8 things you don’t realize you’re doing because you’re quite lonely

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I get it.

Sometimes, you feel like you’re on an island, disconnected from everyone else. You find yourself doing things, not really understanding why.

You might be feeling quite lonely and not even realize it.

And guess what? You’re not the only one.

Loneliness is a very common feeling, but often, we aren’t aware of its impact on our behaviors and daily routines.

In fact, there are things you’re doing right now that might be a direct result of feeling lonely. And these signs aren’t always so crystal clear.

Today, I’m going to share with you 8 of these subtle signs.

Just to be clear, I’m not here to make you feel bad about being lonely – it’s a part of life we all experience at one point or another.

Instead, I want to shed some light on the less obvious symptoms of loneliness.

Maybe you’re already aware of them…

…let’s see.

1. You’re spending too much time on social media

You know, I’ve been there. I’d just gotten out of a long-term relationship and was feeling quite lonely.

So, I started spending countless hours scrolling through my social media feeds.

At first, it seemed like a harmless way to kill time. But eventually, I realized that I was using it as a means to feel connected to people, even if it was all virtual.

It’s a strange paradox – the more time you spend on social media, the lonelier you can feel.

It’s not actual human interaction; it’s just scrolling through snapshots of other people’s lives.

Practical Tips:

  • Set Specific Times: Allocate specific times for social media use and stick to them.
  • Use App Limit Features: Utilize the screen time or app limit features on your phone to monitor and control your usage.
  • Engage Offline: Try to engage in offline hobbies or activities that you enjoy, which can help divert your attention from social media.

2. You’re overworking yourself

Oh boy, I can’t tell you how many times this one has caught me off guard.

A few years ago, I found myself working late nights and weekends. At first, I thought it was because I was ambitious and wanted to get ahead.

But when I really looked at it, I realized that I was simply trying to distract myself from the loneliness that had crept in.

Work became my escape. It filled the silence and gave me a sense of purpose.

But at what cost? My health suffered, and so did my social life.

Take it from me – if you’re putting in those extra hours not because you love your job but because you’re trying to escape from being alone – it might be time for a heart-to-heart chat with yourself.

Practical Tips:

  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear work boundaries and adhere to a balanced schedule.
  • Explore New Hobbies: Delve into new hobbies or activities that can help fill your time in a fulfilling manner outside of work.
  • Socialize: Make an effort to socialize and build connections outside of your work environment.

3. You’re not taking care of your physical health

When you feel lonely, it’s easy to forget to take care of your body. This can happen in many ways.

Maybe you stop exercising or start eating too much junk food.

This isn’t good because when you don’t take care of your body, you can feel even more lonely and sad. It’s like a big circle where one bad thing leads to another.

It’s important to notice if this is happening. If you see that you’re not taking care of your body because you’re feeling lonely, it’s a good time to try and change things.

You can start exercising again, or try to eat healthier food.

When you take care of your body, you can start to feel better and maybe less lonely too.

It’s all about noticing what’s going on and trying to make better choices to break this bad circle.

Practical Tips:

  • Schedule Exercise: Schedule regular exercise times and stick to them as it can enhance your mood.
  • Healthy Eating: Adopt a balanced diet, and consider consulting a nutritionist for personalized advice.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Incorporate mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga to maintain a balanced mind and body.

4. You’re feeling overly sensitive

When you’re feeling lonely, the world can sometimes feel like it’s against you.

You may find that things that usually wouldn’t bother you suddenly become a big deal.

Maybe a friend didn’t reply to your text immediately or a coworker forgot to invite you to a meeting.

Suddenly, it feels like everyone is ignoring you, and these small oversights become personal affronts.

But the truth is, we’re all human. We forget things, we get busy, and sometimes we just make mistakes.

It’s important to remember that these small incidents are usually not intentional slights against you.

Feeling overly sensitive can be a sign of loneliness. It’s not that people are out to get you, but rather that you’re feeling vulnerable and craving connection.

Recognizing this can be the first step toward seeking the company and reassurance you need.

Practical Tips:

  • Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness and relaxation techniques to manage emotional reactions.
  • Communicate: Communicate your feelings with trusted individuals who can provide support.
  • Seek Professional Help: If necessary, consult a professional counselor to work through your feelings.

5. You’re finding it hard to make decisions

I remember a time when I couldn’t even decide what to have for lunch. Sounds silly, right? But that’s the thing about loneliness – it can make even the simplest decision feel overwhelming.

I would stand in front of the fridge, looking at all the options, but couldn’t make a choice.

I realized then that my inability to decide what to eat was less about food and more about the indecision and uncertainty I felt in my life at that time.

When you’re feeling lonely, you often second-guess your choices, wondering if you’re making the right decisions. This self-doubt can seep into even the smallest aspects of your daily life.

If you find yourself struggling to make even minor decisions, take a step back. It might be a sign that you’re feeling quite lonely and need to reconnect with others.

Practical Tips:

  • Break Down Decisions: Break down decisions into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Seek Support: Discuss decisions with trusted friends or family to gain different perspectives.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be gentle with yourself during challenging times and recognize that it’s okay to struggle with decisions.

6. You’re withdrawing from social activities

There might have been instances when avoiding social gatherings seemed like a better option.

The idea of staying in could have appeared more comforting compared to the effort of socializing.

However, often this preference to stay secluded stems from feelings of loneliness and isolation.

When the invitations from friends or colleagues come in, and you find yourself coming up with excuses or reasons to not attend, it’s a signal worth paying attention to.

It’s an ironic situation – when loneliness creeps in, instead of seeking company which could alleviate these feelings, we tend to withdraw even more.

This withdrawal can create a self-fulfilling prophecy where the lack of social interaction exacerbates our loneliness, forming a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

Reaching out and reconnecting with others can help to combat the feelings of loneliness and provide a sense of belonging and community that we, as social beings, inherently crave.

Over time, pushing against the instinct to withdraw and instead opting to engage can foster a positive shift in overcoming feelings of loneliness and building meaningful relationships.

Practical Tips:

  • Start Small: Begin with small social interactions and gradually increase your social engagements.
  • Join Groups: Consider joining groups or clubs that share your interests to foster new connections.
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Challenge and reframe negative thoughts that may be hindering your social interactions.

7. You’re losing interest in things you once enjoyed

When you feel lonely, it can take away the fun from things you used to love doing. It’s like your favorite things start to feel boring or just not exciting anymore.

Imagine you used to love going for morning runs. You would wake up, put on your running shoes, and couldn’t wait to get outside.

But then, as you started to feel lonely, the thought of going for a run doesn’t make you happy anymore.

It starts to feel more like something you have to do, not something you want to do.

And it’s not just about running. Maybe you used to love reading books, cooking new recipes, or gardening.

But now, these things don’t seem as fun. The books don’t catch your interest, the kitchen seems dull, and the garden just doesn’t seem as lively.

Realizing that you’re not enjoying these things anymore is important. It’s like a sign that says something is wrong.

Practical Tips:

  • Explore New Interests: Sometimes, exploring new interests or hobbies can reignite passion and engagement.
  • Set Small Goals: Set small, achievable goals within your interests to foster a sense of accomplishment.
  • Connect with Enthusiasts: Engage with communities who share your interests to reignite your passion.

8. You’re overthinking everything

When I was at my loneliest, I found that my mind was always racing with thoughts and worries. Loneliness can cause you to overthink things and worry excessively about the future or past mistakes.

If your mind is always in overdrive, it might be time to address your feelings of loneliness.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that feeling lonely is nothing to be ashamed of. We all experience it at some point. Recognizing the signs is the first step towards seeking help and regaining your sense of connection and belonging.

Practical Tips:

  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practice mindfulness, meditation, or relaxation techniques to manage overthinking.
  • Journaling: Write down your thoughts and worries in a journal to clear your mind.
  • Professional Counseling: Seek professional counseling to work through persistent overthinking.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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