Loneliness NZ


Share on …

Loneliness Q&A: What...?

Search engines receive many questions about feeling alone and loneliness. In this page, we provide short answers to many of the more commonly searched ‘what’ questions. 

For fuller answers, we encourage you to explore the website.

Questions

What is being lonely?

Being lonely is an emotional state arising from missing sufficient meaningful connections with people you could rely on in time of need. This could be in one area of your life (eg no-one to support you in the school playground) or your whole life (alone in a new city).

What are some signs of loneliness?

  • Feeling uncomfortable on your own.
  • Generally feeling unwell.
  • Sadness and crying.
  • Constantly talking or seeking attention.
  • Displaying addictive behaviours.
  • Over-focusing on your child.
  • Having purely transactional communication.
  • Hearing people talk about you in a way different to how you see yourself.
  • Hearing friends also talk about loneliness.
  • Withdrawing from others.

What does being lonely mean?

Being lonely means you are missing being connected to people. For instance you can feel lonely in a group where you don’t have a sense of belonging, or you can be alone and feel lonely because there is no-one to connect with.

What is lonely like?

Lonely is being unhappy; not being comfortable in your own company for any period of time; desiring to seek out others. And yet lonely also creates inertia, and a natural withdrawal from others.

What are the main causes of loneliness?

The primary cause of loneliness is poor meaningful connections with others. Many life-changing events, disability, mental illness and ageing can cause loneliness. Even in the absence of those, loneliness can be caused from being physically isolated, feeling socially or emotionally isolated, having social anxiety or poor social skills.

What does loneliness feel like?

Loneliness feels like emptiness and numbness; or it can feel like an aching in your chest. You feel wrong! You feel that you are missing someone or something, or feeling unloved, unwanted. Feeling lonely is like being lost, with no direction where to go and what to do next.

What makes you feel lonely even when you feel loved?

Loneliness means you are missing quality relationships in your life. You may have people who love you and say they are there for you, but for whatever reason, it is not enough. For example, you may have loving children but after your spouse died you feel no-one really understands you.

What does loneliness look like?

Loneliness sometimes looks like someone unhappy on their own – socially isolated from the group. Sometimes it looks as though the person is just quieter than those around. And sometimes, loneliness looks “normal”… especially when people believe that loneliness is a stigma and hide their feelings from others.

What does loneliness do?

Loneliness hurts people, physically and emotionally. Loneliness prevents people feeling completely whole and happy, and diminishes self-esteem. It can affect how a person sees themselves, and how they see others, and therefore loneliness adversely affects relationships with others, including close family members.

What can loneliness cause?

Physically, loneliness can cause high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, high stress-sensitive hormone cortisol, and altered gene expression. Mentally, loneliness can cause social anxiety, depression, paranoia, dementia, and obsessive compulsive symptoms.

What does loneliness do to a person?

Loneliness affects how a person feels about themselves, and how they interact with others. A lonely person often perceives the world around them more negatively than others might in the same situation. This in turn causes the individual to withdraw further into themselves.

What does loneliness do to the human body?

Physically, loneliness can cause high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, high stress-sensitive hormone cortisol, and altered gene expression. Mentally, loneliness can cause social anxiety, depression, paranoia, dementia, and obsessive compulsive symptoms.

What makes a meaningful relationship ?

Meaningful relationships are sustainable; you both feel the reciprocity; share emotional intimacy; have compatibility in beliefs, attitudes, interests and some shared activities; similar levels of intensity so neither is pushing the other to be a friend. Understanding disagreement and hurt are part of relationships, you both have resilience and forgiveness.

What does loneliness do to the brain?

Loneliness causes our brain to react, and let us know that there is a problem that needs to be addressed within us.  Unfortunately too often our brain also puts us into a hyper-alert state where we sense “danger”. This can make shifting from being lonely to reaching out to someone especially difficult.

Do you have any other questions?

Select the coloured button corresponding to your type of question.