7 Reasons Why You Might Feel Lonely (Even If You’re Not Alone)

We’ve become a deeply lonely world, with research showing that 36% of all Americans reporting feelings of serious loneliness. Both loneliness and social isolation have numerous consequences and they can erode your sense of emotional well-being.

But what causes loneliness even if you have a partner, friends, or a support system? Let’s get into some potential explanations.

Significant Life Transitions

From starting a new job to getting divorced to experiencing a sudden loss, any transition can trigger feelings of loneliness. This can apply whether the change was positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

Change disrupts your normal homeostasis. With that, you may find that your support also changes. You might feel more distant from old friends or disconnected from your spouse.

Mental Health Issues

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, social anxiety, and PTSD can make it challenging to feel connected to others. You might feel the desire to isolate or withdraw from your normal social environment. Or you might feel so preoccupied by what others think of you that it’s hard to enjoy interactions as they happen in real-time.

Certain mental health conditions are also associated with symptoms that inherently entail symptoms of loneliness. For example, if you experience panic attacks, you might avoid social events where you could get anxious. Or, if you struggle with insomnia, you might move through your day and attend your work functions, but you feel so tired that you can’t really connect with others.

Lack of Meaningful Relationships

It’s possible to feel lonely if your current support system feels too superficial or disengaged.

Meaningful connections are subjective, but it’s important to have some like-minded people who you truly feel are there for you. Emotional support is an important shield against loneliness. If you don’t have that with your friend- or if certain friendships are unhealthy– you may not feel truly understood or validated. Over time, this can make your relationships feel somewhat hollow.

Feeling Directionless or Purposeless

Feeling a sense of meaning in life can be one of the greatest remedies for loneliness. When people feel a sense of drive to do something, the momentum can be incredibly fulfilling.

In that same vein, the lack of direction may feel disorienting. When it progresses, you may feel completely apathetic. And if things don’t really feel worth doing, you might slip into isolating yourself from your community or loved ones. This can all cause and exacerbate a vicious cycle of loneliness.

Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Social media platforms are intended to help you connect with others and engage in easy, convenient communication. However, many people actually feel dissatisfied and lonelier the more they spend on these platforms.

Social media presents curated versions of other people’s lives. By comparing your own life to these idealized images, you may feel jealous, lonely, or frustrated by what you have. This can exacerbate feeling lonely.

Spending too much time on social media may also cause you to reduce the amount of time you engage in face-to-face communication. While virtual connection absolutely has its merit, it’s important to still physically spend time with your friends.

Marital Problems

People who feel discontent in their marriages may feel incredibly lonely as a result. There may be a sense of grief over the relationship you once shared. Or you might desire more companionship, intimacy, or romantic love, all of which can be essential priorities in marriage.

The loneliness can become even more pronounced if you compare yourself to others. For example, you might look at all the happy couples around you and wonder when you will experience that happiness again.

Difficulties Enjoying Your Own Company

Can you spend your free time cherishing your own company?

If not, that might explain some of your loneliness. While it may seem paradoxical, your mental well-being is contingent on the relationship you build with yourself. If you struggle with feeling lonely most of the time, it could speak to your own difficulties with self-esteem or self-worth.

Ideally, spending time with yourself should feel recharging and restorative. This is when you can practice self-care and look after your own needs. But if this is difficult for you, you might yourself trying to “fill” time by staying overly busy or avoiding your feelings altogether.

Therapy for Loneliness and Feeling Isolated

It’s important to remember that everyone feels lonely from time to time. With that, loneliness hurts, and can impact your mental and physical health. Sometimes, the lonelier you feel, the harder it is to feel comfortable around others.

If you’ve been struggling with loneliness, it may be valuable to seek professional help. Therapy for loneliness offers a safe place to explore your emotions and process your needs. Together, we can also discuss strategies for working through loneliness and feeling more connected- both with yourself and other people.

I am here to support you. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.

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Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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