. A sense of isolation and absence and is a subjective representation of reality.
There are different types of loneliness. Depending on the perceived deprivation, we speak of emotional or social loneliness. In recent years there has also been much talk of existential loneliness.
Being alone - can you?
Let me ask you; When you are alone, do you feel comfortable? Or are you constantly distracting yourself doing things? Or do you seek contact with others so as not to feel what you are feeling?
Doing things alone, such as reading a book, pursuing a hobby, or going for a walk, can help you appreciate your own company more.
Mindfulness and meditation have a positive effect on your state of mind and, among other things, teach you to better deal with your emotions. In addition, it can also help you feel better about what is and is not right for you, including the type of people.
Loneliness in your relationship
Feeling lonely in your relationship is also common. This may be because you don’t feel seen or heard and miss a close, intimate bond with your partner. You lack emotional support and help. This can be triggered extra because you lack meaning, have lost a loved one, have health problems or, for example, because you have been fired.
Lonely or socially isolated?
Social isolation is referred to when you have few or no (meaningful, supportive) contacts. You then miss personal relationships that you can rely on when you need help and support. This involves practical, emotional or companionship support.
Social isolation is not the same as loneliness. But it can coincide. Social isolation is a situation; loneliness is a feeling.
Loneliness during Corona
During the corona year(s) many people have been alone much more, and many people, young and old, have felt more lonely.
Loneliness is a problem that has sometimes arisen slowly and unfortunately cannot be solved just like that, even if you can do more things (again), and can see more people. And loneliness is not only weary, research shows that it can lead to mental and physical ailments.
The tip; “see people, go out, do fun things, then you will no longer feel lonely”, is well-meant advice, but not exactly the solution. Sure, this can go a long way in making you feel better, especially if you’ve seen next to no one for months or a year. But what mainly works against loneliness is having valuable social contacts.
Depending on the degree of loneliness and how long you have been feeling lonely, professional help can help you, this in combination that you also take action yourself.
What can meditation do for you?
Meditation can sometimes act like a magnifying glass and be confrontational. By sitting still you will notice more of what is really going on in you.
The silence can also be terrifying at times. And maybe you really don’t feel like sitting still in addition to being alone.
I totally get that. I recognize it too. But then remember how bizarre and special it really is that something as simple as just sitting still and focusing your attention on the present moment can do so much good for you. Mentally and physically.
A few effects of meditation:
- Reduces stress
- Helps you to be less guided by your emotions
- Helps with anxiety
- Improves your mood
- Gives you more mental resilience
- Better contact with yourself
Underlying reasons for your loneliness
In meditation you do not focus on questions such as why, how and what. But you gain insight into your own thinking and feeling. Sometimes those insights come fairly quickly, sometimes it takes a while. These insights provide answers to your questions.
For example, you may find that your feeling of loneliness is actually due to fear of abandonment, or that you find it difficult to open up.
By getting closer to yourself, you get to know that part of yourself that makes you feel alone, and that may also make you insecure.
It may become clear where that feeling comes from: maybe this part of you has always been there, or just for a period of time, or maybe one of your parents was lonely
All of these insights help you feel what you really need to, in this case, lessen your feeling of loneliness.
Acceptance and non-judgment
Two important parts of mindfulness and insight meditation (vipassana) is to accept what is in the present moment and to practice non-judgment. That is both towards yourself and others.
There is no right or wrong, there is only what is. You just observe.
Do you feel lonely, sad or awful? Ok, that’s what you feel then. At that moment. And know that this feeling will pass. Everything is temporary, including this feeling.
If you learn to accept what is right now, you can let go something better, and you will not fight it so hard.
And if you don’t judge, it has a tremendously positive effect on your state of mind.
This all gives you more space to feel about what you really need, what does and does not suit you. This concerns situations and people.
Research meditation against loneliness
A lot of research has already been done on the effect of mindfulness and meditation. A lot has been measured and proven in, for example, brain activities and values in blood.
For example, it has been proven that the inflammation levels in the blood are lower in people who meditate. People with high values are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Another example is a study among HIV patients. When stressed, their immune system functions worse and the condition deteriorates rapidly. Mindfulness stopped that process.
Because loneliness is a feeling and therefore subjective, cannot measure it. Researchers do not have a precise explanation why the people (50+) who took part in a study, in which they meditated every day for half an hour for 8 weeks, indicated that they felt less lonely. One possible explanation may be that meditation helps to deal with worries and fears that loneliness can bring.
My being alone
Personally, mindfulness and insight meditation has helped and supported me in many ways over the years. Specifically during corona, I was alone a lot and also experienced moments of loneliness. I also shed tears while sitting on my pillow. And that’s ok too. Perhaps my advantage is that, pre-corona, I was often alone already and generally felt good about it. And also that I prefer 1 on 1 contact over crowds and large groups of people. And because of the internet, people who live far away feel a lot closer. Even without physical contact.
Meditate together and help with loneliness
If you want to start meditation or taking it up again, it can be easier to do this together, because just like sports, it takes quite a bit of discipline to keep it up for a long period of time.
Maybe you can arrange with a friend to meditate for 15-30 minutes every day. And try to maintain this for at least 8 weeks. There are also many apps and free guided meditations online that can help you. Or maybe there is a meditation center near you that you can go to.
If you want personal guidance for meditation, I would like to help you.
The guidance is tailored to your needs and wishes. This includes guided meditations, audios, assignments, background information and conversations.
If you have severe feelings of loneliness, ask for help from a professional for support and treatments.
Hi, my name is Jolinda, and I work as a massage and Reiki therapist, happiness coach and provide yoga and meditation classes.
With my blogs I hope to inspire you to make positive changes into your life. For more ideas and tips check out my page Jolindas inspiration. Free trainings and videos you can find at free downloads and videos
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