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Understanding Loneliness and Depression: Causes and Solutions

Loneliness and depression can occur at any time in any person’s life because of different reasons. At times depression is due to loneliness and the feeling of loneliness is due to depression. It is a state of mind that makes people feel alone, empty, and unwanted.

The sense of society is fast disappearing and we are becoming individualistic. The influence of Western culture has led to the emergence of nuclear families. The pressures of fast-paced lives and careers leave us with no time to socialize and interact. Life is full and busy yet we are stricken with loneliness.

Loneliness and Depression

To be alone means to have no company, while the meaning of loneliness lies in the fact that no matter where you are, you can feel lonely.

Being alone is a transient situation, while loneliness is one of the most painful feelings people can suffer from. The problem is that loneliness can sometimes lead us to depression and in extreme cases suicide.

how to overcome loneliness and depression

Several possible reasons can cause feelings of loneliness and depression:

Loneliness and Depression in Young Adults

When someone close to us passes away, we are completely shattered and unable to deal with it. Especially if we lose a relative at a young age or unexpectedly, this type of loss may leave us in great sadness and a sense of loss. We start wallowing in self-pity and sometimes disconnect ourselves from the outer world.

When we are not physically fit, it is difficult to think about anything else. Focusing on ill health or a physical disability can lead to feelings of despair. We try to stay away from people and gradually become lonely and depressed.

Loss of a relationship may also make us feel hurt and unhappy. Whether it is a broken relationship, divorce, or the loss of a close, it can leave us in a state of complete dejection.

Changes within our bodies can sometimes be confusing and leave us feeling sad or anxious for no apparent reason.

Another reason for loneliness and depression is the lack of social skills. They are shy and are unable to make and form friendships. Such people stay away from the company of family and friends. At one point of time in life when this state of being alone is too difficult to bear, they may slip into a state of depression. 

"NO MORE FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression"

The study "No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression" was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology in 2018. The study found that limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day for three weeks led to significant reductions in loneliness and depression in participants.

The study involved 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania, who were randomly assigned to either limit their social media use to 10 minutes per platform per day or to use social media as usual for three weeks. Participants in the limited-use group were instructed to use a time-tracking app to monitor their social media use and to receive notifications when they exceeded their time limit.

At the end of the three weeks, the limited-use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression, compared to the control group. The limited-use group also showed significant reductions in anxiety and fear of missing out.

The study's authors suggest that limiting social media use may improve well-being in several ways. For example, it may reduce social comparison, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. It may also increase face-to-face interaction and social connection, which are important for reducing loneliness and depression.

Another study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking in 2019, found that limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day for two weeks led to significant reductions in anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear of missing out on college students.

The findings of these studies suggest that limiting social media use may be a simple but effective way to improve mental health and well-being.

If you are interested in limiting your social media use, here are a few tips:
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes each day and stick to it.
  • Delete social media apps from your phone so that you are not tempted to check them constantly.
  • Find other activities to do with your time, such as reading, spending time with friends and family, or exercising.
  • Be mindful of how social media makes you feel. If it is making you feel bad about yourself or your life, take a break from it.
You don't have to give up social media altogether. But limiting your use may be good for your mental health.

Loneliness and Depression in Childless Couples

In the fast-paced world today, children are considered a mixed blessing. Some couples prefer to remain childless for the rest of their lives while others view children as a source of happiness and satisfaction.

Some couples remain childless because of low fertility in one of the partners. Couples without children crave love and support in their later stage of life especially when a couple earns limited income. This often leads to social isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Loneliness and Depression in the Elderly

Loneliness in older adults is very common because of the loss of partners or friends and families that move on. The circle of friends keeps getting smaller with each passing year.

There is also fear of death in old age. Loneliness in old age is also linked to poor health. With blurring vision and hearing and decreased levels of physical activity, the elderly frequently feel lonely. The feeling that they are dependent on others becomes a cause of depression. Learn more here on → Depression in Older Adults: Symptoms and Strategies for Healing.

  Read also: Empty Nest Syndrome: Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, How To Deal with

How To Deal With Loneliness and Depression

The concept, How To Deal With Loneliness and Depression is such a relative one. The same solution does not work for every person. Some universal strategies can be helpful for people from all age groups and different socio-economic groups. You need to take a holistic approach to fight loneliness and depression.

Moreover, beating loneliness and depression is a process that requires time and care. Counseling is the first step to help people suffering from loneliness and depression. Involvement with peer support groups and talking to people who have similar problems could also be useful. You should join a club or social group and try to spend your time in good company.

One of the effective ways to deal with loneliness and depression is you try to improve your health and well-being. You need to consult a doctor and seek medical advice. Besides taking medication you need to take a proper diet. Proper nutrition will not only improve your physical health but also your mental health. Learn here more → Healthy Diet for Mental Health

There is an old age adage “A healthy mind rests in a healthy body” People who are depressed and lonely indulge in negative thinking and self-blaming. You need to create a positive environment around the person who is lonely and depressed.

Relaxation therapies could prove to be extremely beneficial for such people.

Herbal treatment or other natural treatments have shown positive results on such patients.

Meditation and yoga for mental relaxation is the best self-help method to cope with this problem.

  Read also: Natural Remedies for Depression

You could also engage yourself in some meaningful activity. Pursuing some language course, reviving a hobby like reading, gardening, etc., or taking part in voluntary service will keep you occupied. Hobbies keep you motivated and busy. This sense of being involved in something will boost your self-esteem, thus helping you to deal with stress and mental agony.

Adopting a pet can also add a new meaning and purpose in life. Pets love you unconditionally and also give you happiness. Learn here → How Dogs and Other Pets Can Help With Depression.

Older people need to exercise and keep themselves as active as possible. Movement and activity increases feelings of well-being and is an effective way to reduce depression.

The older adults should make an effort to meet new people. A casual acquaintance over time can become your support system. Churches, temples, health centers, service organizations, and educational classes are good places to meet people of all ages.

Finally, the best remedy for loneliness and depression is to fill the lives of such people with love, care, and respect. A sense of being loved and wanted is all they need to lead a normal and happy life.


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