Spotlight On Loneliness
Welcome to my article, which I am choosing to post as a Blog, and is titled Spotlight On Loneliness. This article I found in a magazine at my local Chemists. It was written by the Better Health Every Mind Matters Loneliness campaign and provides some practical advice and tips on how to help yourself, or others if you or they are feeling lonely. Interested, then please read on.
I appreciate in August 2023 I posted a Harvard Article titled “An Ode To Loneliness” which particularly said that “loneliness is on the increase especially amongst young people”, however this one comes from a different angle.
Introduction To Loneliness
Loneliness is an issue that can affect us all, young or old, at any point in our lives. We might live in a busy city or a rural location, on our own or with others and still feel isolated.
You should not blame yourself for feeling like you are struggling, now or at any other time.
Loneliness has no common cause. Sometimes it can be triggered by a life event or change in situation, or it may not be triggered by anything at all.
We all experience feeling lonely in different ways. This means there are a range of ways we can try to overcome loneliness, and we need to identify the help and support that works for us. It is really important to remember that loneliness and difficult feelings can pass.
While loneliness is a feeling we can all relate to, sometimes admitting we feel lonely is much harder. We want people to talk more openly about feeling lonely and the impact that loneliness can have.
Sometimes it can feel easier to reach out to someone else who may be feeling lonely. There are plenty of simple actions you can take to help lift someone out of loneliness and in doing so, it may help you feel less lonely too.
Find out more about the steps you can take to help yourself and those around you and where you can find further support.
Advice For Loneliness
Here are some practical advice and tips on how to help yourself or others if you, or they, are feeling lonely.
Keep In Touch With Those Around You:
Talk to friends and family. Sometimes a friendly chat can make a big difference, whether someone is around the corner or further away.
Whether you choose to meet up in person, or chat on the phone, via video calls or on social media, all contact can help remind you that you are not alone.
Make sure to check in regularly – most of us love hearing from people we have lost contact with. Creating a routine of checking in with others and being more sociable can be good, as it can make it easier to reach out at the time you feel lonely.
Messaging old friends or colleagues, or setting up a group chat on a messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger may help them and you feel more connected.
Join A Group:
Find a group with a shared interest. Being part of an offline or online group or club is a great way to make connections and meet people. Think about activities that you would like to try out and look for groups centred around these.
The people around you may also be able to introduce you to a group they belong to. This could be anything from, gaming and singing to cooking or sport.
Also remember to be welcoming to newcomers and seek to involve others in the conversation, especially those who may be lacking confidence.
Do Things You Enjoy:
Filling your time doing more things you like can stop you from focusing on feelings of loneliness and is good for your wellbeing.
Spending time outdoors in green space, doing exercise and listening to podcasts and radio shows are just some of the ways to boost your mood and occupy your mind.
Share Your Feelings – But Do Not Compare:
Being able to talk about how you feel with others can help with loneliness and hearing a familiar voice or seeing a friendly face makes us feel less isolated.
However, try not to compare yourself with others. Remember that many people may only share the good things happening to them on social media, so comparing can make you feel lonelier.
Plus, we can never be sure of what someone else is going through.
Help Someone Else Feel Connected:
Reach out to others – think about people you know who might be feeling lonely and make an effort to connect to them.
Remember that feeling lonely for a long time can make it harder for people to make new connections. It may be difficult for people experiencing loneliness to respond to our friendly contact at first, so be patient and kind.
Try to keep in touch with those around you too. If you pass neighbours or acquaintances on the street, take time to smile, wave or chat. You could offer to swap phone numbers or create a local group chat to stay connected.
Think about making time to volunteer – it is a great way to meet people and connect. Seeing the benefits of your actions can really help boost your mental wellbeing.
NHS Responders https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/ and Age UK Telephone Befrienders https://www.ageuk.org.uk/getinvolved/volunteer/telephone-friend/ are a great place to start.
Invite Someone Along To Activities Near You:
There are many free and low cost activities you can take part in throughout the year.
Look at Visit England’s list of cheap and free things to do for suggested events in your local area and invite someone to come along.
Support For Loneliness:
If you cannot reach out to friends or family, if you want to talk to someone in confidence, or if you know someone who may need some support these organisations are here to help.
If you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety, or low mood, the NHS mental health hub has advice, a self-assessment quiz, audio guide and practical tools to help. Visit https://www.nhs/mental-health/
A free 24 hour confidential telephone helpline offering information, friendship and advice to people over 65.
Call 0800 4 70 80 90
Mumsnet is a great place to connect with other parents and carers. The website offers advice, knowledge and support to help make lives easier on everything from conception to childbirth and babies to teenagers.
Grannset is a social networking site that offers a forum for over 50’s to chat, debate, support each other and share a laugh.
How I Can Help As A Psychotherapeutic Counsellor
The process of seeing a Counsellor for therapy with regard to loneliness would be about exploring and discovering what has lead you to this point in your life in order to gain an understanding of it, particularly in relation to your thoughts and feelings surrounding the issue. This understanding can be the beginning of shifting the feelings of loneliness and/or perhaps a form of low mood or depression. When this happens you will find you have the time to reflect, on this understanding, you will feel heard and listened to. This will enable you to view things in a different, more constructive light as your perspective changes.
Sessions are offered in a calm, safe and tranquil setting whilst offering an environment which is confidential, open, empathetic, congruent (genuine) and with non-judgemental warmth.