Most people want, and need, contact with other people. We don’t like feeling lonely. Whether it is in the form of physical touching, talking or just being with someone, most of us need some form of regular contact with other people.
There can also be times when we want to be alone.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone. Many of us need some “alone” time, whether it is to get some rest, recharge the batteries or to think things through.
There is a difference, however, between being alone and feeling lonely. When we experience loneliness, we can often feel empty, unconnected with others, and perhaps even unwanted by others. Loneliness is not necessarily about being alone. Being alone is a condition or a situation that we are in. Loneliness is a feeling; we want to be connected with other people, but it isn’t happening and we feel……lonely, lost.
Loneliness is Normal. It can also be a Problem
It is not unusual for people to feel lonely from time-to-time. It is a normal human emotion. It can happen to us for many reasons. Quite often, we get through it. Sometimes, however, feelings of loneliness have a negative effect on our lives, and we find it difficult to cope.
A recent study indicates that there has been an increase in loneliness since the COVID 19 pandemic. It is a small increase, so it is not catastrophic. However, the pandemic has led to more people feeling more lonely.
The problem is that there is a link between feeling lonely and mental health issues, like depression. If there is an increase in loneliness, it is likely that there will also be an increase in the rates of depression.
There are Solutions.
There are straightforward solutions. Here are some things that can be done to help with loneliness.
- Try talking to someone about your feelings. This could be a trusted friend or a family member. Or it could be a psychologist.
- Do something in a group that focuses on an activity that you usually enjoy. You may not feel like doing this but go ahead and do it anyway. Make sure it is about an activity that you enjoy and that you find interesting.
- Go to places where you can be around other people. For example, go for a walk in a park where there are other people around you. Instead of buying a take-away coffee, sit down in a café and have your coffee. Strike up a conversation, even just for a few moments, with café staff or staff at a shop.
- Pick up the phone and ring a friend with whom you have not spoken for a little while. (You could message them but calling them is better.) Enquire after them and focus on what they have to say about themselves. Suggest meeting up with them over a coffee or a meal.
- Make sure that you are eating well and exercising.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Consider volunteering.
Help is Always Available.
Always remember that there is help available if you need it. You can speak with your local GP or get in touch with places like Beyond Blue. The Black Dog Institute has a lot of online resources. Or, if you needed assistance from a psychologist, you can contact us. Help is close at hand.