Guest Author - Tracy Hamilton
Loneliness is something that most of have experienced at one time or another. Some of us can do something about this while others may be unable to due to their circumstances.
Loneliness can be sprung on us all of a sudden or gradually consume us. Bereavement , marriage or relationship breakdowns, being isolated after having children or friends moving away are some of the reasons we can find ourselves isolated and alone. However, we can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely or that they donít fit in.
It is not unusual to feel depressed, unworthy, to contemplate suicide and give up on life. Hiding away can result in anxiety, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
Loneliness through loss can be debilitating and take sometime to recover from. When the will to continue returns there are things that you can do to put yourself out there again.
According to research, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year - The Age Of Loneliness BBC1. So having a good support network is crucial.
Combatting some kinds of loneliness can be tougher than others. For example if you are house bound or there are other mitigating circumstances that prevent you from going out, it can be harder to make new friends or meet new people.
For others it can be easier, although still challenging depending on your level of confidence, fear or determination. There are a lot of lonely people out there, and the internet has created a society who have virtual friends instead of real ones.
Staying in and shutting yourself away can create a limited world for you. Things close in on you and life can feel difficult and unmanageable. Meeting new people can create a wider perspective, give you confidence and open your world up again.
When you are feeling ready to take action and make new friends or widen your horizons, here are some ideas:
Change your habits - create new lifestyle habits. For example; if you work from home, take your laptop to a cafe one day a week if possible and work from there. Also, just finding a cafe you like a becoming a regular there is also a good way to meet new people. The staff and other cafe users will get used to seeing you there and it wonít be long until they start talking to you.
Join clubs and groups - What are your interests? Find local groups via the internet that meet regularly, for example; photography, cycling, book clubs, swimming, knitting, cinema. Meeting people with similar interests is a good place to start to make new friends.
Create a structure - Having a structure to your day and your life can be really helpful to give you a sense of purpose and a routine. Having a routine can be motivating and create new functional habits.
Feeling worthy and happy with who you are makes it okay to be you. However, most of the time we make it that itís not okay be you. Donít let your worth be valued with regards to whether you are in a relationship or not, or how many friends you have or what things you have. Instead let your worth be about whatís in your heart, the love you feel for others and the things that you do.
If youíve experienced feeling lonely, why not befriend a neighbour who is on their own and make regular visits to them. Take them a treat round, offer to read for them or do their shopping or just pop round for a cuppa and a chat. They will be grateful for the company.