Loneliness is an emotional experience that is a normal response to change, transition, and loss. The National Sample Survey Office reported that 4.91 million people in India were living alone and suffered from loneliness. Loneliness is extremely high specially in young adults. A study done by SCARF found that young adults experience higher loneliness than older people. The issue of persistent loneliness as a mental health problem, however, is still not being given the attention it requires in India. The incapacity of children and young people to socialise and interact with peers both within and outside of educational settings at this time is one of the main reasons they could feel lonely.
(Also read: Want to reduce loneliness? Engage in meaningful activities, say researchers )
Popular therapist and wellness educator, Divya Robin, shared seven reasons for young adult loneliness in her recent Instagram post.
1. People are used to making friends through shared environments (e.g work, college, etc.) and when they leave those environments – they may feel lost on “how” to connect with people without having a shared setting.
2. The “digital world” (work from home, social media) has made it easy to show inauthentic versions of what daily reality looks like. Comparing one’s actual reality to a perceived reality of another (what is seen on Instagram or from a ZOOM background) can lead to feeling disconnected and isolated.
3. The pressures to uphold social expectations may lead to putting on a facade, one that is far from one’s authentic truth. This facade may keep young adults disconnected from others and ashamed of connecting with authentic versions of themselves.
4. The more young adults discover about themselves (their preferences, values, and opinions) the more they realize people in their social circles may not meet their true needs. While it is lonely short-term to leave outgrown relationships, it’s lonelier long-term to ignore your authentic needs for acceptance.
5. An increase in psychological struggles and mental illness leaves many people feeling emotionally isolated (due to stigma). Feeling that there isn’t a space for one to be real about their difficulties leads to disconnection and only sharing “fake” versions of themselves and connection to one’s “fake” version will only lead to loneliness.
6. A financial crisis combined with people making different salaries often leads to a struggle in finding ways to have fun, be authentic, and connect that everyone feels comfortable with and the pressure to be “up to par” as those around you only leads to more loneliness and self-doubt.
7. Many people are mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted as a result of “hustle culture” (i.e. glorifying overworking and being busy). This culture leaves minimal energy one to authentically connect with those around them or with themselves. The lack of authenticity combined with isolation due to exhaustion can lead to loneliness.
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