Human Beings are social creatures and there is more and more evidence out there that suggests that loneliness not only affects your mental health but also your physical health. Although loneliness is experienced by many of us, it is often overlooked because as a society we pride ourselves on self reliance and being lonely carries a stigma so people do not like to admit that they are feeling lonely.
However coping with loneliness in itself can cause mental health problems, leaving a negative impact on your mental state. As previously mentioned human beings are social creatures and there is more and more evidence out there that suggests a correlation between loneliness and bad mental and physical health. Mentally, without interaction we can become sad and stressed and it can affect our self esteem whereas physically due to the level of stress hormones increasing, we could see a rise in blood pressure causing heart problems as well as problems in our eating and sleeping.
So if you are feeling lonely what sort of things can you do to try and overcome this feeling?
Firstly understanding why you are lonely can be important. Once you have identified why you might be lonely, you can then find a solution to the loneliness you might be feeling. For example, you may be lonely because you simply don’t see or talk to anyone or you may feel lonely because you don’t feel you are cared for by the people around you. Both reasons have different root causes and once there are identified you can begin work at the root of the problem.
Make new connections
Loneliness is a way of telling your body that you need to make more social connections. In order to fulfil this go out in to the world and try and meet different people. This sounds a lot simpler than it actually is; therefore I have given a few more tips on how you can achieve this.
– Take a class
Is there something you have wanted to learn or are interested in learning? This is always a good way to meet people as you all start with a common ground and have the same goals.
There are plenty of organisations that need volunteers and could do with your help. This is also a good way to give back to the community and at the same time feel a part of a team. As the volunteering will be consistence, your confidence will grow consistently as well and this will keep up your motivation of meeting new people.
– Join a group
Take up a hobby such as walking and join a group in your local area. Some groups may meet up every month and others quarterly. This is a good way to enjoy what you love doing and meet people at the same time.
Whatever you choose to do, it will not be easy and it will take you out of your comfort zone but you need to take it slow and at your own pace. It is important to start slowly and introduce it a little bit at a time, for example, start by going to the café or the cinema to get used to being around people first and if that sounds too overwhelming, you can start by communicating with people online and then when you get more confident you can move to groups or more consistence approaches such as volunteering.