Loneliness and Stress
Who would have thought that loneliness would become one of the biggest causes of stress in this day and age! The world’s population is growing exponentially but we are feeling lonelier and more isolated than ever.
Thinking back, life was a lot less complicated before Covid. But even though life seemed simpler then, loneliness has always been a cause of stress in one way or another. And now enforced social isolation has added a stark dimension to an already fraught situation.
The Effects of Social Isolation
The effects of isolation are many. Anxiety, low mood, stress, fear, frustration, and boredom are just some of the fallout. In fact, the social isolation that we have to endure as a result of Covid has created an epidemic of loneliness. And who knows what fallout there will be from this social isolation in years to come?
Isolation among the elderly is particularly trying. Without the company of family and friends the days and nights become lonely and empty when seniors have little to focus on besides their infirmities and ailments. Even children become truculent and testy when they cannot attend school or play with their friends.
Repeated lockdowns have restricted our mobility and weakened our social connections to such an extent that they have led to a loss of employment and a serious loss of income. Meanwhile, the ever-looming fear of contagion has led to real anxiety as many worry about the possibility of not being able to access the basics such as medicines, food, or water.
These are real fears that leave their traces in some of the most unlikely places. And so we see that these debilitating fears associated with loneliness can even be found in handwriting.
Signs of loneliness in handwriting
So is it really possible to see signs of loneliness in handwriting?
To answer the question let’s take a look at two handwriting samples.
Here is the handwriting of an individual who has always felt alienated and even isolated from society. The wide spaces between the words and lines show that he suffers from intermittent bouts of loneliness.
Each word seems to stand on an island of its own. There is no connection between them. The feeling of loneliness is almost palpable.
Here is another sample with similar spacing:
The impression of loneliness here is emphasised by the fact that this writer is clearly introverted which makes any attempts at socializing a challenge.
The small size of the letters and the intermittent leftward slant, the wide spaces between words and lines as well as the short, truncated lower zone all add to a picture of self-containment and insularity.
Furthermore, there is that dark pressure which points to a person who has deep feelings so he will find his isolation frustrating and even more difficult to endure.
How to cope with loneliness
There is no easy route to dealing with loneliness though it does help to know that there are many other people out there who feel the same.
Here are some tried and trusted suggestions that can help. And if you happen to acquire a new craft in the process or gain expertise in a new field that you have always fancied – so much the better.
10 fun things to do that can beat loneliness
This unprecedented time of social isolation during Covid can provide us with an opportunity to develop new skills or crafts that we would never have attempted under ordinary circumstances.
So here are some suggestions:
- Take up a new hobby.
- Create something. Sketch. Paint. Knit. Embroider. Or try woodcarving.
- Take an online course in writing or calligraphy or graphology!
- Learn to press flowers. Try anything to get your creative juices flowing.
- Adopt a pet and train it. Teach your budgie or parrot to talk.
- Learn to play an instrument or take an online course in music appreciation.
- Commit to regular exercise such as yoga or pilates – both of which are known to raise your serotonin levels and make you happier.
- There are many interesting groups on facebook where many helpful people are only too willing to help. Join the ones that grab your interest.
- Take walks outside. Learn to connect with nature.
- Develop an interest in bird watching and share your sightings with bird enthusiasts in online groups.
These are just a few suggestions but there are many more. While social isolation is not what we wanted, it’s just possible that it can launch us towards a new way of thinking.