Overcoming the Fear of LonelinessFeb 05, 2022
The fear of loneliness affects almost all of us. It's natural for human beings to
want to feel close and connected with others.
Many psychologists and mental health professionals agree that being connected and
having a support network is one of the most important prerequisites for a healthy
and happy existence. Unfortunately, there are times, when we find ourselves alone either inside or outside of a relationship, due to factors that are often out of our control.
The thought of being alone for extended periods of time can be terrifying or elicit
feelings of anxiety and sadness in some people.
Why is the idea of being alone so scary?
The Primal Switch
What is it about being alone that flips a primal switch in us, causing us so much
- The answer probably lies within the fields of Evolutionary Psychology and
Human Development. There are adaptive advantages to fearing being alone. We simply are wired to be with others. It is one of the difficult parts of getting out of an abusive relationship. Sometimes being with a toxic person, that you know, feels better than the fear of the unknown.
- During ancient times, people that traveled alone would have been more vulnerable to attacks from predators and other neighboring tribes. Being alone also could have meant that one would have to fend for himself, which would greatly
decrease one's chances of survival in the wild. Even though we rarely need to worry about that today, it is hard wired in our bodies to run in groups.
- We also know that people need contact and touch at a young age. A famous
study performed on a group of monkeys found that when young monkeys were raised without physical touch and warmth from their mother, they would show
signs of mental illness and distress later on in life. Children are the same, they must be loved in order to develop a solid sense of themselves and trust in those around them. In an abusive relationship, with all of it's chaos, children can end up being ignored and their emotional development hindered.
- This is not to say that humans are the same as monkeys. But, at a very basic and
primal level, many animals (humans included) have an emotional need for contact
Overcoming the Fear
Since we already know how powerful the effects of not having contact with others
can be from an early age and from an evolutionary standpoint, it should come as little
surprise that the feelings of fear that we experience when alone can seem
overwhelming. Here are some tips to help.
- The first step to overcoming the fear of loneliness is to realize that the feelings you
may experience can be intense and that this is completely okay. Feeling are meant to be felt.
- Whereas most people try to fight the feelings of panic or discomfort at being
alone, you are going to do something that most people never do and is also why
they rarely overcome this fear.
- The secret is to let these feelings wash over you completely without fighting them.
Let the feelings permeate through you and within minutes you’ll feel
completely different about being alone than how you did prior to doing this. If you need to cry, let the tears come, they are a healthy reaction and help the stress release from your body.
- While it may take longer than a few minutes for the feeling to dissipate entirely,
you’ll already start to begin feeling relief as soon as you stop fighting these
feelings and accept them. They’re natural responses to our need for contact
going unmet for a brief period of time.
The fear of being alone affects all of us, no matter how brave we are in other situations. If you can let yourself feel the emotions fully when you begin to get scared, you’ll free yourself and give yourself a lifelong tool to work through any other unfamiliar or uncomfortable feelings you may experience in the future. Be kind to you.
Peace and Love, Coach Kellie
PS. If you are needing some help working through those feelings, I have a One-Step Consultation call that you can access for free.
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