Here are 6 useful facts you should know about loneliness
1. Loneliness is natural and normal!
Loneliness is your body’s way of letting you know you’re not getting your social needs met. It does not mean there is anything wrong with you, or that you aren’t normal. In fact 85% of people have experienced loneliness in the last year! Think of it as a little warning sign to address your social needs – treat it in the same way you would if you were hungry, feed it.
2. Loneliness is not something that the older generation feel
In fact, 16-24 year olds are actually the most likely group to be affected by loneliness. Women and people from ethnic minorities were amongst the groups most affected by loneliness during the covid pandemic.
3. There are different types of loneliness
- Some loneliness feelings can be down to a situation such as moving to a new home/town and not knowing the area or people.
- Some loneliness feelings are because of a life event such as a bereavement.
- Loneliness in the workplace – particularly if you have started a new job, or a new role within the company but with a new team; it can take time to adjust to new work situations and to meet new colleagues.
- Emotional loneliness is felt when an individual feels like they aren’t being heard or understood by families or close friends
Most people who suffer from loneliness are unlikely to say that they are feeling this way!
4. Describing loneliness in a positive way
Often loneliness is described as something we “suffer from” and that we “admit” to having; and this can also lead to embarrassment or feeling ashamed. But by changing the way you present it, using “experienced” instead of suffering and “telling” your experiences rather than saying you suffer, is a much more positive way of approaching it. Try to use kinder and more accepting language to reduce the stigma – none should be embarrassed or ashamed.
Even just re-thinking the way you seek support can be easier by simply saying “ I feel like I need some contact or company”.
5. Loneliness is can be fixed
Loneliness can leave us feeling overwhelmed and that we will feel this way forever, but there are immediate steps you can take to help you feel better. Tell someone how you are feeling. Practice the language you use, be kind to yourself, and make a plan to start getting those social connections you need. Think about those people who make you feel brighter, who will listen but who are also good at making you feel better . If you feel like your loneliness is having a deeper detrimental impact on your life, don’t leave it and reach out to a healthcare professional.
6. Loneliness is not a natural feeling and not mental health condition
It is normal to feel loneliness when our social needs are not being met, it is a natural feeling that most people will experience. However it makes you feel, there is always something you can do about it to feel better and it is generally only a temporary feeling. But if left unchecked it can start to affect mental and physical health so it is important to address your feelings as soon as you can.
Find out more about how to tackle loneliness by visiting the Marmalade Trust Website, they’ve put a handy guide together on loneliness https://www.marmaladetrust.org/loneliness-guide