Emotional loneliness does not necessarily equate to being alone. It is possible to be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. Even if you are surrounded by people it may feel like nobody understands you or that there is no one who really sees you as you really are, or really hears what you’re trying to say.
People often think that being alone and loneliness are the same thing and that’s not always true. Most of us will have experienced enjoying being alone or doing things solo, like curling up with a good book, or maybe taking a trip alone. If you’re an introvert, perhaps you even need alone time to recharge.
For many people loneliness isn’t so much a state of solitude as it is about feeling alone- having a feeling of craving human connection.
For some people emotional loneliness occurs because there is a physical, actual lack of support network, family or friends. For others, there may be people around, but the relationships lack depth and are not nurturing. In other cases it can simply be a perception, or a feeling that you can’t talk to anyone.
What are some ways to overcome emotional loneliness?
- Learn how to communicate your feelings and needs clearly
Easy right? Not really, but it is important. If there are people in your life that you love, and that love you – have you given them chance to understand and offer support?
Sometimes we fall in to the trap of expecting people to be mind readers, which rarely works out well. It’s important to find ways to communicate how you feel and what you need. A few ideas on how to do that:
- Find someone you trust and be clear on what you need. If you’re not looking for advice, just someone to listen, let them know that.
- If you can’t the right words to explain how you are feeling, is there a book, film, or song that can help you do that. It might be a way to open a conversation.
- Don’t be discouraged if your conversation doesn’t go the way you hope. You can try again.
2) Find people who understand what you’re experiencing
It may feel like you’re all alone, but somewhere in the world there are other people who are having or who have had similar experiences to you.
Online communities, support groups, peer support can all be great ways to find community and connection.
It’s important not too focus too much on the ‘problem’ that connect you – each person is so much more that a condition, or experience they have – but shared experience can be a great foundation to build from.
3) Find your way/s to express yourself
Some people are great at expressing their thoughts and feelings verbally – and others less so.
There are so many different ways that people to express their emotions.
For some people, writing- for example daily journaling, can be a good way to articulate thoughts.
Painting, dancing, singing, drawing and creating music are other ways that some people find they are able to express thoughts and feelings, that they cannot put in to words.
Expressing yourself in any of these ways can help people to make sense of how they feel – and it can also be a good way of communicating with others.
4) Be mindful of your self-talk
When we feel sad, down, low or lonely we can fall in to unhelpful thinking patterns including speaking to ourselves in very negative ways.
We will all be familiar with that inner voice, which sometimes is our biggest critic.
When we feel emotionally lonely, that inner voice might be really busy reminding us of all the times other people have let us down, or how lonely we feel.
Getting stuck in those negative thinking patterns for too long, or too often, can be a risk factor for developing mental health conditions like depression.
This is why it is so important to watch out for those negative thought patterns and to question their truth when they pop up – or talk about it with someone who can help us gain some perspective or maybe offer a different view of things.
It’s not about ignoring sadness or loneliness, but rather about having self- awareness about what thoughts are popping up – allowing yourself to feel what you feeling – and trying not to gold on to those feelings to tightly. They will pass.
See details of our brand new Loneliness Webinar session below and to discuss how we can support your organisation with workplace mental health and wellbeing, contact our team HERE.
Best Wishes, MHIB
We have a brand new, powerful webinar session looking at Loneliness and Mental Health, as follows:
Title: Loneliness and Mental Health
This mental health and wellbeing webinar explores the subject of loneliness – the theme of MHAW this year.
Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and is a key driver of poor mental health. The Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health in the Pandemic research has found that loneliness has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. The Foundation has been tracking loneliness levels in the UK during the pandemic and found the experience has been much higher with devastating impact. Loneliness has been an important factor contributing to higher levels of distress, resulting from people’s sense of isolation and reduced ability to connect with others. Loneliness is one of the leading issues that the public feel needs to be addressed.
The session will explore the experience of loneliness, its effect on our mental health and how we can all play a part in reducing loneliness in our communities.
By attending this presentation delegates should be able to:
- Summarise the impact that loneliness has on mental health and wellbeing
- Explain loneliness, including the causes of loneliness and how it relates to mental health problems
- Identify some practical tips to help manage feelings of loneliness
- Understand how we can all play a part in reducing loneliness in our communities
Contact our team HERE before 31st May 2022 to book this session for your team, at 50% off our normal session price.