5 Lies Loneliness Sells You

The winter doldrums can make people feel down. The weather is cold and the skies are dark. But loneliness can strike at any time, even times that surprise us like spring, summer, or during the holidays. Unfortunately, it’s often a feeling that’s hard to shake.

Loneliness is like mental quicksand. It has a way of dragging you down, tricking you into thinking things you didn’t believe before. The results can make you feel totally miserable. But there is hope. If we understand what loneliness is trying to do to us, we can form an effective game plan to climb out of that quicksand. Here are 5 lies loneliness sells you.

1. You’re the outlier.

It can be very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re the only person dealing with feelings like this. As I’ve written before, millions of people battle loneliness. It’s a true epidemic. Believing the lie that you’re the only one fighting this fight makes overcoming it seem even more daunting. Know that you’re not the only person on earth feeling isolated and alone, especially during the holidays.

2. Loneliness is only a mental problem.

The truth is that loneliness can dramatically impact your physical health. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office released a report stating a lack of social connections “can increase the risk of premature death to levels comparable to smoking daily.” Loneliness is also connected to stroke, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and dementia, but there are ways to combat all this.

Health experts at top universities like UCLA and Duke have researched the benefits endorphins can have in reversing the physical symptoms of loneliness. The release of endorphins through exercise can boost self-esteem, increase mental alertness, and change brain chemistry. Challenge yourself to get your blood flowing when you’re feeling lonely, especially if exercising means spending time around other people at a gym or sports league. The endorphins that result from your workouts will help reduce those feelings of loneliness.

3. Loneliness instantly stops around friends

It’s true that loneliness cannot be overcome alone, but getting together with friends at work or for sports won’t necessarily cure it overnight. Don’t get discouraged if those lonely feelings don’t go away as quickly as you were hoping. Keep looking to make meaningful connections, even if it takes a while. The more you bond with others, the more they will begin to support you if those lonely feelings return.

Digital interactions cannot replace in-person connection.

4. You can will yourself out of this.

God doesn’t want us to feel lonely. He wants us to thrive. But trying to just think your way out of loneliness doesn’t work. We have to talk it over with someone we trust. Don’t hesitate to contact a counselor, perhaps through your church, to work through your lonely feelings that won’t go away. Those conversations will help you navigate the journey.

5. Technology makes no difference.

This is a big lie. Studies have shown that people who use social media for two hours or more daily are more than twice as likely to report feeling isolated than those who are on such apps for less than 30 minutes a day. Digital interactions cannot replace in-person connection.

If you’re lonely right now, know that you’re not alone and that you don’t have to listen to the lies loneliness tells you. Take a step today that aligns with the truth—there is hope for us when we get lonely.

Sound off: Who do turn to when you’re feeling lonely?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Have you ever felt lonely? If so, what’s it like for you?”