One of the leading researchers in loneliness, John Cacioppo, argued that loneliness is like an emotional hunger cue:
Our stomachs growl with hunger when they need food.
Our hearts growl with loneliness when they need connection.
There are a lot of myths about loneliness. We tend to associate it with things like being shy, isolated, elderly, or single. But studies have found that these do not cause loneliness.
Loneliness arises in tandem with real-life difficult situations: you're significantly more likely to be lonely if you're dealing with tough challenges like medical issues, depression, or unemployment. We all need to feel like there are people 'in it' with us. When we don't, our hearts growl for connection, love and support.
If your heart is growling, there's one surprising tool that can make a big difference: reach out and help someone else. Think about another person in your life who is dealing with a big challenge. Can you reach out and try to connect with them? In doing so, you can not only alleviate your loneliness, but theirs, too.