What are some of the rarest emotions

Loneliness - where it comes from and how it goes again

Loneliness is often only associated with negative ideas - a feeling that nobody wants to have. Those who feel lonely are often ashamed of it, see themselves as failures and withdraw even further.

But loneliness is not just an individual, but a social problem that affects everyone. Governments have now recognized this. There is already a loneliness ministry in Great Britain and the discussion about the threat of loneliness has also begun in this country.

It's not just the very old who are lonely

Scientific studies show: loneliness not only affects old people, it can occur at any age. Moving to a foreign city, separation from a life partner or serious illness can be triggers.

In the age group between 26 and 35 years of age, loneliness is relatively common - in 14.8 percent of the 16,000 people surveyed by researchers Maike Luhmann and Louise Hawkley in 2013. At this age, friendships and relationships are often not stable and reliable.

Feelings of loneliness were the least common among people between the ages of 66 and 75. In this phase of life, many people have a reliable social network and can devote themselves to their own interests in retirement, which stabilizes or even expands the circle of acquaintances and friends.

Only in old age - over 86 years - did more than 20 percent of those surveyed suffer from loneliness. During this lifespan, close friends or partners have often died and health restrictions make it difficult to establish new relationships.

Children learn from their parents how to have good relationships

There is no hereditary predisposition to loneliness - but certain social patterns in the family make it more likely to develop. If parents can't set an example of how relationships work, then their children have a harder time learning too. For example, if father and mother do not like answering the phone and never speak to the neighbors, their children will initially orient themselves towards retreat instead of openness.

In general, childhood and adolescence are decisive for the risk of slipping into loneliness. Research from orphanages in the 1960s showed that a lack of affection and attention first made children cry loudly and then, after repeated ignoring, left them lethargic and disordered. Proof that people cannot exist without love.

"An important protection against loneliness is the development of basic trust", says the psychologist Prof. Sonia Lippke. It is also important that children learn from their parents to have good relationships. Daily dealings in the family have a role model function.

Lippke: "When children themselves experience that they are receiving attention and understanding, they learn to develop this in their relationships too." An important basis for building sustainable friendships. In Prof. Lippke's opinion, promoting contact skills is also a social task that schools and educational institutions should face.

Loneliness can make you sick

Loneliness is a serious health risk factor. This has been shown by scientific evaluations of statistics. Those who feel socially isolated are at a much greater risk of having a stroke or developing cancer. The likelihood of a heart attack is also increased, as is the risk of dying prematurely.

Circumstances that make you lonely

The external living conditions play a major role when it comes to loneliness. Anyone who lives in a village where everyone knows everyone, where there are regular meetings and where there is great social cohesion, is less likely to get into loneliness than someone who lives in a city where the circles of friends resemble closed societies and even in House block no one knows the other.

Unemployment and disability can also lead to social isolation - not only because money is scarce, but also because it often goes hand in hand with a loss of self-esteem. But none of these circumstances is hopeless. There are many ways out of loneliness. They have one thing in common: they begin with the decision to take action.

Take action against loneliness

Scientists have developed a concept against loneliness, which is called "EASE" for short:

E. stands for expansion of the radius of action,

A. for activity,

S. for selecting contacts,

E. for: Expect the best!

The first thing is to think outside the box, to conquer your weaker self, to move out of the familiar and to do something new.

A lot comes into question: for example, joining a sports club, joining a hiking group, taking a cooking class or going to the local community. It can also be volunteering or the acquisition of a dog or a cat. This is then automatically linked to new activities and contacts.

Next, it's important to take a closer look at which relationship really matters to you. Is there a heart connection or is it just superficial banter. So it is important to evaluate the quality of the contacts and then make a conscious decision in favor of those who are really good for you.

With the new steps it can be fun to imagine again and again how good the new, enriched life situation will feel. That makes a lot of things easier. Expectations that are too high for yourself or for others, on the other hand, tend to be a hindrance. If you let yourself be disappointed too quickly, you will give up again after a short time. Therefore: be patient! And the insight: loneliness is not a shame. It is a useful feeling. Anyone who realizes that they are lonely knows: it is time to do something!