Loneliness is a part of life. But if loneliness continuously gets ignored and goes untreated, it can quickly cause long-lasting physical and emotional health issues. Ultimately, there are many strategies for coping with loneliness. Those who understand the issues associated with loneliness can identify the warning signs and pursue treatment options.
What Is Loneliness, and How Does It Impact People?
Regardless of age, loneliness can affect anyone at any time. It causes people to feel alone, regardless of whether they are by themselves or with other people in the same physical space.
People may feel lonely if they live on their own and have little to no social contact with family members, friends, and others. Alternatively, people may be socially engaged with others but still feel a lack of connection to the outside world. This can occur if they believe others do not care about them or what they have to say, or if they do not share their true personality and make genuine connections. Despite their best efforts, these people may feel emotionally distant in their relationships, which can contribute to loneliness, as well as associated physical and emotional health problems.
Chronic loneliness can lead to severe stress that taxes the body. The physical symptoms of stress include increased heart rate, muscle tightness, and elevated blood pressure. Stress can also cause insomnia, make people more susceptible than before to colds and infections, and lead to overeating or undereating, procrastination, and ongoing use of drugs and alcohol.
In addition to their physical symptoms, loneliness and stress can impact mental wellbeing. People coping with loneliness that contributes to stress may become agitated, irritated, or frustrated faster than is typical for them, and they may find it tough to relax. They may also be more prone to avoid others and disengage from social situations whenever possible. If left unaddressed for too long, loneliness can trigger serious mental health disorders, such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Although loneliness and stress can be problematic, both conditions are treatable. In fact, those who understand how to cope with loneliness are well-equipped to build and maintain strategies to minimize the impact of these conditions now and into the future.
Tips for How to Cope with Loneliness
It may be helpful to take a multi-faceted approach to determine how to cope with loneliness. Once people consider a wide range of strategies to help manage loneliness, they can find out which techniques deliver the intended results.
Social engagement offers one of the best ways to cope with loneliness. Spending even a few minutes each day engaging with family members, friends, or coworkers can help people feel connected. At the same time, each engagement helps foster a meaningful, fulfilling relationship.
Setting up daily or weekly phone calls or video chats with loved ones can help people cope with loneliness. In the time leading up to a phone call or video chat, people can use emails, text messages, and social media to stay engaged with their loved ones, too.
Along with engaging with loved ones, socializing with work colleagues can be beneficial to help combat loneliness. In terms of work engagement, it may seem difficult to connect with superiors and peers, particularly for those who are working remotely and must remain physically distant due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, scheduling time to meet with a superior to discuss work or nonwork topics can help people feel connected throughout the workweek. People can also set up time for virtual lunches or other remote meetings with coworkers to stay in contact and foster healthy working relationships..
Outside of engaging with loved ones and work superiors and colleagues, it can be helpful to meet new people to alleviate loneliness. To do so, people can enroll in a class or workshop; this allows people to learn new skills or hone existing ones and meet others who share their interests. It may also be a good idea to become a community volunteer, join a faith community, or meet neighbors, which can result in new relationships.
Online chat groups and communities are great options for people who want to mitigate loneliness but are unable to leave their homes as well. A Google search can make it easy to find virtual groups of like-minded individuals who can engage in online or video chats about different topics such as hobbies, books, music, faith, or travel. Once people join one or more of these groups, they can stay connected to others from across the globe.
These tips may be used to help cope with loneliness, and they must be utilized consistently to deliver long-term benefits. If people find ways to cope with loneliness that work well, they should continuously leverage them. With this approach, people can move closer to overcoming loneliness.
Tips For How to Overcome Loneliness
Overcoming loneliness can be challenging, even for those who have implemented successful strategies to help cope with this problem. As with many aspects of life, persistence is often the key to overcoming loneliness.
Remember, no one is immune to loneliness, and there may be times when people feel lonely, regardless of the strategies they use. On the other hand, strategies that work should be executed at the first symptoms of loneliness. These strategies can help people feel better about themselves and allow them to manage loneliness. When used over time, the strategies can play a crucial role in overcoming loneliness.
To determine which strategies may be most effective and impactful for how to cope with loneliness, it may be helpful to meet with a mental health counselor. This allows a person to share their feelings with a mental health professional, as well as develop safe, healthy strategies to cope with loneliness.
A safe, healthy strategy to cope with loneliness may also require medications and/or other therapy options. For example, loneliness may cause the onset of depression, or may cause preexisting depressive feelings to worsen. In this instance, meeting with a doctor to discuss depression therapy options may help people simultaneously combat depression and find ways to overcome loneliness.
It is important to note that the symptoms of loneliness can be severe, andcan escalate quickly. If people feel overwhelmed by loneliness to the point of feeling unsafe, call 911. This allows people to get the immediate assistance they need to mitigate loneliness before it gets out of hand.
Pursue Mental Health Therapy Options to Manage Loneliness and Depression
Loneliness can affect everyone, but how the feeling impacts people varies widely. If loneliness makes it virtually impossible to perform everyday activities like working, going to school, or socializing with family members and friends, it may be time to explore mental health therapy options.
At Achieve TMS, we offer a comprehensive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy program to people coping with depression that causes loneliness, stress, and various emotional and physical side effects. Our medical clinicians can perform an evaluation to determine if a patient qualifies for TMS and provide insights into our revolutionary treatment program. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online or call or text us today at 877-247-0101.