A recent study conducted by PLOS ONE, a scientific journal, has shown that the likelihood of suffering from a mental disorder was more significant throughout participants who lived on their own. The data that was collected indicates the main reason for an increased possibility of mental illness is due to loneliness. However, the researchers also made is clear that being alone and loneliness are not the same thing. Instead, the data shows that those living on their own can experience a higher amount of self-abandonment.
How The Study Was Conducted
Instead of setting out to collect new data all together, researchers made use of statistics that had already been collected throughout the UK by the National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys. They collected data from 20,500 individuals who partook in the surveys during 1993, 2000, and 2007. Upon analysing the research regarding the neurotic symptoms of those involved in the surveys, researchers concluded that, across all three years, people who live alone are more likely to suffer from a mental illness.
Loneliness Increases The Likelihood Of Mental Illness
84 percent of the data collected indicated that loneliness was the main cause for the increase in the probability of suffering from mental illness. The researchers went onto explain that this is down to the fact that loneliness can often cause one to overthink their own negative thoughts and anxieties, alongside their physical symptoms.
However, it’s important to note that living alone does not inherently mean that you’re lonely. Loneliness only occurs when we lose the vital connection that we have with other people and with ourselves. This means that even if you’re not living alone, you can still definitely suffer from a disconnection with your own state of being.
How To Avoid Loneliness When Living Alone
Loneliness isn’t as easily avoided as one may like to think, and it’s beyond easy to suffer from feeling lonely. In an interview with mindbodygreen, relationship counsellor Margaret Paul stated that practicing mindfulness actually helps contribute to a healthy self-love practice. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of suffering from loneliness.
“Loving yourself means getting fully present in your body with your feelings.”Margaret Paul, PhD
Mindfulness has been found to actually increase the amount of social interaction that a person takes part in, as well as being known to decrease stress. This is partially due to the fact that the practice revolves around getting in tune with your body and the world around you. This enables you to see things in a new perspective and act accordingly to how you’re really feeling. Since loving yourself is about being present in your body, it’s no wonder that mindfulness promotes better well-being.
If you do happen to live alone and believe that you suffer from loneliness, it’s important to seek out help so you can receive the treatment that you need.