Now and then, we all feel lonely and disconnected, but when these feelings become repetitive and frequent, it can be very unpleasant and uncomfortable. It can lead to stress, anxiety, and worries, largely affecting our mental health wellbeing.
Humans are social animals; we need to be around people and feel belonged and connected to others, hence why the feeling of isolation and having no one to turn to can overwhelm us and even overtake our daily lives. Loneliness, however, is quite a subjective feeling; it usually forms when a person identifies their desired level of social lives, relationships, and contacts versus their actual social situation. This means that even if you have plenty of people around you, you may still end up feeling a little lost and disconnected.
We all know that the feeling of loneliness is not something we warmly welcome, and, if now acknowledged, it can gradually start affecting not just our mental health but also our physical health. Studies conducted in the past have found that long-term loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cause dementia and depression.
How to overcome loneliness
The first step towards overcoming loneliness is identifying and acknowledging what has caused you to feel this way. There are few common reasons why people feel lonely such as going through a recent change, moving to somewhere new, starting a new job, having a friend you can't trust, and romantic loneliness. Challenging and overcoming loneliness doesn't have to be a complex process; you don't have to immediately meet a group of strangers and form new friendships. You can start with simple steps and gradually move toward steps you find difficult.
Therapy for Loneliness
Therapy is one of the effective ways to deal with loneliness. Some resources and methods can be introduced by your therapists, which may help you change how you feel and view your situation and the world around you.
Many people feel ashamed to be seeking therapy and treatments, but it is essential to understand that looking after our emotions and mental wellbeing is nothing to be embarrassed about. Just as we look after our physical health by going to doctors, exercising, and eating nutritious food, going to therapy, taking a break, and meditating is vital for our mental health.
If you are seeking support to improve your mental wellbeing, Mynurva provides a confidential counselling session via video chats. We provide support for stress, loneliness, anxiety, and more; visit our service page to find out more.
Our Tips for Dealing with Loneliness
Dealing with loneliness is not as simple, however as we mentioned above, you can start with more uncomplicated steps and gradually move towards more challenging processes.
Here are our top 5 simple tips that may help you deal with the feeling of loneliness:
1. Identifying and Acknowledge the feeling
The first step towards dealing with loneliness is acknowledging it.
Some common signs of loneliness are insomnia, constantly feeling tired, lack of motivation, finding value in materialist possession, change in stress level, and explosive reaction to something minor.
It is essential to identify what's causing you to feel lonely; think about in what situation and scenarios you feel alone. Only then you will be able to form a plan to challenge these feelings.
2. Positive self-talk
Negative self-talk is what drives loneliness. It sounds something like "I am not good enough to have friends" or "no one likes spending time with me". Putting ourselves down this way makes you feel lonely and may result in a lack of confidence and self-respect.
When you notice having any negative self-thoughts, stop immediately and try to replace them with something positive such as, "I have few good friends I can rely on" or "spending time with myself helps me grow as a person". This is one of the simplest yet effective ways to deal with loneliness and change your outlook on the situation for the better.
3. Hobbies and Outdoor Activities
If you have any hobbies or something you have always wanted to get better at or work on, this is the perfect opportunity. Scrolling through social media or watching Netflix every day is not something that will make you feel better, instead choose hobbies that will make you get out, socialise, learn new things, and achieve something new. Even small activities like exercising outside and talk your dog to a dog park can help.
4. Identify People and Relationships you value the most
Think of the people in your lives you value the most; it can be friends, members of your family, or a supportive work colleague. Rather than dwelling on what you don't have, recognise important people you already have in your life and try nurturing your relationship with them.
Exercise- List down a name of people in your life you appreciate the most and remind your self why you appreciate them. This will help shift your focus on positives.
5. Be kind to yourself
When negative thoughts pop into your head, remind yourself to be kind and compassionate to yourself. When we put ourselves down, our self-confidence level goes down, resulting in us feeling even more lonely and isolated.
Know that everyone fails at something at some point in their lives, and just because you failed at something now doesn't mean you will fail again or that you are not good enough. You deserve self-support, kindness, and care as much as people you care about in your life.
Bonus tip- Our final tip is to talk to someone. Whether it's with a family member, a friend, your counsellor, or a therapist, expressing how what, and why you feel a certain way can help a lot.
If you are currently feeling alone and disconnected, we hope that this article has helped you. Remember, if you feel that yourself or your family members or a friend needs help and support overcoming loneliness, contact Mynurva and learn how our therapists can help you.