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Autophobia refers to anxiety triggered by the idea and experience of spending time alone. Autophobia is not an official diagnosis. It does not appear in the manual that clinicians use to diagnose mental health conditions, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

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Studies show that loneliness can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Where your work meets your life. Being alone is often a luxury which has many positive outcomes.

Do you get freaked out when you're at home alone, even when you're totally safe? here's why you do it, and how to stop

In our busy lives, we all strive to carve out space or time to find peace and solitude — to reflect, unwind, and be creative. Loneliness, which is far less satisfying, occurs when we crave social and emotional needs that are not being met.

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It is when we miss mattering to others — irrespective of whether we are alone or living with someone. Social loneliness is felt when we do not have a confidante and are unable to get support from peers, colleagues, family, or friends. Loneliness, in its different forms, can lead to despair and depression. Past studies during the SARS pandemic show that individuals who were quarantined during the outbreak had higher levels of anxiety and depression and reported more alcohol abuse three years later.

At first, such individuals may see in an increase in productivity as they are likely to replace social activities with more alone time on work. People may savor being alone at first as they suddenly feel they have more time to do things they have always wanted to do e.

It is expected that the emotional and mental toll of what we are doing and seeing in these Covid times will have ificant effects on us. If you notice any of the following s of loneliness, the first step is to acknowledge them:.

When we start to believe that we have no control over what happens and that the only thing we can do is accept our fate or just give up on trying — that is a of helplessness. When you become aware of your feelings and recognize the patterns in thoughts — while engaging in self-talk that takes you out of what may be a downward spiral of learned helplessness and sadness — your mental health improves.

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Pay attention to what you read and watch while at home. It will take time to flatten the curve, and this may last longer than we thought. Thus, daily checks on global transmission and death rates may at times give the impression that nothing is changing. Information you consume has a conscious and unconscious effect on your emotions and thoughts. One way to regulate your emotions while engaging in passive leisure like TV and radio is to pick episodes that make you feel the emotions you are craving rather than instituting further fear and feelings of loss.

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At this stage, many of us are uncertain about the future and feel that we lack control over when this period of isolation will end. Such a lack of control can lead to grief and sadness. Research shows that activities that provide control, autonomy, and a sense of achievement lead to more happiness. Creative art projects that require repetitive movements can reduce stress. Building something from scratch even a Lego assembly can give you a sense of control, purpose and achievement.

You could also invest time in your future by using the time to upskill yourself.

Coronavirus advice

Many free online courses are being promoted; this may be the time to take advantage of them. Feeling connected irrespective of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, is a fundamental human need. Social attachment and intimacy we share with friends, family, and our colleagues promote mental and physical health. If you are working from home, acknowledge that the colleagues at work — with whom you spent a majority of your working hours, sharing work stressors and celebrating success, and sneaking out for that lunch or Friday evening drink — filled an essential gap in your life.

You must reach out to them and continue as many of those interactions virtually. Pick up that phone and message a friend or a colleague.

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Just ask them how they are doing. Remember that you have a lot of technology at your disposal. However, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used to view the lives of others for the sake of comparison, or it can be used to build connections. Focus on building relationships by using these platforms to reach out; by devoting time to have agenda-less chats, to vent, to listen, and to encourage.

We have to accept that we are in a period of crisis, and the grief, anxietyand possible loneliness may be part of the package. You are not alone.

Things you can try to help with loneliness

For some of us, loneliness may make us less motivated and productive—but that is okay too. If you blame yourself and feel guilty, you could make it worse. Stop comparing. It is okay if you are not ultra-productive and achieving all your dreams in this traumatic period of isolation.

Instead, to combat loneliness, focus on caring for others. Research shows that one can feel a sense of purpose when we help others, as it reminds us that our actions can matter. These small gestures can go a long way to combat loneliness, build connections, and give ificance to your current life.

Things you can try to help with loneliness

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Give ificance to your current life. The first step is to acknowledge any feelings or s of loneliness, such as a sense of emptiness, excessive procrastination, insomnia, and others.

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Pay attention to what you read and watch, and understand how it may be impacting your thinking. Invest your time in something constructive, like a creative project or an online course. Or, find a way to care or provide for others. These activities will give you a sense of purpose, autonomy, and achievement.

Continue to reach out to your colleagues and friends virtually, keeping up as many normal interactions as you can. But use technology wisely — utilize tools like social media to have meaningful conversations instead of comparing yourself to others.

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