When we have been hurt by people, we are understandably wary of giving them another go at us. Our nervous system remembers the pain and puts up barriers to protect us.
The problem with letting our survival mechanisms and primitive brain take charge in this area is that they have one priority – keep this body alive – and they are not exactly sophisticated.
We take loneliness personally and it feeds into core deficiency beliefs of being unworthy and unlovable.
To feel safe, human beings need connection as well as protection from harm. Being socially isolated has a dramatic negative impact on our happiness, health and life span.
Loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, worse for you than obesity, you are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression and it increases your risk of death by 29%.
Families don’t eat dinner together as much and more people, especially seniors, live alone now. Modern life is lonely for many people.
Connection with screens has replaced connection with other people. It is less risky than interacting with actual people but ultimately not satisfying.
The Framingham Heart Study found that loneliness forms in clusters that grow over time like it was contagious. Loneliness spreads within social networks. Feeling isolated in the moment increases people’s expectations that loneliness will continue and this distorts their views that people will accept them. As they turn inward, others with whom they might interact feel more lonely too.
We know that childhood developmental trauma causes us to disconnect from ourselves, and our sense of value. Part of the solution to loneliness lies in healing underlying trauma so we can connect with ourselves. Self-regulating emotions and calming our nervous system support our ability to connect.
Widening our window of tolerance for social contact and finding ways to tolerate and reduce social anxiety also help. It is not completely comfortable but it feels workable.
Join us Sunday October 6th at 11AM Eastern to explore healing social anxiety and loneliness. Details and sign up are here.