A knot in the chest, feeling of abandonment, misunderstanding, dislocation, discomfort. Loneliness is much more than being alone in a given space for a little or a long time. It is a state of mind that highlights an unpleasant situation for those who live it and can indicate much more serious problems.
Of course this is not a new phenomenon, but the feeling of being alone is accentuated today, especially in urban areas, and even more with the pressures of social networks and their world of appearances.
However, there are those who guarantee to live well without contact with their kind. For them, their particular universe (their home refuge, books, records, movies, pets) is more than enough to ensure well-being. It is the so-called solitude, which many consider the broadest expression of freedom, in which one isolates oneself by choice.
But what is worrying is precisely the cases of loneliness, a spiraling isolation cycle in which the person sinks deeper and deeper.
PhD in Social Psychology from the University of São Paulo, psychologist Gisela Monteiro talks about the consequences of loneliness, how to identify that a person is lonely and what to do to prevent this situation.
What is, by definition, loneliness?
Gisela Monteiro – It is the feeling related to social isolation, to have no one around, to have no one to count on. It is a word with some negative connotation, that something is wrong, missing.
What is the borderline between being alone or being lonely?
Gisela Monteiro– You can be alone and not feel lonely. The feeling arises when one would like to have a company and not have one. Because of the difficulty of making friends, being away from their place of origin, among other reasons.
Many people believe it is possible to be alone and to be happy, they call it loneliness. But is this really possible?
Gisela Monteiro – The word solitude is used with a more positive sense of someone who is lonely but feels good. Yes, it is perfectly possible. I think it is a sign of good mental health. Being well with you, feeling that you are able to perform your activities, being in the world without always being accompanied is a sign of good self-knowledge and independence.
How can a person identify that he or she is spending too much time alone and that is being harmful?
Gisela Monteiro – The amount of time is not the best indication for the perception of something being wrong. I understand that the feelings of helplessness and misunderstanding are more beacons of some harm, some pathological isolation. Having what is called a social support network, friends and / or relatives to count on is very important since man is a social being by nature.
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