Every year Month of May is observed as Mental health awareness month. The theme for the year 2022 is Loneliness. Yes, you heard it right, it is loneliness that we will talk about. Many of us fall into the fragments of loneliness in our lives. How does it affects mental health ? Lets discuss in this article.
The National Mental Health Awareness month is going on, and the theme for this year focused mainly on loneliness. It is imperative to take control of this opportunity to highlight a few things that might support you being a university student in times of isolation.
There are a few common misconceptions that you cannot be lonely while surrounded by individuals. In contrast, loneliness is a vital part of your life at about any age.
Heading out to the university gives an entirely new place for studying that triggers the event. Indeed, several of us know about the feeling of loneliness in the last couple of years as we have navigated lockdowns and looked at home.
Continue reading for a few of the easy, practical suggestions useful for you. These tips will also help you cope if you ever feel lonely. You need to understand that every feeling is vital and valid; therefore, being aware and taking a few consistent actions can benefit you over time!
Mental Health Awareness : Theme – Loneliness
Illnesses and the issues of the mind were not understood well and are often considered in extremes or perhaps even adverse. However, it should not have been thought about before mental health awareness became the main topic for HR globally.
Noted as the “mental sanitation” by professionals and the lobotomies that were the mainstay of psychiatric treatment until the 1960s. It included everything from depression, epilepsy, and what we now know as PTSD eventually when our grandparents initially joined the workforce.
The procedure was implemented on 12-year-old Howard Dully due to their reluctance to go to bed on time had a nasty habit of daydreaming.
The mental illness and health had no awareness. With that, the stigmatized and feared mental health institutions became the figure of speed in the prominent American horror films, haunted houses, and campfire stories.
It involved a single champion Clifford W. Beers at the beginning of the 20th Century, who transformed a personal struggle over mental illness into a national movement with millions of others who came together to finish his vision.
Beer’s mainly grew up with mental health issues and communities valuing critical thinking.
Beers were born in 1876 in New Haven, Connecticut, in a family among five kids who would all be undergoing struggles related to mental illness. The family had to suffer from a series of instances or tragedies that included the demise of one kid during its infancy.
The other kid who started to have seizures being a teenager also demised early, and as a young man, Clifford struggled thinking that he would be developing a similar condition.
However, he and the other three of his siblings lived well into their adulthoods, and all would eventually die in the mental health institution, two of who committed suicide. Beers have been exposed to the prevailing “scientific” strategies around mental hygiene as it was noted as the incumbent and rhetoric.
The mind finding American Self
The book sparked a mental health reform movement called by making ripples in a newly burgeoning contemporary psychology community. The book explores the severity of disease and the harsh methods that may have impeded rehabilitation, assisting in removing the stigmatization among the general population.
Beers, Meyer, physician William H. Welch, but rather a philosopher William James formed the multidisciplinary Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene 2 months. After publishing his book, it was to work on improving levels of care and attitudes toward the mentally ill, as well as preventing mental illness and promoting mental health.
Several other states immediately led the united and founded their organizations due to Beer’s national momentum.
Since then, Beer’s legacy has experienced some astonishing improvements. Mental Health America successfully got compulsory mental health treatments included in Medicare in 1966. In 1974, USCSC or the United States Civil Service Commission agreed to drop the question “If you had ever been mentally ill?” from federal government job applications, as requested by Mental Health America.
In 2005, Mental Health America’s efforts led to a landmark Supreme Court victory pronouncing the death sentence for juvenile delinquents constitutional, freeing 73 people who had been sentenced to death.
The problem with loneliness
Loneliness is the feeling that we undergo whenever we require rewarding social contact and a relationship that is not met.
Loneliness is never the same as being alone. You may have to select to be alone and live happily without contacting or socializing with people, while others may find this experience lonely. In another scenario, you may be having loads of social contact or even being in a relationship by being a part of the family and still experience loneliness, mainly if you feel misunderstood or lack care by people surrounding you.
Types of loneliness
When you are even who is close to you is no longer in a relationship or experiencing a breakup, moving house, loss of life, new job, etc.
You may feel as if you lack a massive group of friends, neighbors, or colleagues.
The feelings or sensations of loneliness will arrive and leave.
Loneliness is often brought about on specific events or days such as birthdays, weekends, Christmas, etc.
Most of the time, you may feel lonely.
Loneliness may lead to sadness, Stress, anxiety, binge eating, and PTSD, among other mental health issues. It can affect one’s mental health and one’s physical health. Sleep difficulties, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a heightened incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. All of these variables play a role in premature death.
Each person’s mental health is affected differently by social isolation. You may have already struggled with mental health issues that have now been exacerbated, or you may be experiencing emotional changes due to the epidemic and question if this is acceptable and will pass.
The following are a few of the signs of loneliness that you should consider with seriousness:
Sleep is the essential component for sound mental health; however, a new schedule or the lack of having one can lead to sleep disruptions leading to disorientation, low mood, grogginess, and more. You should keep track of time while being in isolation, which becomes highly challenging.
You may wonder about what day is it or what time is it? Your screen time eventually increases with a more excellent search on the Internet or even shopping or binge-watching your favorite series.
Greater exposure to blue light suppresses your body’s ability to produce melatonin, associated with insomnia, turning and tossing, and nightmares. Sleep disturbances can lead to depression as well as anxiety.
Before the global pandemic spread out, the mental health professionals discussed a serious, existing epidemic in the US, namely, the loneliness that naturally has increased through our isolation. Professionals inform us that human connections are essential for us all to thrive and survive as it is lonely in amongst the more crowded room with people you know pretty well.
Loneliness happens out of feeling disconnected emotionally and is highly personal; therefore, it increases our social time and does not resolve the issues. Chronic illness is excruciating and associated with various health issues that include anxiety and depression, although most of us will be experiencing loneliness in our lifetime.
Americans are expressing more symptoms of sadness linked to that same COVID-19 virus than in previous years, and those symptoms are likely to remain, according to studies from the 2003 SARS outbreak. Low mood, weariness, sorrow, emotional numbing and helplessness, suicidal ideation, and suicide planning are all indications of depression, which is a severe condition that requires rapid treatment.
Anxiety and Stress
With depressed symptoms, tension and worry have increased because we began isolating ourselves at home, and we may now be concerned about re-entering society. Constantly feeling on edge can cause digestion problems, heart palpitations, exhaustion, difficulties concentrating, and reduced coping abilities, among other things.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Sleep disruption, loneliness, anxiety, and depression are all inter-connected and are just a few of the effects lingering as the quarantine starts to lift. If the symptoms persist way beyond four months, you are diagnosed with PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The symptoms of PTSD generally appear soon after the trauma has taken place; however, it can develop for months or even years. The trauma can be experienced personally even though someone else’s experience is related to the feelings of isolation from the loved one and even the fear of accessing the basic needs.
The link between loneliness and mental health
True, loneliness is not regarded as a clinical mental health issue in and of itself. However, it is well worth our time because of its direct ties to our health. Simply enough, isolation promotes more isolation.
Studies have shown that the chronic loneliness will lead to the following illness:
Socially withdrawing and increased sense of loneliness
Lonely persons who spend time alone might progressively lose their understanding of interacting with others, withdrawing further and shrinking their lives.
Depression is associated with loneliness
It’s difficult to determine if loneliness causes depression or depression causes loneliness, although the symptoms can be pretty similar.
Anxiety in social situations
It is quite understandable that your instinct is to avoid the said event if you are unused to socializing and may have to learn a few social skills suddenly to navigate the party and the event. It will not aid your loneliness, and it can be highly worthwhile tapping into your inner resilience to make an effort to attend and meet new people.
Experiencing bad quality relationships
Often the worst type of loneliness is crowded into a room where you cannot feel any link or bond with anyone.
The benefits of talking about loneliness
Few individuals might be experiencing a more profound and constant feeling of loneliness coming from within and do not vanish off irrespective of the social conditions and the number of friends
There are various reasons behind people experiencing this type of loneliness. You may also feel unable to adore yourself and be liked by others, where you might lack your level of confidence.
As you think about what makes you feel lonely could help you develop a solution. Consider drilling down and chatting it out with people you trust through dark times. As much as it may seem like a battle — opening up displayed good courage, and just being honest and open may help you connect with people by expressing your vulnerabilities. It may be a flatmate, a friend, a family member, or your general practitioner.
How to start a conversation about loneliness
Now that you have ideas about where you should start a conversation and prepare for it mentally, the big question is. How would you walk into a room where you do not have any idea about a soul and strike up a natural conversation and not sweating profusely or stuttering, or even simply backing right off?
Let us consider a few of the simple, practical baby steps that offer you a type of capabilities and, more vitally, the confidence for getting out there and mingling among their masses.
Step into the room like you do not belong there
It would help you a lot when you are having some type of deliberate mental conditioning beforehand, telling yourself the outcomes that would be positive. There is also a reason behind the dictators controlling the message. Brainwashing can even be done on your own, but it works.
While faking a bit of confidence, it can offer you the perfect first impression. Surely we all understand this is easier than what it is done. But, allow your pretend and gamifying this type of situation. Pretending that you are an actor is the part that is played. It is time that you channeled the vibes of being an actor displaying natural confidence and simplicity. You should try your best to be within the limits of your character and proceed with the convictions.
Create a shortlist of queries for asking people
It is the script for you. Review it, remember it, and use it (figuratively) to start a discussion when you meet someone. Keep records of the types of inquiries you can ask using the acronym FORM. Simply choose those and let the discussion flow.
The idea is to analyze the individual with questions like these when you first meet them and then be creative. After answering any of these things, you’ll most likely come up with a topic of common interest, and the discussion can then take off.
Understand the opening scene is not long-lasting
The feeling of uneasiness is genuine. However, you should keep in mind that it is temporary, and you are more likely to be experiencing some type of discomfort with every person you are meeting.
Let us hope that the others have empathy as we have all been there. You may be having your thoughts swirling in your head and the awkwardness that you may feel to appear with everyone having felt this sensation at some point in time. Take a deep breath and know what you think because it is short-lived and universal.
Ways to reduce loneliness
Most of us feel accepted and loved as it is hard-wired and long-lasting. Relationships offer us an excellent experience in terms of companionship and connection. Without any type of relationship, we become lonelier and live in isolation. It is tough to get used to doing things alone after a long relationship. So, how would one be able to overcome
this feeling of solitude and loneliness?
Several single people are out there having no intentions of dating since they love the loneliness associated with their unmarried life. Today, we will share a few ways to overcome loneliness and live a good healthy life.
1.Get to Know Yourself Better
You should get to recognize yourself better while you’re single. “If you love your own company, you’ll never be alone,” as the proverb goes. Self-esteem and well-being are dependent on your connection with yourself, and Journaling can help you discover more about yourself.
Keeping a diary allows you to get an insight about yourself, your emotions, your likes and dislikes, and other topics. It’s a healthy pastime that’s rejuvenating and beneficial to your general health.
2.Nurture Your Friendships
The ideal way to overpower loneliness is by linking it with other people. You should take time to nurture friendships and even cultivate the latest entries. Friendships are extraordinary relationships that give you the socialization you may require without worrying about the complexities that dating has.
You should surround yourself with single people, and it is comforting. The third-wheeling coupled with the sense of loneliness emphasizes your loneliness, making you hyper-aware of your single life. Undergoing loneliness does not feel bad when a friend experiences a similar thing.
3.Pick Up a Hobby
Hobbies are the best to expand your knowledge and even spark creativity. Choosing a new hobby opens up the gates for meeting a unique individual with many opportunities. The activities associated with painting, knitting, rock climbing, traveling, cooking, and playing instruments are beneficial in combating loneliness.
4.Get Plugged into Community
When experiencing loneliness, the entire world might appear to be far away. It may be enticing to lock yourself away in your home and keep everyone out. It is vital to have someone to check in on you for your emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness.
If you’re single and live far away from your family, society is a terrific location to start making friends. Volunteering at an animal shelter or the Salvation Army, organizing a fundraiser, joining up for an event, or attending municipal meetings is all examples of community involvement.
5.Delight in Your Freedom
The relationships are incredibly costly. When you care for someone else, you put their needs above your good and head out of your way to do things for them. Relationships are emotionally draining. There is various jealousy and fights as you need not have to deal with any of the drama if you are single. You may have the freedom to do as you wish without worrying about any significant other approval.
6.Plan and Organize
Organizing and planning are the main strategies for distracting one from feeling lonely and replacing the feeling with this kind of accomplishment. It can help plan a vacation, visit a friend, or attend a concert. Cleaning may appear tedious, but it brings about some significant relief. Decluttering the home feels as though you have decluttered your mind.
In the world of a pandemic outbreak, we can still be flexing our social muscles. Irrespective of whether it is the grocery store or the gym, you may need an effort to speak to the strangers who are around you. They may even experience loneliness associated with simple hello that can alter the entire day. Some friendships and connections are waiting to be formed with a more straightforward person who comes in contact with you.
8.Understand What You Are Feeling
Loneliness may say you are depressed as if you’re drowning while everyone else is breathing. It’s overwhelming, and while it feels like it’ll go on forever, it won’t. Keep note of your thinking: are you constantly criticizing yourself or dismissing how you feel?
Replace those negative ideas with personality. It’s OK to be lonely, but it’s not appropriate to absorb and apply unpleasant sentiments to oneself. Better days are coming, and it’s critical to remember that.
9.Take a Break From Social Media
When you are spending a reasonable amount of time on social media platforms, you can breed depression, anxiety, and the sensation of worthlessness. Checking the engagement pictures on the social media platforms is the final thing you wish to view.
People present some false perceptions of themselves, which may appear quite impossible to live up to. It is time you gave yourself some break instead of scrolling aimlessly through social media. Allow a reasonable amount of time every day on social media and take a step back.
10.Take Care of Something
You need to impose a lot of care on something that will alleviate the feeling of loneliness. It can be a plant or a pet for the responsibility to maintain a life that inspires and motivates. Pets are also emotional comforters cuddling with buddies.
Always get help from the experts or your loved ones if you are drowning in the sea of loneliness.
They can quickly identify any other medical conditions that are there. The clinical psychologist or counselor sounds excellent on the board for voicing your feelings.
It is essential as it can help identify whenever you are depressed. Always visit a doctor if you feel sad, have mood disorders, wake up early, gain or lose weight, have trouble sleeping, have low self-esteem, feel highly anxious, have restlessness, or have suicidal thoughts!