📚 FACT: If we don’t tend to our loneliness when we feel those pangs – aka survival signals – it devolves into a nasty, self-perpetuating cycle.
Loneliness turns on our survival instincts.
Survival instincts make us think other humans are the enemy. We don’t try to make friends.
We stay lonely.
Our body is in fight or flight mode, which releases adrenaline and cortisol. Too much of that in our system or having that in our system over a long period of time breaks down our immune system. One of the signs of this is lack of sleep or a decrease in our quality of sleep.
We’re defensive. We’re tired. We don’t try to make friends. We stay lonely.
The cycle repeats.
Not to mention that when we’re on the defense, people reach out to us less. We come across as prickly and unfriendly, so in addition to not trying to make friends ourselves, people aren’t trying to make friends with us. Then we feel socially ostracized and don’t want to be seen as more of a loser, so we don’t talk about it – which makes us feel even more lonely because we aren’t able to share our truth with anybody.
Science has shown that what makes us distinctly human and distinctly different from any other living thing is the ability to communicate stories and ideas. What makes us feel fulfilled is sharing – sharing ourselves (our truth, our feelings, our stories, our history, etc.) and sharing experiences (including our time and talents).
And this is why the world is facing a loneliness epidemic.
While loneliness evolved as a signal to help us survive, it only helps us survive if we do something about it. Do NOT feel bad if you are reading this and realizing you’ve been in this cycle – it all happened because of biology. Don’t forget that you’re actually NOT alone – millions of people can relate to what you’re going through.
It’s never too late to get off the lonely train.
Do you recognize some of these signs in yourself or others you know?