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Managing and understanding loneliness

https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/managing-understanding-loneliness

counselling-directory.org.uk

Managing and understanding loneliness
We are social beings, and most of us feel the need to be close to others and seek out social contact and meaningful relationships. When our need for this type of contact is not met, we can find ourselves feeling alone, and yearning for closeness.

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Loneliness

Loneliness

Being lonely can mean not feeling part of the world despite having a great deal of social contact with others, or being in a relationship.

Loneliness can have a significant impact on your mental health and your emotional and physical well-being. It can be a contributing factor in anxiety, depression and can lead to prolonged isolation.

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Why we become lonely

Personal Circumstances:

  • Experiencing the break down of a relationship.

  • Comparing yourself to the apparently ‘happy’ lives of others - seeing only their positives and ignoring the negatives.

  • Not having as much social contact.
  • Losing someone close to you.

Internal Loneliness: 

  • You may find it difficult to like yourself or feel others do not like you.

  • Experiencing low self-confidence.

Mental Health Conditions:

  • Experiencing a mental health condition can contribute to feelings of loneliness.

  • Social contact may be difficult and create high levels of anxiety.

  • You may find yourself unconsciously or consciously avoiding meeting people.

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Practical ways of managing loneliness

  • Reconnect with the world around you - Making the most out of social contact
  • Spend meaningful time alone - this will develop your ability to manage time spent on your own.
  • Do regular physical activity.
  • Join a club, group or voluntary organization.

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Moving forward from loneliness

We will all at some point face loneliness, isolation and a deep sense of sadness. To move forward from these feelings, we must first look directly at our lonely thoughts and understand what they mean and where they come from. 

Realize that you are not alone in your loneliness. We all experience these feelings at some point. Over time, you will feel less lonely and will manage and cope, and find the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Solitude, Loneliness And Isolation

Positive solitude is a state of being alone without being lonely, in a contented manner.

Loneliness, on the other hand, is isolation with a hunger for social contact, something that distorts one’s perceptions, damaging the ability to interact in a normal way with others. It also lowers one’s self-esteem leading to a loneliness loop, characterized by social withdrawal and depression.