Studies show that 36% of Americans suffer from severe loneliness. Unfortunately, loneliness leads to negative feelings and thoughts. It makes you feel depressed and sad.
Loneliness can happen for several reasons, but it’s not something to ignore. After all, it won’t go away on its own.
The solution is to seek help for your loneliness. Mental health services are available and can make a significant difference in your life.
Here is a guide to help you learn how mental health services can help you if you feel severely lonely and isolated.
Causes and Effects of Loneliness
While anyone can feel lonely, this problem tends to affect specific demographics more than others. For example, the following groups of people tend to have a higher chance of loneliness:
- Low-income individuals
- Certain underestimated racial groups, including Hispanics.
- Young adults
Additionally, people suffering from mental illnesses tend to have a higher risk of struggling with depression. One study shows that 21% of U.S. adults had a mental illness in 2020.
Loneliness is also a direct result of isolation. You might feel this way if you don’t have close family members or friends. You might also feel like this if you lack deep, close relationships with people.
People also feel lonely when they can’t drive a car any longer. They might be trapped at home most of the time, unable to leave.
Living alone also leads to loneliness, as there is no one to talk to. However, some people struggle with loneliness even when they don’t live alone.
In many cases, loneliness is a combination of the things described here. But unfortunately, loneliness affects people in many negative ways. Here are some of the effects:
Depression and Anxiety
The most common effects are depression and anxiety. People aren’t made to be alone. Instead, the human body and brain were designed for relationships.
Depression leaves you feeling deep sadness. It reduces your motivation, drive, and energy. It can also remove your hope.
Anxiety causes feelings of nervousness. It makes you feel like something isn’t right, and in many cases, you can’t even put your finger on what is wrong.
Depression and anxiety lead some people to negative thoughts. There is even a link between depression and suicide. However, negative thinking only worsens feelings of isolation, depression, and loneliness.
Decreased Physical Health
Depression and isolation also take a toll on a person’s physical health. When a person is severely depressed, they experience weaker immune systems.
As a result, they also have increased risks of heart problems, diseases, and obesity. This occurs partly because of a lack of movement and motivation.
After all, a deeply sad person probably won’t feel like exercising. So instead, they might turn to junk food, hoping it makes them feel better.
Care for Yourself
Learning the causes and effects of loneliness is vital. However, discovering how to address the issues is even more critical.
Depression tends to remove the motivation a person has to care for themselves. When you stop caring for yourself, it affects your physical health. Unfortunately, poor physical health increases mental health issues.
It’s a vicious cycle that repeats if you ignore it. Thus, one of the best things you can do is to care for yourself.
When was the last time you visited your Primary Care doctor for a routine checkup? If you’re due for one, schedule an appointment.
Well-Woman examinations are ideal for women, as they address a woman’s health. Conversely, men can seek Men’s Health exams to address the common issues men face.
Attending health care appointments is essential for your health and well-being. However, it’s not the only thing you can do when feeling isolated and sad. Here are a few more ideas:
- Move around more
- Exercise each day
- Eat healthier
- Try to get the necessary amount of sleep
- Use relaxation and meditation techniques
- Find a hobby or activity you enjoy
Any step you take for self-care can make a difference to your physical and mental state.
Reach Out to Those You Know
Isolation leads to loneliness. But did you know that loneliness leads to isolation? People who feel lonely and depressed tend to isolate themselves.
They pull away from their families and friends. So instead of reaching out to people to conquer their loneliness, they resort to isolating themselves. This isolation only worsens things.
As a result, one way to address your sadness is to reach out to people you know. Most people have at least one or two people they can call. So if you have someone in your life, call them.
Reaching out to people might not be what you feel like doing. Yet, it’s what you need. You might even open up about your feelings if you feel comfortable.
Your friends and relatives might be more than willing to help you through this season of life. In addition, they might give you information about resources you didn’t know about.
For example, they might recommend our no-cost Health Clinic. Your friends might also suggest spending time together.
Remember, if you don’t tell them how you feel, they won’t know. But if you tell them, they might want to help.
Seek Outlets to Meet New People
If you’re lonely because you’re alone, one option to consider is meeting new people. After all, if you can develop new relationships, you might feel less lonely.
In today’s world, social media sites are the go-to for people when they’re lonely. Unfortunately, turning to the Internet isn’t the solution. Instead, try some of these options for meeting new people:
- Sign up for a class at a library or community center
- Start a hobby
- Join a church or religious group
- Join a book club
Meeting new people gets more challenging as you age. However, there are ways. You can try some of these ideas or find others.
Another idea is to reconnect with old friends. For example, did you have a close friend years ago? If you haven’t reached out to them in years, you could try now.
The goal of meeting new people is to find some relationships. Deep relationships are an ideal solution if you want to feel less lonely.
Attend Group Therapy
You can also meet new people through a support group. A support group is an event open to the public. It consists of a leader and people seeking help.
Every support group has a theme or purpose. For example, AA is a support group that recovering alcoholics join. Here are some other examples of support groups you can find:
- Chronic illness
- Domestic violence survivors
- Child abuse recovery
- Mental health issues
- Eating disorders
- Weight loss
As you see, each group targets a specific problem that people face. There are also support groups for loneliness and depression. You’ll benefit if you can find and join a group for loneliness and depression.
Support groups often meet one to four times a month. The meetings might occur at a library, health care center, or church, and anyone can attend.
Attending a support group for depression offers the following benefits:
People attending a depression support group are all there for the same reasons. They want to seek help for their feelings and know they’ll meet people this way.
Feelings of Inclusion
People also attend support groups to be around others who understand how they feel. A support group for depression is made up of people suffering from the same issue.
As a result, you’ll feel a sense of belonging by attending the meetings.
Develop a Support System
Additionally, you’ll get to know the people in the group. Because everyone is there for the same reasons, you’ll get along well. In addition, you’ll have a support system around you for help.
Learn Effective Steps
Support groups also teach the attendees how to deal with their issues. Thus, you’ll learn how other people deal with their loneliness. You’ll also learn methods and strategies to try.
Finally, you’ll discover treatment resources for your mental health issues. For example, you might learn about the Nagel Clinic.
This Clinic is the only one in Bander County, TX that offers no-cost services for mental health treatment. Additionally, they offer no-cost physical health services.
Attend Mind Body Spirit Counseling
Counseling is a service people seek for various reasons. For example, some people seek counseling to deal with trauma. Others seek it for help controlling their anger.
You can also seek counseling from a mental health clinic for loneliness. One form of counseling is Mind Body Spirit counseling. This form of counseling differs from traditional talk therapy but provides effective results.
Mind Body Spirit counseling involves several key principles:
Includes Talk Therapy
Talk therapy is the most common form of counseling available. During talk therapy, you talk about the things on your mind. For example, you might talk about bad memories, struggles, or dark feelings you have.
The goal is to talk about all your feelings to release them. Your therapist then helps you think differently. Your therapist also helps you work through issues.
Mind Body Spirit counseling uses this technique but doesn’t stop there.
Incorporates the Body
The unique aspect of Mind Body Spirit counseling is that it incorporates the body into the equation. Thus, it views a person’s feelings and thoughts as a whole – body, mind, and spirit.
As a result, you’ll use hands-on strategies to treat your loneliness and depression. For example, you’ll learn breathing techniques, which help you control your brain and its chemicals.
You’ll also use meditation and other hands-on techniques to address your feelings.
Develop Positive Habits
You can use the things you learn through Mind Body Spirit counseling at home to work on your issues. In fact, using these techniques will help you overcome your lonely, depressed feelings.
But you can also make other changes that will also help. For example, developing positive habits changes the way you think and feel. Here are some ideas to consider:
Gratitude is the act of being thankful for something. Everyone can find things to be grateful for regardless of life circumstances. So using gratitude exercises can help you think and feel differently.
One simple exercise is to write down one thing you’re thankful for daily. This exercise might be simple for the first few days. However, it gets more challenging after that.
Focus on What You Can Control
There are two categories of things in life: things you can control and things you can’t control. A great habit to develop is learning the difference. Then, you can focus on the things within your control.
For example, you can control your own decisions but can’t control someone else’s. As a result, it’s helpful to focus on your decisions rather than on changing someone else.
Set Small Goals
One thing that can make you feel good is achievements. Therefore, setting small goals is one way to overcome your depression. Each time you meet a small goal, it may motivate you to work toward another one.
Give to Others
Finally, focusing your attention on others takes your mind off yourself. For example, people who volunteer for things often feel blessed by giving of themselves. Thus, you can improve your mental health by giving to others.
Seek Mental Health Services Today
Feeling lonely and isolated is devastating to a person’s mental and physical health. Fortunately, help is available.
Arthur Nagel Community Clinic offers no-cost mental health services to people living in Bander County. We’re the only Clinic that offers free services to qualifying individuals.
You can reach us at (830) 796-3448. Call today to schedule an appointment for services that will make a difference in your life.