The traditional definition of loneliness defines it as a state of solitude or being alone. In reality, loneliness is actually a state of mind that causes people to feel alone, empty, and unwanted. Lonely people usually greatly desire human contact but their current state of mind makes it hard for them to connect with others.
According to many experts, loneliness doesn't exactly mean being alone. It's rather a feeling of being isolated and alone, that is why loneliness is a state of mind. For example, a new soldier may feel lonely while deployed to a foreign country even though they are constantly surrounded by fellow troops. A college freshman may also feel lonely despite being surrounded by other students.
1. You care a lot about material possessions.
It is believed that loneliness and materialism are linked. One study performed on 2,500 people over a six-year period found that people who are lonely often buy material things. But it also points out that materialism does not cause loneliness. So if you notice yourself shopping more often and getting attached to material possessions, you may be simply trying to fill a void in your life.
2. You’re spending lots of time on social media.
A study discovered that perpetual use of social media was linked to the feeling of social isolation. According to the study, people who spend over two hours on social media each day are twice as likely to feel lonely than people who only spend 30 minutes or less.
It's not yet clear if social media uses increases the feeling of loneliness or if loneliness causes an increase in social media use. One thing is clear, replacing your real-world relationships with those on social media is detrimental to your well-being.
3. You’re always tired.
A study that was published in 2011 associated loneliness and sleep fragmentation, which is defined as "arousals and awakenings that disrupt the normal stages and architecture of sleep." Basically, it's when you have a hard time sleeping through the night and periodically wake up. Many of us may not even realize that we wake up at night because the time you're awake may be so small that you won't even remember it the next morning. Yet it's enough to keep you from getting your full speel cycle. The study concluded that people who are more lonely are more likely to have problems with their sleep. Of course, you may also be constantly tired if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, but that deserves its own separate article.
4. You’ve gained weight.
This makes perfect sense since weight gain is commonly associated with depression. According to Ashley Turner, a mental health counselor "loneliness is one of the biggest drives toward overeating. We naturally turn to food to nurture and nourish ourselves. It is the most obvious way to fill ourselves up. However, when we are lonely, what we are actually craving is a little personal interaction, intimacy, love or friendship, someone to share our lives with."
5. You just can't stop binge-watching shows.
Gravitation to binge-watching can mean a few things: a lack of control, depression, and loneliness. According to a study at the University of Texas at Austin, binge-watching TV and loneliness are somehow linked. They observed that "the more lonely and depressed the study participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV, using this activity to move away from negative feelings."
6. You hang out with other lonely people.
A 2010 study found that loneliness is contagious. So even if you don't feel lonely, constantly interacting with other lonely people could be changing that. Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology stated that you are 52% more likely to feel lonely if someone close to you is lonely.
7. You started taking long and hot showers.
According to a study published in the scientific journal "Emotion," there is a connection between physical and social "warmth." Basically, a person who feels cold socially (lonely) is more likely to try and replace emotional warmth with physical warmth by taking long and hot showers.
But there are times when you may not "feel" that you're lonely. Let's look at seven signs that may point to just that: